Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ulead VideoStudio 11 Plus

Offers video editing and dvd authoring.

VideoStudio Editor has the tools to let even inexperienced users create their own edited home movies. User can follow the step by step software so that they can spend more time working on their actual video editing project rather than on the technical aspects of video editing.

The Movie Wizard is tailored to users that are new to video editing. You can select from the embedded dvd themes, and the program creates a great looking opening sequence for you. The program lets you import photos that automatically create photo slideshows with pan and zoom. It takes about three steps.

The program includes a DV to DVD wizard that makes it very fast to get from your digital video footage to a newly created DVD. You hook up your video camera, choose the scenes from the video that you want, and in two steps you will have a finished DVD with dvd menus, dvd titles, transitions between video clips, and background music.

The software includes the ability to import and edit high definition video.

You can create PIP (picture in picture) effects and can overlay up to six tracks.

The Plus software automatically created opening footage that is comparable to movie opening sequences. It also includes Dobly Digital 5.1 surround sound so when you play your new dvd on a surround sound system, it will sound great.

There are automatic color filters, tone filters, desnowing technology, cleanup of video, mpeg optimizer, and dvd authoring. You can create 16:9 widescreen DVDs, and have the ability to customize the backgrounds and buttons on your dvds. It includes support for MPEG4 files and H.264.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum Edition

Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum Edition

Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum Edition allows you to edit video, produce audio, and author dvds. It is a self-inclusive software application that allows you to create quality movies, corporate training video, DVDs from wedding footage, and archive family movies. It allows you to edit video in many of the most popular formats as well as high definition HDV and Sony AVCHD.

There are advanced tools in the package that allow for video compositing and color correction. You can also use the advanced tools to do extensive sound mixing. It has built in DVD authoring and the ability to output files online.

Drag and drop import of video is included. There are built in DVD layout that can be used to burn your project to DVD. They also include interactive training videos that help you get started using the video to dvd transfer software.

Some of the features included:

--creation of high definition files

--export to Sony AVCHD files

--use of surround sound mixing and encoding of video files

--lots of video restoration tools

--includes many professional 2D and 3D video effects for your video movies

--titles and filters

--included transitions

--real time DirectX effects (audio)

--animattes video compositing mattes

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Friday, September 7, 2007

Roxio Easy Media Creator 10

Roxio's Easy Media Creator has been updated to support the latest file formats, media types and web services. There are also some extras that will help inexperienced users get going right away.
The new Easy Media Creator 10 runs about $99 bucks, upgrades around $69. Even thought it's geared to the novice, there are many parts of the suite that will satisfy the power user.
Import just about any audio file (MP3, WMA, AAC, Flac, Ogg) and it will encode the song to the format of your choice. For video, it will import and encode VC-1, MPEG, AVI, H.264 and WMV as well as many others. There is an increase in performance over previous versions when working with HD video.
The video editing tools and photo editors are easy to use. There are project wizards for the newbies.
Other features:
Batch CD ripper -- rip MP3s or WMAs from multiple drives
Full support for both HD DVD and Blu-ray formats
Support for HD video up to 1440 X 1080
Audio capture -- record audio from any source
Instantly upload a video to YouTube
Create DVD music discs
Share audio and video among all your computers and devices like the Microsoft Xbox.
Sync with Vista's photo manager.
Crop/resize photos for mobile device screens
Automatically enhance photos taken on your mobile device cameras

Monday, August 20, 2007

Handbrake

Handbrake is a free video software program that allows you to import footage from a DVD and convert the video footage into the MPEG-4 format. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Handbrake will rip your DVD video footage to your computer and then encodes it in the MPEG-4 format so you can then transfer it to an iPod.

The program does not circumvent dvd video copy protection, but if you have your own DVD video that you made of family and friends, it will allow you to rip, encode and transfer this footage to your iPod.

Go to your favorite search engine and search for Handbrake if you wish to download the program.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

MiniDVD

A MiniDVD is an 80 mm diameter disc that is used in many of the newer camcorders. When recording at standard DVD quality it will hold about 30 minutes of video footage which takes up 1.4GB of data. If the slow play mode is used the quality is equivalent to a VHS recording and a standard MiniDVD disc will then hold about 120 minutes of video. MiniDVDs can be played back in most consumer DVD players.

