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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Your First Editing Exercise

Now that you’ve gotten the lay of the Movie Maker land, it’s time to dive in: It’s time to get started using Movie Maker to edit your first video!

For a first project, you should edit a few shots together so you can see how the process works and get a feel for how Movie Maker works. It’s a good idea to do a few, practice edits just to learn how to use the program, without having any pressure to finish a project while you are learning how the process works.

After you learn how to import video and follow the basic editing steps in Movie Maker, you can make a real video project. The following sections walk you through these steps:

  1. Check disk space.

  2. Connect your camcorder to your computer.

  3. Capture video.

  4. Import music.

  5. Import photo.

  6. Organize and combine your collections.

  7. Edit.

  8. Trim clips.

  9. Add music.

  10. Add transitions.

  11. Add titles.

  12. Rough cut to fine cut.

  13. Finish video.

Step 1: Check Disk Space

Do you have enough disk space to edit? In addition to the 2GB of hard disk space you need to install and run Movie Maker, you need to have more space available for putting video onto your computer’s hard drive or on an external hard drive.

External hard drives are a good investment if you’ll be making movies that are longer than a few minutes. To edit an hour-long program, you need at least 25GB of space. Of that, 13GB is for video files, and Movie Maker needs 12GB more of temporary space for processing the video files during editing. You also need extra hard disk space if you plan to create DVDs.

If you are using an external hard drive for your video files, you need to be sure to connect it to your computer before you begin. And if you will be importing video onto an external hard drive, you still need to connect your camcorder to your computer. Then you need to save your video files onto your hard drive.

Step 2: Connect Your Camcorder to Your Computer

Next, you need to get out the FireWire (also called IEEE 1394) cable that connects your computer and your camcorder. You’ll see that the FireWire camcorder-to-computer cable has two different ends—a small one with pins that goes into your camcorder and a larger fitting that connects to the FireWire port on your computer. You need to connect both ends of the cable. In Figure 3.14, the cable end with the pins is on top; this is the one that goes into your camcorder. The cable end on the bottom connects to the FireWire port on your computer.

Figure 3.14

Figure 3.14 The FireWire cable connects your camcorder to your computer.

Next, you need to turn on your camcorder and select the VCR (not camera) or Playback mode, as shown in Figure 3.15.

Figure 3.15

Figure 3.15 When you’re ready to import video from your camcorder to your computer, you select the VCR mode for video playback.

You can control the rewind, play, and fast-forward modes on your camcorder from Movie Maker, so you don’t need to use the camera controls when you’re ready to view video in Movie Maker.

Step 3: Capture Video

Now you’re ready to capture video. (I agree: Capture is a funny term for describing the process of importing video. After all, you’re not going to be using a lasso!) After you launch Movie Maker, you see the main Movie Maker screen you saw earlier in this chapter, with the Movie Tasks pane on the left. At this point, you need to click the arrow next to Capture Video to show the options underneath it.

Launching the Video Capture Wizard

In Movie Maker, from the Movie Tasks pane, you select the first option: Capture from Video Device. This launches the Video Capture Wizard, which helps you capture video.

The Captured Video File Screen

When you are prompted by the wizard’s Captured Video File screen, type the name of your file and select the location where you want your videos to be saved (see Figure 3.16).

Figure 3.16

Figure 3.16 The Captured Video File screen: naming your movie.

Filenames are important and help you stay organized throughout a project. You should use a descriptive filename; for example, school exterior is better than shot23. You can identify clips more easily when you use descriptive names.

On this screen, you also need to select the hard drive you want to save your video files to and then click Next.

Video Setting

On the next wizard screen, you need to choose the video quality setting (see Figure 3.17). The first option is Best Quality for Playback on My Computer (Recommended); select it for this exercise to keep things simple. Then click Next.

Figure 3.17

Figure 3.17 The Captured Video File screen: selecting the video quality.

Capture Method

Next, the wizard asks you how you would like to capture your video—automatically or manually:

  • Capture the Entire Tape Automatically—If you know you want to import all the video you shot, you should select this option. You should use this option only if you’re sure you want everything on your tape.

  • Capture Parts of the Tape Manually—Because video takes up a lot of hard drive space, it’s a better practice to import only the usable portions of your video. Therefore, you should generally select this option.

For this exercise, you should select Capture Parts of the Tape Manually so you get to know how this works.

For this exercise, you should also check the box Show Preview During Capture so you can see the process, and then click Next.

