The Friday Roundup – 360 Degree Video and the 180 Degree Rule, it’s all degrees this week.

Why Do I Sound Like That?

This is something I think everyone can relate to.

For whatever reason or in whatever project you are doing you find you have to create or there already exists a recording of your own voice.

You play back that recording and as you are listening to it you are horrified by that sound.

You of course are absolutely certain that your own voice could never possibly sound like that and immediately seek to locate the cause of this “problem.”

So you apply way too much bass and probably way too much compression in your audio editing software yet somehow it never seems to sound how you think it should sound.

You then spend hours on the internet trying to find tutorials or information on the technology of recording because clearly there is something wrong here!

Unfortunately the reality of the situation is somewhat different.

There is only one person in the universe who actually thinks that you sound the way you do… and that’s you!

So the bad news is that there is not a lot you can do about it because in fact that’s the way you actually sound to other people.

The good news is that there is a way to deal with it that requires no software solution or thousands of dollars worth of high audio recording equipment.

The solution is to record your own voice and listen to it… a lot!

Just keep listening to that voice on and on until finally something will happen.

At some point your brain will become so accustomed to that voice pattern along with the knowledge that it is your voice that it will stop freaking out over the difference.

Eventually you will recognize the internal sound of your voice and the external one and the two will learn to live together quite happily.

Censor Blur Tutorial – CyberLink PowerDirector

One of the better advances in amateur video editing software over the past few years has been the introduction of motion tracking.

When this feature first appeared about 5 or 6 years back now it was a purely manual process and could take some time to complete.

It all depended on how long you were tracking an object or point in a video and how much that object moved around during the video sequence.

Basically the process involved placing a point on the video that you wanted to track along with a keyframe that marked the point.

Then you had to advance the video until that point moved, place a new keyframe, adjust the “point” to the new position and continue.

Sometimes this could take hours and the only way to make sure that the motion path being created as you went along was smooth was by stopping and adding more and more keyframes.

A few years back most of the bigger players in the video editing market like CyberLink and Corel introduced automated versions of this feature.

This was a great addition to the feature because you could select your point and the software would automatically track that point to create the motion path… most of the time!

The downside of this feature is that it has to be able to recognize an object that you are going to track.

If that object disappears for a second or that object changes dramatically the software kind of “loses” it and gets a bit lost.

In this case you have to reset the tracking and continue.

So the video below gives a good outline on how to go about the process in PowerDirector but it is basically the same in any software that has the feature.

Just bear in mind that the example shown is of tracking a very obvious object (the face) which does not move very much.

If you were doing this on something with greater variation in lighting or more erratic motion the procedure would change slightly.

What you would do would be to continue the process through to the end.

Then when you play it back locate the point at which the software “lost” the object, reset and begin again until you had it finished.

360 Degree Video Marches On

Well the 360 video seems to be marching forward with Vimeo announcing this week that they will be supporting the format.

From the outset they will be supporting 360 video up to 8K resolution and for their pro users will be offering a marketplace where footage can be bought and sold.

For the average home user this marks another step in the march towards adoption of 360 video but I still think we are a ways off yet.

Bear in mind that although all the consumer level video editing software is pretty much up to date on importing, editing and even outputting 360 video there are two things still missing from the picture.

The first of these is an affordable solution to capturing 360 footage at a tolerable price point.

I think this one will be the first to arrive and probably within this year.

The second is a platform upon which you can distribute and watch your 360 videos.

Obviously the first step of this is online streaming services like Vimeo, FaceBook video and YouTube.

Whilst this is effectively in place the result is really nothing more than a kind of clunky playback solution that you can kind of swoosh about in while you are viewing.

The final solution is this footage, streamed by those services into some kind of virtual reality system.

Although there are few alternatives right now for that, it is still some distance from the mainstream.

What is the 180 Degree Rule

One of the rules that you will often hear about in both shooting and editing footage is the 180 degree rule.

Very simply put it is a rule that dictates that when you change the viewpoint of the viewer by changing the angle from which something is shot you have to maintain that same viewpoint.

If the subject is standing to the left and looking to the right and you then shoot from the other side you have to be sure to keep the subject on the left looking to the right.

If you don’t do that then the audience has to mentally adjust for a second to re-orient themselves to the new angle.

Remember that in real life if you were directly looking at the same thing and changing your position your brain would be factoring in that change as you moved.

In that moment of re-orientation your audience is no longer looking at your video even if it causes an interruption for only a split second.

That’s more than enough time to break their attention from what you want them to have their attention on which is your video.

Check out the video for very concise explanation of the rule.

A Mixed Bag of Tips and Tricks

Obviously there is no shortage of “how to” videos and resources on the subject of shooting and editing video on the internet!

The problem has always been that they are all over the place, unsorted and unevaluated.

I think most of us have worked out that just because something is on the internet does not necessarily mean it is true!

So with the purpose of gathering together some good quality all in one place, the link below leads to a collection of some very good videos on the subject.

It covers such things as white balance and filters, stabilization for shooting as well as tips on cutting wind noise and even a little on lighting.

There are also some videos on the specific quirks of shooting video with a DSLR, some shot composition tips, camera movements and even a tutorial on the use of storyboards.

These are all basic subject unto themselves but there is some good info for shooters and editors of every level.

Posted in Blog

The Friday Roundup – Stabilization, Cutting Rules and Zooming

Remove the Shake, Stabilize your Video in ProDAD Mercalli

One of the features that is often called for in these days of mostly high definition shooting is that of video stabilization.

The downside of HD is that every tiny little shake or bump that occurs while shooting gets magnified by the higher resolution in the same way that it is totally unforgiving of being out of focus.

Naturally most people think that there must be a software solution to this so that it can be handled in post production but that is a risky proposition at best.

The absolute best video stabilization occurs at the shooting stage, not the editing stage!

Of course dragging around a tripod or even a monopod for many of us is not a realistic solution so inevitably we have to fall back on the software.

One tip I do have for when you are shooting handheld is this: Be aware that you are shooting handheld!

So often I see footage that employs what we call the garden hose or fire hose method where the shooter is waving the camera around all over the place.

The usual reason for this is that the person shooting has forgotten they are shooting the action and have begun to watch the action.

So if we are down to software stabilization there are some good tools around that are usually packaged within a particular brand of software.

Most of the big companies have now pretty much abandoned their own in house stabilization modules probably due to the costs involved in trying to keep it developed and up to date.

The most common one around is the stabilizer from ProDad called Mercalli.

This is an excellent stabilizer but like most modules that can be controlled very finely, you have to know what you are doing!

The video below is a tutorial on using Mercalli in version 9 of Corel VideoStudio.

The process outlined is the same for version 10 and in fact would be the same for any software that has the Mercalli plugin.

Some Editing Rules to Learn and Break

One of the easiest ways to decide when and how to cut from shot to shot of from scene to scene is by working out a rhythm you want to set for your video.

The rhythm can be determined by conversation, the action your are presenting, the music in the background or conversation.

Making your cuts to set and suit that rhythm determined by one or more of those factors can serve to engage the audience more closely.

