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- May 23, 2008 at 10:27 PM #38179AnonymousInactive
I’m new to making videos. I took a class a know some very basic stuff about shooting and editing. I worked with the programs Final Cut Pro and Soundtrack Pro. I’d like to buy my own set of videomaking equipment. All I know is that you need a Deck, a Camera, and a Computer with the right programs. If anyone has any suggestions on what kind of Camera/Deck/Computer thats good for beginners to start making movies please let me know.
- May 23, 2008 at 11:38 PM #168105
I wouldn’t know about a deck, but I started with a PC running Windows XP and an Aiptek Media Recorder (video camera and audio recorder in one). The Editing software I used was Windows Movie Maker.
Then, I moved to a Mac with Final Cut Pro anda Canon XH-A1 camera for college projects.
What your askingthough, is a very subjective question. It’s all up to you and what you want. I’d suggest researchingand “window” shopping around, looking at what there is.Some people like one thing, and others swear by something else.
- May 23, 2008 at 11:59 PM #168106AnonymousInactive
First of all, video decks are unnecessary for the majority of editing applications. It has been replaced by the DVD, which is generally part of the computer. Everything else depends on what you’re hoping to do and how much you’re willing to spend to do it.
Let’s start with the camcorder. What are you going to be videotaping? Kids up a tree, relatives on stage, the next independent smash hit, a documentary on turn signals, whatever you are shooting is going to determine the features you will need. Tape, DVD, flash memory or hard drive are all good choices for recording video. Which is best for you? How are we going to know? And the decision trees go on & on, DV or HDV, one chip or three chip, etc.
Now the computer would appear to be easier to select. It seems to depend mainly on what you want to spend, laptop or desktop, serious editing requires a dedicated NTSC video monitor but home movies are fine without one, are you a PC person, a Mac maniac or a linux lover, how are you planning to archive your source & master footage. The only thing easier about selecting your computer is that all the brands will offer computers with all the various configurations you decide you’ll need. But none of them are inherently better for beginners.
Now since I’ve been teaching video to ordinary folks for the past twenty years or so, I’m guessing your answer to the question of what you’re planning on shooting is, “I’m not sure, maybe a bit of everything.” If that’s the case, it really doesn’t matter what you choose. You can select equipment that will look good in the closet because that’s where it generally ends up. Video production can be difficult & demanding. Or a joy at every moment of your production process. If your tools are awkward or difficult to operate, chances are you won’t keep at it. So if you’re not sure what your primary subjects will be, look for equipment that fits your lifestyle. Try to find a camcorder that is comfortable in your hands, where the buttons are right where you expect them and has the right mix of auto & manual controls.
There is no particular outfit “thats good for beginners to start making movies” for everyone. It is all very personal. But the place to start is with your camcorder. Think about format issues to start out. If you don’t already have a high-def television, will a HDV camcorder be an asset or just confusing? People shooting huge amounts of raw footage that will be archived are best served with a tape based system. But impatient or folks in a hurry would do better with either flash memory or hard drive recording. You have to think about what you want to do. And if you’re still not sure what you will be shooting, what makes you think you’ll know any better after you’ve spent a ton of money on video equipment?
But if you need advice concerning the relative value of different options for the kind of videos you’re hoping to make, the folks on this site are absolute killers. They’ll point out problems or usefulness in areas neither of us has even thought about. So your instincts have been good, you just need to focus in on what is important TO YOU.
- May 24, 2008 at 1:34 AM #168107AnonymousInactive
I’m used to using Final Cut Pro at our school, but I don’t even have a mac. I’m not to sure about what programs to download for WindowsXP except Movie Maker which doesn’t seem that good anyway. I understand what you mean when you say to choose a Camcorder that fits perfect for you, but even if I do buy a decent camcorder how will I put it on a computer to edit it? I guess what I’m saying is I need some guidelines on a Camcorder and editing program. I don’t exactly know what kind to get that will have the right automatic and manuel controls and be able to be downloaded on to a computer. If you have any more suggestions or advice please let me know.
- May 24, 2008 at 2:37 AM #168108
I’m used to using Final Cut Pro at our school, but I don’t even have a mac. I’m not to sure about what programs to download for WindowsXP except Movie Maker which doesn’t seem that good anyway.
You shouldn’t have to download Movie Maker for XP. It’s free because it’s already on there(click on Start>Programs>Accesories), which is probably one reason it isn’t so good. I’m aWindows guy. My favorite softwareis Sony Vegas. You can get afree, 30-daytrial of Vegasfrom http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com
I understand what you mean when you say to choose a Camcorder that fits perfect for you, but even if I do buy a decent camcorder how will I put it on a computer to edit it?
