Videos in Easy Steps
Step 4: Video Editing
Editing your footage is the key step to producing a quality website video. This is where you put together your best “takes” or video footage to create a finished product. Your guide in this process will be the script you created earlier which will keep you and the editing process on track to deliver its intended message.
In earlier steps, we discussed keeping the video short to conserve bandwidth and speed loading times. We also discussed shooting the video clip for the small screen of your flash player.
It’s important to remember that editing involves both video and audio. Depending on the settings that you made prior to video capture when you could select whether you wanted audio and video in the same channel (DV1) or if you wanted them on seperate channels (DV2). When you start the editing process and drag the first scene to the timeline your editing software will put the video on one editing track and the audio on another if you had selected DV2. For the purpose of this article we will go with DV1.
You can take two approaches to the editing process. In the first you use your best takes from each scene and lay them out end to end on the time line, according to your script, using your editing software. You trim each scene for best effect and you add a simple transition to tie the scenes together. Perhaps you add a title or two and you’re done. It’s very much like the cut and paste, drag and drop operations that you have used in other Windows programs. It is as easy as that.
The second approach, and more exciting, is more creative editing in that you bring together additional elements to add to the footage you shot. These elements can include video footage from other sources, photographs, voice over video commentary, music, text such as headlines or bullet points and transitions. The way you choose to add those elements is the creative part and here your personality and effort will shine through.
Don’t forget that you need permission to use other people’s videos, music and photos. You can purchase photos and video clips from a site like istockphoto.com where the files come with the right to publish the files on your site. There are several such sites offering photos, videos and music clips. As an option you can do a Google search for free material and there are a number of sources that provide collections of both video and audio material.
Using video editors allows you to fix or adjust problem pieces of the video and there are several options that you can use. It depends on the situation, but you can sometimes replace or adjust problem video with special effects, cover it with scrolling text, clip the video and add photo’s or use transitions. On the other hand, if you’ve got good video but the audio sucks you can record “voice over” audio and dump the original audio.
Audio is one area where internet videos tend to be weak, especially in videos that are shot in multiple scenes. You’ll want to adjust volume levels for speech and voice narration so your viewer doesn’t have to turn it up or down to hear at a normal level. There’s nothing that will make a viewer click away faster than a video with the sound set so low you can just barely hear with your speakers cranked up.
If you are starting out with short ‘talking head’ shots then this shouldn’t be a problem especially if you are shooting in a controlled studio. If you are shooting outside with a delay between shoots then just be aware of this.
Voice over narration is a great way to spice up any video and allows you to add narration to any video. You see this all the time in TV documentaries, where the narrator is off camera and only his voice is heard. Add an audio track and narrate the video as it plays in the time line.
Use audio transitions as used in lots of videos. A video starts with background music which fades down as a narrator or the video subject’s voice fades up. You hear the opposite at the end of the videos. You adjust all this right on the audio track of your editing software. Just remember my earlier comments about overall listening volume for your viewers.
Video transitions can spice up a video, add interest, and at times be used to cover up problems. Straight cuts, fades, wipes, turn page, split half and more are the fun part of editing. They connect the end of one piece of video with the start of another. Be careful and not mix your transitions, stick with one opr two at the most otherwise your video will look amateurish and not the professional product that we are after.
Most video editing software comes with a variety of drag and drop transitions. So put a couple of pieces of video on your time line and start playing with the transitions but remember what I said about using more than a couple.
Titles and text are important in many videos. The editing software I’ve mentioned has the ability to add titles and text at any point in the video you would like. Windows Movie Maker is not so hot when it comes to text but it handles the basics. Text can be used in a variety of ways from titles to bullet points. If that is not sufficient third party software is available for more of everything.
[tag]Flash players[/tag] let you pick one of the first few video frames to appear as a still photo when the player is not operational. If you’ve got all black frames at the beginning then all you’ll see is an uninviting black picture. Just don’t add any back frames to the beginning or end of your video. Another option is to pick a still photo or a text fame to appear when the player is still. We can talk about this in another step.