PC Based Music Videos 102, Non-Linear Editing
There are many books about Video production available. It is also taught at some community colleges and universities. My opinion is that you can learn quite a lot on your own by reading and by studying video productions of topics that you like. It can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be - you are in control. Once you learn the basics, many things will become more obvious to you. I hope to get you thru the basics of Non-Linear Video Editing in this section.
There are 2 general types of Video editing modes available to you. These are
This is where you use multiple Video playback units (VCR's) to playback a series of short video segments, in the order that you want to see them onto one Video recording Unit (also a VCR). You have to plan very carefully since any error made may require that you do the entire thing over again. An additional problem exists in that the video quality diminishes each time that you play back a video into another video recorder - this is called generation loss. In most cases you have your masters (generation #1) that you used in your cam-corder. Then you will play back the masters into a video recorder (generation #2) to build up your video - once this is the way you want it, you will copy this finished video (generation #3) onto a tape for general distribution. This process can be very difficult to sync a music track to unless you are using SMPTE syncing on your tapes and a tape controller that understands how to do this (also not usually available outside of high end pro-video gear).
Unless you are using extremely high end pro-video gear, you will experience generation loss using this process. Most home video gear (VHS VCR's for example) suffer substantial degradation of signal past 2 the second copy. Keep in mind that full resolution video
Signal degradation is minimized since you only copy the signal once to your PC, and then if you want to save the final edited results to a Video tape, you are at the 2nd level of video signal loss. You will want your video segments to include an audio track (you will need this to sync up with your music), however it doesn't need to be more than a mono audio signal and can be 11kHz or 22kHz since it will not be a part of the actual audio track.
Once the video segments are copied to your PC, you can edit the length of them and set them aside to assemble in any order, or reuse as necessary. There are transitions that allow you to fade from one scene to another, or do some special effects that are part of the transition. If you look at a lot of videos, you'll find that most scenes cut immediately to another and transitions are not over-used.
You will create an audio track and it will contain the music that you will sync the video to. You can also edit in or overlay text. Your video can also include still photographs that you have scanned in or created using a paint program.
You will then bring up an editing window that allows you to drag your short video segments over to assemble the video and sync it with the sound track. You will be able to move the short video segments forwards or backwards until you get the actions to synchronize with the audio track. Once synced with the main audio track, you will mute the audio that is on the video segments. This is why you have to lip sync to your song when taping the video segments, otherwise you'll never get things to line up right during the editing process.
Once done, you will Render the result - this will create a file on your PC that is a single entity that contains all of the audio and video synced up as you edited it. It will be in a common format, such as AVI or MPEG, depending on what software you used do your Non-Linear editing with. The Render step does a lot of math and formatting, it can take quite a long time to complete.
You are ready to playback your result. If it looks good and this is for Internet distribution, you are ready to upload it to a website. You can also distribute this on a CDR disk as a part of your music CD.
Because high end video productions (for TV work) requires as much as 200 meg of disk space per minute, its quite obvious that a large project (more than 10 minutes worth) would be very difficult to do on a PC unless it was dedicated specifically for this purpose. Since no one will down-load 1 or 2 gigabytes worth of video from the Internet just to hear to hear your song, you will want to reduce the resolution and the frames per-second to make this more palatable (See PC Based Music Videos 101, Basics for more details). If you do this, most current PCs with at least 2 gigabytes of spare disk space will allow you to create your own video for the Internet. The end result video will only be 12.5 meg per minute for the video part.
One of these days, recordable DVD systems will become more price effective and you will be able to cut full resolution production quality DVD discs with your video on it from a home studio. If you are careful with your sizing, You can currently create video/audio files that fit on standard CDR discs (650 Meg).
This image is a screen copy of Video Framer (Shareware). It is a Non-Linear Video Editor. You'll notice a time window at the top - this is to help align events on a time scale. In the Video section, you will see that there are 3 tracks, A, T and B. The A and B tracks are where you drag and drop your video segments. The T area is where you define your transitions between Video tracks A and B. As you will note, any of your video tracks can be a photo (scanned in or taken with a digital camera). You can also do effects from here were one image overlays the other. This is useful for adding titles to a a moving video segment. You can see an inventory of the video segments you are using on the right hand side of the screen.
There is a section for Audio - these are synced with the video portions and there is both an A and B track for these as well as a transition area for them to allow you to fade from one to the other. Most Non-Linear video editors look pretty much the same as this with very similar features.
To put this into perspective, The size of your video track plus the size of your audio track is the size of the total Video. If you are creating a video that is 12.5 meg per minute with audio that is 2.5 meg per minute, your finished video will be 15 megabytes per minute. If your audio track is 10 meg per minute, along with a 12.5 meg per minute video, the resulting video will be 22.5 meg per minute.
Why would you want to do this? If you are concerned about Internet Down-load times, you will want the smallest file that gives you the highest quality data possible. With a Non-Linear Editing system, once you have assembled your video using standard CD quality sound, you can create a copy of the original editing data (so you will always have it), and then with your copy of the original, substitute an audio track that is either mono or 22 Khz or both 22 kHz and mono to see what is sounds like. You'll be able to keep the data synced up with the Non-Linear Editing system, and you can play with it.
If you are going to create a CD with the video on it, go for the higher quality sound.
High End Open Source solutions- free/GPL - Windows/Linux/Mac OSX
I currently use Lumiere for my video editing, but also have Ulead Video Studio (it came with a Video card I bought - unfortunately, with no instructions, however, it operates very much the same as Lumiere).
Please note: MGI VideoWave is not an Non-Linear Video Editor. It works more like Linear Editing. You might be able to use it for Music Videos, however its really designed for taking home videos and editing them into a better home video - it lacks a method to do time syncing which is a necessity for music videos. You can use a Non-Linear Video Editor to edit your home videos, so there is no need to get a Linear Video Editor unless you happen to want both types.
The speed at which data is presented will be based on your Internet connections ability to deliver it. A Modem baud rate of 28.8K will get you 7.5 to 15 frames per second (at 160 X 120 Pixels) where T1/T3 connections should get you closer to 30 frames per second and possibly a larger image (up to 320 X 240 Pixels). You should assume that most of your users will be running a 28.8K modem, just to be on the safe side.
Questions? Comments? .
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