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Basic Video Editing & Camcorder Recycling Tips

In our News & Technology segment, forget the paid political commercials, YouTube has pols in their real element, uncut and uncensored. Derek and Mark will tell you about that as well as the latest news on the AMD and ATI merger... they'll also have some more news from Adobe and Apple and tell you why you won't be seeing Vista Inside your new computer this holiday season.

In our Tips & Techniques segment... The "Holiday Season" is when most new camcorder purchases are made. If you're planning to upgrade, Brian Peterson and Mark Mongomery have some camcorder recycling tips to bring new life to that old faithful instrument. They'll also look at a couple quick editing tricks.

In this week's "Take 20" Jennifer and Charlie look at a well-produced video that you'll want to play over and over again to see "how did he DO that" when they show you "100% Compatible" video about self-duplication by John Fischer of Burnsville Minnesota.

In our new "HANDS ON" Matt York and Charlie open up a new Gateway Workstation and check under the hood.

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Video Transcript

Basic Video Editing & Camcorder Recycling Tips Brian Peterson: Hi, I’m Brian Peterson. Mark Montgomery: And I'm Mark Montgomery. Brian Peterson: And this is Tips and Techniques. Mark Montgomery: Tips and Techniques. Brian Peterson: We’ve got a real basic one. We’re going to start with, we vary things up a little bit here. We do some that are more advanced, some are more basic, and, we had some requests for a real basic, real simple one. And, editing. We’re going to cover editing. Mark Montgomery: Yeah. Basics are not bad, I mean- Brian Peterson: Not bad. Mark Montgomery: For people who are doing professional work it’s good to reinforce those basic level theories and concepts. Brian Peterson: Absolutely. So, you know, the first part is, and this probably makes a larger question. Most of us have spent way too much time, or at least time that we won’t admit to wasting, watching YouTube and certain alcove online video, partly anything of it is edited. Mark Montgomery: Yeah. Brian Peterson: So it brings a question, why even edit at all? Mark Montgomery: Yeah, I mean, you do have to ask that. And unfortunately, you know, the democratization of video has also brought a lot of non editors, just, non edited content. Brian Peterson: Right. Mark Montgomery: So, there’s a little bit of suffering. So, maybe, that’s actually real meaningful technique. Brian Peterson: Makes a good topic. So, let’s talk about the very basics. What is the world we’re looking for when we’re trying to edit? At a very high level, what are we trying to do? Mark Montgomery: Well, I mean, basically select the good parts of what you’re trying to do from the bad parts, so you know, eliminate those bad takes obviously. But it’s more than that. It’s also bringing to life the story you want to tell. So, and you can do it in so many different ways. Is there more you wanted to add to that? Brian Peterson: You know, I don’t think so, I don’t think so. Yeah, it’s keep the good stuff, take the bad stuff. So, okay, that’s our high level there. So, we’ll dig down a little bit deeper than that. I think a lot of people started with editing back in the old days, learning how to edit in camera. And, that’s really more about the shooting style where you really shoot what it is you want to show. And then of course, with non linear editing and computer skim long, we really now all have that flexibility of doing the refinement, and so that’s the next level we need to go, probably, with this. Mark Montgomery: Right. That just brings up something to mind, with new technology we have, sometimes it’s easy to get distracted from refinement and go into the special effects folder and throwing things in. Brian Peterson: Throwing things in, yes. Mark Montgomery: I think we’ll want to talk about that later. Brian Peterson: Okay. Mark Montgomery: In the next discussion, but it’s what just popped into my mind. That, yeah, we’re just focusing on refining your story, your editing decisions. Brian Peterson: Right. So let’s just start with how people can start with basic editing, and pretty much any computer right now comes with the ability to edit video. Mark Montgomery: Right. I think we’ve got to mention Windows Movie Maker, which is the basic of basic editing applications. But it’s powerful enough to do basically that, refine, take out the good and leave, take out the bad and leave the good. Brian Peterson: No, I’ve seen some of the videos do that too. There is an art to this. But Movie Maker provides everything you need to make really, to do cuts, some dissolves, being able to look kind of into the story board format, versus, and, and a timeline format. So it does give you a lot of