In most video editing programs, you can import the video footage from a MiniDVD by going to File:Import DVD.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Studio 11 Ultimate

Pinnacle has come out with the next generation of their popular Studio line of video editing software. I purchased Studio 11 Ultimate which allows me to do the following:

1. Capture from analog and digital sources

2. Assisted movie creation with SmartMovie

3. Video and audio restoration tools

4. Pan & Zoom for animation of still pictures

5. Real-Time effects with preview

6. Works with Windows Vista (even though I'm smart enough not to!)

7. Scaling user interface

8. HiFi music generation

9. Instant transfer from tape to DVD with Instant DVD Recorder

10. Built-in DVD Authoring and Burning

11. One click web upload to Yahoo Video

12. Private web sharing with StudioOnLine.com

13. Export videos to iPod, Sony PSP or DivX

14. HDV and AVCHD native editing

15. HD DVD from standard discs

16. PIP and Chromakey effects

17. Keyframeable effects

18. Dolby 5.1 Encoding

19. Powerful film looks and FX

20. Advanced sound cleaning

21. Precision pan and zoom

22. Green screen

I've had great success with the program so far. It's much more stable than any previous release of Studio since Studio 9.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Another video import option

Many computer users do not have the technical experience (or the equipment) to import their video footage into their computer. This is especially true of older computer or cheaper models, many of which do not have a firewire port.

The Studio MovieBox Plus is a good option. Using a high speed 2.0 USB connection to the computer, the MovieBox allows users to capture video from both analog sources (such as a VCR) or DV sources (such as digital video cameras).

The Studio MovieBox Plus also comes with Pinnacle's Studio software which allows for the editing of the video footage.

Please note: the quality of the video import will be directly related to the speed of your computer and the quality of your video card. If your computer is too slow or the video card too old, you may run into problems with the audio and the video not synching up (your movie will look like a dubbed Japanese horror movie).

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

How to edit your video footage

Assuming you have already imported your video to your computer, the next step is to assemble the pieces. For most people, especially those editing family video footage, chronological order is the best way to go.

Once you've decided the order, it's time to cut the video footage down to size. Most editing programs will allow you to import the video footage and it will then automatically make scenes out of the footage. This works great most of the time, except if you have filmed a scene with lots of photo flashes or strobe lights (such as dancing at a wedding reception).

Here's the order to make a film watchable for everyone:

1. Cut out the dead/blank spaces.
2. Find long sections and MAKE THEM SHORTER. No one wants to see your little Johnny playing in the playpen for 7 minutes in a row. As a rule, try to cut long and repetitive scenes down to fifteen or twenty seconds.
3. Once you've cut your footage, click on the very last section and you should have an idea how long your film will last.
4. Add your transitions.
5. Add your background music.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Making backup copies of your video to dvd transfer

Once you've made your video to dvd transfer disc, it's always a good idea to make a backup of your project in case the new dvd you created gets scratched or lost in later years.

While there are many software programs that allow you to do this, we've found the best way is to use the software CloneDVD. It does an excellent job of making an exact duplicate of your dvd, including chapters and menus.

CloneDVD is available here.

Friday, April 13, 2007

External DVD recorder or Video Capture Card

In today’s fast-paced digital world, VHS, 8mm, Hi8, Digital8 and MiniDV tapes are not very useful for the person on the go. Having your video footage imported into your PC computer can give you access to these files on the road through a laptop or through a portable video player (such as Zune or video iPod). Many people who want to convert their older video recordings to DVD. Our service will make this conversion for you, or you can choose to do the transfer yourself. This article describes two ways to transfer that VHS tape of your special event, family gathering or Christmas party to DVD so that you can have a more permanent digital copy to share with family and friends, and have the ability to take your video on the road with you as you travel.