Some cameras hook up to the computer by a cable known as “Firewire”. I personally have a camera that hooks up by USB cable, which I like a lot.With USB, you plug it in and a window comes up where youcan move or copy files to your computer harddrive.
Then in Final Cut,you would go in and select File>Import…you get the idea. In Vegas, it’s not actually like that. Vegas has no “Browser” window, you just grab your files right off your hard drive using the “Explorer” tab and throw ’em on the timeline. I like it because there’s no “importing”, unless you havea giganticfile where your computer has to think for a bit.
Hope this helps and isn’t too confusing. Chris
- May 24, 2008 at 2:56 AM #168109
As BarefootMedia said, everybody on here are “absolute killers” at good suggestions and stuff. Look around and learn. I got into video 15 months ago and through reading magazines, websites, books and taking a years worth of college classes and I’mstarting to getpretty good.
I’m still looking for the “best possible camera”. I’m beginning to think it’s like a medieval knight’s quest: “Farewell my lady, I am off to seek the perfect camera.” LOL! Good luck on that one.
- May 24, 2008 at 9:00 PM #168110AnonymousInactive
What kind of plug in do you need for Sony Vegas on Windows XP? Does it have to be Firewire or can it just be a regular USB plug-in?
- May 25, 2008 at 6:11 PM #168111AnonymousInactive
First, lets get our nomenclature straight. USB & Firewire are ports, more specifically they are IO ports (for Input/Output.) A plug-in is a software package the “plugs in” to another program to add extra features or controls to that program. Plug-in’s I use on Vegas add a cartoon effect to the standard video effects of Vegas and another helps automate the process of multi-cam editing. To use Vegas itself, requires neither any plug-in’s nor any IO ports. Once the video has been captured to the hard drive, you just add the media to the media bin through a file selection box. (There are a couple of IO port possibilities I’ll describe in a moment.)
I think chrisColorado is able to use his USB 2.0 port to capture real-time full-frame video because his OS is Vista. I’m using XP and I’ve been unsuccessful in capturing anything except “web” video through my USB 2.0 port. My theory has been that none of my camcorders are equipped to send NTSC DV out of the USB port. And all of my software seems to acknowledge video only through the Firewire (or IEEE-1394) port. But the point here is that you can capture your video with one program and import the video files into Vegas. I find a program called DVgate my preferred capture option (it was included on my Sony VAIO’s.) But Vegas does have an included plug-in that will capture video (thru the Firewire port) and let you “print to tape” your finished programs. There is nothing wrong with the plug-in, I just prefer the features I get with DVgate for both capture & “printing to tape.”
So if you don’t want to fool around trying to locate software to do your video IO through the USB 2.0 port, you will require a Firewire port on your computer. In addition, even the cheapest consumer versions of Vegas provide a feature I find essential to video production. Vegas can send the program out signal to a video monitor via the Firewire port. This enables you to see what your program will look like on an actual TV screen, by far the best way to judge colors & contrast. Although you can buy video monitors with a Firewire input, I find it easier (and cheaper) to run the Firewire to my camcorder (set in the play position) and use the video outs on the camcorder to connect the monitor. The first time you add text graphics that look great on the computer screen but are unreadable on a TV screen, you’ll know the value of video monitoring during the post process.
And that’s why I always recommend having a Firewire port on computers running an NLE (esp. Vegas.) Even if you don’t use it for video capture, it is the most frequent port used for video program displays. Pus my somewhat limited research on the issue indicates that every new DV (or HDV) camcorder has a Firewire port, there appears to be many that don’t support full-frame NTSC video through the USB port. But this is definitely a factor in flux right now. USB 2.0 is just as fast as standard Firewire, so getting the option to use either port will be common fairly soon. But if you want to use some footage your uncle shot on Digital8, your only option will be Firewire.
So here’s the brass tacks. I know of no digital camcorders that don’t have a Firewire port. And it seems the majority of computers now come with a IEEE-1394 (or Firewire) port. So I’m thinking you won’t need to search around to find a camcorder & computer that can’t communicate through the Firewire port. But I cannot say the same thing about USB ports. I can say that it is unlikely you will find camcorders that communicate only through the USB 2.0 port for at least several years. So the Firewire port will always be available through the life of your hardware.
Hope this helps. If I’ve raised questions or confused you on any point, let me know. I can explain it in several different ways.
