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1 Digital Camera Mondays

Digital Movie Editing

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About 10 years ago, a 5 minute video with various modifications applied would have taken hours and in some cases days to process before you could save the completed video to the hard drive. Due to the requirement of fast processors, large amounts of memory, very large storage space and expensive video editing software meant that most home users were not able to take advantage of video editing software on their computers. Regardless, many users of digital video cameras and Samrtphones would take videos and store them on their computers.

In the last 5 years, I have seen a surge of video camera features appearing on cell phones and point and shoot still cameras with better resolution and more features that make video taking that much more exciting. As the quality and the features of the video equipment increases, so does the need to  preserve and edit these precious shots taken on the go.

Home computer users now have access to software that allows them to import, edit and save the video creations included in their computers automatically. Users of Windows Vista or later have a software program called Windows Movie Maker and MAC OS X users have a software program called iMovie.

In either case, the software will allow you to take your shots created via your Smartphone, point and shoot camera or any other digital video file and add some creative effects and titling. All the latest computers now have the necessary processor speed, memory, and storage space to process the videos and save the file. Also due to the advancement in the software technology, the saving of the edited file only take minutes and not the typical hours taken only a handle of years ago.

Both the Windows and the MAC versions allow you to add titling, comments, special effects and music to your videos very easily. Once the completed video has been saved, you can share them by uploading to your favorite video site like YOUTUBE, save to a CD as a video file or burn it onto a DVD as an actual movie playable on a regular DVD player.

Here is a list of recommendations for those interested in starting to edit or create your own videos at home.

  • Start with a powerful computer. If your PC came with Windows Vista or your MAC came with MAC OS X then your computer is powerful enough to handle most of the complex video editing capabilities. Otherwise, you are due for a computer upgrade. The upgrade means buying a new computer which will allow you to benefit from the latest technology and minimize issues with software plus current hardware incompatibilities. Immediately a DVD burner for those that do not have one already as part of their computer system is a real benefit.
  • Spend as much time as possible going through the tutorials to learn as much as possible before starting your first project. This will allow you to minimize the time taken to complete your first edited video and increase the quality of the finished project.
  • Take the time to create a well defined title screen that includes the date the video was taken. Once you have a title screen, you can save this as a file on its own to be reused over and over. Just make sure you rename the file if you reuse the file to prevent the original from being overwritten. Change the title details as necessary each time.
  • Create folders based on years to make access down the road that much easier. You can also create sub folders within the main folders to group videos even further.
  • Do a simple house cleaning once a year and transfer the previous years videos onto a CD or DVD.
  • Delete old project files and keep those that have an interesting mix of special effects to modify down the road with new video inserts. Projects no longer required should be deleted to minimize the hard drive space usage since project files can become very large.
  • Make it a habit to share your final creations with friends and family. It would be a shame to have all the videos stored on the hard drive, CD or DVD only and not appreciated by as many people as possible. Uploading to your favorite video site is fine but you should make an effort to get the word out to others that a new video has been posted for viewing.
  • Keep in mind that the video editing software can only enhance the quality of the original so much. It is up to you to take the video with lots of light, minimal shaking and do not move the camera quickly from side to side. try and keep the shot fixed in one spot for at least 15 – 30 seconds. You can easily shorten each section later but you cannot fix those very short or jerky images later.

Every household in this day and age should have a digital video camera or some digital device that has a video feature built in. I am not saying you should go out and invest in one immediately. Spend the time to check your Smartphone, still digital camera, cell phone or laptop. You probably have a device which can take simple videos already. If the device has a camera built in then you probably have the capability to also take videos.

Enjoy your new found hobby and cherish all the moments with friends and family. Once the proud moment has passed, only a picture or video can retain the precious moment forever.

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