The Friday Roundup – Framing Long Shots and a Gazillion Tutorials


Long Shots and Composition

In the Shooting Better Video section of this site on the page that covers the basics of the types of shots used most commonly, there is a brief rundown on the Long Shot.

The long shot or the establishment shot is most often used to set the scene so the audience knows where we are or, in the case of being used in the middle of a project, where we are now as opposed to where we were before.

It either introduces a location or setting or helps shift the audience to a new location or setting.

The article linked below gives some great tips and examples of famous long shots and how they are working to set a scene.

A very common way to present a long shot is by using a very slow pan across the scene to take the audience in however some of the best long shots are actually static yet still work.

The reason they work is that they are one of the types of video shots you can take best by following the rules of composition from photography.

New Features for Filmora 7.8 – YouTube

OK, so last week I updated my review of Filmora because they came out with a new version which is 7.8.

Of course they were bugging me to somehow “announce” the new version as a new version cos’ that’s what the marketers do!

As usual they didn’t really get too much co-operation from me other than giving the review a bit of a freshen up and here’s why. (Filmora Review Here)

Filmora occupies a spot on this site for a very specific reason.

That reason is that it is a very easy to learn and use video editor that has just about everything most people would need to create awesome videos.

It is not jam packed with a gazillion features, it is jam packed with just the features you need!

For that reason it remains as I said, very easy to learn and easy to use!

So the fact that they are touting a new version with “new features” does not really fill me with a sense of excitement.

It actually makes me worry that they are jumping on the “more and more and more features” bandwagon until it is as complicated as the rest.

Anyway, this week they came out with a video showing the new stuff and thankfully it is all stuff you can actually use and more importantly has not added any complication to the basic program or interface.

Stop Motion Animation Tutorial in Pinnacle Studio

This is another of the new features that have been included in version 20 of Pinnacle Studio. (Pinnacle Studio Review Here)

Whilst there have always been ways to create stop motion video or at least timelapse videos outside of the software this is the first time you can do it from within.

You can hook up your camera to your computer, open Pinnacle and operate the camera through the Pinnacle interface while watching the whole thing on your computer monitor.

Free Titles Course – Basic Filmmaker

One of my favorite people on the internet for providing awesome content in the filed of shooting and editing your videos has to be The Basic Filmmaker.

His YouTube channel is just jam packed full of video editing and video shooting goodness.

The video below is an outline of the new course he is providing on his website on the subject of Titles.

I would absolutely advise you to go over and check out both his YouTube Channel and his teaching website.

Yes he does offer paid courses if you want to take things higher but he also offer a ton of free stuff as well.

And by the way, full disclosure, no I am not an affiliate of his services, he just provides great content.

Pinnacle Studio Tutorial – Object Masking with Motion Tracking

As Corel continue the development of Pinnacle Studio we are beginning to see some of the features Pinnacle has been missing begin to appear.

One of the new ones this year is motion tracking especially in combination with the use of masks.

Why it Looks Spooky

So given that we are in the Halloween time of the year here are some tips on how to create spooky lighting effects a little beyond the usual up-lighting technique.

You know, that’s the one with the torch shining up on your face.

In addition to that maybe within the article you may also find out why your videos look kind of spooky when that wasn’t what you intended!

Best Settings for Fast Video Rendering – PowerDirector 15

One of the main reasons why I have kept CyberLink PowerDirector as my top choice for video editing software at the consumer level had been the issue of sheer speed.

The main areas where the speed of the program is going to come into play are when you are previewing, when you are rendering and when you are scrubbing through the timeline.

On all these fronts PowerDirector has a slight edge over the competition and they have held that edge for a number of years now. (PowerDirector Review Here)

The way they have achieved that is by developing a system that identifies the available resources it can use on the computer where it lives.

Once it identifies those resources it works out how best to use them when carrying out resource intensive tasks like rendering, previewing and scrubbing through the timeline.

When it comes to rendering it uses another technology they developed called SVRT which is a system that identifies what the software really needs to process and what it needs to just copy.

Some of these technologies will depend on what available resources you have especially when it comes to the video card but if you want to get the best out of your software check the video below.

Some Great Editing Tips

I was initially going to just distribute this article onto social media thinking it was just another throw away tips guide to editing… until I read it!

It’s really good!

There are many resources available for editing and lots of information about why you are supposed to do what you are supposed to do but some of it is a bit dry.

Check out this article below because it gives great insight into the act of cutting and just how the cuts and the length of your clips go together to create an effect.

Pinnacle Studio Tutorial – Picture in Picture

This is just a straight up video of the slightly new system Pinnacle have introduced to version 20 for resizing and adjusting images and videos for the Picture in Picture effect.

Not really a new feature because you could always do that but just a slightly more convenient way to get it done.

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Wondershare Filmora Review

Wondershare Fimora BoxFirst of all let’s take a look at why I think a simple video editing product like Wondershare Filmora has a place in the world.

Over the past few years one of the predominant trends has been that the average consumer level video editor has become more and more feature rich.

In many ways that is a good thing because it causes the software companies through competition, to keep striving to improve their products.

The downside is that every time they add some new feature they also have to add access to the feature itself as well as providing access to the settings of that feature.

This invariably leads to a complication of the user interface resulting in software that is more like the control console of a space shuttle!

The other downside is that in many cases the added new features are not necessarily things that everyone wants or needs.

So as result of this I have noticed more and more people are turning away from some of the big names in search of something simpler and easier to use.

Enter Wondershare Filmora.

The key to Filmora is that it has quite successfully managed to strike a balance between maintaining simplicity whilst at the same time providing tools and features that the average person would actually use.

