Online video sharing is flooding the world with amateur media. Websites, like YouTube, Google Video, grouper and Metacafe have forever changed the way we view entertainment and made instant stars of average people.
Anyone can share his or her unpredictable, amazing or hilarious moments with the world. All you need is a computer with an Internet connection, video editing software and a camcorder.
This article discusses the basics of video editing, video editing software, video formats and posting videos online. With a little knowledge and some practice, you’ll be on the road to stardom in no time.
Video editing can turn average footage into a masterpiece. Here are a few things to consider:
The length of your video will greatly depend on the site you choose to host your video, the video format and how you compress the file. Most video share sites have a data limit, typically about 100 MB, or time limit.
Online videos should be short and entertainment rich. The online video audience usually doesn’t want to spend more than a couple of minutes on a video clip.
However, don’t make your video too short. Make sure to include the important scenes and information so the audience can follow the story. In addition, don’t leave the audience hanging by cutting your video short.
Transitions between scenes and locations can be tricky, especially in a short video clip. You can use landmarks to let the audience know where the video is taking place. For example, a distant shot of a hotel before cutting to a scene in a lobby informs the audience about the scene.
Video editing software has various features that allow you to transition from one scene to another like fade, scroll and so forth. Consider using music to help set the mood of a scene and change the ambience, or use subtitles to clue the audience in on the change of scenery.
Most video editing software has a video timeline and an audio timeline so you can easily arrange them how you want and add sound effects or music. Audio can be a powerful tool in creating the tone of the video. You can create your own sound effects or separately record dialog and add it in later for an entertaining clip.
Video editing software has special effects that will turn drab footage into a top-ranking clip. Learn the ins and outs of your software so you can use special effects to your benefit. However, don’t overdo it; too many special effects create sensory overload and your audience will tune out.
VIDEO EDITING SOFTWARE
There are two main aspects to consider when choosing video editing software-price and features.
You can typically find good video editing software for home use under $100. Look for software that can output in various formats including MPEGs, WMV and MOV. The best video editing software has a number of video, photo and audio editing tools, special effects, like transitions, slow motion, etc., and good help and support.
For more information on top video editing software, see the Video Editing Software Review.
COMMON VIDEO FORMATS
The video format you choose will largely depend on compatibility of your video editing software and the site you choose to host your video. Here are some of the common video formats:
AVI - Audio Video Interleave, file extension .avi, was introduced by Microsoft in 1992 and contains audio and video. Some video share sites still support AVI, but this isn’t the best option for posting videos online.
ASF - Advanced Systems Format, file extension .asf, is a proprietary audio/digital video container for WMA, WMV, MPG4 and so forth. This format, also developed by Microsoft, was especially meant for streaming media. ASF is supported by less than half of the video share websites.
MOV - QuickTime, file extension .mov, is Apple Computer’s multimedia framework; however, recent versions are also available for Microsoft Windows. All major video share sites support MOV and this is a good option, especially if you’re a Mac user.
WMV - Windows Media Video, file extension .wmv, is a subset of ASF. Most video share sites support WMV files.
MPEG - Also known as MPG, and MP4 (when used for video). Moving Picture Experts Group, file extension .mpg, has standardized media formats. Most video share sites support MPEG and even recommend MPEG for high quality. This is also a common format compatible with video editing software and probably the best to use if you have the option.
FLASH - Adobe Flash files, file extension .swf, is a common method for animation files. Only a handful of video share services support flash and most amateur video producers don’t delve into Flash.
CHOOSING AN ONLINE VIDEO SHARE WEBSITE
There are currently over 50 video share websites on the Internet and the number continues to grow. Many of these sites offer free memberships so you can try out a number of video share sites and then stick to the ones you like best.
Look for video share websites that provide good producer features, like educational resources, articles and helpful links, and the ability to select whether the video is public or private. If a video is shared privately, the video is password protected or the producer has to send the video to selected viewers. Public videos are available to the world.
Consider the other content on the site. Some websites tend to focus more on short films or series whereas others have more clips. Some video share sites, like YouTube, allow you to have your own channel, so you can build an audience and show an ongoing series. Think about the quality of the content before you post your video on the site.
And finally, always read video share sites’ content policy and guidelines. Find out whether or not you give up the rights to your video; most of the time you do. The content should be regulated. Good policies forbid copywrite, pornographic, racist or violent movies; or movies that offend human dignity, are contrary to decency or endanger youth.
Whether you’re an amateur, who likes to save memories in family videos, or an aspiring director, video sharing can be a fun and entertaining hobby. Who knows, maybe you’ll top YouTube’s most popular list.
For more information on videography, read Shooting Videos to Share Online.
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Wikipedia (2006). Wikipedia. Retrieved December 14, 2006, from Wikipedia Web site: