Video Editing FAQ

Video Editing FAQ

How can I add 3D Text and Special Effects to my Videos?

Well, you're in luck here! As well as providing information on a variety of Digital Video Editing topics, Jellypie also produce innovative Digital Video Tools. Video Fun Box is our first product. It's designed specifically to create 3D text and effect clips which can be exported using virtually any Codec installed on your system, then imported into your favourite Digital Video Editing package.

What's The Best DV camera to buy?

The sheer quantity of Digital Video Cameras now available makes the process of choosing the right one a bewildering experience. Bear in mind, like any comparatively new technology, Digital Video camera prices have dropped as the technology has become more widely adopted. As new models are released, the prices of older models fall dramatically. If you're on a tight budget, it makes sense to avoid cutting edge technology and pick up a bargain.

If money is no object, then this question is still difficult to answer, since new models with advanced specifications are being released daily. While it's currently beyond the scope of this website to provide a detailed guide to the specs of the latest Digital Video cameras, there are many sites dedicated solely to reviewing and comparing them. Once you've found a model within your price range, search the internet for impartial reviews and comparisons. It's best to be certain that the camera you buy has all the features you need now, as well as those you might need in the future, as your video editing skills develop.

There are a couple of points worth remebering while shopping for a Digital Video Camera. Cameras that do not have a "DV in" port tend to be significantly cheaper than those that do. However, if you get a camera that only has a "DV out" port, you will not be able to get edited footage back to the camera and on to DV tape.

Digital Zoom is a useless feature. It sounds good but the results are uniformly horrible. What Digital Zoom really means is pretend zoom.

Don't worry about what digital effects the camera has, they are usually just cheap gimmicks. All of these features (and many more besides) can be applied to clean footage in most digital video editing packages, with the minimum of effort.

If possible, try to handle a camera and get a feel for it before buying. Because cameras continue to get smaller and smaller, while cramming in more and more features, some models can be awkward to use, especially if you happen to have goal keeper's hands. Make sure you get one you're comfortable with. Once you've found a camera that has all the specifications and features you require, bear in mind, it's often much, much cheaper to buy online.

What Software do I need for Digital Video Editing?

If you have either Windows Me, or a version of Windows XP then you already have software to get you started. These newer versions of Windows come with Windows Movie Maker as standard. Basically, it's windows paint for video editing. Simple, easy to use but has more limitations than can be listed here. What it will do is give you a taster of what video editing is all about. If you decide you like it, you'll want to move on to a more flexible package. Probably in about five minutes. But it's a good starting point.

It's worth rembering that one of the problems associated with low end packages is that the MPEG2 codec requires licensing. In order to keep the cost of the software down, Mpeg Codecs are usually only included on a trail basis. They will allow you to create a fixed number of compressed MPEG video's before you have to register and pay for the licensed version. Fortunately, there is an excellent solution: DIVX. There's some information on DIVX and Video Codecs in Digtal Video Resources, as well as a link to the DIVX site.

How do I transfer Video from my DV camera to my PC?

You can transfer Video to your PC through a Firewire cable, although some Digital Video cameras offer USB or USB2 connections. USB is not ideal, since the transfer speed is very low. However, USB2 connections are comparable in speed to Firewire.

If your PC doesn't have a Firewire port or USB2 port, you will need to install a PCI Firewire or USB2 card. These are widely available and relatively easy to install. Fire wire ports are also included in the Creative Audigy range of sound cards. So if you need a new soundcard you can do two upgrades in one.

Most of these addon cards come with a cable. If not, they can be purchased separately. Make sure you get one long enough for you to be able to operate the camera conformably when it's plugged into your PC. Firewire and USB are "hot swappable" this means you don't have to turn off either your PC or the camera before plugging the cable into either.

Is my PC powerful enough for Video Editing?

As well as being one of the most creative things you can do with a PC, digital video editing is also one of the most demanding. Digital Video footage from cameras takes up a lot of hard drive space. Since it takes around 3.5 meg a second, you’ll need tens of Gigabytes of free hard drive space to edit any real length of footage.

Processing video footage in real time requires a fast processor. The size of video files means you need a lot of RAM to maintain a good level of performance. If your PC is more than 3 years old, you'll probably need to upgrade at least some components, otherwise video editing will be a very slow and frustrating experience.

