Tuesday, September 25, 2007

SSC #39 Video Editing (finally!)

by Jeff Smith

Wikipedia defines "video editing" thusly
--Video editing is the process of re-arranging or modifying segments of video to form another piece of video. The goals of video editing are the same as in film editing — the removal of unwanted footage, the isolation of desired footage, and the arrangement of footage in time to synthesize a new piece of footage.

That being said, in order to have everything go smoothly, you need to have all of your ducks in a row. 

    First, have some clear idea of what you want your finished video to look like.  If you go into the video editing process without any idea what you want out of it, you're output is not likely to make much sense to the person(s) viewing it later. 
    Learn how to use your video editor.  For you Windows user, your best bet is Nerovision Express.  Many of you already have it on your PC and don't know it.  If you have the Nero Suite, then its there.  But regardless what you're using, play with it and figure out how everything works and what all the buttons do before you attempt a serious project.
Make sure you can cut scenes down to the exact moment, learn how to add background music if appropriate, learn transitions.  You wouldn't try to build a house if you didn't know how to wield a hammer, would you?  So play with it, do some non-serious stuff that you don't plan on showing off.  Once you're comfortable you know what you're doing, then you can feel free to get all Spielburg on something.
    Make sure you have all the neccessary codecs needed to convert any and all videos that will be in your project.  It can bust you out of your creative process rather quickly if you have to jump online and search for codecs or software.  This should be figured out in your playing around phase.
    You don't have to go too flashy.  Just because your program has 50 some-odd special transition effects, doesn't mean you need to use every one during the half hour of footage from last Christmas.  I try to follow the KISS rule when it comes to video projects... Keep It Simple Stupid.  It will keep your finished videos from looking too obviously amateur, and will speed up the final encoding process since those transitions add lots of processor work.
     Keep your intended audience in mind.  When you're making a creative work, its sometimes helpful to envision who you think will be enjoying it in the future, and add or remove elements based on how you think they would like it. 
    If you're mixing to a DVD, it adds a touch of class if you spend some extra time on the title screen.  Many editors allow you to loop video sequences and sound bites during the main menu sequence, some even allow you to use parts of the video content to make animated buttons!
These extra touches add a lot of polish to a DVD project and are the icing on the cake.
   You should do all of your footage editing before you go to make a DVD.  Not many programs do everything, but even in those that do, its possible to lose your vision in the midst of all the complexity.
If you'd like some more tips, feel free to write me.  Or if you have some tips you care to share, you are welcome to leave comments to this article on the weblog.

See ya next week!


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