They have kept the user interface clean, modern and uncluttered yet at the same time offering easy access to the features and functionality of the program.

It comes in versions for Windows and Mac and is my top choice for an easy or simple video editing software.

To get an idea of how it looks and behaves take a look at the video below before you continue with the rest of this Filmora review.

Getting Started

When you open the program each time you are first presented with the simple splash screen below.

Filmora opening splash screen

Here you make a few quick choices as to what you want to do exactly and to set the program to suit your needs for that project.

1. Choose the aspect ratio of the project you want to make based on the aspect ratio of the video you will be working with.

Most modern devices will be 16:9.

2. Select Easy Mode or Full Feature Mode.

Easy mode launches the program into a semi-automatic mode which makes use of style templates that you add your video, images and audio to.

You then follow a step-by-step- process through to a final video.

Full Feature Mode launches into the full editing program.

3. Open Recent allows you to reload a project you have been working on to continue.

The User Interface

As you can see from the image below the interface is very simple with no hidden menus or endless menu trees of features.

Filmora user interface

Quite literally what you see on the screen is what you get.

Access to everything is represented by a simple icon that indicates what it is used for whether it be video, audio, effects transitions or whatever.

Just don’t be fooled by the simplicity of it. Hiding behind there are over 300 special effects, objects, overlays, sound effects, music tracks and transitions you can use.

You really only have to look at the buttons to understand what it is for and that intuitive nature carries on throughout the entire program.

You can cut in the middle of a file by placing the plathead at that point and (obviously!) clicking the little scissors icon.

You can lengthen or shorten a file by placing your cursor at the end, clicking and dragging.

Click and drag items on to the timeline, select and hit delete to get rid of them.

If you are just a beginner or get stuck somewhere just hit the help button and another separate module will open up as below.

Filmora help module

In this module you have access to 11 specific videos that will play inside the module explaining step-by-step how to learn and use the program.

If you are already up to speed with it but come across something you are not sure of you can just scroll through the video thumbnails, find the one you need and watch it.

All the videos are very well put together, easy to understand and very straightforward.

Video Creation

By hitting the Export Button a new module opens offering 12 different formats in which you can export your project.

Filmora export options

It also offers 12 preset formats that are arranged by device so if you really have no idea what format you should be creating but you do know the device it will be played on you are covered.

You can also automatically upload your final video to FaceBook, YouTube or Vimeo and all of these have presets to make sure your video gets online at the highest possible quality.

The same goes for DVD with a simple pre-set system for directly burning to DVD or to an image file and burned later.


Probably the word that best describes Wondershare Filmora is intuitive.

It doesn’t really seem to matter what it is you want to do with the program, all you need do is look at the interface and pretty soon it seems obvious what it is.

Filmora is ideal for the person who wants to quickly and easily edit their videos without all the bells and whistles they will probably never use.

Click Here to See the Full Features at Wondershare Filmora

Posted in Software Reviews

Adobe Premiere Elements 11 Review Part Two


Time to review the good and the not so good!

The Interface

What is clear in this latest version of Premiere Elements 15 is that Adobe have finally decided on a direction for the program based on the real world rather than some geeks in a lab making guesses.

Everything is tucked away unless you are using it so although you have to find out WHERE everything is tucked away, once you do the advantages become clear.

When you do click on a tool or module what you are most often presented with are common presets and an advanced choice.

Check the images below.

The top one is the interface with a video on the timeline and no tools or adjustment selected. Clean uncluttered and attractive.

In the next image the “Adjustments” tab has been clicked and suddenly everything is there to use.

Like any video editing software you care to choose there will always be a learning curve to overcome before you become comfortable using the program.

In Adobe’s case they have done an excellent job in reducing the pain.




Carrying on with the theme of hiding everything away unless it is being used we come to the library function of Premiere Elements 15.

Rather than being part of the program it is actually a separate module unto itself that integrates with the program and is called the Elements Organizer.

The Organizer can be used to manage all media files on your computer (not just those for your editing projects) and then have them available to use within Premiere Elements.

It comes with a new and very powerful search function that allows you to mark and tag things very easily so they can be found later.

Over time you can start to build up quite a surprising amount of media files on your computer and without an efficient library section you will soon get lost.

This is a vital point to keep in mind for when you are editing as endlessly searching around a complicated array of folders to find what you are looking for can get very annoying, very fast!

The Organizer is a very effective and efficient tool for keeping things in order.

Editing and Previews

Adobe pretty much got the backend of Elements under control a few versions back with the addition of 64bit architecture and improvements to the basic rendering engine.

Currently it runs as fast as most other programs in its class and while I was using it on my slightly underpowered machine I didn’t hit any lags or crashes.

Like any editing software actual performance is only partly down to the software itself due to the majority of the work being done by the computer.

It is all very well for the software to tell the computer what to do; it is entirely another matter as to whether the computer can actually do it!

What is noticeable in this version of Elements is that the improved processing power and the improved utilization of all available processing power has been put to good use.

The program snaps smartly from window to window, instantly moves what you want it to move and adds or takes away what you want taken away in an instant.

Similarly previews start promptly and my experience was that they played smoothly and accurately for the most part.

One thing I was a little disappointed in was that a feature to help those with underpowered computer setups remains missing in action.

Up until version 8, Adobe gave the users the option to create low resolution proxy files of their original video files for the purpose of editing and previewing.

This allowed the user to edit and watch a smoother preview by sacrificing some of the video’s details.

However since then they have not continued this feature which is unfortunate.

What Can It Do?