power, albeit being a very, very simplified package. So, certainly you’ll hit the ceiling pretty quickly once you start wanting to get more from those refined features, like color correcting, and everything. Have you worked in a Movie Maker? Mark Montgomery: Yeah, I have actually. I’ve done a little bit of Movie Maker, and like we said, as far as cutting and pasting, you can do that. And I’m sure more, audio tracks you can actually throw in, music, and another track for dialog, or a voiceover. So those tools are becoming more powerful as well. iMovie for Macintosh. I think, I don’t want to say it’s a step up, but I think they kind of altered more tools into that. Still really basic editor, but another free software application that ships with your computer. What else do we have? Brian Peterson: Well, you know, most people tend to want to go a little bit more than that, so there’s a variety of editing packages that range from, you know, sub 100, of course Adobe just came out with the latest version of Premiere elements, and with, you know, a fantastic package for the sub $100 category. All the way up to, it goes kind of sub 100 to mid 100, to up like 4 and 6, it kind of jumps there pretty quick. But the standards for a lot of people in a kind of pro consumer range when you say it’s either final cut by Apple, and Premier Pro, which is actually NTSC version. Those are the two that kind of balance out the large percentage of users. Mark Montgomery: And there’s others, like Sony Vegas. Brian Peterson: Absolutely. Mark Montgomery: And when you said, actually, introducing these high end packages, you also enter in, and this is beyond conversation about editing, but you said editing features like DVD authoring, and even Premiere elements 3.0, has got pretty robust DVD authoring program inside, so, the more you spend, you’re also going to get tools outside of the scope of what the traditionally video editing is all about. Brian Peterson: But, you know, underscoring in the basic editing environment, you’re just looking for really, a couple of things, the ability to navigate really well, and the ability to make your cuts and dissolves as easy as possible. Now, we’ve thrown out there estimates of how much of your cuts, how much of your project should be cuts, and I think everybody says, yes, between 95 and 99.99%. In other words, a good story can be told with simply using cuts. Mark Montgomery: Yeah. I think people are, especially when they’re beginning to edit, and we’ve talked about this, start bringing in other transitions, so recently a Page Puel, and the who sent us their video, and that’s the trouble with these editing softwares. They like to spice things up and throw in additional effects. And we caution everybody against using those, just because cuts is all you need. And really, transitions or, you know, cut points are about making that transition from one clip to another as seamless, and not drawing attention to it. Brian Peterson: Exactly. And a Page Puel draw attention to itself. There are certain instances when that’s motivated, there’s a reason for it, but again, that’s 0.01% of the time. Mark Montgomery: Right. Brian Peterson: So, cut, just go to any movie and you’re going to see cuts just about every time dissolved every once in a while, that would be the second most frequent usually in turns of trying to change location, time is a great use of a dissolve, so there are a couple of good reasons why you do dissolve. But it’s cuts almost all the time. Mark Montgomery: Right. Brian Peterson: What about B-roll, what about getting extra footage? Mark Montgomery: B-roll, yeah, B-roll is important for several reasons. One- Brian Peterson: Why don’t you first explain what it is? Mark Montgomery: Oh, yeah, yeah. So you’ve got basically an A-roll, which all people are using the A-roll, but B-roll is basically a visual representation of what you’re trying to show that’s not actually the main subject. So, we might cut to, for some reason, a bird flew into the scene, and we didn’t want people, we’re distracted by that. We captured maybe this, my hands working, close-up, this, and may be shot later. So, that’s what B-roll, it can save a shot, and it can also just be used to add more, the animated side of story. Brian Peterson: Absolutely. Usually spiced with close-ups, B-roll can be just about anything. It is very, very much a series of shots, and that really is what kind of B-roll is. Incorporating that, and how to incorporate that really takes your editing to the next level. And it’s not a huge step, but when you’re shooting, try to think of those other things. Think B-roll. And I think you’ve find to open up a lot more opportunities just for flexibility. That when you’re editing. Audio – easy to forget about that when you’re primarily consumer, or at least concerned with telling a good story, but audio plays a huge role in