Quick Guide To Grasp The Basics Of Video Editing Workflow
There are many options out there when it comes to editing suites, and we’ve reviewed some of the better known ones. The market generally renews itself at the same pace as Moore’s Law so newer versions of products are constantly coming into the stores.
Buy a suite that fits the specification of your computer. Getting software that’s badly suited to ageing hardware will frustrate you, as certain CPU functions that claim to speed up the process are actually only compatible with newer CPU’s. So if you can’t afford to update your hardware buy an older version of the software you want, and make shorter videos with less layers.
Direct MP4 compatibility will save you time and a whole lot of drive space when it comes to importing, so it’s money well spent. Buy software without it and if you’re a compulsive GoPro user you may rapidly find you also need to buy a new hard drive to find room for converting files.
If you’re a web nut the latest batch of offerings are giving html 5 coding which will produce code for you to embed in you own site. The average user will have zero use for this, as good as it sounds on the packaging.
If you’re a newbie to editing buy software with ‘in your face’ icons. Efficient editing is all about knowing what you can use and where to find it. The cheaper entry level suites accomplish this by placing the most needed functions on big icons that remain in view on the work-flow interface. This can save lots of time because you instantly know where it is and what it does.
Output formats are not really an issue these days as most standards are supported by most editing suites.
Pay special attention if you have a Mac as some suites are not compatible.
Video Editing Workflow: In More Depth
Choosing software that’s right you is often about feeling comfortable with the look and feel of the user interface. Finding something that you can work efficiently with in terms of the interface can be much to do with personal preference. You may be spending many hours at a time staring at the screen so the quicker and easier it is for you to find your way around the better it’s going to be.
Trying out different versions at the local store is the best option, otherwise trial versions or a friend’s software could be a way of finding your comfort zone. There’s no real right or wrong as everybody has individual tastes and customising screen layout to suit the way you work may be a trial and error process. As a general rule, ease of use is top of the list, so you should be looking for icon sets to you identify with rapidly and the ability to make and edit in no more than two clicks. Don’t settle for anything were a basic task may take several menus or clicks.
Capture and Playback
As discussed in the Video Basics article about MP4 having an editing software that matches the format is a huge bonus. If you have other camera equipment, don’t forget to take them into consideration and make sure that it matches all your needs.
Editing systems generally have two main approaches in terms of screen layout – either timeline or storyboard. A preference for one or other of these approaches will obviously influence your decision, but most systems now give you the opportunity to change rapidly between both. Storyboard is a simplified ‘comic-strip’ consisting of icons or thumbnails that you drag-and-drop around the screen to alter the sequence of events.
Timeline is a more specific view showing a linear representation of the project. Tracks may have individual colors to allow your eye to pick out different types of events more rapidly, and multiple tracks for both audio and video, as well as titling, running vertically down screen. The basic commands like cutting and pasting are relatively standard, but the more specific editing tasks (such as trimming and audio matching) are really the features that begin to separate the entry-level systems from more expensive ones. The quality when it comes to correcting poor lighting, matching video of different quality, changing aspect ratios, are other types of features you would expect to see with the increasing price level.
If you’re new to the game then a library of built-in effects, both video and audio, will be a bonus, whereas being given the choice to create, customize, and save one’s own effects would certainly be more interesting to an intermediate or someone who feels they are beginning to outgrow the simplified system that they have been using. Cleaning audio inside the editing suite without the need for separate software can be a huge bonus. Audio can be a big issue that can really make or break your video as a finished film is about the whole package and not just the visual side.
Software has progressed well to work hand-in-hand with today’s CPUs and handle the kind of render intensive tasks that we used have to put up with. We now have faster processors, more of them, and programs that are capable of background rendering to make use of this extra power. But whilst hardware and software manufacturers were hard at work so were the camera manufacturers, and now we have to deal with huge, sometimes uncompressed, HD video. So speed can often still remain an issue. On top of that the video quality and the intensity of the other tasks that you’re putting on it may also weigh heavily. Put simply the more post-production you have to do, be it by choice to improve the video quality, or by function to apply effects, titles, overlays, etc, the more pressure you’re going to put on the system and especially the CPU. Matching a software works well, or has been designed for, the CPU that you have will be a bonus. If you’re somebody who likes straight POV with no-frills you’re in for an easier time than somebody who likes to lay on the special effects.
Output or Export
Once you’ve finish playing and you’ve added, removed, and tweaked everything you can think of, it’s time to get it out of your computer and into a format that suits the viewing public. If YouTube is your thing then many of today’s programs offer a direct export, and hence an automatically chosen format. If that’s not the case then possible formats such as Flash video, MPEG, WMV, or MOV (for QuickTime) are all popular export formats offered by most good editing programs.
If it’s going onto discs then MPEG 2, or Blu-ray for the forward thinking among you, is crucial. Most programs have DVD authoring tools built-in, whilst some people prefer dedicated DVD authoring programs.
No software is complete without the ability of the user to create his heart’s desire and so technical support whether it be in the form of documentation, video tutorials, or online forums is a requirement whatever your competence level. Built-in links to help tools are useful, but don’t forget to look up specific user groups online for individual programs.
So what’s best?
What’s best for you is not necessarily best for someone else. We’ll bring you more reviews to help you out, but always go for something you feel comfortable with, preferably having already tried it to assess your own ability, and that is also well matched to your hardware.