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Thu 1 Dec 2005 04:00 AM

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It's a wrap

If you've recorded hours upon hours of home videos but are intimidated by the idea of turning them into something watchable, don't skip this section as here we explain how to make your directorial debut with style

|~||~||~| 1. Why edit your video?
If you'd like to cut the crud and add some personality to your video footage, a good editing package can help you work wonders. With these you can transform boring and bland videos into digital masterpieces by employing a number different effects. You can also cut out embarrassing or unwanted moments, which really should be reason enough to adopt this approach. Besides adding special effects and features to your videos, you can also guarantee that they last a long time by burning them to more robust media such as CD or DVD. Compared to standard VHS tapes, DVD discs offer a potential life of over 30 years, meaning you can relive your favourite (or worst) moments over and over again. However, before editing, you first have to get the footage you want on your PC. If you've got a digital movie camera, this is just a matter of copying the footage off the camera and onto your PC via USB or Firewire. On the other hand, if your task is to bring VHS home videos into the digital age, you’ll certainly need to install a video capture card in your PC. For the purpose of this workshop, we are talking you through using Ulead's VideoStudio 9 software. On sale at almost every retailer in the region, this is a feature-packed program. Look out for the trial version in next month's CD or head to www.ulead.com to download it.

2.The magic of editing movies
If you're new to video editing and want to edit a movie quickly, we suggest using Ulead's Movie Wizard feature. Once opened, navigate to the app's menu screen and click 'Movie Wizard'. Next, insert the video you wish to edit. To split your video based on time and date stamps, click the clock button. This is a good option for rearranging the actual movie or adding effects to only specific areas. After the app finishes splitting your movie, click Next and on the following screen, choose 'Movie' in the themed template drop-down box. Now, add one of the templates to your movie by double-clicking the theme. Besides adding templates, the screen also lets you add background music. To add music, click on the music button located next to the background music field, select a music file and click OK. If you wish to bias the video's volume to either your video's original audio or the inserted music, move the volume slider located underneath the background music field. Additionally, the wizard lets you set the duration of your movie. To do this, click the custom duration button (the cog icon) located next to 'Duration time'. To synchronise your video with your background music, select 'Fit to background music' (see pic). However, if you wish to define a custom duration, click ‘Specify duration’.

3.'Spell'ing it out
At the end of the Movie Wizard, the app lets you create a video file and burn it to a disc. However, if you'd like to employ some advanced editing tools to add a further touch of class to your work, fire up 'VideoStudio editor' and click on the Edit tab. The layout of the app will now consist of five elements: the Options panel (left), the video player (centre), the library view (right) and the Storyboard/Timeline view (bottom). To navigate to the different sections of the app, simply click on the tabs at the top of the window. In this section, you can tweak how your video behaves. To change the playback speed for instance, go to the Video tab in the Options panel and click 'Playback speed' (see pic). Dragging the slider towards the left will slow down your video, which is a good way of creating a Matrix-like effect. If your movie is about decorating your home say, and you want to zoom past the monotonous portions, drag the slider towards the right and play your clip super-fast. Another handy tool is 'Colour Correction,' with which you can enhance video quality and rejuvenate old VHS content. The Edit section has an additional 'Split by Scene' option that lets you split your video based on frame content. This feature is particularly handy if you have footage that contains both indoor and outdoor scenes with no break in between.

4.Making the right move
If you've finished splitting your clips and want two very different clips to flow smoothly into each other, use a transition effect. For instance, if you have one clip showing you inside the house and the next clip of you shopping, a transition effect will make the change in scenes look seamless. To use one of VideoStudio's seventeen different transition effects, select a clip, navigate to the Options panel, and click on the drop-down menu in the Library. Next, scroll down to Transition and choose your desired effect. Now, select effect by dragging it to the Timeline (between the two clips). If you'd like to tweak a transition, click on it in the timeline view and click 'Customize' on the left pane of the Effects tab. We quite liked the 'Flashback' effect. This is a good choice if you'd like to create a dreamy effect between scenes of you as an adult and when you were a baby. We also suggest using the 'Album' effect if you'd like to add a storybook theme to your video. 'Album' simulates thumbing through photo album pages. One more cool transition is 'Burn', which is found in the F/X category. This effect essentially 'burns' through one clip to reveal the next. A perfect choice if you want to shift from a clip of your ex to one with your current partner!
||**||It's a wrap (Contd)|~||~||~| 5.Feel the motion
Another great effect you can add to your footage is the video filter. VideoStudio features a nifty filter called 'Video Pan and Zoom'. This enables you to zoom in on a specific sequence in the video for a close-up look. For instance, if you have a clip of your kids building a sandcastle on the beach and want to zoom in on the action, this filter is your best option. Alternatively, if you've shot a Halloween video and want to add a strange and ghostly effect to your video, use the 'Ghost' filter. To add the filter to your clip, select its thumbnail view and drag it onto your clip in the Storyboard view. Another handy filter is the Sharpen filter. As the name suggests, this allows you to sharpen your video clips - a good option if you are editing an old video that was previously on VHS. If you'd like to add multiple filters to a clip, click on the Attribute tab of the left window panel and uncheck the 'Replace last filter' box. To add a touch of pizzazz to your video, we suggest using the Kaleidoscope, Punch or Mirror filters. We also suggest using the 'Light' effect to highlight a certain part of the video, such as when your child makes an entrance in their first school play or wins an award.