Well the answer to that is quite a lot really!

Apart from the fact that it cuts, slices and dices video footage and allows you to create your projects in all the popular formats here is a rundown of some of the features.

To see all of it you should go to the Adobe site and check it out and there is a link at the end of this page.

I think the main takeaway here is that Premiere Elements 15 is squarely aimed at the home user with convenience and ease of use highest in the priorities.

As I mentioned on Page one of this review there is a module for creating interesting collages that are a little different from the rest in a simple way.

Haze Filter
OK, some people have dismissed this as kind of unimportant but you have to look at the average Joe to understand it.

The average person on a holiday or outdoors will invariably shoot landscapes and you can be sure of one thing.

They will NOT be using a U.V. filter on their iPhone or whatever device they are using to balance the light and filter out the haze!

That alone is the reason the average landscape video or even image has that hazy washed out look to it.

This is simply a filter that handles that and gets those shots cleaned up automatically.

Also mentioned earlier, it automatically remixes music to match the length of your movie without chopping that track to pieces in an effort to make it fit.

Guided Edits
This is an entire system for applying filters or effects across multiple clips or an entire project.

Face Detection
Automatically detects and highlights faces in clips to make auto-trimming and pan and zoom easier.

New Tutorials
This is a new one both in the tutorials on offer and your access to them.

All the new tutorials are accessible through the user interface so if you are mid-way through something and need to check out how to do something else you can just click on the eLive tab.

From there you can watch the tutorial you need whilst remaining inside the Premiere Elements 15 user interface.

Once you have the information you need you can just go straight back to what you were doing without interruption.


Of course as you would expect in an editor at this level there is a vast library of transitions, filters and special effects most of which are fully customizable on top of the presets on offer.

The separate titling module allows not just for full control over the design and look of titles but allows for the addition of motion to them.

You can add motion paths to text and graphics to have them follow the action as you go along.

Automatically fix color and lighting problems; trim away all but the best footage; and balance audio to create pro-quality sound throughout your movie.


You can upload your finished movies to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, or your own website, burn to DVD discs using standard burners as well as share movies in high-quality 4K or AVCHD format.

Premiere Elements comes with a range of presets to get video that looks great on whatever device or screen you choose, from iPads, iPods, and other smart phones to big-screen 4K and HD TVs.

For DVDs and Blu-ray there is a complete and dedicated menu and chapter designer.


In all honesty there are a number of video editing software solutions around that offer more of everything than Adobe Premiere Elements 15.

More features, more filters more effects, more control and on and on.

BUT! And this is a big BUT!

The harsh reality of that is that the vast majority of users that get those programs based on sheer volume of “stuff” will NEVER use those features… EVER.

The beauty of Premiere Elements 15 is that it contains exactly what you need to make great home movies without any fluff added for marketing purposes.

The features and tools contained in the program are the things you will actually use and they are presented in a way that makes them useable.

Premiere Elements is a great example of what happens when a company like Adobe finds the right direction for a piece of software and throws their considerable development resources behind it.

It is a smooth, easy to understand yet surprisingly powerful end to end solution for the home video editor.

To get a broader look at the features that you can expect from this product, you should definitely make use of the free trial version.

Previous Page: Part One of Adobe Premiere Elements Review

Click Here to See Adobe Premiere Elements 15 for Yourself

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Adobe Premiere Elements 15 Review


Back in the day Adobe’s premiere Elements seemed to rule the world of consumer video editing software mainly because of superior marketing, not because the software was particularly good.

It was always quite serviceable and got the job done but it began to suffer from two main problems.

First of these was that it was quite obvious Adobe were focusing on the pro end of the market with Premiere Pro and that’s where the development energy was being invested.

Premiere Elements of course had regular upgrades to keep pace with changes and occasionally a feature was pulled out of the Pro version and thrown into Elements to make it look good.

The second of these problems was a clear lack of direction and identity.

Premiere Elements like a few video editing programs at the time started of as a kind of afterthought when someone at Adobe must have realized there was a consumer market for video editing.

Rather than develop a specific consumer level program Adobe kind of stripped down Premiere Pro and made a few educated guesses as to what a consumer level program would look like and how it would work.

The result was a perfectly serviceable program which at the time was actually one of the better ones around but it didn’t take very long before other players entered the market with a much more specifically designed outcome in mind.

To that end Premiere Elements has just tagged along behind the rest of the market as far as development and innovation went which is why I was about to remove it from this website altogether.

Up until this latest version there was nothing particularly compelling about the software, it was always “just OK.”

There was nothing that said, “Yes. If you are this kind of person or you want to do these types of projects, Premiere Elements is the one for you.”

So here we are at Version 15 of Premiere Elements and despite all indications to the contrary, Adobe have suddenly snapped out of their unconsciousness and come up with a complete reconstruction of the program.

This latest version is not just an update, it is a completely new piece of software written and designed for a very specific target audience and it has all been executed very, very well.

They have not tried to “fix” earlier versions or add new “shiny object” type features that in all honesty nobody really uses.

What’s New?

Let’s begin with what is new and or improved in this latest version.

User Interface

First of all the user interface has been tidied up and given a much simpler look with everything not being used at the time tucked away out of sight.

All your tools for editing are in the menu on the right and all the buttons that were at the bottom of the screen have been moved there too.

The only time they appear are when you are actually using them so the work space always feels clean and uncluttered.

The program opens into a “one size fits all” interface with the editing mode you want available at the top of the screen.

eLive, Quick, Guided or Expert each offer different modes of editing depending on your skill set and just how much you want to manually or automatically create your project.