The Capture Video Screen

On the wizard’s Capture Video screen, you can find the beginning of a clip you want to use and then rewind the tape a few seconds before that clip starts to give yourself room to edit the clip. Then you click Start Capture. After you let the clip play, you should wait a few seconds and then click Stop Capture.

If you know the length of a clip that you want to capture, you can check the box Capture Time Limit and enter the duration of that clip.

If you have 2 minutes of video to capture, it will take your computer 2 minutes to import it.

Figure 3.18 shows an example of what the Capture Video screen looks like.

Figure 3.18

Figure 3.18 Capturing video.

When you’re finished capturing your video clip, at the bottom of the screen, click Finish.

The Import Screen

Now the Video Capture Wizard copies the temporary file to your disk. Movie Maker puts the video file into a new collection. You need to wait for the importing files process to complete.

Step 4: Import Music

If you have any music to import for this video, now is the time to add it to your collections.

From the Movie Tasks pane, you choose Import Audio or Music (under Capture Video). Then you navigate to the music file you want to use and click it. Then you select Import. Your music track appears in the Collections pane in the center of your screen (see Figure 3.19).

Figure 3.19

Figure 3.19 Importing music.

Step 5: Import Photo

If you want to use any digital photos in a movie, you need to add them to your collections. The process is very similar to that for adding music.

From the Movie Tasks pane, you select Import photo. Then you navigate to the photos you want to use and click them. Next, you select Import. Your photo appears in the Collections pane in the center of your screen. Movie Maker automatically creates a 5-second video clip from each photo you import (see Figure 3.20).

Figure 3.20

Figure 3.20 Importing photos.

Congratulations! You’ve imported all the elements you need—video, music, and/or photos—to create your first movie!

Step 6: Organize and Combine Your Collections

If you imported only video, all your files should be in one collection. If you have audio or photos in collections separate from your video, you need to organize them all into one collection. You should cut and paste your elements from the different collections into one collection to make editing easier.

Step 7: Edit

Now you’re ready to edit. You’ve been very patient so far, gathering your elements and doing all the background work. Now it’s time to have some fun. You simply select and drag the video clip or photo that you want to appear at the beginning of your movie from the center of the screen in your Collections pane down to the Storyboard or Timeline view.

Figure 3.21 shows a highlighted video clip, outlined in gray.

Figure 3.21

Figure 3.21 Video clips in a collection.

When you drag and drop the clip into the Timeline (or Storyboard) view, it drops into the beginning of the video, as shown in Figure 3.22. You can rearrange clips in the order you want—or delete them from your movie—in the Timeline view or Storyboard view.

If you decide you don’t want this clip in your movie, you simply highlight the clip in the Timeline view (by clicking and holding down the mouse button) and press the Delete key. The clip is still available in the Collections pane, but it is not included in the movie.

Figure 3.22

Figure 3.22 After you drag and drop a clip from your collection into the Timeline (or Storyboard) view at the bottom of the screen, your video clip displays.

You can continue dragging and dropping clips into the Storyboard or Timeline view to make your movie.

As you begin to accumulate more clips, you can use the scrollbar (in Figure 3.23, it’s where the cursor is) at the bottom of the Storyboard or Timeline view to navigate more easily through the program.

Figure 3.23

Figure 3.23 Assembling clips in the Timeline view.

Step 8: Trim Clips

Now that you have a number of clips in order, it’s time to get out the pruning shears and trim your clips (see Figure 3.24). Is a clip too long? Click the clip, either at the beginning or the end, and you are then able to drag the blue line with double red arrows to shorten it. The monitor displays the video as you move it. Then you go to the in (or beginning) point or end point that you want and release the mouse; your clip is then trimmed. It’s that easy!

Figure 3.24

Figure 3.24 Trimming a clip.

Again, trimming a clip in the Storyboard or Timeline view doesn’t trim it in your collection. If you want to revert to the full-length clip, you can do that at any point.

Splitting a Clip

What happens when you want to take out something in the middle of a clip? The answer is to split the clip into two. You’ll probably need to use this feature often.

You can split a clip anywhere you want to, by using the Split Clip button at the bottom right of the screen. You position the video where you want to split it and then click the Split Clip button, as shown in Figure 3.25.

Figure 3.25

Figure 3.25 Splitting a video clip using the Split Clip icon. In this screen, you see the cursor arrow (way over on the right, just above the Timeline) on the Split Clip icon.

