I’ve spent most of the year learning how to translate my still photography skills to video, shooting as many clips as I can with my Canon 5D Mark II and 7D. While there is a learning curve with the actual shooting part of video, I have found that my still photo skills translate pretty well. The challenge for me is on the editing side. The software is nothing like what I am used to when editing photos, but I am starting to get the hang of it. The “experts” all swear by Apple’s Final Cut Pro as the editing software of choice, but I’m a PC guy and don’t have the resources right now to invest in a new Mac. I’m also not trying to do anything too fancy yet, so I figured there must be plenty of software on the PC side that can handle my needs. The main choices on the PC side are Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects, Sony Vegas Pro (expensive) and Premiere Elements and Vegas Platinum (both around $100.00). I’ve used both Premiere Elements and Vegas Platinum, and I’m now happy using Vegas Platinum on a regular basis. The above documentary was edited in Platinum.
The quirky thing with both Premiere Elements and Vegas Platinum is that they don’t really like the quicktime files that come out of Canon DSLR’s. They’ll play nice for a while, but inevitably the programs get clunky and start crashing, either during editing or export (Final Cut and Premiere Pro CS5 don’t seem to have this problem.) The good news is there is a solution that involves transcoding your native .mov files to .avi files that are handled without crashing by Premiere Elements and Vegas Platinum. This stuff seems way too complex to me, but we’re stuck with multiple video formats, codecs, etc. for now anyway. There is a great write-up on how to transcode DSLR files for Vegas and how to export your resulting videos on a blog post by Eugenia Loli here: http://eugenia.gnomefiles.org/2007/11/09/exporting-with-vegas-for-vimeo-hd/
I’m sure someday as my skills improve I’ll want to upgrade my software, but I’m pretty happy with this video and see no reason not to stick with the $100.00 software for now. I was able to layer multiple video and audio tracks, add transitions, color correct clips, etc., and output my video in any format I wanted.
By the way, if you use music in your video clips like I did here, be sure to secure the rights to that music. There is plenty of free and low-cost royalty-free music on the net (just try a google search for royalty free music.) I’m fortunate to have a brother who is a professional musician so I have a ready source of music like the piece I used in this clip. (You can check out his RF music at http://monkmusic.net/stock_guitar_music.htm)