It is this point that actually leads us to what is driving the changes in this version.

Adobe have finally decided to understand who is using their software, how they are using it and based on that, how best to deliver what those users want.

Premiere Elements 15 is jam packed with automatic and semi-automatic features as well as guided modules that allow the user to intervene or not in the editing process and still get a great result.

Check out this video for an overview of the program, it’s layout and some of the new features and modules.

Get Started With Premiere Elements 15

Whilst I am not going to go into all the new features and improvements here let me just highlight a few to give you an idea of how Adobe are now tailoring the program to their users.

Video Collages and Audio remix

Easily the most common style of video that is produced as a result of a family gathering, a holiday, a party or any kind of celebration is a collage.

You trim a bunch of shots, add them to the timeline, add some transitions or cuts and then lay over some music and you are done.

Although they get the job done they have two main problems.

First is that the “shot after shot” sequence gets a little stale very quickly because visually there is not really that much happening onscreen.

So to deal with that Premiere Elements 15 has a purpose built collage maker that allows you to easily create collages that are way more interesting than your average “Dad” movie.

Bring Collages to Life with Premiere Elements 15

The second problem is adding music appropriate to the project.

Now of course including music is not really hard in itself but because that music has its own running time it never synchronizes perfectly with what is happening onscreen.

To sort that out you have to endlessly fiddle around chopping the sound track or extending the video shots or adding audio fades etc. that never really give you a fully professional finish.

To sort that out Adobe Premiere Elements 15 has a dedicated audio module that automatically adjusts existing music tracks to perfectly sync to the beginning and end of the video project, or parts of it.

Remix Music to the Perfect Length with Premiere Elements 15

In the same way as the tools shown in the videos above Premiere Elements has been armed with a whole range of modules for completing many of the most common tasks in video editing easily.

Color correction, haze removal, color balancing, transitions, audio effects and video effects are all contained in modules that allow full control, semi-automatic control or fully automatic depending on your preference.

Next Page: Adobe Premiere Elements 15 Review p.2

Click Here To See Adobe Premiere Elements 15 for Yourself

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The Friday Roundup – Software Updates, Rotating Objects and GIFs



To be honest there haven’t been too many things to include this week in the Roundup except for two major releases and one in the works.

Adobe Premiere Elements 15

The first of the new releases is Adobe Premiere Element 15.

They have been pretty quiet about it so far but perhaps they are just doing a soft release ahead of a more mainstream marketing campaign later. Who knows?

Anyway I have taken a look at what they are promoting but I have yet to actually install and use it so I will save my comments for when I do.

What I can say is that Premiere Elements has been slowly sinking in my ratings for a few years now so I think that unless they get their act together on this one I may just remove it altogether from the site.

Adobe has in my opinion been exceptionally lazy with Elements over the past six years or so and although it is a perfectly workable video editor it has become nothing to write home about.

Anyhoo, when I get time and some more information I’ll update (or remove!) my review listed HERE.

*** Update!!! OK, I just downloaded the new program and installed it. I haven’t gone into it too much but I can safely say Adobe has seriously revamped this release.

It looks and behaves nothing like the old versions and so far I am just a little bit impressed!

TechSmith Camtasia 9

Camtasia is another editing program I have had on this site since I first started it and it was even on the site I had before this one.

The reason I originally included it was because at that time it was one of the only high quality screen recording software programs you could get.

Yes kids, back in the day a screen recorder was considered to be rather an exotic and rare beastie just like DVD burners on a home PC!

If we then move forward in time to about four or five years ago Camtasia started to lose that unique selling proposition.

Corel added a screen recorder then the following year CyberLink added one and I think it was that same year that Magix also added theirs.

In fact now a screen recording module is about as exotic as a peanut butter sandwich.

What really brought that point home to me was that the other day I was digging around in the features of Filmora from Wondershare looking for some setting or something.

I was shocked to find that even Filmora has a screen recorder and this is a sub $50.00 product!

So it is pretty clear that any edge Camtasia had in that field has been well and truly buried.

So while all this has been going on TechSmith have been trying to develop Camtasia as a fully loaded video editor as well.

This is similar to Nero evolving into a full Multimedia suite because their core feature, optical disc handling, has become something you don’t need specialized software for anymore.

So how have TechSmith fared with Camtasia 9?

Well all round I think we can safely say the result has been pretty ordinary unless you are going to be producing a very specific type of video in quantity.

First up let’s just take a look at the price.

Regardless of whether you want the Mac or the PC version, the software comes in at U.S. $199.00.

An upgrade from an existing license will set you back U.S.$99.00

So that puts Camtasia way above the very top level versions of CyberLink PowerDirector, Magix Movie Edit Pro, Pinnacle Studio, Vegas Movie Studio and just about any other comparable program.

So you would really have to ask yourself why would you pay that?

What does Camtasia offer that the others don’t?

Unfortunately the answer to that is that Camtasia actually offers less than the others… and by a long way!

It does not connect to devices that are connected to the computer like a camera or camcorder.

If you want to directly pull in footage from a mobile device you have to install a separate App to do that.

It comes with almost no filters and effects and absolutely zero correction tools for color or dodgy footage.

It has 30 transitions compared to the hundreds in other programs and to top it all off it does not allow you to produce CDs DVD or Blu-ray discs.

So when you look at Camtasia 9 at around $200.00 and Wondershare Filmora at under $50.00 offering basically the exact same features you have to begin wondering exactly who this software is aimed at.

And that is where we get to the real crux of the matter.

Camtasia is definitely not a video editing software solution for the amateur movie maker or the budding pro.

