Effective video making

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by Arch, 1 Aug 2007.

  1. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Salford, UK
    Now that we're all sprouting cameras and seeing the advantages of them for campaigning and so on:


    I wonder if it would be good to have a thread here where we pool effective video editing and presentation tips. I can't claim any professional training or anything, but I've tended to get good feeback about my videos and would happily pass on the things I think about when making a vid... If we all do this, and make constructive comments, we might all become damn good little film makers!

    My main tips would be the things I learnt from preparing academic presentations in Powerpoint:

    Don't let things be too fussy. Follow KISS - keep it simple stupid.

    Pare your footage down to the minimum to make your point - you may need to keep some extra in, for context, but be selective. If need be, cut snips out (waiting at lights etc) to shorten a longer journey. It keeps the file size down, and makes videos more attractive - I'll watch something 3 mins long, but might not watch something 6 mins..

    If you use text, like credits and subtitles, keep them large and clear for easy reading. Don't get carried away with fonts and things.

    Obviously, how good your shots are is to some extent at the mercy of how quickly you have to react to something, and camera angles etc. Practice aiming the camera (if it's a helmet cam) at things - maybe while you wait at lights -and review the footage later, so that you get to know just what head angle gives you a clear shot...

    Everything I've done, has been on WindowsMovie maker - it's basic apparently but it does the job, and any Windows user should have it I think....

    Er, that's it for now... Any more?
  2. ChrisKH

    ChrisKH Veteran

    Sue 'Coppola' Archer has spoken. ;)

    I'll be lucky to get my first filmed commute uploaded (it was yesterday) without breaking something.
  3. magnatom

    magnatom Guest

    Good idea Arch (I really will have to disagree at some point!).

    I think this might be worth a sticky (ADMIN?).

    My videos are simple (i.e. just the incident) so I am not a great person to comment on this thread.

    The only thing I will add is that Windows Movie Maker is only available on Windows XP (Not sure about Vista).
  4. OP

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Salford, UK
    Admin? pah! I'm a moderator...;)

    (I'll now be spending all evening worrying that I've abused my position... If demand is to unstick it, unstick it I will...)

    I'm sure you'll have stuff to add, from experience... Techy stuff and that?

    There, you see, I didn't know that...:biggrin:
  5. Ghost Donkey

    Ghost Donkey Guest

    Are you sure you've had no training? You're spot on from what I know. I've never been an editor professionally but I used to support professional edit suites (technical monkey ;)), know editors and have taught editing basics at a university as part of a job. I've had some training when I was a student and the only thing I'd add about cutting the video down to just enough to make your point needs to be done in what may seem like a very draconian manner at first. We were always told it's like "killing your own baby". Now I have children I'd disagree but you get the sentiment.

    I believe vista comes with a new version of movie maker. Movie maker is good for helmet cam stuff but even my camcorder footage suffers in quality from using it. I only do very simple tidying but if you use a simple fade between shots (like a change of location) to smooth things out the pictures go very blocky. It's down to bad programming unfortunatley. I've not tried the vista version but it's hopefully resolved that problem.
  6. OP

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Salford, UK
    Cheers Ghost!

    No, no formal training at all - except that I suppose I've been able to transfer the skills I've used on Powerpoint presentations (and editing ordinary text, for that matter) to the medium of film. I think I just think very ruthlessly about what I would be prepared to watch. I have a friend who is sometimes makes videos and they always go on just too long, with too much repetition of shots and so on.

    This morning I got a link sent from Youtube from someone trying to video-respond to one of my clips.


    Now, there's a film that is about four and a half minutes longer than it needs to be! I kept waiting for something else to happen...

    If anyone knows of any free or cheapish movie editing programmes that go beyond Moviemaker, I'd be interested to hear, although I'm not necessarily in the market for much expense just now.
  7. Ghost Donkey

    Ghost Donkey Guest

    I think that video was basically unedited.
  8. fisha

    fisha Über Member

    It does seem to come with a different version of MovieMaker.