If the shots and the music or the shots and whatever else are changing at the same pace the tendency is for the audience to just “go with the flow” whilst watching what is on screen.

To get an idea of how this works just watch the short but very insightful videos below to further understand how it all works to serve your purpose.

The second video is the follow up to setting the pace using rhythm and delves into the subject of breaking that exact rule!

As is always the case with video, once you learn to follow the rule it is time to learn how to break it to create yet another effect.

Rhythm & Pacing for Better Edits – Understanding Your Soundtrack

Breaking Film Rules to Create More Impactful Edits – Cutting with Purpose

A Little More on Editing

There seems to be a bit of a theme emerging on this week’s Friday Roundup and that theme is the when, where and why’s of cutting.

In the article below the author goes into quite some detail on exactly what things are driving the editing or cutting decisions he is making.

Now the article itself deals quite specifically with a certain type of project and in all honesty most people reading this blog post would probably not be doing that type of project.

However the thought process behind the decisions remains pretty much the same and I think there is a good deal to learn regardless of what type of video your are cutting.

CyberLink 2017 Feb Webinar

So I was watching the CyberLink webinar this week and it suddenly dawned on me that I have never actually shared this little nugget of information in the Friday Roundup before.

Not really sure why that has happened!

Anyway the deal is that CyberLink regularly host webinars on YouTube where they demonstrate in great detail how to do certains things in PowerDirector or how certain functions… function!

They really are great webinars that expand on the already comprehensive library of tutorial videos they already have on their channel.

Attending these webinars live can be a bit of a grind because often they go for over an hour, however they upload them to a playlist on their Channel and it’s an excellent resource in itself.

Each of the uploaded videos has a comprehensive list below the video that shows what subjects are covered within each webinar.

You can find the playlist itself here CyberLink Webinars.

The video embedded below is the latest of these webinars and covers:

  • Adding text & blending effects
  • Using the Action Camera Center
  • Audio alignment & noise reduction
  • Cinematic color grading (eg. Hacksaw Ridge, LALA Land)

So if you are looking to take your skills to e new level or are trying to workout how a particular thing is done you might want to add these webinars to your resources list.

To Zoom or Not to Zoom

When it comes to shooting video especially at an amateur level the general rule for zooming is to just NEVER do it.

Simply DO NOT touch that zoom function under any circumstances… “ma’am, step away from the zoom!”

Apart from the fact that the cheesiness factor can immediately go through the roof when you do use zoom there is the added disadvantage of introducing camera shake when you do.

So the actual rule is to zoom with your feet.

Of course for every rule that exists in the world of photography, shooting video and video editing there is another rule that says to break the rule!

The trick is to know when and how to do so.

Check out the article below for not only a good background on the use of zoom through the years but some good advice on when it may be a good idea and when it may not.

New Magix Forums and Resources

Over the past few years German based multimedia software maker Magix has been quietly trying to raise its profile in the world outside of their traditional base in Europe.

They have been slowly beefing up their resources and online tutorials and early last year took the giant leap of purchasing the entire Sony Creative stable of video and audio editing suites.

Just recently they released the first new version of their Movie Studio program aimed at the consumer to semi-pro level after having already upgraded Vegas Pro late last year.

This week in another step towards a more “worldwide” market share they announced a complete revamp of their online Forum/Resources portal magix.info.

So if you are already a Magix user or are wisely considering the value of a good forum in your choice for a new editor it is well worth taking a look at.

Posted in Blog

The Friday Roundup – Vegas Movie Studio 14, Depth of Field and When to Cut

Vegas Movie Studio 14 Released

The big news this week is the release of Vegas Movie Studio 14.

Generally speaking the release of a new version of any software is not really big news as such but this one is a little different.

If we go back to the very beginnings of the software it started out as an audio editor created by a now defunct software company called Sonic Foundry.

They eventually developed that original software into a video editing program which finally morphed into what we now know as Vegas Pro.

Along the way Sonic Foundry were taken over by Sony resulting the Sony Creative Vegas line of products.

Also along the way while under the Sony banner, a consumer level version was spun off resulting in what we now know as Movie Studio.

So, why is this all important? Glad you asked!

The original Vegas Pro was designed like most programs at that time on the basis of what a professional film editor would be doing in his or her daily work.

This determined the workflow, the terminology, the overall layout of various sections and much of the functionality.

Whilst it was great for professional editors moving to digital, for the average person just starting out in digital home movies it was a nightmare!

This was partly why the consumer level spin off version happened but the problem was that the designers and developers had absolutely no idea about how to design a newbie friendly piece of software.

To be blunt, what they did was take a complicated and bewildering piece of software (Vegas) and dumbed it down according to what they thought was something for the newcomer.

The actual result they achieved was a dumbed down piece of bewildering and complicated software!

It’s only saving grace was an onboard help system that was developed later which was designed to make learning the software easier.

Finally last year the entire Vegas range including Movie Studio was bought out by the German based Magix company who have taken the whole range and placed it under the new Vegas Creative banner.

The importance of all of this is that for the first time with the release of Vegas Movie Studio 14 the software has been updated and upgraded by a company (Magix) that actually knows what it is doing when it comes to consumer level editing software.

In this latest release they have taken what was slowly becoming a dull and stale piece of software and breathed new life into it.

I am currently about halfway through a review of it and so far I have say it is a much improved product.

Magix have added a few things that have been standard at this level for a while now like multicam editing but the real difference is in the redesign of the interface into something that looks and functions so much better.

The full review will be ready next week but in the meantime you can check out the new stuff at the Vegas Creative Website.

Understanding When to Cut in 2 Minutes

When most people start to look at video editing for the first time it is usually because they have a bunch of footage they have taken and want to present it in some way.

The variations on this are endless but that’s the basic gist of it.

They are then subjected to a tsunami of marketing guff about the virtues of various video editing software products until eventually they make a choice on one of them.

Their attitude at that point, based on the marketing, is that all they have to do is load some videos, maybe add some music and hey presto! Cinematic genius.

Of course very soon after that they realize it’s not all quite how it was presented!

From there they tend to stumble around until they reach the editing system most people operate under.

This system involves adding all available footage onto the timeline in the sequence it was shot.

Then go through that footage and cut out everything that looks bad including the 20 minutes of blackness from when the camera was put in a bag without realizing it was still running.

Finally they add some music or even a little voice over and viola, all done!

Of course this is the method that inevitably results in the type of project that creates horror in the minds of people when they hear someone say, “Check out my home movie from my holiday.”

There is a section on this site called Basic Editing Tips which goes into all this at an introductory level but one point that is quite hard to explain is when to make a cut.

Actually the real point is when, why and how to make a cut from one shot to the next or one scene to the next and yes, this does apply to simple projects just as much as Hollywood blockbusters.

So regardless of what level you are operating at the video below is an excellent and quite concise round up of the why’s and wherefores of making cuts.

More on Lighting

Of course I couldn’t actually put out a Friday Roundup without at least one article on using light to shoot videos.

Yes, I know I bang on about it endlessly but try shooting video with no light whatsoever and I don’t think you will get very far.

