Moultrie Products

By Pat Lefemine
President, Bowsite.com

Part 2 - Editing and Final Production of the Field Footage

In part 1, we showed you the equipment and the setup. Now we will discuss the most important aspects of producing a quality video, editing and production.

You have just returned from the field with footage of you shooting a great buck. You are pumped up, and eager to show it to all your friends. So you invite them over and begin watching the video. While the video plays scenes of the camera zooming in and out, constantly going out of focus then back in, and bouncing as if you shot it on a roller coaster ride you begin to notice your audience's concentration fading. Some guys start side conversations and the only way to get them interested again is to constantly tell them "Shhh, here comes the good part..." Does this sound familiar?

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The video of the shot was probably OK. The problem is that in order to grab people's attention, you need to edit your footage.

Editing used to be a job for pro's. Guys like Dan Bertalan who had sophisticated video editing equipment which was prohibitively expensive for the hobbyist. But with the advent of Digital Video and today's powerful PC's, even the hobbyist can produce some great videos at home with little to no investment other than the camera, PC, a few cables, and perhaps some additional software.

 

The Equipment

Here is what you will need to edit your own video footage.

Connect your DV Camcorder to your PC with IEEE 1394 "Firewire" Cables. Also known as Sony iLink cables. Be sure to check to make sure which pin configuration you have. Most cameras take the smaller 4 pin, however PC's can be either 4 pin or 6 pin depending on the brand.

  1. Digital Video Camera with an IEEE 1394 (Firewire connection, sometimes called iLink)
  2. Firewire Cables (be sure to check the pin configuration - some are 6 pin and some are 4 pin)
  3. Editing Software - I used Adobe Premiere 6.x currently and many newer PC's come with Adobe Premier LE, or some other video edting software provided for free with your PC.
  4. Optional DVD Writer where you can create DVD's right on your PC. I currently use Sonic DVDit Professional.
  5. Optional Royalty Free (RF) Music for use with your video project. Some good sources of RF music on the web are Musicbakery.com , MusicLibrary.com, or you can create your own music using tools like Acid Pro by Sonic Foundry.

 

 

Steps to Editing and Producing your Video

Now lets look at all of the steps involved with producing your own video using the footage you captured in Part I.

Note: For the purposes of this feature I am not detailing the steps for any particular software package. We recommend that you read the manual and familiarize yourself with the programs you have.

 

Step 1 - Laying out your project

Like any project, it is always helpful to start out with a plan. When we go on video shoots such as our latest spring turkey hunt in South Dakota with Stick and String Outfitters, I had a shoot plan laid out ahead of time. This may be nothing more than a simple checklist of shots needed to make the video interesting. You can type these up on one sheet of paper and take it with you in the field. For my Spring Turkey hunt, my list looked like this:

  1. Greeting the outfitter at the beginning of the trip
  2. Riding to the hunting area at dawn
  3. Getting video of roosted birds
  4. Setting up (assuming there is available light)
  5. Footage of turkeys
  6. The Shot
  7. The "Hero Footage" - try several takes of varying length. Less than 1 minute is best.
  8. Go back in the blind and film these edits
    • Guide Calling
    • Me and guide looking out the window
    • Getting ready for the shot
    • Drawing and shooting
    • Reaction footage - like a high-five, fist pump, etc.
  9. Ending Scene - such as walking back with the bird, driving off, looking into the distance, etc.

While to many, this may seem disingenuous and painfully "contrived" - I think of it as bringing to my audience the entire story. We try to simply recreate the situation as close as possible to reality. For many, these "staged" events can make you feel uncomfortable at the moment. After all, how many of us are Tom Cruise, but the reality is that all good video must included these elements in order to keep your audience interested and engaged with the story.

Step 2 - Capturing my footage to the PC

Capturing is done through software which exists on your PC. For my setup I use Adobe Premiere 6.x which has built in capture software (see screen below). Using your Firewire Cable, simply plug one end into your camera, and the other into your PC. Most current software packages such as Windows XP, and Windows 2000 should automatically recognize your camera. If it does not, I would strongly recommend that you upgrade your PC's operating system. You may have the option of installing "drivers" for your current PC's Operating Systems (e.g.. Windows98 or Windows95) but it may be easier just to upgrade.

When I am ready to edit, I pull up my shoot list and spend 20-40 minutes going through my tapes, jotting down the time codes for these edits. For instance, "Hero Footage" would follow with something like 35:50 - 41:25. This means that I need to FF the tape until it reads 35 minutes and 50 seconds. Then I can "CAPTURE" this clip on my PC. The clip is then labeled as "the shot" and I continue capturing the additional edits.

Step 3 - Assembling the Video

To this point, you have all of your edits captured and organized within your Video Edting Software program. Now its time to lay out the video. Most video editing programs use a "Timeline" which is a matrix of tracks or layers represented Horizontally, and Time (usually in seconds) represented vertically (see below screen shot).


