Editor's Letter: Making video is a lot easier than it used to be

Until recently, a typical home computer was not capable of editing video. The power to create television programs has been in the hands of a chosen few. Most people that had access to video editing tools were either employed in the television industry or they were "techies" that configured their own gear. Now, anyone with a properly configured computer can create a TV show that may be as good as some of the shows that we receive on our televisions.

Editing video with a computer is not new, it’s just much easier to execute than it used to be. The key product for computer video editing is a digitizing card. Although many computer owners have installed peripherals and cards in their computers, video digitizers have been one of the most challenging items to install. Digitizing cards tend to conflict with many things in a typical PC.

In 1999, computer video editing has gone main stream. More companies are manufacturing video digitizers and the competition amongst these companies has lead to easier installation. However, installing a digitizer is not something that I’d recommend to people that have little experience installing things in their computers, because it is still somewhat complex. For those people I recommend buying a computer that is "ready to edit video." This year, several leading computer companies launched new models of machines that are configured to edit video right out of the box. Compaq, IBM, Sony and Apple all offer computers that can have you editing video within minutes after setting the machine onto a desk.

We take photos and shoot video to share stories. We have experiences that we want to remember. The problem is that without editing the video, the story is hard to view. Most camcorder users are unskilled. They shoot many shots that are simply rejects. Without editing those shots out the story is sometimes so cumbersome to watch that the person that made the video is embarrassed to share it. Often the people that do view it, wished that it wasn’t shared. Our vacations and our children’s antics are examples of "compelling content" for us who shot it. Even without editing, we are willing to "look through" poor videography skills to see a story. But our friends do not feel so compelled. The vacations and kids are not theirs. They need to be moved by a well-edited story.

Now that computers enable users to easily edit video, their stories will be more enjoyable to view. Not only will we edit our vacations and "home movies" on our computers, we will be able to tell other stories with video. There are many stories that we may need to tell where the content is not even compelling for ourselves. The stories I am referring to are things like:


  • Your house and belongings (for a potential insurance claim).

  • A high school report on the homeless population in your town.

  • A report for your boss on why you need another staff member.

  • A video about your church and why people should consider joining.

  • A public service announcement about puppies at the animal shelter.

  • A video for your city council on why you need a traffic light on your corner.

  • A training video for new employees so that you can spend less time repeating yourself.

Making video on computers will change the way that we tell stories. It will also change the things that we view on television. And now, making high-quality video at home is easier and cheaper than ever. Still need convincing? Keep reading. This special issue of Videomaker will show you what you need to get started in the world of computer video, teach you what you need to know and give you tons of tips and techniques to insure your success. Happy video making!

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