The real market for this software is most likely someone who would never come to this site in the first place.

Camtasia has reinvented itself in a way specifically aimed at a commercial application for producing high quality video for promotions, demonstrations, presentations and “How to’s” and all for online distribution.

For that purpose it excels but for my purposes in producing videos… not so much.

To get the full picture you can click here for the full Camtasia 9 Review

Filmora Coming Soon!

There was a chance that Filmora were going to come up with a major update this week but that has been put back for a while now.

I guess they probably ran into a few issues they needed to get sorted before releasing.

I have had a sneak preview of it and they have added a few things I am not allowed to talk about until the release but the good news is that they haven’t added any complication at all so that’s a relief!

More on that when they make the announcement.

How to Make a GIF

Ok so the other day I was messing about with some timelapse images I had downloaded from the local weather site showing a typhoon near where I live.

I thought it would be cool to make a GIF of the progress of it for my friends to see.

So, I lined up the images in quite a few editing programs who shall remain nameless, set the duration of each image, adjusted the size to it was suitable for online sharing and then selected Export or Share.

Sounds pretty straightforward so far right?

It was only at that point that I noticed in many of the programs I have (and there are many!) none of them could actually output to GIF!

I could output all sorts of exotic and bizarre formats at outrageous parameters but a simple little GIF? Nope!

Stupidly the one program I ignored because obviously making a GIF would be something beyond its technical abilities, was Filmora.

I say stupidly because I had already that day stumbled upon the screen recorder in Filmora so I guess I should have known.

Then all of a sudden the video below popped into my news feed!

Rotate Objects in CyberLink PowerDirector 15 Ultimate

This is a quick and simple introduction to rotating images in PowerDirector 15.

Like most of these videos I post, the basic concepts for completing these task are almost the same in a wide range of video editing software programs.

Often the only difference is in perhaps the terminology or how you access the module that handles that particular task.

Posted in Blog

The Friday Roundup – Supporting a Passion Plus Filmora and Pinnacle Tutorials

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The Friday Roundup – Light Quality, PowerDirector 15 Tips and a Video Checklist


OK, so by including this article in the Weekly Roundup I don’t want you to get the impression that here at the I ma starting to go all technical on ya’ll!

I say this because at first glance it would seem that a tutorial about quality of light rather than just where to put them is getting a tad technical but bear with me.

I am going somewhere with this! really! One of the key differences between the amateur videographer and the pro is the subject of control and this applies to shooting, editing the whole shebang.

At the very amatuer level the person shooting the video will most likely be shooting in auto mode on the cam and will be shooting whatever is infront of him or her.

He or she will be exercising zero control over any part of what is happening on either side of the camera.

When it comes to editing they will be similarly at the mercy of whatever was captured and will be forced to construct something from that.

As we move up the scale and get to the total pro we have absolute control being exercised over every little detail of the process.

Who stands or moves where, what is said, how the lighting is set, a script, the works.

Nothing is left to chance, everything is controlled.

The purpose of this site from an editing and shooting point of view is not to get you operating as a pro.

My goal is to get you operating as an informed amateur who can control some things but understands that there will be things that are out of control.

The key is that within those out of control aspects a knowledge of things, a recognition of conditions can help enormously in predicting outcomes.

This is what leads me to “quality” of light.

I have not included this article because I think you or even I are going to be setting and using professional lighting setup in our shoots.

This is not the level of control where we operate at!

However by understanding the way that each lighting quality affects the mood or feel of the shot you are taking you can make informed decisions.

You can be about to take a shot inside a house and notice you are getting light that is very hard on your subject’s face so you can decide NOT to take that shot.

You know you can’t change the light but if you change your position so that you are getting a different angle, or you ask the subject to look in another direction you may find a source of more agreeable light.

It is in this way that at the amateur level that you can use an understanding of the rules to your advantage without having to go into the whole process of setting everything up like a pro.

Will you always get a better result?

Maybe, but at least you are not completely at the mercy of your subjects and their surroundings. The more you understand, the better you can get at working within the limitations of the situation.

CyberLink Sept Webinar – Introducing NEW PowerDirector 15

Just after the release of PowerDirector 15 CyberLink announced that they would be live streaming a seminar on the new software and run throughs of the newer features.

Unfortunately around the same time there was a typhoon here in Taiwan causing a bit of disruption to everyone’s schedules.

The resulting confusion meant that the live stream CyberLink were intending happened at a different time.

So just in case anyone missed it below is an embed of that livestream so you can catch up.

It doesn’t cover every little detail of PowerDirector which would, let’s face it, take days but it does give a good overview of some of the newer features including the 360 degree editing module and the updates mask design tools.

Basic Editing Tutorial – CyberLink PowerDirector 15 Ultimate

Given that CyberLink PowerDirector is my top choice for video editing software at the moment it tends to get the most attention from visitors to this site.

However when I list it as my top choice I am doing that because it is the one that has a full range of features to do just about anything you want to do with your videos.

The problem is that there are many people who want a video editor that have absolutely no use for many of the more advanced features offered by PowerDirector.

For them something simple and effective like Filmora would be far more suited.

So if you are looking at editors at the moment and trying to decide check out this video below that just simply goes through all the functions in PowerDirector.

The question you have to keep asking yourself throughout is whether or not you would actually use the features being indicated.

Avoiding Video Mistakes

Let’s face it, we all probably set out on a day when we are going to be shooting some footage with all good intentions.

Unfortunately none of us have actually been employed by the family or our friends to document the day!

Most likely we are expected to not only get awesome shots of the day’s events covering everyone present (with equal time) but at the end of the day we are expected to churn out a fully finished video production!

