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Editing Digital Videos (Part II—editing basics)

Learn to create original videos! So you have some digital video footage on your computer that you want to edit? The process of editing digital footage is very simple. Here are the basic steps of getting your footage to a place where you can edit it. The previous article in this series talked about using video footage shot on a regular digital camera. If you are doing this, just download your footage to your computer the same way that you would download photographs. Now, just keep track of the folder where your images are, skip the next paragraph and start reading at step one.

If you have footage on a MiniDV camera turn on your camera and plug it into your FireWire port. Open the program you are going to be using (see step one below.) Then go to “File” and look for an option called “Capture” or “Capture Video.” A new window will pop up asking you where you want to save the footage on your hard drive. In this window there is usually a box for an option called “automatically detect scenes.” This option is helpful because it automatically breaks your film into chunks based on where you paused or took a break from filming on the tape. Make sure you have a lot of disc space available. The space required is about 1 GB of space on your hard drive for every 5-6 minutes of tape. The process will take as long as the tape is [example: if you are capturing 15 minutes of tape, it will take about 15 minutes to capture.] The clips should appear in your “assets,” “collections,” or “footage” menu. Skip to step 3 below.

  • 1 Open the program you are using (Windows XP machines comes with Windows Movie Maker for free, Macs come with iMovie.)
  • 2 Import your footage by clicking on the “File” button and then looking for “Import” or “Import into Collections” in the options. The clips should appear in your “assets,” “collections,” or “footage” menu.
  • 3 Click on the clips to preview them. This will allow you to know what is in each clip.
  • 4 In the preview window you can trim you clips even further.
  • 5 Once your clips are trimmed you can put them into your Timeline or storyboard [the area at the bottom of the screen] (on Windows Movie Maker there is a button to allow you to toggle back and forth between the two views. Each view has advantages and disadvantages, and some people prefer one or the other. Personal I prefer working mainly in the Timeline view.)
  • 6 You can move the order of your clips around until you have them arranged in the way that you would like.

    Now you have the basics of editing. You can preview the entire timeline by clicking on the Timeline and then playing it in the preview window. You will end up watching your video clips multiple times by the end of this process.

    Read Part I

    by Cameron Hatch
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