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Archive for June, 2012

A Guide to Video Editing: Know the Basics Before You Start

Friday, June 29th, 2012

2088522072_d4f982d952_nIn the old days, video editing consisted of taking the footage you liked and copying it onto another tape called the assembly or edit tape. Then, graphics, titling, music and voiceover would be added and blended in with the select footage. This process is called tape-to-tape editing. The problem with tape-to-tape editing is quality and the time it takes to revise. It’s just like when you make a copy of something on a copy machine, then make a copy from the copy, then make another copy of the last copy… three generations later, it’s looking pretty bad. Today video editing is done using computers. The quality is far better than tape-to-tape editing because there is no generation loss.

But, before you begin the editing process, you need to prepare for the edit session by doing a paper edit. This is a technique of pre-editing, where copies of the original masters are transferred onto VHS tape or DVD with time code numbers visible at the bottom of the screen. The performer, producer or director watches all the footage and makes editing notes using the time codes as reference numbers (which are also on the master tapes). These notes will help speed up the actual edit.

If the producer finds a clip to be used in the final edit, they note the “in point” by the SMPTE time code number that is displayed at the bottom of the screen at the very moment where the clip is to begin. The SMPTE time code number will look something like this: 01:21:15:04. The 01 = the hours, the 21 = the minutes, the 15 = the seconds and the 04 represents the frames.

You can pause the tape at the in or out point so you can be more accurate when writing down the number. A paper edit might look like this: 01:21:11 (begin out with) “it wasn’t really the time of year, but maybe it was” (back into program at 01:21:22); 01:34:07 (begin out with) “she was stunning” (back into the program at 01:34:11 after breath); Pick up with “She really made them look bad” … you get the idea. It’s a way of scripting all the changes you want before spending money on an hourly basis in the studio trying to figure it out. It ‘s well worth the money to get window dubs of your raw footage to do a paper edit.

Do not be concerned with the frames — they move so quickly that you will never be able to read the numbers accurately. Video plays at the rate of 30 frames per second. This is why the frame numbers move so quickly. When 30 frames go by, one second is added to the seconds column; when 60 seconds go by, a minute is added, and so on. Video and audio reference lines or scenes are also noted. These notes will help immensely when in the studio edit. Loading it into a computer digitizes the selected footage. The clips are then assembled onto a timeline until they are in the right order. Computer graphics (titling [producer term]) are then added as necessary. Another advantage of computer editing is that the clips can be moved around easily to view your clip order or section options. This is not possible in tape-to-tape editing.

It’s a good idea to check references and view samples of previous work when deciding on a studio to edit with. Video edit studios come in all shapes and price ranges. The average cost per hour for an AVID Premier Pro or Final Cut Pro system is $150. As the quality goes up, so does the price, up to as much as $400 per hour with all the bells and whistles. I once knew of a professional speaker that spent $100,000 on a video brochure! He went to the top of the line broadcast production facility to produce his video. This was absolute overkill, especially without a producer. Remember, when looking for an editor, check out their previous work. See how quick they are, for a good editor is worth their hourly rate.

photo credit: Alan on the Dials via photopin (license)

Audio Editing: Basics to Know Before You Start

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

41569913_ac861cfb6b_nSince you just saved yourself a bundle getting that killer taping done properly, you can now send the raw master to a production company for editing and packaging. The steps that are needed for completion include the editing (removal of unwanted spoken material, stutters and noises in audio and extraneous visuals and adding graphics in video), professional voice introduction and conclusion, and music. Also, for a music product, you need mix down and overdubs. In this blog post I’ll dive into audio editing.

Audio Editing

The recording is loaded into a computer so that it can be edited and processed for optimum sound. Back in the old days we used to record onto and edit 1⁄4” reel-to-reel tape. To edit, you had to visualize words or song going by the playback head until you had the right spot. Then you would mark it with a grease pencil and cut it with a razor blade. Once both spots were cut, the two sections were then taped back together for the new sound. It was quite humorous to watch people’s amazement as they listened to the edit. I guess I took it for granted because I did it so much. Now that I can look back I guess it was pretty impressive.

Today this is all done in a computer, which is equally amazing. My favorite part about computer editing is being able to see the sound waves on the screen, just as I used to imagine the words flashing across the playback head when I was razor editing.

On average, it can take three hours of editing to clean up one hour of spoken word recording. This does not count the time it takes to load the recorded material into the computer. Ask yourself is how perfect do you want the product. I have seen musicians spend way too much time editing different takes of songs together only to find that their studio bill had skyrocketed and that Take Three was pretty good.

I have edited with professional speakers who edit every flaw and flub to the point of no return, spending more like ten hours editing per every hour of recorded material. You have to ask yourself, is it worth it? Save yourself a lot of time and expense and stick to clean-up editing.

I have even worked with comedians who edited punch lines because the audience response was better in the 7 PM recording but the delivery of the joke was better in the 10 PM recording. Plan your recording and do not try to make it too perfect or you may never have a product.

The going rate for audio studio time is anywhere from $85 to $165 per hour, depending on the market. Video is $150 to $300 per hour. These rates may seem high, but they are necessary because there are a lot of expenses involved in running a studio and providing good customer service.

photo credit: Alan on the Dials via photopin (license)

Why Video Can Let You Communicate Like Nobody Else

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Video has become a social epidemic. Not only have I seen this pattern develop but statistics from the world’s largest host of video content, YouTube, support my argument. The information (obtained from the blog Engage and YouTube) is mind blowing, so proceed at your own risk:

  • 60 hours of video are uploaded every minute, or one hour of video is uploaded to YouTube every second.
  • Over 4 billion videos are viewed a day
  • Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month
  • Over 3 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube
  • More video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the 3 major US networks created in 60 years
  • 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US
  • YouTube is localized in 39 countries and across 54 languages
  • In 2011, YouTube had more than 1 trillion views or almost 140 views for every person on Earth

5981786689_93d540135b_nHere is what this means for you. With all this Internet video activity, you and your business can take part in this information stream.  Since there are so many Internet users who post video, there are even more Internet users who view that video.  No longer do you have to be a television station to create programming and thought leaders are content creators.