By the way, for any smarties out there, infrared night shooting is still using light!

So, do I expect anyone to use the following advice to the letter?

No.

But as always with “slightly pro” tips just an understanding of the concepts can really make a difference in your shots.

How To Use Depth of Field in 3 Minutes

Ah depth of field. We hear it all the time and simply put it is the depth of the image your are shooting that remains in focus in any given shot.

Shallow depth of field means that the subject is in focus but the background is not.

Long depth of field means both the subject and everything in the distant background are all in focus.

So why do we use it and how does it affect our shots?

Check out the video below for a very snappy explanation.

A Few Useful Video Setups

There are lots of way to setup a camera and lights for shooting how to videos or talking head videos when you are the talking head!

Unfortunately many of them seem to be quite complicated or require a level of equipment you and I are never going to invest in.

The article below is a great resource for two very simple setups of shooting video that require very little in the way of equipment yet produce results good enough for the guy showing it to make commercially viable video courses.

Posted in Blog

The Friday Roundup – New Version Releases from Corel and Magix and other stuff

Ok, I am a bit stressed out this week so if there more typos in this post than the usual (which I know is usually high) then please forgive.

I was happily piecing together the Friday Roundup at my usual lazy pace when I received emails from both Corel and Magix that caught me a tad off guard.

VideoStudio Pro and VideoStudio Ultimate Upgraded

Corel have announced the release of their annual upgrade to VideoStudio which takes it to version X10.

They have retained the two tiered version system with VideoStudio Pro X10 and VideoStudio Ultimate X10.

This looks to be a “consolidation” type of update with not a lot new being added but don’t let that fool you though.

I have never been a fan of new releases packed with a bunch of half baked whizz bang features included solely for the purpose of getting a sale.

What I can say is that in this update they have added some really smart usability features to existing ones that make the editing process far more pleasing.

As an example there is a new module for speed control.

Now in the past you could always speed up or slow down your video by right clicking on a clip on the timeline and selecting Variable Speed but this applied only to the one selected clip.

The new system is called Time Mapping and by hitting the little button the timeline opens into a completely separate module that allows you to use keyframes to speed up or slow down the action.

It is mainly these types of little tweaks that suggest this will be a pretty good up so hopefully I’ll get that review done next week.

Vegas Movie Studio New Release Coming

Magix are about to release their first upgrade under the Vegas Creative banner of Movie Studio taking it to version 14.

This will be the first time the software has been upgraded under Magix’ supervision after their purchase of the Sony stable of video editing software last year.

I have a pre-release version on my computer now and although I haven’t had a chance to put it through its paces, so far it is looking pretty good.

Speaking of looking good the very first thing that is noticeable about the new version is that the absolutely awful looking user interface that Sony left on it for years has been given a refreshing make over.

I mean seriously, that thing looked like a bad example of eighties software at its worst.

Even better news is that Magix have retained the excellent interactive learning system built in to the software which in my opinion is the best around for getting up to pace with new software.

Hopefully I will have the full review of Vegas Movie Studio published early next week.

Teleprompters

One of the best tips I know of to make presentation style videos is by making use of a teleprompter.

Just about any video requiring someone on camera to “present” anything can be improved by this simple device and these days there are numerous cheap or even free systems you can use.

You may have seen the high end versions of teleprompters being used in live events where the text of the presentation is being projected continuously onto a screen at a lectern or dais.

In the world of TV the teleprompter actually fits over the lens of the camera so that the effect of the presenter looking directly at the audience is made complete.

Both of those are fairly high tech and high end solutions but they are not the only ones.

For the home user or amateur you can get scrolling software that will display the text of the presentation onto a tablet or Smartphone type of device and if used correctly can achieve the same result.

Of course it is more than just loading up the text, starting the scroll and recording your way to success!

There are a few things to keep in mind in order to get the professional effect you are looking for.

The first of these is the position of the screen itself especially in relation to the position of the camera.

You can’t plant a 9 inch tablet in front of the camera as that kind of defeats the purpose!

What you can do is lengthen the shot and use a little zoom so that the “sight lines” between the presenter and the camera and the presenter and the tablet are not accentuated to the point of being noticeable.

It is well worth the time to experiment a little to see how close you can get them.

Aside from the physical aspect of it there is also using the prompt itself.

Check out the article below for some in depth tips on using teleprompters well.

Pixar Goodness

I recently stumbled upon an absolutely wonderful resource for budding film makers or videos artists over on the Khan Academy site.

The Khan Academy is a website that delivers for free a host of different educational courses and resources.

Its goal is to make a full education accessible to anyone, anywhere regardless of economic circumstances.

Now although it started off as basically a guide to maths it has expanded incredibly over the years and is well worth taking a look at.

About a year or so ago they teamed up with Pixar and began delivering a free and complete course in animation called “Pixar in a Box.”

It really is an incredible resource for anyone interested in the animation process and this week they added a new module.

That module which is linked below, goes into the art of storytelling in a very detailed way.

The interesting thing about it is that it doesn’t just apply to animated videos.

The principles remain the same regardless of what video genre you are interested in and even for the mature videographer, there are some lessons to be learned on keeping an audience engaged.

Tips on “How to” Videos

This week I was searching for some “how to” videos on how to set up my electric guitar correctly.

I don’t know if you have ever done a search for something like that on YouTube but boy! It’s a real eye opener!

I did a few searches for similar videos in other areas of interest like fishing and gardening and the thing I had noticed in the guitar genre was pretty widespread.

So what I noticed was that there are thousands and thousands of really bad video out there!

I just looked at most of them and wondered if the person who made them had any clue as to how bad their videos were or if in fact they even cared.

Now I have to assume here that most of those people must have had some kind of desire at some point to show what they know and share it with others.

Unfortunately for most of them the whole idea was going very well as long as it was kept strictly as an idea.

Once it got down to the execution stage…. things went downhill very fast!

So, instead of continuing my guitar setup search, which truthfully I had forgotten by then, I went in search of a good reference for making “How to” videos.

Part one is below.

Lighting Tips

I occasionally add an article to the weekly roundup on the subject of lighting and although they are often the same, the reason I do it is because it is such a key point.

Now I totally understand that many people (if not all!) reading this blog or visiting my site are definitely not going to be setting up lights.

But you see that’s not the point of understanding lighting with regards to video.

The point I am making here is that unless you understand how light is working and what effect it is having, you are doomed to be constantly looking at video you shot and wondering.

What are you wondering? Glad you asked!

You will be wondering why sometimes things look rather good yet on the same day in the same location with the same people… it all looks rather bad.

If you are like most amateur shooters you will be operating in auto mode and to gain access to that mode you generally flick a little button or switch to “A.”

So let’s be clear here.

The “A” does not stand for Awesome!

It stands for “auto” and it means that your cam is going to be setting itself based on the available light and conditions at a mean average that should “probably” give an acceptable result.

Here is something else to consider.

The “auto” is a shortening of automatic NOT autonomous!

Even if you are in auto you can still help it by understanding how lighting will affect such things as auto-focus, auto white balancing and auto exposure.

