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With the advent of inexpensive video gear, the cost of producing video has plummetted, while quality has climbed. However, some constants remain; good production sense and content continue to separate the memorable from the inconsequential.
This course is an introduction to the essential tool of desktop video production, a video editing software package. For this course, we will be using the software packae Adobe Premiere, a time line based editing package that typifies this type of tool. In the brief time that we have, we will focus on a basic skills necessary to edit and combine content.
When you first launch premiere, you will be confronted with a choice of several presets. These are predefined enviroments that you can either use straight up, or customise. We will learn a little more about these settings later on, so for now, go with the default settings.
Next, we need to bring in our sample file. We will be working with a piece of film that was shot by an amateur filmmaker in the late 1920's. There are some problems with this clip. The footage is of poor quality, and there is little or no continuity to the footage. We can selectively edit the footage to tighten it up - and actually have it tell a little story.
From the File menu, select Open File to bring in our content. Select the file
is a quicktime movie that we will be editing.
Our file will now be displayed in the edit controller:
After we have played our movie through, take note of the footage that we can use, and which footage that we will have to toss. Admittedly, much of it is in pretty bad shape.
The window that we are looking at our footage in is the clip editor window. This is where we are going to selectively pull out segments that we want to use.
|In film, many times a scene will start with a long shot, that
establishes location for the viewer. We have such a shot in this movie.
We will use this first. Press the play button and stop it right at the beginning
of our scene. We can use the scrub gadget to roll backwards and forwards
to set it precisely where we want to be. You can also use the arrow keys
on your keyboard as well; it can be a more convenient way to bump to where
you want to be. Press the "in" button
on the edit controller to set your in point for this clip.
We should now set our out point for this clip. Scroll to the end of the long shot, and using the same techniques we just used, carefully pick your end point, and then press "out" to set the out point.
If you would like to preview how your edit looks, you can use the "play through" button in the controller to play just the footage between the in and out points. You can also jump back to your in or out point by selecting it from the pull down menu in the edit controller. While you are there, note that premiere will let you set other points in your clip as well, which are numbered 1-9. This can be convenient when you are working with very long clips, and need to jump to key places in the clip.
Click in the middle of your edited clip, and drag it into the project window. This will store a copy of our clip, with our edit points, for later use. When you drag it into the project window, Premiere will prompt you for a name for the edited segment, to make it easy to keep track of.
We will need to now edit our other clips, a couple of close ups of planes, and finally, a clip of Amelia Earheart cristening a plane with a bottle of champagne. We are following a pretty classic shot progression, long shot, medium shot, and finally a close up.
Now that we have trimmed down our clips, we are ready to start to assemble our clips in the time line. This part is pretty easy; you simply drag the clip from our project window over into the timeline window.
The time line window is where you assemble your content in a linear fashion to create your final movie. Premiere has the ability to handle two simultaneous video tracks, plus a second video channel for compositing, such as adding a title. The video track also has a transition track, to allow you to do neat hollywood type things such as cross-fades, etc.
For this project, we won't be using transitions -- we are usingwhat is known as "cuts only" editing. If we *were* to use a transition, we would put our first track in our A channel, and our second track in our B channel, and allow the edges of the two clips to overlap slightly.
We aren't using transitions in this project for the following reasons:
Note, transitions, in themselves, are not necessarily a bad thing. Fades or dissolves can be very useful to ease transition from one scene to the next, building an interdependance (this scene is related to this scene, although they are markedly different visually). They are sort of like exclaimation points in writing -- you save them for when they are most effective.
|Now that we assembled our elements into a timeline, we can now check out how it looks. To do this, we will use the "preview" function in Premiere. This quickly builds a temporary file that we can look at. First, however, we need to mark out what we want to preview by defining our work space. At the top of our project window there is a little drag bar. Pull it out to cover our clip. After you do this, you will find that you can preview all the edited segments together by hitting return on the keyboard. After a brief rendering, we will see our content. We can use the Preview slider to go back and look at our Preview again.|
Okay, we are reasonably happy with our clip. It's time to add in a title. Go to the "File" menu, and select "New", and under that, "Title".
We now have our title editor. This is a little bit like Photoshop. First, we should set our attributes for our text. Under the Title menu, we will select our font, size and justification.
