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You are here: Home > Review
How To Do Everything With Digital Video
Software: How To Do Everything With Digital Video
Use: Educational Book
Reviewer: George Kimpton
Date: June 2003
How To Do Everything With Digital Video Many Seniors like to travel and see places they have never visited before now that they have time on their hands. To help retain the memories we usually take a still camera along and, increasingly these days, video cameras, as still shots so often seem to miss something. I believe it is those little bits just outside the frame which we can capture with video by panning across a scene.

But what do we do with the video when we come home. If you show it with without editing it can get pretty boring and besides, you don’t want to see those shots of feet or the floor, when we forgot to switch off. The addition of a good voice over track plus suitable background music along with simple editing will do wonders and could have your family and friends thinking you are pretty smart and talented, instead of ducking for cover when you mention home videos.

To most, video editing would seem to be impossibly complicated, but with today’s computers and digital video cameras it is surprisingly easy, and with this book "How To Do Anything With Digital Video" it is even easier to turn out some pretty sophisticated looking videos.

While this book concentrates on digital cameras the principles remain the same for the older analogue VHS or S-Video cameras. The only real difference is that with the older cameras, you need an analogue to digital converter which often takes the shape of a capture board.

This book starts off looking at the camera hardware and where the various parts fit into the picture before moving on to camera techniques. Apart from looking at focus, zoom and other important settings it looks at filming moving objects, people and the landscape to best effect before moving on to lighting, both natural and artificial. Much of this may sound boring but it could be just that little something that makes your video special and enjoyable.

Sound is covered in some detail with attention to microphones, lip sync, voice over and offers some sources for sound effects. From here you jump into the editing with a short discussion on hardware and software, both low end and more expensive.

Many video camera users will not realise just how easy and inexpensive it can be to digitally edit digital video on a computer these days. As a base, if anyone has windows Me or XP on their computer, you already have some basic editing software built in with Movie Maker. All you need extra is a firewire connection card, a good graphics card and a decent hard drive.

From chapter six on you look at planning a shoot, story boarding it and then getting on with the job. You look at trimming and sorting your clips, applying transitions, synchonising voice or sound with the clips, creating titles and animating them, and applying all those little tricks that can make or break a video.

Finally when you are happy with the finished project, the book discusses how to save the finished project for posterity on either tape or CD. There is perhaps one thing missing here and that is information on outputting to DVD using MPEG-2, but that doesn’t really matter as most DVD burning packages make this a pretty straight forward procedure.

If you are into video on the net then this topic is also covered in some detail with a look at video streaming and web casting. To get you started you are also offered some projects to get you on your way and make you feel more at home producing your masterpiece.

To finish off some time is spent looking at Windows XP Movie Maker and what you can do with it as a basic editing system. If you have Windows Me, I don’t think there is any real difference between the supplied version of Movie Maker and that in XP.

This book is easy to read and follow and will offer a fairly painless introduction to video editing for both raw beginners and amateurs. It could also make your choice in buying a camera and editing gear easier if you haven’t jumped in yet. You will be much wiser when choosing your camera etc. after reading this book. More experienced users will also find a lot of useful information to make life easier and help add something to future projects.

Note: for those who have Windows Me or XP Microsoft Press did put out a book " Windows Movie Maker Handbook" and it could still be around.

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