So learn to look at the light and understand how it is going to be affecting things and more often than not you CAN change that auto to awesome!

25 Airbag Rainbow Explosion in 4K

OK this video is totally pointless and has absolutely no educational value whatsoever.

It just a cool thing that they did and video’d in extreme slow motion.

In fact the pointlessness of it makes it so wonderful!

FaceBook Video Updates

This week FaceBook announced a few updates to their video features as further testament to their interest in the area.

Previously when you started a video on FB you had to tap the video to get the audio working, that has been changed so that the audio is automatically presented as “on.”

They have added to the player capabilities so that you can now upload and playback vertical videos.

This makes sense in that many of the videos being uploaded by users are shot on the fly with little or no thought given to screen orientation!

They have also changed the viewing behavior so that you can now drag a playing video to any corner of the screen and have it continue playing while you keep working your way through your newsfeed.

And finally they released a new Video App for TV to be released soon that will allow you to play FB videos on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV.

Advanced Editing

So fair warning here the link below goes to quite an advanced tutorial on editing.

Although from a learning perspective I ma not it actually adds much to how you and I would be putting together out projects I am still including it because just found it fascinating!

Posted in Blog

The Friday Roundup – Frame Rates, Green Screen and PiP Tutorials

Video Frame Rates: What You Need to Know

I have had a few questions this week on the subject of shooting and editing in some quite specific circumstances.

One of the problems that keeps coming up is that a lot of people are not really familiar with the effect certain file settings will have on the final result.

Things such as frame rates, data rates, resolution and on and on all play their part and if you don’t really have at least a rudimentary grasp of them it all goes bad very quickly.

So this week I thought I would spend a little time on frame rates.

For most people shooting at an mateur level there will be a relatively small variation in the frame rates they are offered but in many cases amateur shooters are not even aware there is a choice!

Some of the basic frame rates are 24fps which is the standard inherited from film shooting, 25 fps which is the standard that came from the mainly European PAL TV system, 29.97fps from the U.S. NTSC TV system and to be honest… on and on it goes!

On top of that there is the “interlaced” or “progressive” question and when you put it all together it has been quite a mess.

So, if you are dealing with footage that you are shooting now in a relatively new camera there is good news!

These days most devices are going to automatically eliminate the “interlaced” vs. “progressive” question altogether.

They are all pretty much set to progressive because the interlaced system was a carryover from old fashioned TVs.

These days TV screens and computer screens display on a progressive basis rather than by an electron gun at the back of the screen firing in lines down the screen to create the image.

If you are dealing with old footage then you are going to have to learn at least a little about all this before you will be able to achieve good results.

Probably the key factor to know about all of this is that when you are dealing with any footage from a video source you must retain the same frame rate throughout the project or at least as far into the project as you can.

If you are mixing footage from different sources that have different frame rates then you need to work out which frame rate will be the one used more than any other.

Set this as the final frame rate for your projects.

Before you introduce any of the different frame rate footage to the project, process it in your video editing software to change the frame rate.

This footage will have to be dealt with at some point and it is far better to do so before you begin editing than leaving it to the final render.

Leaving it to the end results in enormous pressure being placed on your computer system and is just asking for trouble.

Finally the main point in frame rates is that you select a common frame rate for your projects based on the final outcome you are looking at.

It is another example of the “shoot to edit” concept that all the pro’s use on a daily basis. To get some ideas on the suitability of some frame rates over others check out the video.

The Ultimate Green Screen Tutorial

As I mentioned in another section of this week’s Friday Roundup I have been getting some questions that keep repeating and one of those themes is greenscreen.

In fact this is a topic that never seems to go away and there is one major reason for it.

Over and over again I see marketing and advertising materials from video editing software makers enthusiastically extolling the virtues of their awesomely amazing green screen capabilities.

It’s all just a matter of one click and we are off to a Hollywood movie magical wonderland… not!

Here’s the real deal.

The software part of green screen is about as low tech as you can get and in fact even the most rubbish image editing software can achieve it in a still image.

All it really takes is the software to be able to isolate a shade of green and remove it digitally from the image or video.

It is only a little more difficult in video because it has to do it over and over frame by frame… but it is still a rudimentary process.

The problem people always hit when trying to execute green screen is that the results look crappy!

Well it doesn’t really matter which software you are using because remember, the process is dead simple.

The bottom line on green screen is that at least 90% of the result you will get is as a result of how you shot the footage in the first place.

There are a number of key points that must be dealt with in the shooting stage which if not followed well, will result in your fooling around at the post production stage going crazy.

So for probably the third time in recent memory here is what I believe to be the best green screen tutorial that is around.

It is by the Basic Film Maker and in this (long) video he covers every little detail about how to set up, light and shoot your way to green screen success.

Speed up Win 10 for Video Editing

I very often get questions (or complaints!) from people visiting this site about some software or another making their lives miserable because it just won’t do what it is supposed to do or does it badly.

At a very rough guess I would say that about 90% of these “problems” are not really the software at all but are in fact coming from other parts of the process.

Out of sync problems, crashes, freezes or a whole bunch of other things generally prove themselves to be very difficult to deal with because of one main factor.

That factor is that the user is so fixated on the software (because that’s what he is looking at) as the source of the problem, he or she fails to consider other options.

If I hit a glitch in my editing or rendering or if I get a crash or a freeze, the absolute LAST thing I consider is the software I am using.

The FIRST thing I look at is a list of other things that have caused the software to perform incorrectly.

Things like background processes running or other programs running at the same time that could be hogging resources.

File fragmentation on the hard drive or even corruption within a file that I am using.

It is only after I have exhausted all of these possibilities do I then start to focus on the software and even then I work on the assumption that if given the chance, the software would do what I want.

Like I said, in 90% of case I have found a solution to the problem long before I start looking at the software.

One final point to keep in mind is that Windows itself comes out of the box with an enormous number of settings that have been optimized for appearance, not performance.

These appearance based options use up resources and when you are editing high definition video you don’t need pretty, you need power.

The link below goes to a little tutorial on optimizing your Windows installation to release more resources to actual work rather than looking pretty.

In the final section under the advanced settings ask yourself in all honesty whether or not you really need to have your mouse cast a little trail as it moves across the screen?

Does it really need a shadow?

Take a look at all those setting and understand they are there to improve the look of your installation but in the process take up resources.

PIP Zoom Tutorial in CyberLink PowerDirector 15

One of the most powerful features that has been introduced into the world of consumer level video editing is probably about the un-sexiest thing you can think of when t comes to marketing.

That’s probably why it only ever seems to get barely mentioned in the glittering promotional materials!

The feature I talking about is keyframes. Still awake?

Anyway, keyframes are little markers that can be used to implement changes, filters effects etc at some point in a clip and then have that effect continue or change at a set rate until the next keyframe is hit.

It is the basis of PiP effects, masking, motion tracking and a whole slew of things you probably take for granted.

In the video below Malik runs through the process of using the PiP effect in PowerDirector and having the effect begin, change and end in a gradual way using keyframes.

The actual effect and the method of keyframing is common to most video editing software programs so even if you don’t use PowerDirector it is worth taking a look at.

