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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Lights...camera...action! » » Editing digital video (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Jonathanmc
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I am in the planning stages of a video project both for posting on the internet and putting on DVD.

Can someone give me some suggestions on the following:

Good, but not the cost of a house, digital camera's to use.

Editing software.

Online tutorials or books to help guide me through the process from filming to sellable product.

Yes, I could hire someone but part of the project is to learn how to do this stuff myself.

THanks all.
ScottRSullivan
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Type of camera would depend on what type of venue you are planning on shooting.

For example, darker venues are tough for some cameras. Well lit sets are easier. Part of the determining factor is the chip, or "eye" inside the camera. The larger the chip, the better it will do in low light. Much like a reflector telescope sees more of the fainter deep sky objects since it gathers more light.

Another important aspect is audio. I would highly recommend a camera that has at least one (best if two) audio inputs for an external mic. My camera has two XLR inputs, but you're talking more cash to lay down for this sort of setup. The reason for an external mic is you want that mic as close to the source as possible. I can suffer watching a bad video as long as I can hear it clearly. However, I hate watching good video that I have to struggle to hear. Good audio will be a HUGE plus.

Also, how fast of a turnaround are you looking for? Newtek has a live switcher, which can switch from multiple cameras like a TV studio and also stream that feed live to the internet (and capture to the computer). Or, you can just record straight to computer, edit and post. Or you can record to tape, load that footage to the computer later, edit and post online. My favorite workflow is record to a computer file to load right into the computer. This is a bit more expensive, but is my current preferred workflow since you don't have to capture the footage later (it records either to a hard drive or memory card).

Were you looking to be behind the camera, have someone else back there or have it just alone on a tripod. These will dictate what type of camera also. I prefer cameras with all manual controls so I can focus and set the aperture, white balance, etc. on my own. Also, if someone else will be taping, how much time do you want to spend training them? Ease of use could be more important that being able to manually set things in this case. So this is a big factor.

Editing software. Hmm. Depends what exactly you want to do. I've played with the free stuff on my Mac and it can do a really good job, especially if you are just going to be doing simple cuts and saving to DVD and podcast. If you want to get into color correction, proper broadcast levels, high quality compressions for DVD (the cheap programs will compress your video into junk sometimes, where the higher end stuff gives you more control over the final compressed image file going onto the DVD). I use Final Cut Studio, but if you're on a PC, that's a no go.

What level of power in the software are you looking for? If you just want quick and dirty, the free and sub $300 software will get the job done. On a Mac, FCS runs around $1300. AVID is a good choice and they have several tiers of pricing, depending on your need. Premiere is not bad, though I'm not that familiar with it. Vegas is a double edged sword for me. I've heard some good things about it. But I just hate Sony, the company (from their stupid memory sticks to other stuff, I dislike them as much as I dislike Microsoft, but I digress!).

Finally, there's distribution. Are you planning on mass market, with hundreds to thousands of DVDs or smaller runs. Larger runs, it's better to have someone else do it. This still won't take away the "learning how to do it yourself" aspect. It's like giving Kinkos your stuff to photocopy instead of doing it yourself. You could do it, but why? They do it cheap. They do it fast. Our time is precious. So this aspect, I'd say, let someone else do it.

The rest, I think you could learn each aspect and do a good job once the basics are understood. I had someone do the interviews for The Magic Lantern last February and he did a great job. I taught him how to use the camcorder (I gave him my smallest camera to use to make it easier to carry around). I then cut that to a DVD series and podcast. So it's very doable.

Can't wait to see what you've got in store!

Warm regards,
Scott
sfmiraj
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Scotts reply is thorough. It boils down to money, however. Whats the budget? (rhetorical) If the target demographic are other magicians, you can get away with more. Just look at all the krap that's been produced lately. Most of these dvd's are complete garbage with shoddy lighting, unrecognizable audio, and unmentionable editing. At the low end you can use a vhs, single chip tape camera, and free editing software. The end product will show this glaringly.

Better cameras look strikingly better and YOU will look more professional. Thus more revenue.

For PC - there are tons of basic to advanced editing apps. Some are free. Avoid Pinnacle products. Poor experience with their apps. Lousy customer service. Most apps have chat boards for user to user comments that will provide the most helpf to learn from. I use Adobe Premier Pro. Premier Elements is scaled back, but powerful out of the box. I greatly recomend Elements to new users.

If your market is for the public or potential clients, you should spare no expense and hire a professional to do the job.

PLEASE....PLEASE.....dont cut corners. Elevate your standard for the final output, and the video production world will be a better place.
JTW
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I agree with the above two posts (although Pinacle has shown marked improvements with its newest release- 10, I believe). The most important thing is the camera and audio as Scott pointed out. Panasonic makes some good three ccd cameras for a reasonable price with good picture quality. Definately go with some sort of external audio.

