Digital Video! I Didn't Know You Could Do That...


Discover All the Cool Things You Can Do with Digital Video!

Impressing folks is a snap when you make movies using the tips and tricks in Digital Video! I Didn't Know You Could Do That. . . . Inside you'll discover how to create high-quality productions that will have 'em "ooohing and ahhing" for days. You'll also find a companion CD with trial versions of Ulead VideoStudio, MGI VideoWave, and other products that will set you on your way to ...

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Discover All the Cool Things You Can Do with Digital Video!

Impressing folks is a snap when you make movies using the tips and tricks in Digital Video! I Didn't Know You Could Do That. . . . Inside you'll discover how to create high-quality productions that will have 'em "ooohing and ahhing" for days. You'll also find a companion CD with trial versions of Ulead VideoStudio, MGI VideoWave, and other products that will set you on your way to becoming a digital auteur.

Stop Monkeyin' Around and Get the Most Out of Your Digital Movies!

"Gee whiz!" movies are at your fingertips. With this book as your guide you can tackle everything from using your camcorder effectively to creating impressive special effects. Set up a home studio, edit your movies, and make video magic. You'll find loads of ideas for projects that range from practical to just plain fun.

Go Bananas - Create Eye-Popping Digital Movies!

Let your imagination run wild. Inside you'll learn about:

* The essentials of video technology

* Setting up your digital video studio, with a digital or analog camcorder

* Planning, scripting, and shooting your video

* Shot styles - from POVs and cutaways to zooms and pans

* Transferring video to your computer

* Splitting, trimming, and assembling your video clips

* Adding special effects and mixing soundtracks

* Using iMovie, VideoStudio, and VideoWave

* Burning DVDs and video CDs

* Sharing videos over the Internet

* And much, much more!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780782129700
  • Publisher: Sybex, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/22/2001
  • Series: I Didn't Know You Could Do That Series
  • Edition description: BOOK & CD
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 7.56 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Erica Sadun began working with image capture techniques in 1984 and bought her first digital camera in 1996. She holds a master's degree in digital imaging from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from Georgia Tech's Graphics, Visualization & Usability Center. She wrote the first edition of the best-seller Digital Photography! I Didn't Know You Could Do That... as well as Digital Video! 1 Didn't Know You Could Do That...
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Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from

Why Digital Video

The world just changed. Digital video has leapt out of the lofty heights of the film professional and landed on your desktop. Video equipment prices have dropped, and its quality has increased.

You probably picked up your video camera for well under $1,000. Now you're ready to set up your own digital studio. A whole new world of opportunity lies before you. Get ready to join the adventure.

1 Choose Your Camcorder: Digital versus Analog

Do you own a traditional analog camcorder, or do you have one of those fancy new digital video setups? Perhaps you have a lower-end digital model with just a few features. It doesn't really matter. As long as you can shoot video, you can make movies and transfer your footage to a home computer.

If your video camera belongs to an earlier generation, you shouldn't feel left out. You can easily digitize your traditional nondigital videos with a converter. Then your movies will be stored as data on your computer, ready to enhance, edit, and produce.

Digital Video Camera Features

As you would expect, the newer digital video technology has a lot to offer. Digital video (DV) cameras, or camcorders, have superb picture quality, as well as a lot of bells and whistles that you cannot find on older cameras. Keep the following factors in mind when you decide whether to upgrade your camera:

Transfer quality When you transfer digital data, the copy you produce is identical to the original. Digital video never degrades between copies. Every copy is as perfect (or imperfect!) as the first.

Camera control Have you heard of FireWire or I -LINK? These trademarks (of Apple and Sony, respectively) refer to a single standard officially named IEEE 1394, a specification for a real-time, high-bandwidth connection between computers and electronics products. This standard allows your digital video camera to communicate with your computer at very high speeds. Now you can control your camera directly from your favorite movie-editing program. You can use your computer to play, fast forward, rewind, or pause your digital videotape to get to just the spot from which you want to record. You won't find this functionality on analog cameras.

Technological advances Technology always leaps forward. Newer digital cameras often contain higher-quality optics and sensors than their predecessors. The better these features, the better the pictures you shoot. While this isn't strictly a matter of digital versus analog, you should be aware that newer, usually digital, equipment produces better footage than older, usually analog, cameras.

