[Video Editing]

Any search of the Web will show that video editing has and is becoming common place. There are elementary students in New England who are creating reenactments of historical events and placing them on the Internet. Daily, millions of people visit YouTube to view a large assortment of video clips on different subjects and from a widely varied age group. This has become such a phenomenon, it has spawn the The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences who awards the Webbys.

[YouTube Logo]   For professional quality video, the needed equipment is a mini DV camcorder, a computer and the editing software. The cost for a camcorder can start as low as two hundred dollars. Almost any computer is adequate. Video editing software come in almost any price range for free to a few hundred dollars. It is in any configuration and easy of use.

One of the major problems with editing software is the perception created by the manufacturing companies themselves. They often refer to certain of their soft wares as simple, amateurish rather than limited. This is to sell their higher-end software to those who feel they are more advanced. So let me make a simple statement, at a point, it is not the software that is used, it is the quality of the story, and the ability of the producer/director/editor. The viewer doesn't know what software was used to edit a piece.

Use a software that provides the best, fastest end product. For Vidcast (Video Podcast), I use Apple iMovie on the Mac. It saves directly as a podcast and no further conversion is necessary. For vidcast on the PC, I use Adobe Premiere Elements (I very seldom use Windows Movie Maker as I really dislike its interface and operation). Although Premiere doesn't save to a podcast format and a conversion is necessary (more about this later), it's an outstanding editing software for the money.

For almost everything else, I use FinalCut Express one the Mac. It only has one problem in that it will not batch capture. I use Avid Media Composer or Avid Xpress Pro HD Academic on the PC. I prefer it over Adobe PremierePro simply because of the educational price.

As there are a large number of step-by-step quality detailed tutorials for video editing, I am not going to duplicate them here. I will, however, note some of the better ones in the "Other Tutorials" on the left of this page. The remainder of this tutorial will be concerned with, for lack of a better term, the marketing of your work or your student's work. How do you get your videos in front of the largest viewing audience.

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You could start by showing the video in your school or for the district. You might inquire about state contests or a national contest such as the International Student Media Festival. The best, however, is to place the video on a personal or class web site such as Albany High School Video & Broadcast Production or to place it on a national broadcast site such as YouTube.

Side Bar: Although you will get the largest audience for your video on YouTube, there are some short comings. Image quality is suspect and you get no control over any of the parameters. YouTube also maintains complete control over the location of the file hosting. I really feel it is best to host flash movies on your server.

Preparing Video for the Web

For years, the question has been, "Do I use Apple QuickTime or Windows Media for videos on the web?" QuickTime produces better quality video, but Windows Media created smaller, faster loading files and the majority of web visitors use PCs so they can play Windows Media video without any problems. Many sites solved this problem by using both formats to satisfy everyone. But this discussion is rapidly becoming passé, Flash video (flv) is becoming the standard for video on the web. It produces high quality in a small compressed file that loads and plays quickly. The remainder of this tutorial will instruct you on converting your video files to flash video and placing them on a Web site.

Edit the video as you would normally. if you need help with editing, go to one of the tutorials in the "Other Tutorials" (right column of this page). Save the final project as a full size QuickTime movie. There may be some argument about this, but I suggest saving as a QuickTime for three reasons:

  • 1. QuickTime renders a superior quality video.
  • 2. QuickTime converts very easily to flash video.
  • 3. Quicktime will also easily convert to a Podcast (Mp4) file format if you plan to create a downloadable file.

Now you are ready to convert the QuickTime file to a flash movie file. There are numerous conversion applications (I have noted the most widely used See "Conversion Software"). Care should be taken when selecting conversion software as many do not provide easy built-in solution for streaming (playing) FLV files.

For example, I have used ffmpegX ($15.00), a video/audio encoder for Mac OS X, to convert Real Media or Windows Media to a much more friendly format. I was really excited when flash video support was added, but there was a problem. FfmpegX did not provide an easy built in solution for projecting the FLV file in a Web page.

You need to upload a Flash video player solution to your site. Joroen Wijering created one used in many places around the Web, which may be downloaded from his site: JeroenWijering.com.

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You can skip visiting the site and download from this link.

After unzipping the file, upload the flvplayer.swf file to your server and then paste the following code to show your movie, replacing /movies/flvplayer.swf with the location you uploaded the flvplayer.swf file and replace file=movies/sparky.flv with the location of your actual .flv file.

<object type="application/x-shockwave-flash"
width="320" height="260"wmode="transparent" data="/movies/flvplayer.swf?file=/movies/sparky.flv" />
<param name="movie" value="/movies/flvplayer.swf?file=/movies/sparky.flv" />
<param name="wmode" value="transparent" />

This player and code should work for any FLV file converted by an application which does not allow for easy projecting.

Although I usually really use shareware, in this instance, the extra to embed the object is difficult for many. The best all-in-one and do-it-all commercial conversion application is Sorenson Squeeze ($229.00 edu). Squeeze not only allows me to create FLV files but also I can create Mp4 files for vidcasting at the same time.

[Sorenson Squeeze desktop]

Open Squeeze. On a Mac, drag the Quicktime file to the gray window. On PC, browse and navigate to the file. Open the Macromedia Flash Video (.flv) in the Format & Compression settings menu. Click on a compression setting. I usually use Med_Prog (medium progressive 320 x 240 px). Click the Apply button. If you would like to create an Mp4 for vidcasting during the same session, close the flash video settings and open the Mp4 Settings. Click on the AVC_Med_Pro. Click the apply button. If you are satisfied click the Squeeze It button. At the end of the session you should have a .flv for the Web and a Mp4 for vidcast.

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Side Bar: If you have or use a copy of Adobe AfterEffects 6.5+, you can create FLV files from the Export option.

[DreamWeaver Insert video Box]

Open a Web page in Adobe Dreamweaver Studio 8 to place the flash video. Go to Insert > Media > Flash Video. In the floating dialogue box, be sure the video type is Progressive Download Video. Click the Browse button and navigate to the FLV file. I most often use the Clear Skin 1, but you can experiment with the other offerings. Click the Detect Size button. Check the Auto play box for the movie to start automatically. Check the Auto rewind box and finally click the OK button.

The final results should look like this.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Side Bar: This is an example of a student project satirizing the infomercial. if you would like a copy of the lesson plan which includes: an introduction, benchmark standards, a grading rubrics, and a vidcast of this example; go to the Projects page for the download.

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Editing Software

Conversion Software

Other Tutorials

Extra Resources


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