You can showcase your thought leadership instantly to the entire world through professionally produced video content. Your words, thoughts and strategies no longer have to be read exclusively on blog posts/articles, resumes and biographies; they can be viewed in professionally produced, informative and creative video.

Once your video is produced, you can publish that video on YouTube and other video-based social networks so more people know about your programming in less time. Traditionally, television programming was promoted using preview commercials (“teasers”), a television guide and newspaper listings.  Today more people get their information and news from social networks like Facebook and Twitter than any other source.  As a thought leader, you have the sight and sound of video production, publishing and promotion at your fingertips!  How powerful is that?

Here’s more good news: when people view video content on the Internet, they actively watch and experience fewer interruptions than when watching television.  In theory, computer users actively focus and participate when viewing content on the Internet.  Internet video plays an extremely important role not only in positioning you and your company as thought leaders, but also to connect you to a global audience who needs the information that you share. As you use video to connect with people, you’re building your fan base and expanding your reach further than you could using any other medium.

Over almost 3 decades, I have realized and observed many changes with regard to video. For years video was on a variety of physical tape formats. Video quality outside a broadcast environment was terrible, and costs to the consumer to make even the simplest of video programs were high.

Today the game has changed and I largely believe we have hit the tipping point for video.  Because video production has become so readily available and affordable, everyone can participate.  No longer do various digital tape formats hinder one’s ability to become actively producing content to share and help position them and their company as though leaders in their industry.

There is video to help us figure out how to replace parts on computers, video to help us understand what a company does, video to entertain and inform, video to teach and sell. As I write this blog post, I cannot think of anything that I cannot learn from viewing video.

Yes, we have hit the tipping point with video.  I believe video is the number one communications tool available today.  I also believe people expect and prefer video to communicate. Video can teach and inform better than live interaction. One such example is people who have Autism or children with learning disorders.  I have spoken to teachers from around the world who tell me about students that will not pay attention to their live instruction but will watch a video and focus like never before.  There is something about video that helps these individuals ‘tune in’ and learn like never before.  Video has permanency and consistency.  No other communications tool can last forever and consistently deliver the same message again and again.

Search engines and especially potential customers favor websites that use video effectively to explain their brand, message and anything else worth communicating Websites that effectively use professionally created and produced video have a higher perceived value than websites that use only text to communicate.

Instead of having to read several paragraphs of copy, which takes time and imagination, video communicates with sight and sound which communicates more vividly.  Professional produced creative video uses your theories and ideas and shows the viewer relevance to our lives using sight and sound.

I have personally gone to websites and found a video as the only communication content on that page. In two minutes or less, I can learn everything that I need to know by watching that video–saving myself an enormous amount of time trying to read the text only copy. There is no better way to illustrate a particular point/bring a point to life, and to introduce people to the site’s owner. I can communicate with sight and sound faster than scanning a site to look for answers and understand what the site/service/product is about.

It is never too late to get on the video bandwagon to help promote your business and position you as a thought leader in your industry. Begin professionally producing your video intellectual property and professionally publishing on all Internet platforms. Promote your videos with press releases and social media to build your Internet brand and gain friends and followers. I can attest that video will help your business grow because I have experienced this phenomenon first hand with both of my forensic businesses, VideoForensicExpert.com and AudioForensicExpert.com, as well as PrimeauProductions.com. Video is the best display of perceived value above anything else available to you today.

Click below to watch a video of Ed Primeau showing examples of how Internet video can help you with marketing.

photo credit: VFS Summer Intensive Programs 2011 via photopin (license)

How to Create Quality Video Without Distractions

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

file0001607178880Keeping the camera in manual focus, using a tripod, and considering your background will help you produce a quality video. Following these three tips can save you from producing video with elements that distract the viewer.

Keep the camera in manual focus.
You also want to be sure your camera is in manual focus. If it is in auto focus, you will notice the focus changing constantly during your taping. The auto focus constantly adjusts the focus and can be confused instead of accurate. When you move, it will move. The worst part is that it moves more than you do. This will make your video blurry at times. Instead, put your camera in manual focus, zoom in all the way to where you will be standing, grab the manual focus mechanism and adjust accordingly. Once it is set, you’re ready to go!

Use a tripod.
This almost goes without saying — use a tripod. If you are really concerned with quality but will only shoot one program, rent a good tripod. Like in the music world where speakers make the system, in video the tripod makes the video. A crummy tripod will give you a crummy video. A good tripod will allow for smooth, fluid movement instead of jerky, bumpy movement.

Consider your background.
You never, ever want to shoot your video with your subject against a wall. Your subject should be six to ten feet away from the wall behind them. This will give the video some depth of field. When you shoot video with less than six feet behind the subject, the footage will look flat and you will experience shadows. This will be distracting and unprofessional.

I have a motto in life: it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Borrow (on your time and dime) some plants or other backdrop type of subject matter. Get creative because what you see is what you get! I shot a video for Bob Eubanks (formerly of Newlywed Game fame) in Indianapolis for a video brochure. I introduced myself to the banquet manager and informed him that I needed the stage to look good for the video. We created a beautiful stage using plants, a couple of nice looking chairs and an end table from the lobby. I simply tipped him $20 and he was as happy as a clam.

Now, it won’t always be this easy. Sometimes you will have to work a bit harder but it will be worth the effort. The background is very important when shooting video. It’s just as important as good sound, good lighting and good picture quality.

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