As far as editing suites, I use Sony's products (Scott I feel your pain with all the other crap that Sony has put out) the Vegas software is really good and more intuitive than a lot of others I've tried. There was a feature film edited entirely with iMovie (the software that ships with Macs). So low end doesn't mean bad it just means that the higher end stuff has things a beginner would never use. If you are planning more projects in the future the investment is worth it.

I highly suggest the less is more approach if you are planning to do the work yourself. Learn the basic concepts of framing, lighting and editing and you'll be on your way.

Good luck and remember we are always here to help!
Cheers,
Jason
magicleland
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10.7 is the best sub 300 dollar editor out their. Yes, Scott, I know it can only do hdv but most inde films use that. I love the built in dvd authorising, and it's easy. I know wedding photographers that use that and the weddings look great.
zig zag illusion - $3,000
theater rental - $500
geting advice from othe magicians on the cafe - priceless
Spellbinder
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I would agree with all of the above posts EXCEPT for your statement that you have never done this before and want to learn how. Like every good magician, you need an "out" in case you get half-way through and discover you are in over your head and either need to get instruction OR you want to back out and turn your ideas over to a professional DVD production company.

For that reason, you don't want to go bankrupt buying equipment and software, but just try something simple as your first project. Then, if you decide to continue, come back and follow the advice given in the posts above that suggest more expensive solutions.

Camera: any miniDV camera will get you started- go for the ones on sale or even get a used one. Total cost - maybe $300 - less if you get a good deal.

You'll also need a Firewire cable to plug the camera into a computer - $20 or so.

Software: skip the debate and get a Macintosh computer. Every new Mac comes complete with iMovie (to capture your raw footage) and iDVD (to convert your raw footage into DVD format). All new Macs can also burn a master DVD on the same computer. (iMac - $1000 - or portable MacBook $1100)

If you get stuck and the Apple computer people can't help you, contact Frederick Goode: http://dpstudios.biz/video_magic.htm He can give you phone help, or arrange on-line instruction and training on just the stuff you need to get everything working.

Once you have produced your first DVD, then you will know whether you want to get serious and invest money as advised in the posts above, and whether you want to work on a Windows operating system computer, or a Macintosh computer as you move forward.

Note: if you have already gotten started on this and have invested heavily in the Windows operating system , you can still get help from Fred since he works in both environments and on both operating systems (Mac and PC). I only recommended the Mac because you said you were a beginner and that's the easiest and least expensive route to follow as I've outlined above.
Professor Spellbinder

Professor Emeritus at the Turkey Buzzard Academy of Magik, Witchcraft and Wizardry

http://www.magicnook.com

Publisher of The Wizards' Journals
JeremyM0411
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I use a JVC EVERIO with a 30 gig hard drive. I purchased this at Best Buy for $500.00 This camera shoots good in low light and outside, as well. I also use Adobe Premiere Elemants 3.0 to do all of my editing. So, there is my 2 cents, hope it might help.
muzicman
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I have a Panasonic HVX200 that shoots in High Def as well as HDV. It's not low end, but I would consider it low end of the professional line. It's not a price of a house at $5200. But if you want professional results, you'll need a professional camera. All the best editing software in the world will not compensate for bad raw video. The outcome can only be as good as the source. If you are looking to market and sell whatever video you shoot, make it professional.

I use a variety of software to edit my videos. For Video editing, I use Ulead Studio 10. Titles and overlays are a breeze. Whether you want animated text or standard scrolling text, it's all possible.

For complex audio editing, I use Sony Acid Loops. Basically, It's a digital multitrack recording software. I can layer my original audio with backing tracks or sound effects.

For Authoring DVD's. I use either Ulead DVD Pro or Sony Vegas 6. Both have their pros and cons, but I am able to get professional results with both. Complicated Menus and submenues as well as mixing 5.1 audio for the final burn. I like animations in my menus as well as highlights for the selection.

I use a lot of software depending on the project. For professional chroma key results, I use software from Serious Magic called Ultra 2
This software belongs in the magic world!

Fot CGI animations, I use Animation Master made by Hash Software.

For non-CGI animations, I use Macromedia FLASH.

I have a High Def DVD printer. Not one that prints on labels, it prints directly to the DVD. Pictures and text, it's all possible!

My goal with all this is to produce magic birthday parties and provide a DVD full of magic to my clients. I think parents will find value in a lifetime keepsake with this DVD showing their child as the star of a magic show...
ScottRSullivan
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Quote:
On 2007-02-14 10:50, muzicman wrote:
I have a Panasonic HVX200 that shoots in High Def as well as HDV. It's not low end, but I would consider it low end of the professional line. It's not a price of a house at $5200. But if you want professional results, you'll need a professional camera. All the best editing software in the world will not compensate for bad raw video. The outcome can only be as good as the source. If you are looking to market and sell whatever video you shoot, make it professional.