Resolution Resolution refers to the degree of detail you can capture with your camera. As picture resolution increases, the camera captures more and more information. The higher the resolution, the better the image quality you'll record. Digital video cameras can produce pictures with about double the resolution that you can capture on a traditional analog video system. Read more about resolution in "Tech Talk."

Sound Digital video cameras capture CD-quality sound-that is, stereo sound sampled with 16-bit resolution at 44 kilohertz (KHz). In fact, most digital video cameras capture sound at better-than-CD quality.

Size Digital video cameras are generally much smaller and lighter than older camcorders. You can literally stick some of the newer models into a shirt pocket. This feature alone makes new DV systems extremely attractive to travelers, businesspeople, or others who value advanced technology in a small package.

Analog Camera Features

Unlike the data captured with a digital video camera, analog video quality does not hold up well between transfers. With analog data, you lose information every time you make a copy. You've probably seen this when you've made a copy of a copy of a copy of a videotape. This outcome is called the generation effect. Each new copy becomes fuzzier and less watchable.

Another thing that adversely affects analog video is the digitization process itself. When you use an analog-to-digital converter (ADC), also known as a digitizer, to transfer your traditional movies to digital format, you invariably introduce random and unintended changes to your video. These changes are called noise, and like the generation effect, they tend to fuzz your pictures to some extent. Of course, once you've converted to digital format, you won't lose any more quality with subsequent copies. Still, you should be aware that the conversion process degrades your video.

But the news is not all bad. Analog cameras do offer some advantages:

Camera cost Analog camcorders cost far, far less than digital video cameras. You can find a wide selection of analog cameras for less than $500. You would be hard-pressed to find a decent digital setup for that price.

Desktop connection cost Surprisingly enough, an ADC for your home computer can cost a lot less than an IEEE 1394 setup for connecting a digital video camcorder. You won't get the quality, but you might save a few bucks. Many of these converter cards also let you watch TV on your desktop.

Tape cost and length Cassettes for digital video cameras are both expensive and short. In general, you can record 60 to 90 minutes on a digital videotape that will set you back $15 to $25. Tapes for analog camcorders cost much less and record several hours of footage. You can easily buy a VHS-C cassette for under $5.

Convenience You're likely to find batteries and tapes for your analog camera at a convenience store, drugstore, or supermarket. For a hightech digital video setup, you may need to shop at specialty stores. Don't underestimate the value of easy access to important supplies.

2 Why Desktop Video?

Digital video arrives on your desktop in either of two ways: A digital video camera can transfer the data directly, or a digitizer (ADC) can convert from analog to digital. (I use a Director's Cut converter box to bring video from my ancient analog camcorder into my Movie software.) It doesn't matter which approach you use. Once your digital video arrives on your computer, you're all set to massage, tweak, edit, and transform that footage into a quality production.

Given the power and flexibility of today's PCs, your desktop can become your own personal video-editing studio, where you can produce videos for all sorts of needs and projects. Here are just a few ideas:

Capture the moment and the event Whether you record weddings, birthdays, parties, or trips, a video camera allows you to turn a fleeting moment into a lasting record of an important time. Use your video camera to capture those sights and sounds so you can experience them over and over again.

Build memories Your family grows and changes far too fast. Grab hold of the present. Spend time taping your children, relatives, and pets. You'll build a precious collection of memories and a record of changing times.

Share your family With today's global society, we're so spread out that it is hard to stay connected. Family videos, especially well-edited videos that are short enough to encourage viewing, can help us stay in virtual touch with friends and family. When grandma retires to Florida or cousin Bill gets posted overseas, a video can help maintain that loving connection

. Expand your business More and more companies are employing digital video in their day-to-day operations. Use video to help sell your product line, educate your customers, and train your employees. Design your own Internet- or TV based advertisements. Introduce online how-to videos to supplement customer support. Create permanent records of important meetings, especially brainstorming sessions. The possibilities are endless.

Create a school project If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth at least ten thousand, right? Video provides the perfect accompaniment to any science fair project just use your cam- corder to help record data. Create a skit for your language class. Gather the neighborhood kids to demonstrate exactly how statistics really work.

If you have a concept that you want to demonstrate, there is probably a way you can use video to get your point across.
Introduce an online curriculum Desktop video allows you to record, edit, and rebroadcast lectures with surprising ease. Make digital video the centerpiece of your online courses or an ancillary to your classroom courses.

