Video Editing: A Beginner’s Guide

By on December 12, 2011
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We go through the basics of video editing from applications to techniques.

Importing Footage

After you’ve shot your video content the way you like it, that alone doesn’t even start the process. The first thing that needs to happen is for the footage to actually enter the computer so that you can begin editing. The process is called importing and capturing footage and there are different ways to do this depending on what media you shot your footage on.

If you’ve shot your footage on miniDV or HDV tapes from your camcorder, then you would need something called a FireWire card and cable to transfer the footage into your computer. Most PC’s don’t have the card built-in, but any computer shop here in UAE will have both of those at a combined price of about 40 Dhs. Once you’ve installed that onto your PC, all you need to do is connect one end of it to the camcorder and the other end into the FireWire port of the computer. Once that is done, you have to open your video editor (whether it’s Windows MovieMaker or anything else) and select ‘Capture Media/Footage’. It’s different wording for different editors, but the idea is exactly the same.

After that, you’ll be treated with a dialogue box that looks something like this (on Sony Vegas 10.0 but others look similar):

Click for larger picture.

At this point, your computer basically acts like a remote control for your camcorder. Through this window, you can rewind of forward your tape and see the footage in front of you as you please. But the main function of this is to ‘record’ the footage into your PC with the record button. Now the major disadvantage with FireWire is that it’s in real-time, which means that if your footage is 50 minutes long it will take exactly 50 minutes to copy it to the PC since it plays it at normal speed. This is one reason the world is moving away from tape-based media to more efficient ways of transfer, but tapes definitely have their advantages especially when it comes to uncompressed quality and storage of footage in a physical piece of media rather than a hard disk. But that’s a different topic entirely. Once you get your footage inside the PC whether as one large file or small clips, you can then begin to edit them.

If you have a camcorder with a hard disk inside, then the process is drastically simpler. All you need to do is connect the camcorder to your PC through the USB port and all the clips are there for you to copy directly into your PC without any lengthy process of transfer. Same goes for DVD’s which also have clips that can be imported straight into the editor. Also, footage from memory cards from either camcorders or video-enabled DSLR cameras use the same technique to copy the files into the PC. Often times, there’s usually a software by the manufacturer itself which allows you to import the footage into your PC so you might want to use that instead if there’s any complications.

Now that we have the footage ready to edit, let’s get down to editing itself.

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Filmmaker and film writer. An ironically strange combination. Follow his tweets on @faisalhashmi for his escapades in film.

  • Jeetindersaggu

    Thanks for bringing this issue to light.Many people like to make there videos at home.These are some easy steps for making home video.1)Get the footage onto a computer2)Sequence the footage together to form a movie3)Output the movie to a format it can be viewed 

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