If you want to transfer your video to DVD without importing the footage into a computer first, a DVD recorder is a video device designed to record to DVD. This is a good option if you are one of the many people still around that still does not have a computer. You cannot record video footage that is copy protected, in most cases your video footage will be the same as it is now because video editing is not an option, and the units are very expensive. Also, depending on what model you choose you may or may not be able to play your new DVD on a consumer DVD player—you may have to play the DVD on the DVD unit you record it on.
First, you need to connect the DVD recorder to the video source (your VCR, or connected through cables to your video camera). If the option is available use an S-video cable because you will get a higher quality conversion. If that is not an option, you will need RCA cables (the ones with the red, white and yellow connectors).
Second, you need to select a blank DVD that will work with your DVD recorder. Caution—stay AWAY from DVD-RAM unless you only want to use your DVD recorder to play your new DVDs. We highly recommend using DVD-R blank DVDs, as they have the highest compatibility with consumer DVD players and computers.
Next, press play on your VCR or camera and make sure that you have a good signal of the video showing up on your TV screen. If it looks good, rewind to the beginning of the tape, press play and when you get to the point that you want to start, press pause. Press the record button on the DVD recorder, and then press play on your VCR or camera. You will need to watch so that you can be there when the tape ends so you can stop the recording.
If you have more than one tape, do the same thing over again to add your additional tapes. If your tapes are long, you won’t get many on the same DVD. Read the instructions with your DVD recorder to add chapters, titles, etc. before finalizing the DVD. If you do not finalize the DVD, it will not play on other DVD players. If you added more than one tape, each tape will be shown on the DVD menu. You’re done.

If you are going to use your computer’s capture card for your video to dvd transfer, you will need a connection between your computer and your vcr or video camera. Most of the time this is done through a firewire, but if you are using a VCR you will need a device like the Pinnacle capture device which allow you to connect the RCA cable from the vcr to the Pinnacle device, and then the Pinnacle device to the computer.

If you choose to use your computer capture card, it is a very simple process and it also allows you the ability (depending on your software) to edit the video, remove bad spots, remove blank spots, add music, and add transitions between scenes. If you have an older computer, you may not want to choose this method because if the computer is too slow, the audio and the video may or may not sync (you’ll see and hear that the audio of people talking doesn’t match the video of them talking—like a badly dubbed Japanese horror movie). You will also need a very large hard drive because the new files from the video that you import will be very large. An external hard drive is recommended not for the actual process, but to store the new files when you are finished making your DVDs. You will need either an internal or external DVD burner.
Next, you need to select a blank DVD that will work with your DVD burner. Caution—stay AWAY from DVD-. We highly recommend using DVD-R blank DVDs, as they have the highest compatibility with consumer DVD players and computers.
Now you will need to configure your video capture card. If you want very high quality, choose the AVI format. If you want very good quality, choose MPEG-2. If you want good quality, choose MPEG-1. If you’re doing a video to dvd transfer of only one tape, choose AVI. If you plan on doing more than one video file on the same DVD, choose MPEG-2.
Connect the video card of the computer to either your video camera (using a firewire cable) or to your Pinnacle capture device as described before to hook up between your computer and VCR. As before, do a test to make sure that you can see your video playing on the computer screen and follow the steps as before to start your recording. Note that you are not recording to the DVD yet—you are just capturing the video to your computer’s hard drive.
When finished, use software such as Sonic MyDVD or Roxio Media Creator and import the video footage into the program, set up your menu and chapters, and burn your new dvd. If your software has the option of video editing, you will be able to delete bad footage, adjust the lighting, adjust the volume of individual clips, add background music, and much more. Understand that the video editing process is long and tedious. If you’re not a very patient person, skip it.


Saturday, April 7, 2007

Practice video to dvd transfer and capture

A. Record some video of friends, family or an event. To make the capturing of the video easier, DO NOT record blank spaces. If you need to stop recording, hit the stop button and then hit record to start again. DO NOT hit the stop button, FF to leave space, and then hit record again--it will make your capturing and editing of the video much, much more difficult.

B. Connect the video camera directly to the computer you are using with the firewire IEEE 1394 cord. Turn the camera on. Turn the computer on. Open the software you are going to be using for your video capture.