On top of all of this (because we are not being employed!) we are expected to pack the car, help get the kids organized, light and attend the barbecue, supervise water activities or a million other things.

In other word we are expected to be an organizer of the event, a contributor to the event, a participant in the event as well as being the unpaid documentarian of the event!

Under these circumstances it is pretty easy to forget everything you have been trying to keep in mind when it comes to shooting and editing you videos.

So to help with that Magix published a handy little list of some of the key points to keep in mind as you head off into the unknown.

Posted in Blog

Friday Roundup – Video Editing Software Update Season is Upon Us

Stressed over too many reviews to do.

OK, so it has come to my attention that we are officially at the beginning of the silly season.

Of course for me the silly season is that time of year when all the major video editing software companies roll out their updates in preparation for their own silly season… the Christmas New Year holiday period.

It is pure silliness for me because I have to find the time to download and test this years updates and get them all posted on to the site which unfortunately involves the practice of writing.

I particularly detest writing.

So far this year Magix have updated Video Pro X and just recently released the new version of Movie Edit Pro.

In keeping with their new “unmarked” model Video Pro X and Movie Edit Pro do not carry version numbers or even the year in their titles anymore.

This is all part of the new pricing system they are operating on which seems to involve an inital purchase that carries within it a year of updates.

After that it seems the software still runs but updates can only happen if you pay again for another year.

Their website says, “at a discounted price” but nowhere can I find what that price actually is.

I have reached out to them on this so we will see where all this goes.

CyberLink are due to be releasing updates for their “Director” series sometime around this month so I am guessing that will take us up to PowerDirector 15, PhotoDirector 8, Director Suite 5, AudioDirector 7 and ColorDirector 5.

And finally Corel have recently released the latest version of Pinnacle Studio taking us to version 20.

This one I don’t mind because I have already finished the review and you can read it here.

So because of all this activity this week’s Roundup may be looking a little thin!

Bear with me because hopefully it will all be over soon!

360° Editing – The New Marketing Darling!

What I have gathered is that for this year and moving into the next, the big bells and whistles feature is going to be (or already is in some cases) 360° editing.

Magix kicked this off earlier in the year by adding the ability to import 360° footage and work with it.

Unfortunately they didn’t really mention the fact that even though you could do that, all you could do with the footage was to then select one angle and add it to a normal 2D or 3D project.

With the new versions of Video Pro X and Movie Edit Pro they have addressed this little shortcoming and now you can fully edit these files and output to a 360° final file.

The new version of Pinnacle Studio 20 also offers this feature and is the reason why they enhanced their multi cam editing module to incorporate 6 videos at once.

360° degree footage requires the simultaneous shooting of six cams at the one time to achive the total surround effect.

I would expect that by the beginning of next year all the software makers at this level will have caught up on this and will be very loudly extolling the virtues of being able to edit 360° footage… even though the vast majority have to access to that footage or means to capture it!

Pinnacle Studio 20 Ultimate – Motion Tracking Tutorial

In light of the addition of Pinnacle Studio 20 to the DiyVideoEditor stable of acceptable software, I thought I might include this video for this week.

Pinnacle have added some great improvements to their motion tracking capabilities so what better than a video to let you see how it all goes down.

What Camera Should I Buy?

A while back I added a whole section to this site covering the subject of buying a camera or device for shooting video.

Because this part of life is absolutely saturated with marketing guff I thought some common sense advice might be in order!

It really is an area where the old saying of “blind them with science” applies or more accurately, blind them with technicalities they will never decipher!

Even though the series goes into every aspect of buying a camera in detail and in an understandable way I realized there was one basic point I missed.

That point is covered very well in the video below and it is, unless your cam is broken or you are absolutely certain you have exhausted it’s possibilities, the best cam is the one you have.

B-roll Tips

One of the most overlooked aspects of professional video making is the part the B-roll footage plays in the overall end look of the video.

For most amateur video enthusiasts watching professionally produced video can be a great way of learning just what those pro’s are up to.

Maybe you don’t know how they are doing what you see but you do see it and can then search for answers.

B-roll is a subject that does not come up much and there is a good reason for it.

You see well shot and well placed B-roll footage is not really noticeable.

It doesn’t come with a big sign that say this shot here is B-roll.

At an amateur level I guess you could describe B-roll as any footage that is not directly of the subject matter that you are showcasing.

Let us say you are shooting two people in conversation and one looks out the window.

You then cut to a shot of what the person sees out the window then cut back to the conversation.

That shot inserted there is technically B-roll footage and is considered B-roll because it does not necessarily have to be shot at the same time you are shooting the main footage of the conversation.

Now of course this is not a complete explanation of B-roll!

However understanding it and using it in your own projects can lift their level enormously and is a subject well worth reading up on.

More on Shooting Techniques

OK clearly at an amateur level we are certainly not going to be making too much use of extended panning shots using a Steadicam or even long shots using cranes!

However the reality is that by using at least some of the shooting techniques that are available to us we can certainly lift the level of our videos.

The first thing to learn about the various shots you can take is the effect they have on the audience.

It is quite amazing how powerful a shooting technique can be and how much it can serve to keep your audience interested in what you are showing them.

Probably the key to separating your projects from the rank amateur is the concept of shooting a particular way to evoke a specific response.

Posted in Blog

Pinnacle Studio 20 Review

Pinnacle Studio product range

Although the Pinnacle Studio video editing software suite has been around for quite some time version 20 is the first time I have reviewed it on this site and there are some important reasons why that is.

