More ABout Stepping Up to More Advanced Editing

on Thursday, July 30, 2009

Most high-end editors simplify the capture process with a feature called log and capture. The log and capture feature allows you to create a log of clips that you want to capture. As you review the videotape and identify portions that you want to capture — a task you would undertake with any video-editing program — you simply log the timecode at the in point (beginning) and out point (end) of each piece of video you want to capture. In Adobe Premiere, you do this by clicking Set In at the beginning of the section, and then clicking Set Out at the end of the section. You can even type the timecode in the Set In and Set Out fields manually if you wish. When you’ve specified an in point and an out point, click the Log In/Out button. This adds the current in and out points to a log. The Batch Capture window serves as Adobe Premiere’s log. You can log as many sections from a tape as you want in a single log. I have logged five separate sections of video. After you have logged all of the portions of video that you want to capture from a given tape, capturing the video takes just a single mouse click. In Premiere, click the Record button at the bottom of the Batch Capture window. The software automatically rewinds and cues the tape in the camcorder as needed and captures all the sections of video that you specified. The capture process may take a while, but because it all happens automatically, you can take a lunch break while it occurs. If you capture a lot of video the old fashioned way in Apple iMovie or Pinnacle Studio, you’ll start to see why log and capture can be a big timesaver. Log and capture is just one example of the effort-saving features that advanced video-editing programs can offer. All the editing programs listed here look and work very similarly because they were designed to imitate the professional video-editing workstations used for years by broadcast pros. One of the things I really like about programs like Premiere or Final Cut Pro is the flexibility of their timelines. You normally have an almost infinite number of tracks to work with — very helpful when you want to overlay video images on top of each other. It may look like a very complex project, but I was able to assemble it quickly. The timeline currently has three video tracks and three audio tracks, but I can add more as I need them. Special effects are also a lot easier to work with in advanced editing programs. For example, suppose I want to make a video clip appear in its own little box (like a picture-in-picture display found on some TVs) and move the box across the screen. In Premiere, opening a Motion Settings dialog box for the clip is a simple matter,. Using simple point-andclick techniques with the mouse, I can draw a motion pattern for the clip and adjust zoom settings to make the clip bigger or smaller. Advanced video editors can also be powerful business productivity tools.
Corporate communications directors are finding that modern computers and
software make in-house video production more feasible (in the past it was usually
farmed out to a contractor). Businesses can use video editors to make
  • Training and orientation videos
  • Kiosk videos
  • Marketing materials
  • Presentation videos
One advantage of using video software for presentations is that once a presentation is exported to tape or DVD, you can show it almost anywhere. All you need is a TV and a VCR or DVD player. Although you lose some of the interactivity of, say, a PowerPoint presentation, you can still make a very professional-looking video using media of almost any type. Last year, for example, I used Adobe Premiere to develop a kiosk video to demonstrate some software. Using animation tools, I could simulate the movement of a mouse pointer on the screen. I can’t possibly show you all the advantages that advanced video-editing programs can offer, but this chapter shows some possibilities. Programs like Final Cut Pro, Edition, and Premiere are so advanced that the movie magic you can create is limited only by your imagination.

Stepping Up to More Advanced Editing


If it hasn’t happened to you yet, rest assured that it will: You want to do a certain kind of edit, but the software you’re using right now just won’t let you. Or you may find that some tasks are difficult or tedious to perform.
Before you get mad and break a keyboard or something, consider upgrading
to a more advanced editing program. Some well-regarded advanced editing
programs include
  • Adobe Premiere (Mac/Windows): Adobe kicked the affordable video editing revolution into high gear a few years ago with Premiere. It remains a popular choice among video professionals and hobbyists, although it has slipped in popularity in recent years as Final Cut Pro and others offer viable alternatives. Adobe Premiere retails for $549, although if you shop around, you may get a better deal by buying Premiere packaged with a high-quality video-capture card.
  • Avid Xpress (Mac/Windows): Avid has been making broadcast videoediting
  • software and equipment for years, and many professionals prefer the Avid Xpress video-editing software. And after years of spending tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars for Avid editing workstations in the past, pros don’t mind the $1699 retail price of Avid Xpress. For the typical amateur moviemaker, however, some of the more affordable solutions make more sense.
  • Apple Final Cut Pro (Mac): Quickly becoming one of the most popular editing programs among pros and dedicated hobbyists, this program, which retails for $999, can do it all.
  • Apple Final Cut Express (Mac): If Final Cut Pro’s price tag is out of your reach, consider the $299 Express version. Unless you’re editing video professionally for broadcast TV or Hollywood movie studios, this is a better, much more affordable choice.
  • Pinnacle Edition (Windows): Pinnacle definitely knows video. Whether you’re a broadcast professional or DV newbie, Pinnacle has software and hardware worth considering. Edition is Pinnacle’s answer to Adobe Premiere and other high-end video editors. Pinnacle Edition DV retails for $699 with a FireWire card included, although if you already own Pinnacle Studio, you can upgrade to Edition for a lot less (at this writing, Pinnacle advertised an upgrade special of just $199).
  • Sonic Foundry Vegas (Windows): Vegas from Sonic Foundry has been quietly building a strong reputation among video editors, many of whom prefer Vegas to Adobe Premiere for Windows-based editing. The Vegas software retails for $699, though Sonic Foundry occasionally has special offers.
Although you may expect advanced editing programs to be more complex, I actually find them easier to use. For example, consider the process of capturing video from your camcorder. In Apple iMovie and Pinnacle Studio, you have to be quick with your mouse and buttons to start and stop capture. If you want to capture a lot of different scenes from a tape, this process can grow tedious because you have to sit there in front of your computer manually starting and stopping capture for each piece of video. And because you probably won’t actually capture a piece of video until you’ve reviewed it at least once, you’ll spend a lot of time rewinding the same video over and over.