The Panasonic HVX-200 does NOT shoot HDV. It shoots DVCPro-HD (1080 and 720) and standard def miniDV. In fact, Panasonic is the only company producing high end equipment that does NOT make ANY cameras that record to HDV. In my opinion it's a format that has way too many problems, including extremely high lossy compression.


Quote:
Fot CGI animations, I use Animation Master made by Hash Software.


A.M. is an interesting program for it's price range. It can do a lot for what you pay. However, if you play with it, you'll find Lightwave and/or Maya to be better choices. However, they cost several times what A.M. costs.


Quote:
I have a High Def DVD printer. Not one that prints on labels, it prints directly to the DVD. Pictures and text, it's all possible!


You mean an ink jet printer? High Def is typically used to describe the video format and the burner, as in a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD burner, both of which cost more than a grand each.

We use the Epson R200, which isn't a bad printer. I applaud you for using ink-jet printable media, though. Labels are wraught with problems. Do a search, I've talked about that plenty on this forum.

Quote:
My goal with all this is to produce magic birthday parties and provide a DVD full of magic to my clients. I think parents will find value in a lifetime keepsake with this DVD showing their child as the star of a magic show...


This is a great marketing concept and I applaud you for trying it. You might want to determine what you can offer that Uncle Bob recording with his camcorder can't. This will set you apart and give your show more value.

If you are using the HVX, you must understand the industry terms (not getting HDV confused with HD, for example) and what the benefits/drawbacks of the HVX are. The fact that it DOESN'T record HDV is a bonus in my opinion. But you've GOT to know what else is out there.

For example, there are two consumer palmcorders out there that cost about a grand that shoot in full HD (1080). The Canon HV-10 puts out a pretty good image for what it is, and its only $1300! It does have problems, though. After all, it is a consumer level camera, not pro at all. But it's got a pretty picture for what it is!

Warm regards,
Scott
muzicman
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The Panasonic HVX200 is new to me. I've had it about 2 weeks now. I researched for months to find the perfect camera that would support all my needs. You are right, it's not HDV but DVCPro-HD. All these new terms and what they mean makes my head swim.

The Epson printer I got says High Def but it is just an inkjet. I wish I remembered the model number. It wasn't expensive at $199. It also has a scanner but the only reason I got it was to put my clients face on the DVD itself.

Animation Master is not the best program for CGI, but it fit my budget and does what I need it to do, which is not much. I wanted a splash screen showing my production company name and logo, as well as a 3d character to use as my mascot.

"Uncle Bob", and there is only one in my town that I know of, sets a DV camera on a tripod at the rear of the room. He dumps the entire contents to a DVD and what you get is basically raw, unedited video. The DVD is compiled and burned using Microsoft Movie Maker which to me is a total waste of time and effort. Granted, he doesn't have the expense of my systems, but then again, his results will be nowhere near what I provide.

I will only deliver my DVD once it looks like it was purchased at Blockbuster and made by a team of talented people from Hollywood. My website and contact will be all over that DVD as I believe the recipients will show off "their" magic show with friends, families and neighbors.

I have a website I am putting together. It's not complete but it is up and viewable. I will be replacing the cheesy happy face icons with digital pics of my props and equipment, as well as clips of shows I have done and a "behind the scenes" look at my recording studio and green screen set. Keep in mind, this is not the final, it's work in progress and there are many places I just filled space with random characters. I am concerned with colors, balance, content and ease of use when I design a website, this one being MINE, will need to pass all my personal requirements befor going live on it's own domain.

http://cklivin.com/itsmagic.html
ScottRSullivan
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As far as your competition, yes, if it's just someone giving raw video from a tripod, you've got an advantage. Especially with an HVX, you've got a BIG advantage. But you've got to REALLY know your terms and WHY the HVX is better than an HD camera at Walmart. If you don't know why and can't explain it, you can't sell it.

I might not have been clear regarding "Uncle Bob." I was meaning "Uncle Bob" as in THEIR Uncle Bob, the one guy in every family who owns his own camera and considers himself the "video guy." He tapes all the family events.

My point was how to compete with him.

For example:
Him: Free, we know him and he's really good (by being Uncle Bob, they like him and thus, his work), it's sentimental because Uncle Bob taped it.

You: involves a cost, "Wow, there are interactive games on your dvd along with bonus tricks by the magician that weren't even in his show!" (think an interactive mind reading trick or something - though I wouldn't do that exactly because once they play the DVD a second time, the method is exposed), etc.