Pinnacle Studio was one of the first commercially available video editors that appeared at the dawn of the digital video age and is one of the oldest video editing products that is still around today.

It has had a chequered history for a number of reasons and it has only been until recently that some major overhauls by Corel have pulled it all together into the product it always promised to be but never quite was.

If you want to read the full story, I did a blog post on it a while back which covers all the whys and wherefores of the product’s history you can see it here.

Suffice to say the only reason I am finally adding on to the list of software I recommend is that Corel, since taking it over back in 2012, have done a mighty job in getting it back on track and running smoothly.

I probably could have safely done a Pinnacle Studio review last year but I wanted to leave it for a while just to see where Corel were going to take the product and if they were really serious about its continued development.

So here we are at Pinnacle Studio 20 and after having a copy on my computer for a few weeks I now feel confident in recommending it to anyone looking for video editing software at the more sophisticated end of the consumer or amateur market.

Why Pinnacle Studio?

If you hadn’t already gathered it, the basic purpose of all the reviews on this site is to only include software I have tested myself and to try to at least simplify the decision making process in choosing a video editor.

The difficulty in this field is that there are about 6 or 7 main contenders, all of them good at what they do and the differences between them are minute.

This apparent “sameness” makes choosing the right one for you very difficult because it is so hard to tell them apart.

So before I get into the Pinnacle Studio review proper let’s just cover what makes it different to the rest of the pack.

The answer to that question could be summed up in one word, control.

Pinnacle Studio does not pack any different features or capabilities than any of its competition so let’s be clear on that.

What it does offer is an abundance of those features all of which are presented in a way designed to allow the user to exert a level of control almost at the standard of fully professional software.

In fact Pinnacle Studio 20 is as close as you can get to a professional video editor while still staying within a “drag’n’drop” style interface without the complication and hefty price tag.

So as is my habit let’s first take a look at the obligatory cheesy promo video to get a bit of a feel for what the program can do and how it looks.

What’s New and Improved?

On page two of this Pinnacle Studio 20 review I will go over the individual features of the program but first let’s take a look at what’s new in this latest version.

Normally I would cover what’s new compared to the previous version but as this is my first review of Pinnacle Studio I think it’s important to cover what is new and improved since Corel took over the program back in 2012.

To be kind Pinnacle always had a pretty bad reputation for being, shall we say quirky?

Translated into straight talk that means it was buggy and had a tendency to freeze and crash generally at the point where you really didn’t want it to do that! (Not that there is ever a point where you want it to!)

Anyway Corel spent the first two years of owning and developing the program putting an enormous effort into getting the software right as it stood rather than trying to madly add new features.

What is unusual about the way Corel did this is that at that time they immediately engaged in consultation with the existing user base.

You would be surprised at the level of ignorance many well known software makers remain at as to what the users of that software are having problems with and what they really want to see as part of its development.

Not so with Corel who had already established a successful pattern for the development of their other video editor, VideoStudio Pro.

Corel understood that it didn’t matter what they or anyone at Corel thought the program needed or needed to be fixed.

What was important was that they fixed the program from the user’s perspective.

Although it took about two versions to get it done, they turned the program around and got it working as a stable platform upon which they could embark on future development.

So probably the biggest “what’s new” point here is that Pinnacle Studio 20 is now stable and that’s a big point.

I know this because I have spent the last two weeks mindlessly scrubbing through the timeline and rushing through actions all in an effort to get it to crash and it has taken it all with good grace.

The best I could get was a little lag every now and then while it caught up with my manic actions!

In addition to the existing features in Pinnacle Studio 20 they have added or improved the following:

Motion Tracking

The new motion tracking module has been tucked away in the effects library so access to it is simply a matter of dragging the effect on to the timeline and customizing it from there.

In keeping with the theme of greater control it actually consists of two separate effects.

One designed for face or object tracking and the other more for moving objects like text or graphics around the screen.

Stop Motion Animation

Allows you to control your camera through the software to capture frame by frame action for animation or fast motion effects.

Easy Track Transparency

Allows you to adjust the transparency or opacity of individual tracks so that they can be seen or “seen through” on an overlay track.

360° Video Editing

Allows you to import and edit the new 360° or VR videos add titles or set paths and convert to standard video.

You can then either export to a 360° video for YouTube or any other service that will play them or you can convert to 2D.

The video below probably explains it better!

NewBlue Creative Effects

In addition to the already bewildering array of special effects they have added NewBlue’s Video Essentials III pack which packs another 900 preset effects and 75 more plugin type effects.

It has to be noted here that the 900 figure applies to the number of preset effects and in fact nearly all of those effects can be manually adjusted to suit you rather than just using the preset.

Multi-Camera Editor

The existing multicam capability has been beefed up to now allow you to handle 6 cameras simultaneously with a couple of methods for syncing them prior to using the switching panel to edit.

So that’s about it for all the new stuff and a catch up on how we got here with Pinnacle Studio 20.

Click the link below to either read the rest of this review or go to the Pinnacle website to take a look at the software for yourself.

Click Here to See Pinnacle Studio 20

Click Here to Read Part Two of the Pinnacle Studio 20 Review

Posted in Software Reviews

Pinnacle Studio Review Part Two

Pinnacle Studio product range

So first of all we probably need to clarify something when it comes to writing any kind of review on Pinnacle Studio 20.

This is a big program, and by that I don’t mean that it is some ridiculously big download or occupies vast regions of your hard drive.

What I mean is that the features of this thing just go on and on and on and if I were to go through all of them in this review, well the review itself would similarly go on and on and on!