Magix Video Pro X Updates

This week Magix announced some changes to their professional video editing suite, Video Pro X.

As far as this website goes I place Video Pro X at about the top of the heap in terms of who it is aimed at and to be honest for most people it would be a bit of an overkill!

However if you are looking to get into video production at a reasonable price on the basis of taking to a pro level then I highly recommend taking a look at this one.

My Review Here

The changes they have announced are with regards to the theor color correction and grading tools built into the program.

They have taken it from a natively 8 bit color set up that could handle 16 bit up to a natively 16 bit standard.

Given the plethora of HD footage around these days it was only a matter of time before they had to do this and so it is done!

Check the link below for a full rundown on what it means to the video editor dealing with high quality HD footage.

Post Production in Movie Edit Pro

Quite a while back now Magix posted an excellent article on their blog covering some of the main terminology that arises in the world of shooting video.

Rather than just given a dry definition of some of the main concepts they went into great detail on each one giving insight into what each term was and how it fitted into the overall of a shoot.

You can read that article HERE.

This week they finally backed it up with another excellent piece this time covering the various activities that we loosely gather under the term “post production.”

Post production actually refers to anything done after the initial shooting is done and although editing is part of it there are many others aspects to it.

The article covers these aspects and again gives some great insight into each and how it fits into the big picture.

On top of that the article is laid out in what would usually be the right sequence in tackling each part of the post production process.

Posted in Blog

The Friday Roundup – Color Grading in Resolve and a Little Pinnacle Glitch

Pinnacle Studio 20 Ultimate – 4K Green Line Fix

There have been a few reports lately of a a particular problem involving Pinnacle Studio and 4K video.

The problem itself is that a small number of users have reported that when they output a 4K video project to a new file there is a tiny green line appearing at the bottom of the screen.

The simple fix for this is to go into Setup – Control Panel – Export and Preview – Hardware Acceleration and switch the Type to None.

There are three choices there and you will most often fine that Pinnacle has defaulted to CUDA so it is simply a matter of changing it to None and you will probably be good to go.

However this can have some effect on the overall performance of the program during editing so it is probably best to understand how this is happening.

For most video editing software companies especially at the consumer level one of their biggest tasks is trying to play catch up with the development of new technologies by others.

When the video industry in general comes up with some new video codec or some new standard of video they rarely if at all consult with the editing companies on it.

As a result the new technology pretty well never has anything in it to address the problems presented in the process of editing.

It is all generally from a capture and playback point of view.

H.265, AVCHD and now 4K standards are great examples of this.

So the editing software companies are often presented with a fait accompli in this regard and have to as best they can… catch up.

The problem in Pinnacle with 4K is most likely stemming from the sheer amount of data and processing necessary to deal with these files.

It’s not that they are necessarily big files and in fact that’s the whole appeal, 4K quality in manageable file sizes.

The problem is that they are big “incomplete” files because the compression being used has literally thrown away enormous amount of data in the process.

So when you are editing or rendering these files the resources needed to recompile the files is enormous and very often is the main cause of crashes, freezes or in this case, strange green lines at the bottom of the screen.

The best way to approach something like this is to try to find the best balance for your particular system.

Pinnacle defaults to CUDA because generally speaking that makes the most sense.

It tries to use any available processing power offered by the video card to perform the things it needs to do.

However in the case of getting green lines obviously there is something somewhere (who knows what!) that is causing this generally acceptable setting to fail.

By switching None as described above you will suffer probably a slight slowdown in rendering times (but handle the problem) and you will also find the editing interface slows down as well.

You can try the “Intel” setting if you want or you can do what I do which is this.

When I am dealing with a 4K project I leave the setting on CUDA.

Once I have done all my editing and my next step is to render, I then go in and change the Hardware Acceleration to None.

Video Thumbnails

I don’t think it would come as any surprise to anyone trying to get a little traction on YouTube that it has become very difficult to stand out from the crowd and garner interest.

Whilst it may seem an impossible task at times the reality is that by adopting the basic best practices you can get somewhere but just don’t expect to become an overnight sensation!

Everyone seems to focus on that one guy or that one video that went viral and rocketed the user to immediate stardom.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Yes, there are those examples but if you really take a look at successful YouTubers almost none of them have ever had a video that one could say went “viral.”

What they all have in common are consistently good content and meticulous attention to the little details of how to set up and optimise their channels.

After that it is simply a matter of lather, rinse and repeat over and over again.

One of those “little details” is the thumbnails you use when you upload a video.

Back in the dark ages YouTube just grabbed the first frame of the video it figured was the beginning and displayed that as the thumbnail.

These days you can grab a frame from the video or upload a custom thumbnail yourself.

Either way it is vital that the thumbnail conveys something relevant about the contents of the video and at the same time catches the eye of the user.

Check out the article below for a complete explanation.

DaVinci Resolve 12.5 Editing Tutorial – Episode 3 Edit Tools

This is the third in a series of seven proposed video by UglyMcGregor covering the use of DaVinci Resolve.

Although Resolve itself started life as a color grading software recent developments in that area have forced them to begin morphing the program into a fully fledged video editor.

It always had very rudimentary editing features but these were strictly from the point of view that the user was going to be doing the bulk of editing in another program, exporting to resolve for grading then exporting back to the original software for the final edit.

With many of those other editor beginning to introduce their own color grading modules Resolve has had to redevelop itself as a stand alone editor.

There is a free version that is available and and although as I said it is fully armed, it is very complicated to learn.

Resolve 12.5 Basics – DaVinci Resolve End-To-End Crash Course

Over the past few weeks I have been sharing a series of YouTube videos by Ugly McGregor on the subject of color grading and editing with DaVinci Resolve.

I get a lot of requests on this site for the best free video editing software and generally speaking I don’t recommend anything.

The reasons for this are many but the bottom line is that none of the freebies are particularly good or offer anything beyond what you can get with iMovie or Windows Movie Maker so I don’t really see the point.

The other problem with free programs is that they rely heavily on volunteer time to keep them updated and running smoothly.

Whilst I am sure many of these projects start off with good intentions it usually isn’t very long befor the enthusiasm begins to wane!

There is is one free editor that I would recommend if I had to and I do so because I know it will be supported and will remain so well into the future.

That program is DaVinci Resolve.

However in supporting that software I have to warn anyone wanting to use it that it is not an easy program to learn how to use.

It comes from a fully professional background so if you are en expert in using Resolve, it is awesome!

If you are not an expert, it is a nightmare!

So in an effort to ease the pain for anyone wanting to give it a go I have started a DaVinci Resolve Playlist on YouTube that gives you some basic tutorials on getting up to pace with Resolve strictly as a video editor without going too much into the color correction capabilities.

The first video to watch after you have downloaded the software would be the one below and then work your way up the list.

Posted in Blog

The Slightly Late Because It’s Chinese New Year Friday Roundup!

Oops! It’s A Little Late!

Ok so first up this week yes this is the Friday Roundup coming to you ever so slightly late because here in Asia it has been the lunar new year.

For those of you who don’t know it, literally everything stops until we get that stuff out of the way!

