Friday, 6 April 2012

An audio producer's venture into video editing

Back in the 90ss I remember (very vaguely), having to use an analogue video editing console as part of a music technology module for my degree. I remember finding all those flashing lights and  gizmos just a bit confusing to my no doubt drink addled and malnourished student brain. I must have managed my way around it somehow as I did end up with a finished video, although I have since lost contact with it. I doubt Michael Bay would have been worried.

So imagine my trepidation when I realised I would need to use Adobe Premiere, to edit a presentation I'd given about our VLE, that would have otherwise been much too long for viewing consumption.

At the university, we have a facility where staff and students can create and edit multimedia called the 'Creative Media Suite' as well as a brand new Edit Suite - so, that's where I headed to encounter Adobe Premiere for the first time.  On starting the software I winced initially at the bewildering array of functions, menus, panels and options. However, once I had started to ”fiddle” around with the interface, and after some very helpful instruction from my colleague Pete, I managed to understand at least some of the concepts behind what it does. What was even more helpful for me, was that it seemed to be working on a similar principle to audio sequencing; something I had a fair bit more experience of!

So, bearing in mind this is from a strictly newbie perspective, (my usage is a  total of 5 hours so far), I thought I would share the main features I have picked up on for anyone else wanting to accomplish some video editing. Also to note that there are some real similarities to an audio sequencer like Audacity, Cubase or Pro Tools.

Adobe Premiere

1) Project panel

This is situated to the top left of the screen and houses the media and information I put into my project. This was my original imported video, as well as titles and graphics etc that I added.

2) Effects panel

This is part of a suite of panels on the bottom left of the screen. I used the effects panel to add some fades to the video. You can also add some audio effects here; but I will come onto that later

3) Program monitor

Together with the source monitor these two panels show me my original material (source) and the edited version  (program) that I am putting together. 

4) Timeline panel

This is where I think one of the main crossovers to audio sequencing is held. In the timeline in Adobe I am working in frames per second; in Cubase, Audacity or Pro Tools I would be working in seconds bars or beats. However the principles of working with the material in this window seem to be very similar. For instance, I can chop up the video as much as I want to by clicking on the razor tool.  In Cubase I would do the same with audio using the scissors tool. I could then move the video clips around by clicking and dragging and change the sequence of events in the timeline window, I can do the same in an audio sequencer.  I can add separate video and audio tracks to Adobe, again a similar process happens in an audio sequencer (in fact in Cubase and Pro Tools you can even add in a video track).  Finally when I am finished editing, I export the file to an appropriate extension (e.g .avi or .mpg). In Audacity I might save as an .mp3 or .wma file. 

Cubase sx
A feature which I have enjoyed dabbling with is the audio mixer with its read and write automation. This again is used in audio sequencers to allow me to do things like automate a change in gain of a track at a certain point in the sequence. 

Finally a really nice little feature for us audio fans is the soundbooth application. When installed this allowed me to edit either the original audio track or a new “rendered” audio track (leaving the original intact)  to my heart’s content. In fact it was nice to see the waveform there in the main window for really precise editing. 

However, when it comes to effects, as in the audio world, I think less is usually more; in fact even more so with video.  A little compression effect would probably be ok; a huge hall effect with echo?  Euch!

Anyway I may blog more when I get more experience, but just thought I would share my initial foray with you!

Ta ta for now


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