Intro. to Digital Video
by Merrill M. Hessel
Last year I showed a video that demonstrated many creative things you can do using digital video techniques. A
video is now viewable by clicking on either of the two Streaming Players below, but first
I suggest you read the article on streaming media (click
here for the article). Dennis Courtney demonstrated a
simple package to make music video called Muvee go to their site
http://www.muvee.com/ and get a free trial.
Now that you have taken the Video with your camcorder and
captured it on your computer how do you edit the video to get striking effects,
titles, images, free sound effects where you want them? This presentation
will show how to use editing software packages to provide video that you would
be proud to show your family (and keep them awake) or to use these effects for
The clips and discussion below demonstrates these effects.
Below is a detailed explanation of each item in this clip. If you have
both Real Player & Windows Media Player. Try either Player they both give
reasonable quality video.
This 6 minute clip was done on a 933 Mhz PC using Adobe Premiere editing
software, some items were done with After Effects, and Adobe Illustrator and
Photoshop were used for some screen items. Many of these clips could have been done with Final Cut
Pro or some other Non Linear Editor (NLE).
Item 1: - Flying and Rotating Text Title plus Lightning and Thunder
The text was created in Photoshop with different Fonts colors as individual
images, they were then rotated and moved. The motion can be done in
Premiere but I found it easier to use After Effects. The lightning is a video effect
that comes with Premiere and also After Effects. The thunder is a sound
clip obtained from the Internet. Soundfx.com has thousands of free
sounds of almost any type that you can download ( they have 171 thunder
sounds). If you listen closely you can hear that I used two types of thunder sounds in this
item. To signup for the free sounds you must go to
Item 2: Openings -Fire, Space Capsules, Puppy Raiser
I try to open my various shows with something that would attract the viewers
attention when it starts.
The first Opening was in a show about a County Arson Investigator and his
Dog. We show a fire, an explosion, flames and the Montgomery Fire &
Rescue Seal that we zoomed out. The explosion, fire crackling and fire engine
sounds came from the Internet. The fire video I obtained from the Count Fire
Academy. We zoomed in on their seal. To make this opening I put the fire on one
Video Track, the Seal on another Video track, the title on a third track, the
explosion on two audio tracks that were offset to make it reverberate loudly.
To make the second opening we had photos of the two hosts superimposed on a
satellite in Photoshop and a white background. The white area of the
photos shown was keyed out in After Effects. Using After Effects (AE) the space
capsules were then both scaled and placed at different positions throughout a 15
second timeline. The "motion graphics" was set with keyframes
and then rendered in AE
and put into Premiere where the music and titles were added. We could have
generated this opening entirely in AE or in Premiere. You could do the
same in Final Cut Pro or other NLE's.
The Puppy Raiser opening used four different clips of the puppies, each clip
was positioned and scaled to take up one quarter of the screen. The Title
was done in After Effects using the new three dimensional rotation transform and
its motion was timed to the music.
Item 3 Green Screen
A 5 foot by 7 foot portable green screen (cost $90) was placed in the
background for all of these clips.
The first clip was just a video of a JVC miniDV camera rotated by hand on a
taken in front of the Green Screen.
In the second clip we used Adobe Premiere and on the first video track we
put a video pattern that we purchased from Digital Juice. On the second
track we used the video of the camera in front of the green screen, and then
used the Green Screen or Chroma Key that Premiere provides (other Non
Linear Editors also provide this type of keying) to get rid of the green color
and make it transparent. When you render (composited)
these tracks, you get the camera taking a video of OUTER space. Fox TV and ESPN
these video patterns, particularly when they broadcast sports. Using the same
technique but replacing the video pattern with a picture of the ATF Dog Kennels
in Front Royal, VA we rendered the tracks so that it looks like a camcorder is
moving in front of the kennels.
In the next clip we photographed Eileen Thompson of the "Guiding Eyes
for the Blind" in front of the Green Screen. Throughout the 1/2 hour
video program she was explaining various things about the Guiding Eyes. It
would be a very boring show if you see just one talking head sitting in the same
position throughout the show. Again we used the same technique with two
tracks and we keyed out the green screen. You will see how we put various
photographs in the background behind Eileen that were relevant to her
conversation jazzed up the program.
For a 1/2 hour program on an attack on EMS personnel, Captain Steve Miles
explained the incident. We used the green screen to video his conversation
and put some action video behind him. Again we used the same technique (green
screen, two tracks, keying out the green color).
In the case of Eileen and Steve we used After Effects since the Chroma Key
in AE produces a better render with virtually no green halo around the
edges of the talent.
In the final clip of this section there was a 911 call to the Communications
Section of the County Fire and Rescue Department. To distinguish between the
caller and the responder the conversation text was written in Adobe Illustrator
and each voice was identified in a different color. After Effects was used
to scroll the text up the screen and time it to the voice.
Item 3 Split Screen
The split screen is very easy to make on any Non-Linear Editing (NLE)
The first clip is a repeat using 1/4 of the screen. You need 5 video tracks,
4 for each dog clip and one for the title. Many inexpensive NLE programs
have only two tracks for video.
The second clip is used to show a comparison of two actions: dog and Jeff
Pledger, white cane and Jeff Pledger. Only two video tracks are required.
Item 4 Color Correction
In this case we used two cameras to shoot this video. One was a Sony
TRV-900 miniDV Camera #1 and the other was a JVC SVHS Professional Camera
#2. The Camera #1 was on one side of the talent. Notice the nicely
saturated colors. Camera #2 is on the other side and the colors are
washed out. Colors that are not matched may happen with a single brand
camera or even shooting the same scene at different times of the day with a
By using a color correction tool within Premiere, AE or other NLE you can
correct the Camera #2 so that it matches Camera #1. This was done but in this
clip I probably over saturated Camera #2's color. You can see that you
can change the color of a clipusing digital techniques. They used these
techniques in the movie Traffix to give different moods. Digital Video Colorists earn quote a good
Item 5 Fun -Ballet , Horror, Animation, Looney Tunes
If you want to produce an artistic show or a "cool" bumper try the
ballet sequence. It uses nine video tracks and clips. It can be done in a good
NLE or AE. This was an exercise in the 1997 Adobe Classroom in a Book for After
The Horror Clip came from the same book. I did make my own animated
ghost. This shows you what you can do with digital software tools.
The animation of pumpkins and a ghost was done by using the clip art that
comes with WORD and using After Effects to provide the motion, rotation and scaling.
Plus the text came from Adobe Illustrator and then scaled in AE to expand across
the screen. Animation of this type is fun for children videos.
Finally for any Looney Presentation you must say "THAT'S ALL
If you have any questions contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2003 MerAl Productions, Inc.