    As for the fade ... i dont think thats necessarily moviemaker itself, but more the codec ( or format if you will ) that you render out the final movie to. If you choose a lower data rate format, then you'll definitely loose quality all round ... especially when there is a lot changing on the screen. Video's get compressed by looking at what is changing and what is not as the frames progress. Where it isn't changing, it doesn't need as much data to represent that. When it comes to a fade, then everything at once changes, more data needed .... OR .... if you have a limited amount of data to represent the video for each frame, then the compression routine will lower the resolution of hte picture and make it blockier ( lower resolution, less data needed )

    The best output for the likes of youtube, is to render the video using the DivX codec and a 320x240 resolution. There is plenty of info on the web about rendering with a view to youtube.

    Arch, if your just splicing clips together, then WMM is OK. There is a slightly more advance program for free called Avid DV which is a real basic version of their movie editing stuff. Beyond that, I think you can get cheap versions of stuff too.
  9. Ghost Donkey

    Ghost Donkey Guest

    I think the blocky pictures is largely down to movie maker. I've tried the same tapes and camcorders with movie maker and adobe premiere on several computers including a couple of real beasts at work and tried both with a stand alone DV deck too. Premiere made it look pretty lossless in quality terms whislt movie maker had a couple of flaws. I'm not complaining too much, it's free :blush:. You'd expect blocking from an action cam but not dv tapes using movie makers highest settings. I'm pretty good with video formats, digitising etc (I worked for broadcast operations at ITV until two years ago, including post production) and computery stuff as that's how I earn my keep these days. I am known to be over picky as I used to assess the technical quality of programmes for transmission and know how to spot faults but in this case several IT colleagues can also see the problems with movie maker.
  10. fisha

    fisha Über Member

    OK - i'll have a look at movie maker and the blockiness in the near future when i dust off the DV cam for strapping it to the bike.

    My issue with the XP version was not so much the visual quality, but the audio side of things ... it just didn't seem to be able to handle an audio split properly. If I split an mp3 file, but din't adjust the start / stop times atall, when it came to play back, the mp3 would jump by a considerable margin across the split.
  11. Ghost Donkey

    Ghost Donkey Guest

    I know what you mean. The audio is very limited. We tried a few things with the audio and ended up doing things like putting the sound from the video on the second audio track just to be able to do basic stuff with it. Still, it's free and you get what you pay for etc :biggrin:.
  12. mr_hippo

    mr_hippo Living Legend & Old Fart

    Can anyone suggest an alternative to Windows Movie Maker?
  13. If you're lucky enough to have Final Cut Pro on a Mac (I have 2 at my work) there's an output for YouTube which means you get extremely high quality videos. All I need know is the damn camera!!
  14. derall

    derall Über Member

    Home Counties
    Can I ask a completely basic Q about video making - and apologies if it's been covered somewhere else already...

    Where do you put your camera? Helmet or handlebars (or somewhere else entirely?)

    I'm just back from my first outing with my new (helmet-mounted) Oregon ATC2K. An hour of pretty much un-watchable video. Too much movement in the frame. Partly down to my continual head movements as I watch for traffic, but even when my head is still there is loads of vibration shaking the camera (you can hear the rattle continuously on the audio track). Mounting strap was done up tight enough to leave an indentation in the helmet, but there's still vibration and rattle. (Poor quality roads so everything gets shaken.)

    If I move it to the handlebar there might be less vibration, but then I can't aim the camera at off-line targets. (Plus I'd imagine a higher viewpoint is generally preferable?)

    Is the handlebar or helmet the preferred mount? Anyone else have problems with vibration / shake? If so how to combat it?

    Don't be tempted by Roxio Creator Suite. To say it is counter-intuitive would be generous. Convoluted and awkward to say the least. Plus it won't handle .avi files properly when editing - I'm having to convert to mpeg4 before editing, then convert back after I'm finished. Complete waste of money I regret to say (apart from the sound editor which is quite good).

    Also - on sound, do people generally leave on or off? All I got was wind noise which even masked out most of the traffic noise. Do people tend to record and use the real sound or leave silent / add sound later?
  15. PrettyboyTim

    PrettyboyTim New Member

    Before the unfortunate demise of my ATC2K, I had it mounted on my handlebars (the mount is still there... *sniff*). There could be a fair bit of vibration, but I found it not too bad on the whole. The audio however was useless - the microphone is directly above the hole facing down on the bottom of the camera, so all it ever picked up was road rumble.
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