Screen shot of Adobe Premier 6.x Timeline during Turkey bowhunt Editing Session

You will need to "trim" each segment of video so that it starts and ends smoothly. Then you simply lay out these segments along the timeline until you are at the end. Editing takes practice and don't expect your first projects to look like a RealTree video. But with practice you will get the hang of it. As you progress, consider experimenting with these additional techniques

  • Adding a soundtrack or mood music
  • Picture in Picture
  • Slow Motion
  • Transitions, like fades from one scene to another, fades to black or white, etc.
  • Title overlays where you can introduce a character, or place
  • Inserting photos or graphics, etc.

All editing programs that I am familiar with allow you to preview your video prior to the final creation (which is called rendering, or exporting). This is invaluable since you will likely make a lot of changes to your video before it is complete.

Step 4 - Completing the Video

You are proud of your new video project but unfortunately to this point, the only people that can see it are the ones standing in front of your computer. You need to somehow get this video to a VHS Tape, CD, DVD, or the Web. Let's look at each one of these mediums and how you might go about doing this.

VHS Tape - This is the most common medium for showing off your hunt. It is cheap, and virtually everyone has a VHS player. Depending on your editing program, you may have an option called "export to tape" If you do not have this option, then you should consider purchasing a product like Adobe Premiere 6.x which does have this option. You simply put a blank tape into your Mini-DV camcorder, put it on record, and then your video editing software should do the rest. This will make an exact copy of your PC project onto your Camera's Mini-DV tape. Once that is complete, then attach your Mini-DV camera to your VCR, hit Record on your VCR and Play on your Camera. This will copy your video project to VHS tape. Note: your camera should have the proper cables for playback on your VCR. They usually consist of a single AV connector on your camera, and 2 or 3 colored cable jacks which go into your VCR.

CD Rom - There are two things necessary to move your video files to CD Rom. The first is a CD Writer. The second is enough space on your blank CD to hold the video file. Video files are HUGE. And since CD's only hold 650MB of data, it is important to ensure that your video project is less than 650 MB.

DVD - DVD is an outstanding way to show off your video. You should be able to fit approximately 2 hours worth of video on a standard single-sided DVD. The first thing you will need is a DVD writer. There are various, competing standards on the market at present but the one I use, and appears to be the emerging leader in the standards race is DVD+RW. The DVD's are presently about $8 each and you can re-use the DVD+RW's if you choose. Using a program such as DVD'it or MYDVD you can easily create the DVD menus and buttons similar to a professional DVD.

WEB - Till now, choosing the medium was relatively straightforward. But with the WEB, things get complicated quickly. There are a number of choices you will need to make, each has its own set of issues. Here are some of the questions you will need to answer:

  1. Where will I store this video? - unless you have a hosted website, or a site which allows free hosting of pictures and video clips, you will have no way to "present" these videos to people unless you send the clip via e-mail and I strongly recommend AGAINST that.
  2. What format should I use? - There are a variety of different computer formats, here are the pros and cons of each:
    Video Format
    Extension
    Pros
    Cons
    MPEG*
    .mpg
    Universal browser support, good quality Extremely large, does not stream, large picture size requires powerful PC
    QuickTime
    .mov
    Weak browser support, OK quality Medium size, many people have difficulty viewing .MOV files
    Windows Media
    .wmv
    Good browser support for Windows only, good quality Medium size, streams with or without a server, requires semi-powerful machine
    RealMedia
    .ram
    OK browser support, good quality Requires a RealVideo server, not suited for hobbyists

    If you do not have one of these players, click the links to download them. *MPEG videos can be played on most browsers without any additional players. If your browser can not support MPEG movies, then download the WindowsMedia player which can play many different formats including MPEG and WindowsMedia

     

  3. Who is my target audience and what connection do they have? - this is critical. Many companies try to produce a video for the web that virtually no one watches. That is because the file size is prohibitively large for their target audience. Video files are HUGE. A one minute MPEG clip that is 2 inches wide can be as much as 8mb. If you are on a high-speed internet connection such as DSL, Cable, or through your employer's T1 line, then this is probably ok. But if you are on a dial-up modem then it's hardly worth the effort to watch unless it is something extraordinary. At Bowsite.com we are moving quickly into the streaming video space however we have decided to target the growing number of Broadband (high speed internet) users rather than the dial-up population. It's one of those harsh realities of the internet; dial-up connections are too slow for even lower-quality video. I'm not sure about you, but my time is too valuable to sit around for 20 minutes to watch a fuzzy video clip the size of a postage stamp.

Assuming you have chosen the desired format, getting your video from your editing program to this format should be relatively simple. Adobe Premier comes with a variety of export formats, such as MPEG and Windows Media. If you are really interested in exporting to the web and you need a lot of flexibility, then consider a product called Cleaner5 which is designed to port your video projects into virtually any web format easily.

 

 

Well, there you have it. I realize that we threw a lot of information at you in Part 2. Video editing takes time to master but I am confident that with some basic computer skills, and the right software, you too can produce some great videos of your hunts. We'd love to see them too, and possibly include them on a new project we are working on, please contact us if you would like to submit your video clip to Bowsite.com.

 

 

Watch a sample from our upcoming DVD which includes the turkey hunt we edited using the techniques above. The 1 minute clip includes the following:
  • fades from black
  • Logos
  • Title Badge
  • RF Music
  • Slow Motion
File Size 2.2mb, Duration 1:20, Requires Windows Media Player

 

 

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