6.Fine-tuning filters
Besides simply adding filters VideoStudio also gives you the option of customising each video filter to better suit your needs. For instance, if you're using the 'Video Pan and Zoom' filter and want to tweak it so that it zooms in on a specific object or person in your video clip, select the filter's name in the Attribute tab and click the 'Customise Filter' button. To zoom in more closely to your subject, click one of the four yellow dots in the Original view and make the dotted box smaller by dragging it (see pic). To zoom out, drag the dot outwards. To customise the zoom ratio, which is the amount of zoom, drag the 'Zoom ratio' slider to the left or right accordingly. Another filter with very good customisation options is the 'Light' filter. VideoStudio lets you change everything from the colour of the light itself to its positioning and intensity. In addition, it can be applied in different ways to individual segments of a video clip. For example, when your child first gets onto the stage, you can focus the light purely on him or her while darkening everything else. After the grand entrance, expand the light expand to illuminate more of the surroundings while still focussing on your child star.

7.Two is better than one
Another interesting feature of VideoStudio is the ability to use overlays. Essentially, creating an overlay is the process by which one video clip or image is placed over another. The video box that appears next to the newscaster while they are presenting the news is the perfect example of an overlay. If you have a clip of your daughter's graduation for instance and simultaneously want to show clips of friends and relatives talking about her, you can use the graduation clip as the master clip and the other clips as overlays. To add an overlay, click on the Overlay tab and insert your clip in the overlay row of the timeline. (You will have noticed that the Storyboard view has changed to a Timeline view.) This layer is symbolised by an icon showing two movie reels. Note: your master clip is located in the first layer of the timeline (denoted by the single movie reel icon). Once you insert your overlay, you can change its display size by clicking on one of the yellow dots and dragging it either inwards or outwards. You can customise an overlay to appear transparent to make it look almost as part of the original video, or put it in its own box (see pic). To do this, select the overlay clip or image and click the Mask & Chroma Key option.

8.Finishing touches
Another cool feature is the ability to insert text into your Video. This function is located under the 'Title' tab. To add titles, click on a text style thumbnail and drag it to Timeline layer that contains the 'T' icon. These titles can also be customised by changing fonts and adding animation. Plus, you can add a voiceover (via the mic icon) and music. If your video is a documentary or a travelogue you can use the voiceover feature to help your audience understand what's happening. To add a voice track, click the Music and Voice tab. Next, move to the point of the video at which you want to insert your voiceover - by using the Timeline slider - and insert the voice track. You can also record your narration using the Record Voice option. To set the mood of your movie, select the music layer in the Timeline and insert an audio file. Customise the audio by selecting the file and clicking 'Audio filter'. Once you're done editing your video, click on the Shared tab on the main menu to save you're directorial debut onto DVD, SVCD, or VCD (see pic). However, if you want to share your video online, click the 'Share Video Online' button and select the appropriate quality. The app will then convert the file into *.wmv (Windows Media Video format), and then give you the option to upload it online.||**||Extra Tips !|~||~||~| How to play with time
In order to edit your videos, the most important tool in VideoStudio is the Timeline. Essentially, this allows you to insert and remove clips, audio, overlays and text in the order you want them to appear in your final video. When you begin your project, the Timeline is minimized into the Storyboard view. However, once you enter the advanced editing modes such as Overlays and Titles, the full Timeline view is displayed with multiple layers for each kind of clip. To add a clip to the Timeline, simply drag it from the Library view and drop it into the video layer of the Timeline view. To rearrange clips, select and drag the desired clip to a new location on the Timeline, which can be before or after any other clip. The same process should be applied for adding audio, overlays and text to your videos.

Adding and animating titles
After you’ve finished adding overlays and effects to your video, you can further decorate you video by adding a title(s) to guide your audience through your video and give it a more professional look. To add a single title to your video, click on the Title tab in the Main Menu and double-click on the screen section of the interface. Next, click on the Options tab and choose your desired font type and font size. Now click on your new title and click on the Animation title. As the name suggests, this option lets you add various types of animation to your title to add some pizzazz to your video. We liked the Fade and Swing animation types. VideoStudio also lets you tailor animations to your needs. To do this, go to the Animation tab, and click on the icon next to the Animation Type title (signified by two Ts). However, if you rather use preset titles, simply go to the Title option in the Library list and then drag the preset text onto the Title Track.


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