- May 25, 2008 at 6:32 PM #168112AnonymousInactive
ok so I gota little confused when you said:
I find a program called DVgate my preferred capture option (it was included on my Sony VAIO’s.) But Vegas does have an included plug-in that will capture video (thru the Firewire port) and let you “print to tape” your finished programs
I have an XP and I don’t believe that I have a firewire port on my computer. you said
Vegas can send the program out signal to a video monitor via the Firewire port. This enables you to see what your program will look like on an actual TV screen, by far the best way to judge colors & contrast. Although you can buy video monitors with a Firewire input, I find it easier (and cheaper) to run the Firewire to my camcorder (set in the play position) and use the video outs on the camcorder to connect the monitor.
So if I buy a tv that has a firewire along with a camcorder that uses mini dv’s and firewire for windows XP and download DVgate and vegas that will work… or is there an easier way to get a good quality picture?
- May 25, 2008 at 9:37 PM #168113AnonymousInactive
No, if you don’t have a Firewire port, you can’t use it to capture video or display the program out from Vegas, no matter what kind of monitor or camcorder you buy. The critical interface is between the camcorder and the computer. If Firewire isn’t an option, you might be better off not using miniDV to acquire your source footage. There are other options.
If you have a DVD drive on your computer, you could purchase a DVD camcorder. Then just put the DVD from the camcorder into the DVD player on your computer and copy the files. (That makes it sound more simple than it is, but once you work out the details I understand it works great.) Or you could purchase a hard drive camcorder that would let you connect it to the computer via USB 2.0. Then you can copy the files to the computer hard drive, or as I understand it, just use the camcorder like a USB drive. But neither option requires you to have a Firewire port. (There is also the option of purchasing an analog-to-digital converter. I know Pinnicale & Dazzle both have a device you can connect to your computer via the USB port. But these devices are designed to convert analog video from VCR’s & older camcorders into the DV format. You would lose a lot of quality if you connected your digital camcorder to the AV inputs and I don’t think they have the capacity to take in DV from a Firewire port on a camcorder and redirect the stream to their USB out.)
But since you’re committed to your current computer that doesn’t have a Firewire port, you either need to purchase a Firewire card to go in your computer or purchase a camcorder that doesn’t need a Firewire port. Then you can download your copy of Vegas (you’ll have no need of the DVgate program) and just load your source video into Vegas using a file selection tool. Easy, peasy.
Hope I’m less confusing this time. But just keep at me until it all makes sense to you. Sometimes it’s hard to see where someone else is confused when the interconnections are so familiar to me. But I want to help and you have asked very valid questions. I know you will suddenly see the way it works and it will all make sense to you too.
- May 25, 2008 at 10:07 PM #168114AnonymousInactive
In addition, even the cheapest consumer versions of Vegas provide a feature I find essential to video production. Vegas can send the program out signal to a video monitor via the Firewire port. This enables you to see what your program will look like on an actual TV screen, by far the best way to judge colors & contrast. Although you can buy video monitors with a Firewire input, I find it easier (and cheaper) to run the Firewire to my camcorder (set in the play position) and use the video outs on the camcorder to connect the monitor.
Good Stuff. I’m setting it up now. Where were you 15 years ago when I was trying to teach myself this stuff. (or better asked, where the hell was I?)
- May 26, 2008 at 3:43 AM #168115AnonymousInactive
I do have a DVD drive… so which one is easier to use and has a better picture quality? The USB 2.0 or the DVD camcorder? Or should I invest in getting a firewire card for my computer… but I would have no idea how to put that in or I guess the computers geeks at the local stores will do that for me…
- May 26, 2008 at 4:36 AM #168116AnonymousInactive
Now you’ve got me. I’ve had no experience with either a DVD or an hard drive camcorder. From what I know of how they work, I would guess they are pretty much equal in picture quality. Both systems are writing MPG2 files, so you do have to make sure you use the highest bit-rate for encoding. That being the same, the images should be nearly identical. Hopefully someone with DVD & hard drive camcorder experience can help us out with better info than my educated guesses.
Which one is easier? Again, I’m just guessing. Well actually I’m more like extrapolating from hopefully similar experiences. I archive all my digital video on DVD’s as AVI files. So when a client wanted to update information on their PSA, all I had to do was pull my archive discs, copy the files back into the computer (including the NLE editing file) and change the text & voice-over. No problem. But when I’m editing a program, I keep all the source files on a portable USB drive. Then when I want to edit on one sute or the other, I just plug in the USB drive and I’m off. The nice thing about the USB drive is I have 250 gigs instead of 4.4 gigs per DVD. So I can transfer continuous video files of longer than 20 minutes (well 19:30) without a problem.
