Video Editing on a Budget 2

Video editing can be the most frustrating thing on earth to do, well at least for me it is.  Sometimes I am ready to punt my computer to the moon or drown it in out local river.  Why you might ask?  Memory and Drive speed. The two key ingredients that can turn a normally good computer into a snail on roller skates.  In other words if you download all your videos to your hard drive it will start working slow and eventually overheat and shut down.

>>>ERROR<<<>>>system shutdown!<<<

It is expecially maddening when you have been working on a video that you need to get out that day for a client or a blog post that is all ready and waiting to go.  But maybe that is just me, I’ll start by telling you about the system I run.

  • Panasonic Tough books CF-74
  • Intel Duo Core 2 Processor T7300@ 2.0GHz
  • 4 TB External Hard Drive ***A MUST***
  • Corel Videostudio Pro X4

That is the simple rundown on my system, simple, efficient and I had most of it already. Side note,  if I could I’d be running a Macbook Pro with Final Cut Pro. So for those who are Mac users, do yourself a favor, get Final Cut! And then just skip the next section about choosing a program.  But, I do not have the money to drop on that right now, so I’ll simply use what I have available and make it work.  My guess is that is most people out there.

Choosing a Program

Use what you have available to you. For me when I did my first few videos is was Windows Video Editing software that was already on my computer.  It worked okay and got the job done. No bells and whistles, but it worked all the same.  Truth is find something that you are comfortable with, not something that costs a lot or your nerdy computer geek nephew says to use.  Some people are more computer literate than others and they can figure out how to work technical programs easily, some can’t.

Utilize free trials that software makers give out, It is like a test drive before you buy a new car.  Here are a few links of some that I recommend.

Try one of these or all of these out and find the one that works for you and your needs.  Some are more user-friendly than others, Corel is what I use, but really only because I got the full download on a special, $14 on Amazon.  I do like Adobe and Pinnacle a lot too.  So if I don’t change to a new computer anytime soon, I might be going to Adobe.  There are a lot of choices out there just use what you feel comfortable with.

Expand your Memory

Alright so you have a camera, a program and some footage of your last adventure or product review, now what do you do?  Think about how much you are going to film and how much of your footage you want to save on your computer.  Video files and HD video files can eat up you memory like you won’t believe. Get an external hard drive!!!!! I can not stress that enough, I own two of them.  A cheap WD with 250gb or 500gb will suffice for most people, amazon has a 320 gb Toshiba for $65 and a refurbished 500gb Western Digital for $75. I found an open boxed Buffalo Tech DriveStation Quad 4TBfor $150 on amazon, sorry it was the only one and I will never let it go.  My suggestion is to check into it, if you don’t you will later trust me.

Okay, Now What?

Play!  Seriously, just go out and film your dog or kids playing in the back yard for your first few videos.  Don’t think now that you have all this epic software that you will be the next Steven Spielberg of the outdoor blogging world.  You need to learn your camera and the angle you can get with it.  If you have a POV camera like a Contour or GoPro you will need to learn what angles and how close you need to get to accomplish the shot that you desire.  It takes practice and time to understand what you are shooting and how to be efficent.

Think out of the box. Don’t shoot video that looks the same as everyone else’s videos.  Think of different perspectives you can take to make your video look and feel different. For me video editing is more about emotion and ‘Feel’ than anything else.  If it feels good or it draws out an emotion I know I am onto something.  Set the camera on the ground looking up as you walk by it, clamp it to a tree where the shot almost looks like it is from a birds perspective.  Be different in capturing your shots.  Remember for every 5 shots you take you will use maybe 1.  Lastly to make it easier on yourself in the editing dungeon, you will understand eventually, take short clips!!!! I can not stress that enough, don’t just roll video and get 5 min clips that you have to cut down and sandwich together.  Notice most of my Clips are maybe 2 to 5 seconds at the most.  That brings a whole new challenge, but it is more manageable.

Get an honest friend.  Have one or two people that will not just pat you on the back ever time you make a video, but will honestly give you a real opinion. For example, my “Creative Director” as I like to call him sent me a scathing review of a short video yesterday.  You will never see it, because he was right about the video and two it was never meant to be share outside of a small group of people.  The best thing for expanding your abilities is someone who will tell you the truth AND give you constructive advise on how to move forward.  A shot in the gut without an affirmation to keep your hands up is just that, a shot in the gut.

Homework for you all 

Here is the task, make a 2 to 3 minute video about something you like and makes you smile.  It’s easier to edit if you like what your editing, if you have no interest then don’t bother.

  1. Get a program- Free Trial or buy one.
  2. Shoot some footage about whatever.
  3.  Add piece of music you like and use it as your baseline, remember Music can make or break a video.
  4. Add a title to the front end.
  5. Start putting in clips.
  6. Add a cool filter if you want, Sepia or an old film filter is a good one to start with.
  7. Speed up or Slow down some key parts to make an emphasis on something.
  8. Slap a finishing credit and render the video.
  9. Send it out.

That is the basic way of editing, keep it simple at first and move on from there.  Don’t over think it, just do it.  I need to take breaks in the middle of a long editing sessions to keep sane, I get a little introverted and melancholy.  And lastly KEEP SAVING YOUR VIDEO!!!!!!! Do not rely on the auto save to keep your saving up to date, I can not tell you how many videos or portions of video I have lost to my program freezing or forgetting to plug the power cord in and it shuts down.  Do yourself a favor save every few minutes!!

 Sharing the good news of products and adventures.

This is just a personal preference of mine, but I do not like YouTube.  It is over regulated and full of Jr. High Kids making weird pointless videos.  I know there is a lot of good content on the site, but it is buried under miles of junk.  I personally have not uploaded something to youtube in almost a 6 months.  My recommendation is Vimeo.  It is easy to use, they have embedding code for your site and they have per programmed slide show viewers too.  And most programs have an option for you to render and automatically post it on Vimeo.

Well that is it, a good way to get started in video editing. Not all programs are the same and not all cameras are equal, but they will all record and make a video.  Just go out and try.  Send me a link to your video if you want as well, I’d love to watch it and give you some feed back.

Next is video Technique so stay tuned.


Tony Catalde
The Bearded Boar
Slim-Stick Productions