Player Video formats
Some good rules of thumb when you’re shooting video for editing:
Check sound in the field!It’s easy to assume that that little tiny speaker on your camcorder is the reason you can’t hear your playback out in the field. Get a set of earphones, and re-shoot if things don’t sound good! It’s also extremely advisable to purchase a microphone for use with your camcorder—it reduces ambient noise, makes the sound you want to hear louder, and also adds a level of professionalism students like.
At a shoot, start the camera rolling at least 5 seconds before what you want to record has started, and stop it 5 seconds after it’s over. This is extremely important! There’s nothing worse than trying to edit a video that doesn’t have enough video pad for capture and transitions! Video tape is cheap! Shoot more, not less!
Don’t use the overlay, fade, or other controls on your camcorder! If you do, you’re stuck with them forever—better to make those decisions at edit time!
Keep your backgrounds simple! This is generally good advice, but especially if you intend to use text overlays. Make backgrounds a solid color if possible, and make sure there’s enough room around your subject for overlays to appear if you intend to use them. You’ll find that overlays disappear in busy backgrounds, and they will block the view of action if you don’t allow for them.
Estimate how much time you’ll need to produce your video . . . then triple it. Nothing ever goes as planned, and editing usually appears to be simpler than it ends up. Pro studios are good at quick-editing under a deadline—that’s why they’re pros. Student projects take time!
Some FAQs and tech hints
My computer keeps locking up!Lockups can be caused by a variety of things, and when Studio locks up, it does it right—the whole computer is frozen! Remember that capturing and editing video uses massive amounts of data transfer, processor capacity, and memory, so you can’t expect it to work like other computers. If there's a silver lining to that - Studio is pretty good at auto-saving and recovering from lockups, so when you reboot and reopen, you probably won't lose much - but don't count on it! Here’s some hints:
No sound!!! Double-check your patch cables. Verify that there is sound by plugging your VCR or camcorder into a TV for playback. Beyond that . . . since you’re dependent on your computer's sound card supplying the sound both in and out, if you’re not getting sound through the Studio the problem may be in your sound card settings. Double-click on the speaker icon in the lower right hand corner, and make sure nothing is muted or turned down. Make sure that the audio settings in the Studio are checked. If you’re still not getting sound, see your District techie or STC for help.
Lousy sound! As you might guess, sound is a tough one. There’s several things you can do about sound before editing, fewer as you edit. See above for hints on improving sound in the field. If you’re staring at footage whose sound is poor, you can’t do much about it other than overlay music and narration through Studio. Sometimes sound is too hot on tape, and adjusting it down in Studio helps.
I can’t find my captured video! Remember about “Naming files?” If you let the computer pick what your files are named, and where they’re put, you may not easily find them again! There’s nothing worse than 12 sub-folders inside the captured video folder, all filled with files named “Video #,” and none having anything to do with the name of the folder! It happens so often!
What’s all this about digital video? My camcorder supports it—does Studio? Analog versions of Studio support digital - you just need the Firewire card.
I want to do animation with Studio - can I generate or find an animated GIF and put it into Studio? Nope, it doesn’t support that. You have to "back-door" to get still pictures into the environment by putting them in titles, and that process handles still GIFs, but not animations. Paint Shop Pro and other programs will save animated GIFs as AVI files, which can be imported into Studio.