For low resolution content, it is usually better to select a sans-serif font, such as Arial or Helveitica. Serifs are the little tails on the ends of letters, like what you see in on a capital T in a font like Times. Serifs can be sometimes be lost in enviroments like TV, or low resolution movies (our puny 240x180 movie certainly qualifies on this count). This can make it hard to tell the letter "1" from a capital "I".
For justification, we will choose to center our text, and for point size, let's use an 14 point size. We will also select "bold" to fatten the font up, making it easier to read.
We should begin with a white background, but the color of the text is up to you. Since the movie is black and white, it's probably best that we use a color other than white or black for our text; let's use red. Click on the foreground color selector, and pick a shade of red. Note as you click around, you will see a little exclaimation mark pop up for some selections. This is to warn you that the color you have selected is not a color that can be reproduced reliably by a TV set, if your ultimate goal is to create content that will go back out to video tape. In our case, it doesn't matter.
Type in your Title. Once you are finished, click outside the box to set it into place. Note that if you are not happy with where it is, you can click on it now, and drag it around. If you are really disssatisfied with it, you can even delete it by pressing the backspace key or delete key on your keyboard.
When you are done, go to the File menu, and save your title. Now, click on the outer edge of your title, and drag it into your project bin to add it. Now, drag it into Track 2, at the beginning of our movie. To make the title last longer, you can grab one edge of it and stretch it out, or even easier, double click on it. Let's set the duration for 5 seconds.
Now, we will do a little magic. We should preview our clip, to see how the title looks, but to save time, before you do this, drag the work space bar over so that it goes just a few seconds after our title. Now, select Preview. Note that the title covers our content.
We are going to use something called Alpha channel masking. Click on the title in our time line, select Clip from our menu, then Video, and finally Transparancy. Since we want our white background to be transparent,we will select a white alpha matte.
We can see a preview of our title immediately in the sample window.
Our movie is looking pretty good at this point, but it is a little dry. We could add it a bit of narration to make it more engaging. This also might help in retention of information, appealing to those that learn audibly as well as those that learn visually.
Bring in the narration file "amelia.wav". It is a short audio clip that helps set up the scene.
Drop this into our audio time line, on audio track "A". We can now use preview to check out the whole project.
One final note about audio -- if you choose to add in background music, you should make it really in thebackground. We can adjust audio levels of our audio track by dragging the level line up or down to adjust volume. Note that clicking in the middle of a audio line sets a point; you use these to adjust gain up or down, to do such things as a fade in/fade out, audio swell, etc.
Okay, we are done. We are now ready to create a finished version of our completed movie. First, we need to set the defaults for our output file. We can do this from the Clip menu. Selecting Video will bring up this requestor.
Since we will be creating a file that we will be compressing with RealMedia, we won't use any video compression here, to preserve image quality. The drawback to this is that the outputted file will be fairly large.
We can go the pull down inside this requestor, and change the audio settings. These settings happen to match those of our audio file, so it won't be recompressed. It is important to note that the resolution is set to 16bit, which is required for the RealMedia encoder.
Now, we can go the File menu, and select "Export", and select "Movie".
We can now save out our movie file, preferably to a place where there is a bit
of spare drive space.
It's a wrap.....but not quite. We still need to compress our clip with the RealMedia encoder. But that part is easy.......
|When you first run the RealMedia Encoder, you will get their helpful wizard. After using it exactly one time, you can save yourself time by not using it.Select "Skip", and even better, select the check box that disables it.|
You will now get the RealMedia Encoder's main screen. You can set everyting here. First open your video clip you just created, by going to the "File" menu. Fill out all the fields, select "Multi-Rate SureStream", and if you are using the free version of RealEncoder, pick two Target Audience bandwidth settings. The Plus and Pro versions will lie you select as many bandwidth target settings as you need. However, realistically, 4 settings is usually enough to meet most of your audience's needs. If you are using the free encoder, 56k and Dual ISDN are decent compromis settings.
Now, select "Start", to encode your content. This shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes.
You are now done! To link in your content, follow the same directions as for linking in Streaming Audio content -- the RealMedia streaming encoder handles both content the same.