Here's a rough guide to the reasonable minimum PC specs for Video Editing:

Processor: 1 ghz +
Ram: 256 meg +
Graphics: 32 Meg Geforce 2 or equivalent with TV out.
Firewire Card
CD Writer
Hard Drive 30gig UDMA 100

You can run digital video editing software on a machine with specs significantly lower than this, but you will run into serious problems if your PC isn't up to the job. For example, if your hard drive or processor isn't fast enough to transfer the video at the correct speed, you won't be able to transfer or play video without dropping frames. This will make your video jump and stutter and prevent you from creating anything remotely professional looking.

What’s the cheapest way to get started?

It depends what sort of video's you want to make. If you just want to dabble, it's worth remembering that most web cams can record video. So can most digital cameras. Video footage from these devices can be adapted and used with all digital video editing packages. Obviously, the quality of the video that such devices record is not comparable to that from a conventional Digital Video cam. But if you decide that DV editing is not for you, you won't have spent thousands on equipment.

I already have a VHS camcorder, why do I need Digital Video?

It's time to join the 21st century. Digital video offers a wide range of advantages over analogue video. First and foremost is quality. Digital footage is vastly superior in terms of visual and audio clarity. Because it's digital, the quality doesn't degrade no matter how many copies you make. Digital footage can be easily edited in a wide range of software packages and exported to a variety of formats. It's flexible, easy and fast. Analogue video isn't. End of story.

Can I convert my old analogue footage to digital?

Yes. In order to do this you will require either a dedicated video capture card, or a graphics card that has a TV in port. Bear in mind, the quality of analogue video captures will not be as high as digital video footage.

Can I Convert AVI to VCD and watch a movie I've made on a DVD Player?

Depending on the specifications of your DVD player, there's a good chance that you can, although it's not the simplest of processes...

First of all you'll need to establish if your DVD player can play CDR's (recordable CD's) and that it supports either the VCD or SVCD format. If it does, then you'll be able to watch your home video's in the comfort of your living room once you've converted your AVI to VCD or SVCD format. If it doesn't then it's simply not possible.

The simplest way to convert a video to VCD/SVCD format is to use Nero CD Burning software. It has a in built wizard that creates a VCD/SVCD disk automatically.

If you don't have Nero then try the following link for methods to convert the video and create a VCD/SVCD disc manually:

How do I transfer a movie I've made to Video?

There are two methods of doing this, depending on your Digital Video Camera. If you have a camera with a "DV in" port, you can easily export a finished movie project back to your camera down the Firewire or USB cable. If your camera doesn't have a DV in port, you'll need a Video Card with a TV out port. This will allow you to connect your PC to a video recorder and tape the movie as it plays. This is a cheap and cheerful method but entails some problems.

Firstly you need to configure the twin view or mulit monitor mode of your graphics card. Secondly, the output from the TV port often leaves a lot to be desired. Nvidia cards, for example, tend to produce black borders around the video. Fortunately, wherever there is a problem like this the solution is never far away: TVtool. TVtool is a little program that's worth it's weight in gold when it comes to transfering video to VHS tape. You'll find a link to it in the Digital Video Resouces.

I have a Clip that I'd like to include in my video editing Project, but my software won't import it. Why?

Different video editing packages support different video codecs. This is hardly surprising considering the vast array of competing codecs out there. If the clip you're trying to import was created with an incompatible codec, then you'll need to convert it to a format that your editing package supports. Once again, there is an excellent free program that converts video files to other formats. It's called RAD video tools and no video editor should be without a copy. There's a link to it in the Digital Video Resources section of the site.

I have a question that isn't answered on this page. What should I do?

This page is designed as a basic guide to digital video editing on a PC. It's a complex subject, so if you have any questions that aren't answered here send us an email from the contact section. We can't guarantee you'll receive a reply in person, but it will help us to develop the guide into a useful resource for beginners. You should also check the Digital Video Resources section, as this contains several useful links to forums and relivant newsgroups.

Any suggestions for improving the FAQ are also warmly welcomed. All emails are treated with the strictest confidence. Please read our privacy policy for details.


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