C. Change the input on the software to match the capture input that you are using (for example, change the input to "DV" if using a digital camcorder)

D. Press play on your camcorder to test that you can indeed see the video you want to capture on the computer screen. If you can't, test the cable connection, the input settings on the video capture software you are using, etc.

E. Rewind the tape on the video camera to a few seconds before the section you want to capture (there is a slight lag time between the time you start the camera and the time the computer software starts capturing your video.

F. Hit the "record" button on your computer screen for the video capture software you are using. If you want to capture a set amount of time, most video capture software allows you to choose this as one of the settings. Otherwise, just let it keep capturing and you can hit the stop button on the software when the portion of video you want has been captured.

G. When the capture is finished, press the stop button on the software and you will be prompted where to save the captured file and what to name the captured file. We always recommend saving to your desktop so you can find the footage easily, and make sure if you are capturing multiple parts from a single event, use numbers in the name (such as wedding1, wedding2, etc.).

H. Always use AC power on the video camera and the computer. If you use battery power and the battery starts to get low, your audio and video may not be in sync.

I. Make sure you save the file even if the capture software is the same software you are going to use to edit the video.

J. If you are using analog cables to record from a digital camcorder to the computer, make sure you use highest quality cables possible. Use firewire if at all possible.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

IE7 Flash Player Error

If you keep reinstalling Adobe Flash Player in IE7 and keep getting an error that they latest flash player is not installed, here's the fix:

Running Internet Explorer 7 and getting the «Get the latest flash player» error message while trying to visit flash web sites?
Go to C:\Windows\System32\Macromed\Flash and run FlashUtil9b.exe
We recommend restarting afterwards.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Pinnacle Studio 10

Pinnacle Studio 10 is an excellent video editing program. We especially like the ease of applying transitions to the video footage, and the fact that when video is imported through the program OR when video you've already stored is imported, it does an automatic scene detection which makes editing a breeze. The only time that the automatic scene detection becomes a problem is when a scene with many light changes takes place (such as a strobe light being used during a wedding reception).

Once the video transfer is done, you can add transitions, lots of special effects, cleanup effects, background music tracks, lots of audio cleanup, and titles.

It is HIGHLY recommended that you have a fairly new computer, and we have had no problems with 2GB of RAM (we tried it with a computer with 1GB of RAM--it was ok, but not nearly as responsive as with the higher RAM. Also, read the software description for minimum required video card options.

We have used Pinnacle Studio since version 9. Both are great programs and we highly recommend them. Easy to learn.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sonic MyDVD 6.1

Sonic MyDVD 6.1 is one of the best video to dvd transfer programs that we've used. One of the little known secrets of the program is that it has a "Fit to DVD" option, which in many cases can fit as much as 8.5GB of video footage on to a 4.7GB dvd-r or dvd+r disk. It does this by recoding the footage you add and the results are really good.

You can use Sonic MyDVD 6.1 to do you video to dvd transfer, then use the built in menus (we especially like the dvd motion menus) to burn your DVD. We should note that obviously the faster your PC and DVD burner, the better this program will work for you.

It has some basic editing features which let you trim the start and end of each video file, and also the ability to add chapter points. When you add chapter points to your DVD, make sure you choose "NO" when the program asks you if you want to create menus based on your chapter points. This saves disk space and you can easily skip through the chapters on your DVD without going back to a menu.

While Sonic MyDVD 6.1 may be hard to find (since Roxio took over Sonic a few years back), it's definitely worth finding to produce your video to dvd transfer project.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

DVD formats

Which dvd format should I use to make my own dvd?

From much experience and trial/error, I have found that DVD-R discs have the highest compatibility with the most number of consumer DVD players. In all the years that I have been making dvds for customers using the DVD-R format, only one customer had difficulty with the DVD-R disc. According to most reports, the DVD-R format is compatible with about 95% of all consumer dvd players. Understand that once a dvd has been burned in the DVD-R format, it is permanent. The disc cannot be erased and used again.

The second best format is the DVD+R format. Like the DVD-R discs, it is permanent. Once the disc has been burned it cannot be erased and used again. While similar to the DVD-R disc, the DVD+R format is compatible with about 89% of all consumer dvd players. If you use the DVD+R rather than the DVD-R format, you increase the chance that your dvd will not be compatible for the person you are making it for.