I had very good intentions this year to get the weekly blog post out on time but unfortunately because I am the token foreigner in the family I have been assigned duties.

Strangely those duties are to provide cakes in the western style to the family celebrations and although it seems to me to be out of place, I have been given the job so I must perform.

Bake white boy, bake!

So now that everything is almost out of the way I have a chance to get this weeks (or last week’s) Roundup finished so let’s begin!

The Basics of Money and Things You Should Know

I came across this video from the basic filmmaker this week and although it pretty well has nothing to do directly with making videos it is a great message nonetheless.

As the owner of a website I am not at all shocked by the fact that people are constantly asking me for free stuff or where to get free stuff.

What does amaze me is that they are doing it on a site that is already providing over three hundred pages of free stuff anyway!

Actually most of the time I don’t give it much thought but there is one class of person that always stands out from the rest.

These are the ones that are not only asking for free stuff but actually get a bit angry when I don’t have it or don’t have access to it for them.

You have to look at that and think there must be something terribly wrong with their lives where they think they are entitled to things without having provided any exchange for those things.

Anyway, it’s a good video and well worth taking a look at.

Import Options Tutorial – CyberLink PowerDirector 15

If you take a look at my top choices for video editing software on this site you will notice that I lean towards PowerDirector and have done for a few years now.

However in recommending that software sometime people get back to me on it and, shock horror, it is not perfect!

This makes me laugh because the fact of the matter is that not only is there not a perfect video editing software, there isn’t even a perfect one for you!

Just because one program or another is the best for you does not man it is perfect and I highly doubt there ever will be unless you pay someone a million bucks to write a program from the ground up to your exact specifications.

In fact even though I recommend PowerDirector it has niggles that annoy me personally but probably others have never noticed it.

The video below goes into a little detail on one of my pet hates with the program and a few things to do that can help minimize the pain… but not cure the disease.

The point I am talking about is when the program loads.

PD loads directly into the Edit Tab with the Media Content tab showing and nothing in the library.

If you then import media into the library and then close the program, the next time you open it the library is once again totally empty.

In the video below there is an explanation of this and a workaround for it for those people who want to quickly deal with media importing.

However there is another solution not included that I think is the ultimate workaround for those of you who want certain assets to always appear in the library and be available from the start.

This applies to people who are making videos regularly and have for example opening and closing credits which they always include and which do not change.

Open PowerDirector and import your media assets in the normal way.

Then without doing anything close PowerDirector and when it gives you the choice of saving the project click Yes.

Then name the project something meaningful to you and save it somewhere where you will know where it is.

The next time you want to create something just double click that project file and PD will open with your assets in place.

Do your work, export your video and when you close PD it will again ask if you want to Save Changes.

This time click NO and the saved project will go back to just loading those original assets the next time you open it.

Tracking – the Coen Brothers Way

Not that I think anyone has actually come here to start making Hollywood blockbusters but there is always something you can learn from the pros.

In this case it is a couple of pros I admire greatly, the Coen brothers. Check out the post for how they creatively worked their way around the limitations presented to them in Fargo.

Captions or Audio for Video?

A few years ago there were limited possibilities when it came to distributing your content both on and offline.

There were ont ro tow video sharing sites with many of the others being relatively unknown, maybe you would burn to a DVD or even upload the final project back to your camcorder and playback on a T.V.

Within that context captions or subtitles were also limited in their application depending on what you were doing.

However all that has changed now that we are in the world of social media and the decisions a little less clear.

Captions on a video can be a great way to make that video accessible to people who are hearing impaired of course but on some platforms we now have a new consideration.

That new choice is whether or not the video should actually have audio at all or if in fact it would be better served by captions alone.

Captions are no longer just a way to compensate for bad audio or for people who can’t hear audio.

They are now considered to be on some channels for certains purposes to be superior to sound.

It is a complex decision to make and depends on a number of factors such as the subject matter, the target audience and most importantly the delivery platform.

Over on the Techsmith blog they have just published a post covered a lot of what you need to know when making decision on audio, audio with captions or just captions alone.

Posted in Blog

The Friday Roundup – Vegas Pro Discounts, Laws of Light and Editing 101

So this week I wanted to kick off with a bit of a change from me because I rarely get into all the discounting blah blah that is going on at any given time.

Generally speaking despite all the noise you get from promotions, marketing and advertising the reality is that most discounts on offer are actually already on the respective website of the software maker anyway!

However I was contacted by Magix this week and they informed me of a rather unusual offer at the moment.

I say “unusual” because what you will tend to find is that at the consumer end of the market there are regular promotions and discounts on offer throughout the year.

Conversely at the “pro” end of the market this rarely happens.

Beginning January 18, 2017 through to January 31, 2017 Magix are offering a 25% discount on the entire range of Vegas products.

Most likely the reason for this is that Magix have only recently taken over the production of the Vegas range of software from Sony and are in the process of rebranding it.

I am sure they are trying to get the “Sony” part of the name pushed out of the picture as they take the software into the future.

They have rebranded everything under the Vegas Creative banner and so far have released their first update of the Vegas range.

In Order to get a little marketing push they are promoting a 25% discount on all their Vegas products.

The actual prices are:
VEGAS Pro 14 Edit $299.25 (regularly $399.00)
VEGAS Pro 14 $449.25 (regularly $599.00)
VEGAS Pro 14 Suite $599.25 (regularly $799.00)

To take a look for yourself just click the link below and remember you need to apply the HAPPY25 coupon code to get the discount.

25% off on all VEGAS Pro 14 products with coupon code HAPPY25.

If you are looking to go from the consumer level of editing up into the genuine pro level then this would be a good opportunity.

So, in searching around to check the Vegas discount I found a few others so I thought I would add them to this week’s mix as well.

Again from Magix they are offering through January some hefty discounts on their consumer level software which you can see here:

Magix Range SAVE up to $200.

OK, that’s enough of the shameless discount selling for one week so let’s get on to some news!

Pixar Comes Clean on Easter Eggs

Ok there is absolutely nothing educational or even tutorial (can you use tutorial as an adjective?) about the video below.

It’s just awesomely good fun and finally confirms the long held “Unified Theory” that all Pixar animations actually exist in the same world.

Aside form that it provides an amazing journey through what has become a truly incredible body of work over the years.

New Features for Filmora 8.0

Just today WonderShare released an update to their easy to use video editing software package, Filmora.

I am including the release video this week and I hope to have an updated review done by mid week.

However from I have seen so far they have done a really good job.

They have added two new editing modes to the start up screen that are particularly interesting.

The first is where most of the changes and improvements have occurred and that’s the Action Cam Tools.

This is a separate module that you can go into when you are specifically editing action cam style footage and has group together all the most relevant tools necessary for those types of projects.

The other smart addition is the Quick Cutter.

Again a separate module designed for making quick cuts and merges to footage but I am not sure if they really understand how good this is!

One of the annoying tasks in editing is if you are taking a long video file and trying to isolate parts of it and have those isolated parts exported to separate files.

You have to load the file, isolate the part you want, delete all the other parts you don’t want, go to the Export/Render/Share module and start the output process making sure you have the same file properties as the original.