So here’s what I think you’ll find easiest to use in the field & in post. And the logic behind my opinion. I think I would use a hard drive camcorder so I can shoot extended scenes without having to change discs. When I record a conference or an event, I hate missing nearly a minute while I get the filled tape (or miniDVD) out of the camcorder & my blank prepped tape (or miniDVD) in and recording again. Even at the highest image quality, the hard drive camcorders have hours of recording space. So no more tape changes during a speech. Then when I’m transferring the source video to my computer, I don’t have to mess with source video on several discs. So now you know it, I’m lazy, really lazy. And importing video from hard drive camcorders via the USB port requires the least amount of effort on my part. But best of all, I don’t have to compromise on quality to be lazy. Now that’s a win-win in my book.
So what do you other folks think? Would you agree or choose another option? And I could have a faulty assumption someone could point out to me. I have to admit, I’m a bit out of my experience here. But like all fools, I’m willing to have an opinion without actual facts to support it.
- May 26, 2008 at 5:30 AM #168117AnonymousInactive
Yea but I’ve heard some not so good things about hard drive picture quality and if dvd camcorders have the same quality well then they can’t be as good so do you think I should just get a firewire card put onto my computer?
- May 26, 2008 at 3:18 PM #168118
BarefootMedia mentioned that he thought I had OS on Vista. Nope. I use XP on PC like most people I know. I don’t capture realtime video. I have no reason to. Hopefully, it didn’t sound like i said that. Oh, well.
I think Flash Media cameras are the greatest (I have one) because there’s no firewire, only USB. I would suggest mrjman get a Flash Media camera because they are so easy to use. They’re very small and don’t look “professional” but theywork great for lazy people like me. The picture quality works good enough for me. Especially when you combine it with Adobe After Effects. Magic Happens. I put my fourth film in a festival and one of the judges told me he liked the picture quality I got.
Flash Media. It’s the greatest. No tape, No Firewire, No hassle.
- May 26, 2008 at 4:19 PM #168119AnonymousInactive
what does adobe after effect do?… and how much does it cost?
- May 26, 2008 at 8:31 PM #168120AnonymousInactive
barefootdo u think i should get a firewire cardor go with hard drive?
- May 26, 2008 at 9:20 PM #168121AnonymousInactive
I’d like to throw my hat in the ring if I could…
When starting out, we used a Sony Handi-cam 1 chip DV camera with Pinnacle Studio 8.0. Over the past few years, we have steadily upgraded our video, audio, and editing equipment. The point is, just get a decent camera – doesn’t have to have all the bells & whistles. Then buy a copy of Adobe Premier Elements 4.0 or an earlier version…2.0 still works fine as a backup for us. You can find this program for less than a $100. Then try connecting all this to your computer – you may find that you will need to do some PC upgrading…video card, capture card, sticks of RAM, etc….
My point is…you may need to roll with the punches a little bit. When trying to make all this technology work together, sometimes it takes a little trial & error…..and $$$.
- May 27, 2008 at 1:12 AM #168122AnonymousInactive
whats a good soundtrack program to make music for your videos?
- May 27, 2008 at 2:35 AM #168123AnonymousInactive
whats a good soundtrack program to make music for your videos?
Try Sony Cinescore. You can get a 30 day trial version here: http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/download/trials/cinescore
- May 27, 2008 at 2:50 AM #168124AnonymousInactive
I just got Cinescore. It works flawlessly with Vegas. I tried the free download first and it was really limited in function and selection of tracks, but I can understand that. I ordered from some guy off ebay and got the full version cheap. You can generate royalty free tracks that are very custiomizable (real word?). The only thing is many of the tracks are kinda “bam-chika-wow-wow”. Nevertheless, I think it would be money well spent if you need royalty free background music.
- May 27, 2008 at 4:46 PM #168125
mrjman: Adobe After Effects can do just about any video thing you can imagine, from text effects to green screen, to 3d space stuff to making puppets out of shapes. You can do ANYTHING! especially if you combine with Photoshop/Illustrator.
I combine After Effects with Sony Vegas to make some cool stuff. Vegas has reallycool audio stuff to use. I have not usedCinescore, but Sound Forge and ACID are really cool.