What I will do is try to cover the main points and then if you feel interested you can go to the Pinnacle site and download the free trial.

User Interface

So let’s start off with the user interface and there is no point pulling any punches here.

Check out this image… kind of busy huh?

Pinnacle Studio 20 user interface

As Corel themselves openly admit, using Pinnacle Studio will require that you go through a learning curve.

That’s true for just about all video editing software but in the case of Pinnacle even more so.

The reality is that Pinnacle is just jam packed with features so access to those features has to go somewhere!

On top of that the software has followed a design and development path that leads directly back to the darkened rooms of the original movie editors.

The result is an interface that will require some learning and some practice before you get up to speed with it.

On the plus side, if you do invest the time into learning it you will be able to exercise a level of control offered by no other software at this price point in the market.

To help with that learning curve the program ships with free 21 day access to Studio Backlot which has a comprehensive course specifically designed for new Pinnacle Studio users.

Across the top of the screen you can see that the software separates into three tabs which cover the general sequence of editing a project.

They are Organize, Edit and Author.


In this part of the software things look a lot different to your average consumer level video editing software.

Here you come across the first professional feature you will encounter which is the subject of Bins.

Bins are the equivalent of the library and are a way of importing video, audio and image assets into the program and organizing them for a specific project.

This system is derived directly from the days of movie film editing where the editor had to organize and keep track of thousands of feet of film.

He or she would have a series of actual bins where the sequences of film were kept throughout the editing process.

The bin system forces the user to get organized before the editing process gets underway.

To start a project you must first create a bin for that project and then import your assets.

You can then organize them into sub-bins so you are only dealing with the assets you are using in that project at any time.

It is easily a superior system but not used in your average amateur video editors because of its unfamiliarity.

It also integrates with the new Stop Motion module to automatically add footage.


As far as the editing tab goes there really is not a lot to say on this.

Pinnacle Studio cuts, slices and dices as you would expect any editor to do and it does it with ease.

You have frame accurate editing, key frame capability for any effects or changes, over 2000 (Yup! 2000) different types of filters, effects, transitions and audio effects at your disposal.

All of the above come in a preset form but the vast majority can then be manually adjusted to suit your needs once dragged onto the timeline.

Included in the Ultimate version are a full range of effects from NewBlue consisting of their Video Essentials 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, Light Bends, Film Effects and their excellent Stabilizer module.

There is a motion tracking module which comes in two forms to suit different tasks, end to end 360° editing, multicam editing, unlimited tracks and compatibility with all common file types including the professional ones like DVCPRO HD, XAVCS and all up to 4K resolution.

The video below highlights the new track transparency feature.

The suite also has stop motion capability, a bunch of automatic correction tools for adjusting color, red-eye and a host of other common errors most often found in footage.

It has a music generation module that fits a background music track to suit the length and mood of your project or you can simply add your own music or voice track.

There is a complete titling module and you have full control over titles or overlays offering the ability to not only fade in and out as you want but to easily adjust the opacity of the overlay on a key frame basis.

Pinnacle also handles green screen sequences at a very sophisticated level and can be very forgiving of chroma-key sequences that were not shot particularly well.

The program also offers an audio ducking feature that can automatically adjust background music volume up or down depending on the presence of a narration or voice track.

The module itself can be adjusted as to how far the volume is adjusted and how sensitive it is to other sounds present in other tracks.

The multi-cam editor is particularly useful these days with most of having access to footage of events from more than one source.

It can analyze these sources a few different ways to attempt syncing them all together or you can do it manually.

Once synced, the footage can be edited in the same way a live T.V. production occurs by simply “switching” between cameras to get what you want.

To be honest I can’t think of anything that isn’t covered here!.


The Author tab opens up a fully loaded production module that incorporates the DVD or Blu-ray creation process as well as output to common uploading services.

It comes with about 100 preset templates all of which can be adjusted to suit every aspect of the disc authoring process.

You have complete control over menus, sub-menus, chapter points and the entire burning process allowing you to create plains discs or multimedia extravaganzas.

Pinnacle Studio 20 also connects to YouTube, FaceBook, Flickr and Vimeo from inside the program so you can directly upload to these services from within the interface.

There are a number of preset options you can use for uploading which are based on each service’s “best practices” at the moment or if you like you can step in and control the entire process yourself.

Regardless of your file rendering choice you can use a whole bunch preset parameters for your projects or take full control and set codecs, bitrates, frame rates and resolution to exactly how you want it.

Screen Recording

On top of the main editor the product also ships with a fully integrated screen recording module which can either be launched from within the program or as separate software.

Once you have finished the screen recording you can simply save to a video file for editing later or have that file saved and loaded immediately into Pinnacle Studio 20 for editing.


In reviewing Pinnacle Studio 20 there a few main point to consider if you think this may be suited to your editing needs.

The program comes at three levels and you can compare them HERE but!

Unless you are going to be using the full array of features only offered at the Pinnacle Studio 20 Ultimate level then going for the other lower levels seems pointless to me.

It would be like buying a V8 supercar and then swapping the engine out for a compact four cylinder engine!

On the downside there is a bit of a learning curve to go through both in terms of the user interface and how to go about things but on the upside, anyone willing to go through it will be richly rewarded.

The software has a very active and engaged user to user forum for anyone needing help and Corel themselves are also actively engaged in the development and support of the product.

All in all if you are looking for a video editing beast that offers an end to end solution you would be well served by Pinnacle Studio 20 Ultimate.

Click Here to See Pinnacle Studio 20

Click Here to Read Part One of the Pinnacle Studio 20 Review

Posted in Software Reviews