Tedious to say the least if you have a lot of “bits” you need to isolate.

The Quick Cutter allows you to just add a clip, mark in and mark out to isolate the bit you want, hit export and you are done.

You can then isolate another and export and another until you are finished.

Awesome!

You can see Filmora for yourself HERE

Video Editing 101 – The Basics

This a great introduction to video editing and what you are ultimately trying to do with your projects.

It covers some very simple points that determine whether your video will do want you want it to do or not.

Things such as screen direction, timing, continuity and jump cuts but more importantly shows what those points look like when they are done badly and what they look like when they are done right.

Laws of Light: Three Objects

This is the fourth video in the series covering some of the basic theory of using light both in a photographic setting.

The reason I have been including these videos in the Friday Roundups is because much of what we do in video owes its origins to the world of photography.

In fact if you have read any interviews with successful cinematographers ir video lighting directors you will consistently find they started off in the world of still images.

At a superficial level just a simple understanding of the way light is going to affect you final shot is a good thing to have.

However if you really understand the theory of light and the way it is determining how you shots look at any level you will be way ahead of the pack.

These tutorials are pretty straightforward, not too lighting geeky and pretty easy to absorb.

You don’t have to take notes and study them as a matter of life or death but they really give great insight into why things appear the way they do in your shots regardless as to whether you set them up or not.

The video is below and you can follow this link to the full article which has as usual, offers more detailed coverage of the subject.

The Ol’ Windows or Mac Thingy… again.

One of the older arguments in the world of editing and computers in general is the that hoary old chestnut, Windows or Mac?

This one has been around since the dawn of graphics on computers and to be honest had been pretty easy to answer in the past.

Of course Macs are better.

However over the past few years this assumed superiority has begun to erode.

Probably the first real chinks in the argument began when Windows 7 was released and that hasn’t been helped from a Mac point of view with little to no development on their part in this area.

Admittedly Windows took a backwards step (as they are prone to do!) with Windows 8 but then got back on track again with Windows 10.

Now bear in mind I am not talking about general computer use here.

I am specifically talking about the assumption that Macs are better for graphics and video.

These days it seems to be an argument driven more by brand loyalty than actual real world experience and I expect it will go on for a while yet!

Anyway, here is one man’s experience in the subject.

Posted in Blog

Cleaning A Voice Track With Audacity

One of the best ways to improve your home videos whether they are of family events, outings, or even videos you are making for online consumption is in the area of audio.

There is an old saying that the most important part of video is audio and in this case you can make your videos more watchable by making them more… listenable! (OK! I know that’s not really a word!)

Quite often when you are looking at other peoples videos you may have noticed that although the video itself seemed quite OK, there was something that seemed to be annoying about it or some way that it was failing to hold your attention.

More often than not it is actually the audio quality that is having that effect.

On this page I have laid out a simple procedure anyone can follow to quickly and efficiently clean up a narration or voiceover track.

The techniques apply to any voice recording you have done regardless of the source but before that always remember when you are recording a voice to set your device at the highest possible quality.

Some devices don’t offer this but many do, so take the time to go into the settings of whatever you are using to make sure you are getting the best audio quality you can.

Once you have your recording we are going to use a free audio editing software program to polish the sound file you have, so we need to get that file isolated and into a format suitable for editing.

If you have recorded a voice track on your computer this is simple because you will already have a single audio file and most likely it will be in the .wav format that we need.

If you have used some other kind of system and do not have a .wav file then you can get a free audio converter here that will do the job, or just Google for one.

The point is that we need to get the file into the .wav format to get the best results.

Because we are going to edit the file and are also going to be adding that file back to a video project it is very important to stick to the .wav format.

If you are dealing with a voice track from one of your existing videos simply load the video into your video editing software then go to the output – sharing – distribute part of the program and choose to output the file as a .wav audio file.

One you have the sound file you will need another free software program called Audacity which you can download for free here: Download Audacity.

Just choose the version suitable for your system and install.

Now that we have Audacity installed, open the program and load your audio file by selecting “File” then “Open” and navigating to where you put the audio file.

Audacity Step 1
Audacity Step 2

Audacity will give you the option of either directly editing the original file (faster) or making a copy of the file and editing the copy (safer).

My choice in this is to manually make a copy before I even start and place it in a separate folder.

That way I always have the original to go back to if I mess up and I am not getting Audacity to do anything extra that could lead to problems.

Audacity Step 3

One more point to note before we get into the procedure is that Audacity is an incredible sound editing platform.

Although this simple guide will get your voice tracks up to speed it in no way taps into the vast capabilities of the program.

It would be worth anyones time to delve further into learning how to effectively use Audacity for all parts of your video soundtracks.

Cleaning Up Your Voice Track

Once you have chosen the method of editing, the file will load into the program and be displayed as a waveform representing the sounds within the file.

Audacity Step 4

Noise Removal

Before we start we need to find a small section of the voice track that has no vocals recorded on it.

We will use this section of the track to give Audacity a sample of the noise we want to remove.

In the example track I have used the mouse to select a portion of the file but very often there will be a silent “lead in” at the front of the audio file you could also use.

Audacity Step 5

Now select Effect then Noise Reduction and a dialogue box will open.

In older versions of Audacity this was named Noise Removal as shown in the image below but it is basically the same function.

Audacity Step 6

Click on Get Noise Profile and Audacity will capture and analyze the small sample you selected in the previous step.

Audacity Step 7

The dialogue box will disappear and you will be back at the waveform view of your file.

Click anywhere on the waveform then either hit ctrl + A or use Edit / Select All to make sure the entire file is selected.

Now go back and select Effect, Noise Reduction again and the same dialogue box will open only this time, check the bottom of the box to see that (1.) Remove Noise is checked then hit OK.

Audacity Step 8

Although there are lots of ways to adjust and fine tune this module remember, we are going for a quick and dirty fix here!

It will immediately run and you will notice that the areas where there were no vocals before have now become much thinner indicating the reduction in noise.

Audacity Step 9

Equalization

Now that an acceptable level of noise has been removed you will most likely find that the overall sound of the file has changed slightly.

It probably has a “thinner” or more shallow sound to it.

This is because the noise removal also removes some other aspects of the file so we need to compensate for that with equalization.

First of all make sure the entire audio clip is selected by using ctrl + A or by using the Select All function under the Edit tab.

Go to Effect then select Equalization.

Audacity Step 10

A new dialogue box will open shown below.

Make sure that Draw Curves is selected and then from the drop down box select EMI 78 as the profile you want to apply.

Bear in mind that some current copies of Audacity for some reason don’t have this equalization preset.

Perfectly acceptable alternatives that I have used are: Acoustic, Decca FFRR 78 and a few of the others.

You can use the preview button to listen to the change it will make so have a play with a few of them until you find one you like.

You can of course manually adjust the Eq by yourself but that kind of defeats the purpose of a “quick and dirt” fix!

Finally select OK once you have the setting you want and Audacity will apply the changes.

Audacity Step 11

What you may now notice is that the small areas where you previously removed noise have now kind of fattened up a little because of the Eq changes.