To see After Effects, Vegas and ACID in action,check outmy demo reel at http://www.vimeo.com/968225
Which reminds me, any problems with my demo reel? I’ve had it up for a month or so now and still no job.
- May 28, 2008 at 3:19 AM #168126AnonymousInactive
mrjman & other fun folks,
If you ask me what is the best quality consumer (or prosumer) video acquisition, I wouldn’t hesitate to say miniDV (aka DV25) beats the pants off of even the highest bit-rate MPG2 files. When you do the real-time capture through the Firewire (aka IEEE 1394) port you can create an NTSC AVI file. These files run over 12 gigs per hour of video. As I understand it, the DVD camcorders put 30 minutes of their best quality video on the 1.4 gig miniDV’s, or less than 3 gigs per hour. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that a 12 gig file will look better than a 3 gig file of the same thing. And although I don’t know much disc space an hour of the best quality video on a hard drive camcorder would need. I’ve got the feeling it isn’t much more than the DVD camcorders need.
I suppose there are other ways to capture the miniDV video other than an IEEE 1394 (aka Firewire) port. But it would surprise me if buying a Firewire card for a desktop computer would cost anything more than any other interface. And with the camcorder connected to your computer through a Firewire port, then you can send your NTSC video program out from most NLE’s (I know Vegas does & other replies indicate other NLE’s do the same.) So I believe the Firewire port is essential for a quality conscious video producer.
When we started this thread, you were looking for a camcorder to attach to your computer, as is, with just a USB 2.0 port. As you can see, you will get the best quality images most easily input into a computer through the IEEE 1394 port. AND you have a simple route to view your actual video while you are editing it. Also something I believe essential for a quality conscious video producer.
So if you want to get the best quality video images you can, the easiest route is to get a miniDV camcorder & install a Firewire port on your desktop computer. And since you’re going to have to buy the computer card in addition to the camcorder, I’ll let you in on one of my tips on saving money on video production without compromising on quality or reliability. Purchase a reconditioned camcorder on eBay.
A few years back, I wanted a second camcorder to use with the Digital8 camcorder I was using. I purchased another Digital8 camcorder in an auction from a camera warehouse. It was newly refurbished by Sony and carried a 30 day warranty by Sony. I still use it from time to time. (After all, miniDV and Digital8 are recorded in the same DV25 format, just recorded on different tapes.) Now I wouldn’t buy a camcorder from an individual and I’m not sure I buy a used camcorder at all. But there are a lot of good choices in the refurbished category. But since they are generally not the camcorders in the stores any more, I went to the manufacturer’s web site. Under customer support, I could access a PDF of the manual. And the manual has all the specs so I made certain the camcorder had the functions and inputs & outputs I wanted.
So this is route for getting your best quality video. And by the way, the audio portion of the various video formats are identical (or can be identical.) So all the compression is all in the video image. For individuals distributing only on the web (and possibly to DVD) doesn’t have to record in the DV25 format to have the same quality on output. But since I have a higher quality image on my archive data DVD’s, at some point I’il be able to put that quality on a Blue-ray disc. So I’m not going to create anything less than I have to.
Good Luck mrjman!
- May 28, 2008 at 5:33 PM #168127AnonymousInactive
Strangely enough, there two more question raised rather off the track of this thread. But I’ll address them here anyway.
To chrisColorado, your link attaches to the opening credit sequence for an imaginary movie. A demo reel would have several examples of the work you are hoping to find. I also checked out a couple of the other videos you had posted there. If your demo is all of the stuff on the site, I have one question. You’re not serious about getting work from this material, are you? If you really want to be getting the graphic jobs you’re “promoting” on the page, I’d be happy to provide some in-depth critique. But you’ll have to ask for it.
Now let me address the issue of music for video. There are three basic routes to legal music on your video productions. You can purchase a license to use a finished piece composed by a professional. You can create your own music, most easily done by combining “loops.” Or you can combine purchasing a single song with modifying it to meet your unique situation. I have used all three methods, and will likely continue to use each according to my needs.
But to detail how to decide which method & how it works, I’m going to start a new question in the “Sound Advice” forum. If you’re curious please join in the discussion over there.
- May 29, 2008 at 12:38 AM #168128
BarefootMedia: I want to talk with you. Do you have email, or even better, a gmail account so we can use gmail chat? I’d like to hear your critiques. BTW, the credit sequence is for a real film,the fifth short film I’ve worked on. All names in the credits are real people. My address is email@example.com
- May 29, 2008 at 2:31 AM #168129AnonymousInactive
just click on his link for his website… it has his email and phone number
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