My point was that the cost of video production has come down so much that even their kids will be able to edit movies on iMovie and put animations (albeit simple ones) and animated titles using templates provided for free. I've seen these templates and some are VERY nice!

That's what every videographer is up against. It's up to us to explain the benefits of our service and why they should shell out money when their kids can do the same thing (from their point of view, that is).

Now, of course, you and I know why our services are better, but we need to be able to convey that to potential clients. I'd recommend browsing some video forums and really getting to know the ins and outs, plus marketing books on how to sell your service. I'm excited you're providing an additional benefit for your clients. Now comes time to sell it!

Good luck!

Scott

P.S.
I checked out your site. It's nice. I know it's a work in progress, but there are a few places where lines are going through the words. I think they might have supposed to be underlines, but on this end, it looks like the words are crossed out. Just and FYI. Again, good luck!
muzicman
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I appreciate your feedback and I am getting familiar with the terms of production. My business is launching in May 07 in a local mall. It's a popular mall with lots of foot traffic. Mall space is cheaper than advertising. This has been a 3 year project and I am just weeks away from launch.

My website has progressed but I have not uploaded the changes yet. What you saw online was the first "working" model, but the content was far from finished. When I finally put my progress on my server so others could see it, I was more concerned about color and balance and checking my animations. Trust me, my webapge will not have misspellings, crossed out words, underlines in the wrong place or broken links.

I am really excited about this business. It has been fun and challenging to bring all the pieces together, and continues to do so. I wish I could clone myself, as I find very few others that share my ethusiasm, or ability to visulaize and materialize that which has never been seen or done before.

Oh, and video editing and dvd compilation takes creativity, as well as the right tools, if you want to stand above the rest!
montemagic
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In terms of editing I have found Ulead to be very easy to use, with a very small learning curve for the basics. http://www.ulead.com/vs/
It isn't the cheapest, but far from the most expensive.
Aim To Amaze
muzicman
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Scott, I reread your post concerning "Uncle Bob" and he won't be any problem. You see, my camera and magic show is in my own theater. The party comes to me. After trying to find a way to scale down my show so I could transport it all and make it worth my time, I realized there was no way I could do that. I don't want a scaled down show. I want a show with all my lights, hazers, foggers, and large props and feel others will find value in coming to my theater vs having it in their living room. "Uncle Bob" will not be able to record in my theater, he can go get his own theater!

Monte, I agree. I use the ULEAD VideoStudio 10 Plus. It is extremely user friendly and delivers pretty good results. I have tried quite a few video editors and some are easier than others. At $99 it's not the most expensive editor, but for ease and learning curve, you'll be cranking out edited videos in no time. I recommend it for that reason.
fefe_fontane
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Ok, I have a video production company. The best camera to begin using is a Sony VX2000. And the MAC is the best to begin editing on. Start out with IMovie and IDVD...you can do amazing work on these basic programs. Once you have them mastered, move in Final Cut Pro HD. All of the new macs come with Imovie and Idvd - both HD and have all three, 4.0, 5.0, and 6.0 programs. Great machine and programs to edit with.
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Powermagic
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I have used Ulead. It is a very buggy program and you should sign up on the forum since there are many work arounds. I feel the codecs for their rendering to be pretty slow.
btedeski
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Just a couple of technical thoughts on recording audio.

you may want to record audio from 3 sources assuming you have spoken portions
I would record from your PC audio out, from the camera with a gun microphone and from a third microphone that can pick up audience reaction

This way when you are editing you can pick the audio track that you want,
Also consider a camera on the audience so you can add portions of the audience reaction to you final product,

just a couple of random thoughts
Billy The Clown
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Bill Tedeski
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Timm
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I have a Panasonic AGDVX100A and it is a great professional camera. It goes for around $2500. I've had mine for a few years now, so I'm sure there are better and cheaper cameras out now.

Also, I would highly recommend using a MAC. Their operating system is far better than MS and it's user friendly. I think you'll find that more entertainers use mac, so it will help you in the future when you're looking for help.
Eddie Garland
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I was made on a Mac.
brainchild
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If you want to save the most possible TIME, MONEY, and ENERGY while still putting out the BEST POSSIBLE product, I highly suggest hiring someone to do the shooting for you.

In my experience, production done by amateurs usually looks pretty amateur. Shooting, editing, and all the things in between are arts that can take a lifetime to master. If you are creating something that you want to sell, hire someone.

I realize you said you might want to learn this stuff yourself. However, if you decide to buy all the equipment, you are going to be left with a bunch of expensive equipment, which you don't know how to use, that will spend most of its time sitting on your shelf gathering dust.

I would suggest hiring someone that does wedding videos. They probably have the experience to give you a decent product at a low cost.
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