the editing process. Mark Montgomery: Right. Brian Peterson: Now, we know, there’s really two ways to handle this. You can edit in the editing package that you’re working with, or, you can export the audio as an independent clip, to another third party piece of software, and then bring it back. That’s a little bit more advanced, but just to know that there’s those two different ways of doing it. Mark Montgomery: Right. And that’s the way traditionally editing technique that was first developed. I mean, everything on film had to be separate. You know, you weren’t recording audio on your film. So, that’s a technique that’s been around since the advent of shooting films. And now, with kind of digital editing software evolution, you can actually do this in your application, so, more powerful tools. But that also tends to make it easy to neglect audio as well. Oh, it’s already in there, you don’t have to worry about it. Brian Peterson: And, for the most part, we’re going to suggest to at least at this level, as long as it’s not distracting, don’t worry about it, wouldn’t you say? Mark Montgomery: Yeah, yeah, as long as you thought about recording audio and it sounds good, then you can actually just leave it be, as you’re just first learning how to do it, but there’s lot of techniques to sweeten your audio, and make it sound better. Brian Peterson: All right, we’re going to move on, and we’re going to move on pretty quick. We’re going to talk about what to do with your old camcorder, because some, you know, we’re all transitioning, we’re all in some transition, and now, of course, lot of people are moving to high definition, HD, or HDV, and lot of us are going to have old camcorders. And we’re not going to know what to do with them. Mark Montgomery: Right. Brian Peterson: What do you do with yours? Mark Montgomery: I’ve got an old camcorder, that actually I’m going to keep, this is probably not a good example for this conversation. Brian Peterson: Okay, let’s not talk about you then. Mark Montgomery: Oh, yeah. Brian Peterson: Okay, that is an option, of course, you can keep it and use it as you know, an archive. So you’re going to have old tapes and such, and if you do move to HD, frankly that’s a good one, you’re going to keep your old camcorder and probably use it just to play out your old format of tapes. But, there’s another two big areas. You can give it away, of course, so you feel good and help a lot of people. Or you can do some pretty high risk uses with your camcorder. But give it away, couple of good places to give it away. You’ve got community college, you’ve got local theatre groups to give it to, football coach or soccer coach to give it to, who else to give it to? Mark Montgomery: I think you’ve covered some of the big ones. Brian Peterson: You know, lot of us have friends who are into film making, and you can certainly give it to them. Of course, the downside to giving it to someone you know, is that you kind of have to play the de facto tech support on that. The other is, you may not like the result of, let’s say, a budding author. So, you kind of lose control over that, and your camcorder was involved in maybe an exhibit B, you never know. So, anyway, those are kind of the downsides. The other side, and I think is kind of cool, we probably have done this, or at least thought about doing this, is the high risk stuff. You know, the camcorder on a rope sort of thing. You can stick it in hot air balloons, you know, we’ve seen a couple of those. Mark Montgomery: Yeah, we’ve talked about, a kite cam. Brian Peterson: Yeah, stick it on a kite and get it up there. Mark Montgomery: You know, there’s a lot of opportunities, under water video that you might not take with a brand new camcorder. Brian Peterson: Yeah, you know, that baggy that you might not be absolutely sure is secure. But a couple of real practical applications would be if you’re working, say, on a homemade mount, you want to get a shot, a low shot on, say either a bike, a motorcycle, or a car, again, rocks and everything can damage nice new camcorder. But again, if it’s a camcorder that you’re going to get rid of anyway, that can be some really dynamic footage, and hey, if it gets broken, Mark Montgomery: Yeah. Brian Peterson: Then you give it to the coach. So, anyway, just think about what you can do with your old camera before you just put it up to Ebay, of course, that’s always an option. But there are some really legitimate uses. And the quality of the video doesn’t always need to be spot on to match, you can even find a way to incorporate it into high definition footage. If the footage is so compelling, then it really doesn’t matter. Mark Montgomery: Yeah, if it’s really unique angle, and something you wouldn’t capture otherwise, go for it. Brian Peterson: All right. That’s Tips and Techniques, thanks for joining us, we’ll see you next time.