Audacity Step 12

Take a listen to the final product and if it is ok then… OK!

If the Eq has raised the noise level to a noticeable degree then re-do the noise removal step once more for final clean and you should be done.

Posted in Audio Tips

The Friday Roundup – Super 8, Pixels and Re-linking Media Assets

The Return of “Dad Movies!”

I don’t often cover cameras on this site because to be honest it is a full time job just trying to keep up with the latest releases let alone any of the technology in the area.

However this week an interesting one came onto my radar which I thought was worth mentioning.

This is a case of everything old is new again with Kodak releasing of all things a brand new Super 8 camera.

Now for all you kids out there, Super 8 refers to 8mm FILM… that’s right FILM!

Super 8 was format developed way back in the dark ages before digital and was a way that amateurs could record movies right there at home… aw shucks!

The cams used to accept a cartridge that had the film loaded so you just popped in a new cartridge and fired away.

Once the cartridge was all used up you then sent it into a photo developing shop (I don’t have time… just Google it) and your film was processed and returned to you.

Now given the convenience and quality of digital video these days you would wonder why Kodak have done this.

Well the bottom line is that just about everybody at a pro level who is shooting video these days is actually trying to achieve the look and feel of real film… go figure.

So Kodak thought why not make that available to everyone, even if it is at only the 8mm mark.

We shall see how it all goes!

What It Takes to be Successful on YouTube in 2017

One of my “go to” guys when it comes to getting videos onto YouTube and the general subject of being successful on YouTube is Tim Schmoyer.

His channel Video Creators is one of the more successful channels on YouTube and he provides incredible value to his viewers on the subject.

If you are looking at YouTube with a view to perhaps getting your own presence there or are struggling to gain traction with an already established channels then I would highly recommend spending some time on Tim’s channel to further your knowledge.

YouTube is a busy and competitive space where it is becoming increasingly harder to get any sort of exposure.

Bear in mind it is not an impossible task but there are some very basic things you have to get right before you are going to get anywhere.

This week Tim put up a video (below) covering what he and some pretty successful YouTubers think you will need to have covered moving into 2017 and it is well worth taking a look at.

Relinking Missing Media and Projects

Given the stresses and strains put on your computer when you are editing videos it is hardly surprising that every now and then you suffer from a crash of some kind.

It may be something as innocuous as a freeze where what you really have is a crash but it just doesn’t look like one, or you may suffer a blue screen of death catastrophe.

Either way it is always a bit of a lottery as to what you will have left when you get everything restarted.

There two things to keep in mind under these circumstances that should help you remain calm or at least calm down a little faster.

The first is that regardless of what editing software you are using none of what you think you have edited has actually been edited!

Think of your software like a public servant.

It is efficiently and accurately noting down all your information and all of what you want to have happen.

And just like a public servant it does absolutely nothing about it!

All it is doing is creating what is called a project file that contains all your hopes, dreams and desire for your project.

It is not until you specifically tell it to render your project that anything concrete is actually happening and even then none of your original files are ever touched in any way.

So in the event of a crash most times all you have to do is reload the projects file and you are back in business.

The other tool you may need is one that keeps a record of the files you have in your library.

Again, remember that your software does not physically move your files into the library.

The library is just an arrangement of links to media assets that can be anywhere on your computer that will store files of any kind.

In the event of a crash sometimes those links can get broken however most program keep tiny records of those links and can restore them automatically.

The video below goes into relinking in Pinnacle Studio but most good quality software will have something like it.

Do I Really Look Like That?

There are many opportunities these days to make videos that include possibly the one character that you don’t want to include… and that character is you!

Most people are strangely averse to having themselves on screen at the best of times and when they later look back over the footage it feels like everything they thought was going to be bad about it is bad!

Well it turns out there is a scientific reason for this and in fact it is quite an evolutionary factor that is coming into play here.

Apparently it all comes down to a thing called “confirmation bias” which is a psycho-babble way of saying what is going on.

In plain English it goes a little like this.

As we survey our environment on a constant basis we are making decisions and drawing conclusions based on what we see, what we have seen that is similar in the past and finally (this is the big one), how to be right.

From an evolutionary perspective the question of right and wrong translate into live or die.

You could put it this way: Right = find food, Wrong = become food!

The overriding point here is that whatever the decision or conclusion, it has to happen fast.

So in this modern era we have come to a point where survival is less a matter of dodging the local wildlife yet this same mechanism still remains in place.

To that end confirmation bias means that we are constantly seeking confirmation of an existing position rather than analytically going through the facts in front of us.

Hence the age old tradition of never discussing politics or religion.

So based on that here is the key quote from the original article I read:

“If you think that you’re awkward on camera, you’ll be looking for evidence of that when you review the footage.”

You look awful because that’s how you think you are going to look so your brain only accepts information that confirms you original position.

The good news is that there are strategies you can use to overcome this situation and get yourself performing better (according to you) on camera.

However it is important to note that strategy number 4 is probably the one you really need to take on board:

“Realize that people don’t care.”

Yup, while you are sweating over every little detail of your seemingly poor onscreen performance, no-one else really cares about that and if you described what you were seeing to them they would probably think you were insane!

The 180 Degree Rule

There are a number of basic rules when shooting and editing videos which, if followed will always make them look better.

However when you are just starting out it is hard to perhaps see how they do that or understand how to actually implement those rules.

If you look at your videos and then look at videos that have been professionally shot and edited I think to most of us it is obvious that the pro’s do it better.

What is not so obvious is exactly what it is they are doing that makes it better.

Of course the guys in the marketing department of the software makers or camera manufacturers will always tell you it is because you need the latest gadget or camera model or software upgrade.

But I think we should all know by now that’s just not true.

In fact that difference generally comes down to a few simple rules which if followed can take your projects up to a higher level.

Now of course just following a rule or two is not going to give you a Hollywood blockbuster right out of the gate and to be honest that’s not what we are looking for here!

However just learning a few of those rule well and applying them with practice will most definitely raise the level of your videos.

Here’s one to get you started, the 180 degree rule.

Learn to use it and then learn to break it!

Say You Want a Resolution Yeah, Yeah..

One of the ongoing problems a lot of newcomers to video editing have is trying to sort out all the different parameters of video files.

With a history that stretches back to film the difficulty with an evolving subject like this is the way we move forward from one format to the next whilst still trying to maintain compatibility with previous things.

Over time this has led to things like frame rates and resolution having all manner of settings available depending on how the footage was obtained and what the ultimate viewing platform with be.

Film parameters rolled in the original video parameters which then added T.V parameters then on to CRT monitors for computers until finally we are at the point of mostly using viewing screens that have no need for any of it really!

So when it comes time to outputting that final video masterpiece you have been working on, you can be presented with a bewildering array of choices many of which seems to make no sense at all.

These days at least when it comes to resolution things have simplified a little where the designation of the resolution is telling you the number of pixels wide and the number of pixels high.

But even then it can still be a tad confusing when putting it all into practice.

Check the article below for a straightforward explanation of pixels as they apply to video resolutions.

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