Edit and preserve archives Every year, we lose so many memories to time and entropy. Transfer your old analog archives to digital format to ensure their preservation. At the same time, you can add narration and other annotation to help bring living memory and recorded memory together for all time.

Make your own feature film How about making your own movie or documentary? Today's software offers enough sophistication to make this feasible. Creating your own feature can offer challenge, fun, and a great learning experience.

3 Get Started

To get started in digital video, you need only three things: a video camera, a computer, and a connection between the two. Once you create this link and can transfer your images to your PC, you're well on your way. As you might expect, the technology available for digital video varies widely, particularly in terms of price, features, and quality. You can put your video studio together cheaply, or you can choose to go upscale. Though you can get there
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Table of Contents

Why Digital Video? 1
Lights! Camera! Action! 25
Tech Talk 69
Transferring Video 93
Video Editing 113
iMovie Simplified 137
Videowave Basics 163
Videostudio Quickstart 185
Making Magic 205
Burn, Baby, Burn 241
Streaming Video 273
Look, Ma! I'm on TV 289
Glossary 297
Index 333
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I fell in love with moviemaking when I took my first film course back in 1981. At that time, I shot my movies using Super-8 film. I'd mail the reels to the processing lab and wait in breathless anticipation for them to come back. It usually took about two weeks. When they arrived, I would cut and splice the footage by hand. This took an awfully long time and required a manual adeptness that I never really seemed to master, even though I thoroughly enjoyed the process. I remember sitting over the viewing, cutting, and splicing equipment and thinking that there had to be a better and easier way to do things.

By the mid-1980s, things got better. I started working at a lab where I had access to video-production equipment. In 1984, I produced my first video (SigGraph 1985 Video Review, "Mr. Yorick Skull Gets Ahead in Life"). Videotape certainly made movie production a lot better and easier. I didn't need to wait for the processing lab. My footage was ready to use the instant I shot it. I didn't have to cut film-and sometimes my fingertips-apart and I didn't need to use splicing tape anymore. Still, it took hours and hours, as I sat between a couple of hot, heavy, and expensive tape decks and carefully assembled each segment in order. And when I messed up, which happened a little more often than I care to admit, I had to go back and reassemble the bits I destroyed-usually the entire video. I knew there still had to be a better and easier way to do things.

Throughout the 1990s, things continued to improve. By the mid-1990s, I used interactive editing boards and rudimentary computer programs to sequence and title my videos. But things didn't really fall together until the turn of the millennium. It was then that personal video production leapt forward because of an amazing innovation: the IEEE 1394 standard.

IEEE 1394, better known as FireWire or I-LINK, was developed by a large consortium of video camera manufacturers. This standard introduced a computer-controllable camera that produced very high-quality digital movies. It meant that you could easily connect your computer and interactively access and edit that high-quality video. All that was missing was the editing suite-the computer software to make everything fall together.

At first, Apple's iMovie dominated the scene, taking advantage of the 1394 power with a straightforward and elegant program design. It threw the doors of video editing wide open. Soon the magic spread to the PC. Influenced by iMovie's user-friendliness, manufacturers of video-editing software began to rethink their interfaces. They provided easier-to-use suites that simplified movie production without sacrificing power.

And the magic didn't stop there. Affordable converter cards and converter boxes soon opened the door for those people with older (non-1394) camcorders who wanted in on the revolution. Anyone who wanted to could now bring their old home videos into the digital world.

Today, digital video is there for the asking. Whether you're producing home movies or business videos, on videotape or DVD, on a PC or Macintosh, this technology has fully entered the consumer market. Nothing more stands in the way of the aspiring moviemaker.

How This Book Is Organized

Digital Video! I Didn't Know You Could Do That... offers a complete introduction to video filming and production. Topics range from filming highquality videos, to transferring your footage to a computer, to editing with sense and creativity, and to publishing your video on disc, tape, and the Web. If you want to know how to shoot, transfer, edit, and produce video, this book will guide you through the most important and vital steps, while providing interesting and diverting options.

I've organized the materials within this book into the following categories:

Why Digital Video? Learn the difference between analog and digital cameras and how you can use either one to create digital video on your computer. Get some tips on the different ways that you can use digital video in your home, business, or school. Learn how to efficiently plan and execute your video shoots. Discover what you need to pack and bring along when you hit the road to shoot your movie. Finally, explore some focusing techniques.