Step 9: Add Music

Adding music makes a movie much more lively. It’s fun to sample and choose the music to go with your clips. You should listen to enough selections to make sure you get the right fit between your images and the emotions in the music. It may take some time. Experimenting with different musical choices is a great exercise in learning just how powerful music can be.

When you add music, you can choose to mute the original audio on your video file or mix it together with the music you add. You have the flexibility to choose to use any of these options throughout your movie: You can use both music and your original audio at times, and you can have just music or just your original audio in portions of your movie.

Once you’ve imported your music, you can click Show Collections under Edit Movie in the Movie Tasks pane. Then you highlight your music in the Collections pane and drag and drop it into the Timeline view in the audio/music track at the point where you want it to play. Then you release it.

If you’re using music in your movie, you need to consider whether the video and audio will end at the same point. If your music is only 1 minute long and your video is 3 minutes long, you need to either loop the music over and over or trim the video to 1 minute in length.

If you prefer to use a sound effect rather than music, you can also do this in Movie Maker. You import a sound effect the same way you import music, adding it to your collection.

Because Movie Maker has only two audio tracks, you can only use music or a sound effect, but not both, if you have audio in a video track.

Adjusting Audio Levels

You can right-click an audio file in the Timeline view and choose Volume to get the Audio Clip Volume dialog box, where you can change the audio level of music or the audio in your video (see Figure 3.26).

Figure 3.26

Figure 3.26 Adjusting audio clip volume.

Mixing Audio Levels

Movie Maker has a very cool way to let you vary the audio levels of your video sound and music tracks: You can use the Set Audio button, which is located on the left side of the screen (the cursor is over it in Figure 3.27).

Clicking the Set Audio button opens the Audio Levels dialog box, which allows you to turn up or tone down the music relative to the audio from the video (and vice versa). Moving the slider left and right varies the audio coming from these two sources. Closing this box saves your setting.

Figure 3.27

Figure 3.27 Mixing sound levels by using the Set Audio button’s Audio Levels dialog box.

Step 10: Add Transitions

To add a transition to your video, from the Movie Tasks pane, you select View Video Transitions and drag and drop the transition over your video in the Timeline or Storyboard view. Then you can preview transitions in the video monitor.

In most cases, you should use the Dissolve transition. This is a gentle, gradual way of going from shot to shot. If you want to call attention to a transition, however, you can use a flashier transition. It’s often good to use the same transition repeatedly in a movie to get a visual rhythm going. Or you can just go wild and use every transition in Movie Maker. (Kids love to do silly stuff like this.)

Step 11: Add Titles

To add titles to your movie, from the Movie Tasks pane, you select Make Titles or Credits under the Edit Movie category. Then you decide, in the screen that appears next, where in your movie you would like the titles to appear (see Figure 3.28).

Figure 3.28

Figure 3.28 Adding a title to your movie.

Next, you are prompted to enter your text. You can preview the title in the video monitor. You can click Change the Title Animation or Change the Text Font and Color to see other choices. There are many options to choose from, and each one adds a different character and personality to your video, so take the time to find the title animation, font, and color you like best.

When you’re satisfied with your title selection, you can click Done, Add Title to Movie.

Step 12: Rough Cut to Fine Cut

What are a rough cut and a fine cut? These filmmaking terms help define the stage of a project:

  • Rough cut—A rough cut is a basic edit, with the clips in a logical order, the music and audio in place, and the titles and credits inserted. You can think of it as a first draft.

  • You look at a rough cut of your movie to make sure things make sense and that the basic structure is working. At this stage, you may want to reorder a sequence or delete some footage that isn’t working or is making your movie drag.

  • Fine cut—A fine cut is an edited version that is pretty close to finished, in which all the clips have been trimmed, the audio and levels are mixed for optimal playback, and the titles and credit are inserted. You can think of it as a nearly final draft.

  • At the fine cut point, you’re close to finishing, and you just want to check to make sure things look good. You can evaluate what minor adjustments might need to be made and do the final tweaking to make your movie a masterpiece!

When going from the rough cut to the fine cut, you need to watch your video and see how it looks. Is the audio where you want it? Are the shots in the right order? Do you like the transitions and effects you’ve used? You probably have a bit of editing to do, so take care of business: Trim video clips if you need to, adjust the music, and fix any other details to improve your video.

You should spend time trimming clips and tightening things up. It can really transform your video. This is what editing’s all about!

Step 13: Finish Video

When everything in your video is just the way you want it, you’re ready to save it. You’ll learn all about this in Chapter 4.

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