There are other formats, some rewritable and some dual layer which hold much higher capacities, but it's touch and go whether or not they will be compatible with the dvd player you are going to watch them on.

Best advice--stick with the DVD-R format.

Which should I use - .avi or .mpg?

Should I choose .avi or .mpeg?

.avi give you a much higher quality for your footage. However, it also takes up way more space (in megabytes) on your hard drive. It will also take up this amount of space on your dvd, so if you are using a 4.7GB DVD-R disc and you have a two hour video file, it will probably not fit on your dvd.

Choosing .mpeg is a much better option for most people. It still has good quality when you output your video file to .mpeg and will give you the ability to burn more than one file to a dvd.

For example, if you have five or six 20 minute video footage files, chances are good that if you use .mpeg you will be able to put each file on the main menu of you dvd, burn them all to the same dvd, and have all of the files in one single location. If you choose .avi, you may only get 2 or 3 of the video footage files to fit and will have to use multiple dvds to complete your video to dvd transfer project.

Video capture cards/video capture devices

What does the video capture card/video capture device do?

As we discussed before, you will need a capture card or device to capture your video to your computer before you can edit the footage and output it as a file so that you can author the video file to dvd. The capture card (or capture device) is what brings the video footage into your computer and turns it into a digital format so that you can work with it.

On some computers, the ability to capture is built directly into your computer through a firewire connection port. This will allow you to run a firewire cable from your video camera to the firewire port on your computer.

If your computer does not have this ability, then you will need an external video capture device. It is a small USB unit which usually has ports for firewire, USB, and RCA cables. The firewire capture port will give you the highest quality video in most cases.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Video importing

Hopefully, you've downloaded either the free tryout of Adobe Premiere Elements or Avid Free DV to try out. Here are some steps to help you get started.

1. ALWAYS connect either your video capture device or the video camera (with the firewire cable) to the computer, make sure everything is powered to "ON", then restart your computer. This will make sure that your computer will recognize the device that you are using.

2. After the computer has restarted, make sure you tape is playing, then open the program you are going to use for the capture. When you click on the "capture" tab you should see your video playing on the screen.

3. Rewind the tape using the onscreen buttons to the point where you want to start the capture, then click the pause button on the screen. Make sure the capture settings are ready for the output you desire (avi is best quality, mpeg is good and much smaller).

4. Click the capture button and begin your capture of the video file.

Adobe Premiere Elements training

Adobe has some good online tutorials for getting started doing your video to dvd transfer using Adobe Premiere Elements. You can many of these tutorials by searching on Youtube.

Adobe Premiere Elements

Adobe Premiere Elements is another good program for video to dvd transfer. At the link below, you can download the free tryout and see whether or not it will meet your video to dvd transfer needs. It's also a good way to practice importing video from your VCR or your video camera:

http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere-elements.html

Avid Free DV - a good place to start

You can download a copy of Avid Free DV (a free version of their more popular professional program). It has lots of bells and whistles for a free program, and should be all you need to get started:

They have a great deal of online tutorials for your video to dvd transfer. We recommend downloading the entire package so you can view it offline, unless you have a broadband connection.

Importing video to the computer

Importing video to the computer can be one of the most difficult aspects of video to dvd transfer. In most cases, you will need a fast computer with lots of RAM and hard disk space. If you try using a slower computer, your audio and video may not match, making your new imported video look like a dubbed Japanese horror movie!

If you are importing a VHS tape, you will need to use an RCA cable (red, yellow and white connections). Next, you will need a connector between your computer and the VCR which will capture the video. While we don't recommend one device over another, if you do a google search for "video capture devices" you will get a good idea what's out there. Most of the capture devices will connect to your computer via a USB cable.

If you are importing an 8mm, Hi8, Digital8, or MiniDV tape, you will need a firewire cable that connects from your video camera to the capture device OR to the computer directly. If you are able to connect to the computer directly, you will get a much better video capture than if you have to go through the video capture device.