Lights! Camera! Action! Learn the techniques that lie behind the video. Discover which shots (such as close-ups and establishing shots) and camera moves you can use to put together an interesting movie. Learn how to compose, light, and frame your subjects. Understand the role of sound and microphones in your productions. Find out what you need to set up a home studio, and learn how to encourage your subjects to relax while you film them.

Tech Talk Expand your knowledge of the technology that drives digital video. Learn about televisions, country systems, video quality, and compression. Round this out with an overview of video cameras and output formats.

Transferring Video Discover how to hookup your camera to your computer and transfer your footage. Step-by-step instructions guide you through all aspects of transferring analog or digital video.

Video Editing Learn how to transform your raw footage into a finished, professional production. Discover how to trim and order video and audio clips, as well as how to add special effects and soundtracks to your movies.

Movie Simplified Learn how to use Movie to edit your videos in this hands-on overview of the Apple product. This coverage includes many details and tricks associated with this superb video-editing system.

VideoWave Basics Get an introduction to the VideoWave editor. Learn how to edit your movies, create entire projects, and work with this MGI product.

VideoStudio Quickstart Start creating movies with VideoStudio. Learn many of the secret tips and tricks involved with using this Ulead software title.

Making Magic Follow step-by-step instructions to add magical effects to your videos. Discover how you can make someone disappear, teach a candle to light itself, animate common objects, and use many more special effects to fool the eye. And you can watch videos that show these magical effects. There are sample videos for all of these projects on the CD that comes with this book.

Burn, Baby, Burn Learn how to create your own DVDs and video CDs. Explore your software options, including iDVD, Nero, Toast, and Ulead DVD Plug-in.

Streaming Video Find out how you can transmit your videos over the Internet. Learn the steps involved in shooting, compressing, and hosting your movies on the Web. Check out some of the most popular videohosting sites available today. time, you may purchase a serial number that allows you to continue using the software indefinitely. Contact the software manufacturer for details.

Look, Ma! I'm on TV Learn how to transfer your digital movie to videotape. Understand video format conversion, which may be necessary if you are sharing your videos with people in different countries.

In addition, you'll find a glossary at the back of this book. If you're unfamiliar with any of the terms you see in this book, check the glossary for the definition.

Check Out the CD-ROM!

The CD-ROM that accompanies Digital Video! I Didn't Know You Could Do That... is absolutely jam-packed with demos and shareware that you can use with your digital video. Looking for a video editor? You'll find full 30-day trial versions of the latest Ulead VideoStudio 5 and MGI VideoWave 4 editing packages. This book offers introductory tutorials for both of these software titles (and iMovie, too), so you'll quickly get up to speed editing your videos.

Are you looking for a professional editing suite? You'll also find trial versions of Adobe Premiere 6.0 and Ulead MediaStudio Pro. Take them out for a test drive and see what it's like to step up to the big time.

But the fun doesn't stop there. You'll find time-limited and demo versions of the top encoding and CD-burning software. We've included VCDGear and VirtualDub tools. Use these software packages to create and burn video on CDs with the CD-RW equipment you already own.

If you want to create streaming video, we've got your tools right here. Check out Cleaner 5, the best-quality streaming-video-preparation software available today. We've also included RealSystem Producer, Windows Media Encoder, Windows Media Player, and QuickTime Player. These packages allow you to encode and view streaming movies in every major format available today.

Want to work with sound? SmartSound is on the CD, too. This package will help you create exciting, royalty-free music tracks for your videos. And that's not all. Your CD contains even more software to help you play, share, edit, and enhance your videos. Enjoy all the packages on your CD, but please be aware of each type of software found here.

Commercial demos These time-limited programs offer full functionality, but will work for only a specified period, typically 30 days. After this Shareware Shareware packages are not free. They allow you to try the product before you buy it. Shareware works only when people take personal responsibility and pay for the software they actually use. Be responsible. If you like the software, send the requested fee to the developer. This helps keep shareware alive and available for the rest of us.

Freeware Yes, Virginia, you can get something for nothing. Some developers release certain software titles as freeware. You may use this software freely and owe nothing further to the developer. Still, nothing pleases freeware developers more than encouraging and grateful letters. It means a lot to them. If you use the software, why not spend a few minutes and write a thank you letter. It will make their day.

The CD also contains all the videos you will read about in the "Making Magic" part of this book. Watch them to see how you can have fun learning, using, and playing with special effects.
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