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Most people have a digital camera these days. Even more people have cell phones or mobile phones. And many have digital camcorders or webcams. Thanks to technology. The prices of these items are coming down. And, of course, most people have computers in their homes too. The ownership of these few items make endless possibilities of having fun, not to talk about doing serious things.
The other end of this fun equation is existence of YouTube. People all over the world are going crazy uploading their videos/movies to YouTube, which is free. It takes only a couple of minutes to open a free YouTube account. Thereafter, you can upload unlimited number of videos or home movies to YouTube, either through your computer or directly from your camcorder, cell phone, or webcam. And don't forget, to make and have fun with home movies, you don't necessarily need to have a camcorder. Most digital still cameras can capture movies too. If you buy a large size memory card for your still camera, you can join this latest craze of making home movies and uploading them to YouTube. See my Las Vegas video which I made using photos and video clips shot with a tiny digital still camera. I am sure, you'll agree the final result is pretty amazing!
Live action can be recorded instantly as a YouTube video via your computer's webcam, thanks to technology. Or something recorded with your mobile phone or camcorder can be directly uploaded to YouTube for the whole world to see almost immediately. But unless something has a news value, there is usually no need for such a haste. The videos of your vacation, or your sister's marriage ceremony, or your son's sporting event, or your father's retirement party, or the concert you attended the other night should actually be polished up first and given a prefessional looking finish before sharing them with friends and family, or uploading them to YouTube for the whole world to see.
Another name for polishing up videos is video editing. During the the process of editing you actually do, or should do, several things. For example, you should first make the images look their best by correcting exposure and focusing, compensating any camera shake, correcting colors and hues, etc. Then you should cut and discard unnecessary parts of every video clip, adjust the sound volume or mute the videos completely to make them suitable for adding narration or music. You can add special effects to your videos by adding special filters, you can add special transition effects between scenes, you can add special, eye-catching, animated titles in the beginning, at the end, even in the middle of videos. You can add narration or description of the scenes, and, of course, you can add music. All these additional things will make your video stand out. A well dressed up video leaves a much better impression in the minds of the viewers than the raw footage shot by the camera. The last and final part of video editing involves saving the video in a suitable file format, and then either burning it into a DVD disk, or sending it to the Internet (YouTube), or sending to a mobile, or uploading it to iPod, or all of the above. In other words, the last part involves sharing.
After adding all these additional things to your video (dressing up your video), the final product should look like a mini-movie, generally referred to as a home movie. The purpose of this Web site is to teach the beginners how to make a decent home movie.
To learn how to make a nice home movie, you basically need to learn the basics of video editing. There are many video editing software available in the market. The price ranges from zero dollars to over a thousand dollars. Windows comes with a free video editing program called Windows Movie Maker. For absolute beginners, it is a pretty good software which is also easy to use. But it has limited capability. If you want to do more, then you'll have to buy a video editing program.
There are several applications available in the market which cost around $100. In that category one of the best is Corel VideoStudio Pro X2. I myself use it, I am very satisfied with it, and I strongly recommend it. Price update: As of February 2010, smart shoppers can buy the product online for $50 or less with free shipping!
In this Web site, I shall teach to the beginners how to edit videos using Corel VideoStudio Pro X2. If you are using another video editing software, this site is not for you. But if you need to get a general idea about how video editing is done, stick around.
Before we begin, let me mention one thing. Within a few days of launching this Web site, I have been asked by several people what is the best or most commonly used camera for making home movies? First of all, discussing the pros and cons of different cameras/camcorders is beyond the scope of this site. Secondly, nobody can recommend one single camera as the best camera for making home movies. Selection of camera depends on many things including one's budget. Generally speaking, if you can afford it, it is wise go for a High Definition (HD) camcorder because in near future Standard Definition (SD) camcorders will become obsolete. But HD camcorders are still kind of pricey, and most people (myself included) cannot afford it. I did a lot of research before choosing my camcorder, and eventually I settled for JVC Everio GZ-MG630 Hard Disk Drive (HDD) 60 GB camcorder. I chose the silver color, but it is also available in blue and red. Of course, the color of the body is your preference, the camera is the same. I don't regret my decision. It is a pretty good value for the price (under $400). In case you are interested, I wrote quite a comprehensive review of this camcorder here. I also have 4 JVC Everio GZ-MG630 Camcorder Testing Videos in my YouTube channel. My YouTube channel is located here.
Now let's go to the tutorials.
Copyright © 2009 Silabhadra Sen
Original publication date: August 20, 2009