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- Understanding video resolution and frame rates
- Comparing DSLRs and camcorders
- Choosing equipment, from tripods to memory cards to lights
- Achieving the right exposure
- Working with shutter speed limitations
- Setting white balance
- Recording better audio with an external microphone
- Incorporating movement and storytelling into video
- Preparing for video editing
Skill Level Beginner
Once you start shooting video with your camera, you are going to start getting a bunch of video files, and what do you do with them? Well, you're going to want to start to edit them and there are courses about video editing at lynda.com. So I am not going to talk to you about that. What I do want to talk to you about is preparing for the edit, and that starts with getting your video onto your computer. One thing nice about digital video is that this takes very little time and effort compared to when people had to shoot with videotape. You probably already have a memory card reader for getting your image files into your computer.
A card reader is important and will be faster than downloading big video files through most cameras. Video files are big and I would suggest you do not import these files to your main hard drive in your computer. Get a large external hard drive and dedicate that just to video. I would recommend at least 1 terabyte and probably more. Also, be sure this is a fast hard drive. Look for a drive speed of 7500 rpm.
You need this speed in order to get video off of the drive without any loss of frames or audio while playing back and editing video. So what you want to do is set up this hard drive with one main folder you can label Video Files. You actually want to have a specific place for your files to go rather than simply using the Movies folder or the Videos folder on your main hard drive, because you can very quickly run out of space on that hard drive. In addition, there can actually be some problems when the hard drive that has your editing program is the same drive that is holding your files.
It is possible to import your video through a program such as Lightroom or Aperture or your editing program, but it's just as easy to import them directly to a hard drive. So I am going to open up my external hard drive, and now I have a big empty space here. I am going to right-click and get New Folder. Now you can right-click with both Windows and with the Mac. I highly recommend having a right- click mouse, because it gives you these context-sensitive menus. Otherwise, you always have to hit Ctrl+ Click for a Mac to get this particular menu.
All right! So I've got a folder. I'm going to call this Video files, and then I'm going to open this because I'm going to start creating my own file structure and this is important. So once you get this open in whether it's Finder like here or whether it's Windows Explorer, you're working with the same sorts of things. I'm going to open up this and start my own structure. It's very important that you create a structure for how you are saving your files that make sense for you.
Simply throwing all of your video files randomly into this big folder is not going to help. I like to create a structure that starts with the year. So I am going to right-click again. New Folder. We'll call this 2011. Now what you use is going to depend on your needs. But you need to have some way of structuring your folders just like you would structure them in a filing cabinet. So I'm going to open this up and I'm going to create another New Folder. What I like to do is actually create a folder that tells me where and what and when.
So in the name here, I'm going to put-in California for the where, the what is Swingdancing, and the time is when? It's 0111, hit OK, and now I have this folder. If I open that, I have an empty folder. That is California swingdancing 0111. Now if I look at how this is structured, you can see I've created a structure that starts with my hard drive, moves over to Video files that are specifically a place for my video, then I have a year, and then I have a folder that's specific to the event, the location, and the time.
Again, the way you structure that is going to be up to your needs, but pick some sort of structure. It's very important. Let me go back to this, so I just see the open folder. Now I am going to open up my memory card and I now have you can see a couple of folders. These are typical. Now different brands will have it slightly different, but you will look for the same sorts of things. So I am going to open up DCIM. Then you'll see a thing that says 100CANON. Open that up and there are all of my little video files.
I am going to select them all. Now how you select them all? You can click-and-drag over them like this. You can click on one, do Command or Ctrl+A to select them all. Depends on how you're working and what your preference is. One thing that you might notice is that your camera may record something called thumbnails that are THM files. These are very small files. It doesn't actually matter if you were to drag them over. They are used by the camera for certain things. But you don't have to have them.
You don't have to drag them over onto your hard drive. You're not losing anything significant if you don't. So I need to drag these over onto my new open folder where I have the CA swingdancing 0111. So now we've got all the files in the folder. I actually will keep another external hard drive where I will copy these over again for backups, because I do like to have that backup. But once you're done, it's good idea to eject your memory card.
Now you can eject it here in Finder. You can also eject it by right- clicking the actual icon on your desktop. You can also do the same thing in Windows Explorers. Right-click on the actual name of the drive and eject it. So we'll just eject that. I now have my swing dancers ready to go and I want to start looking at them. The way to really make this easy to do is just click on a particular file, whichever one that you want to start checking on, and with Mac, this is so simple.
You just hit the Spacebar and it starts playing. So I can watch it. I can do that with all of them and decide if there's ones I like or dislike, get rid of stuff that really isn't needed, and so forth. Now if you're working with Windows, you can't do that. You have to double-click on the actual file and it will open into a program. What program is going to depend on what your computer is actually setup for, but it will open up into a dedicated program to play the file and you can check it that way too.
Now once you've done all of this, you're ready to edit. There are courses about video editing here at lynda.com. But whatever you use for editing your video, have fun with it, make lots of videos, send them out to your friends and relatives, put them up on YouTube. You're going to have a lot of possibilities. So go for it.