Is there a noobs corner for video questions?

scottcolbathscottcolbath Major grinsRegistered Users Posts: 278 Major grins

I've never shot video with my gear (Canon 5D Mk3, 7D Mk2, 7D). My employer knows I do photography, and asked me to do a video. I figure, why not give it a go. So, aside from RTFM, what do I need to know, to make a good video? Basically, I'll be shooting some local employees, answering a few questions. I will also, unfortunately, be collecting some video from some remote employees. This means people will be using their phones, and probably be sitting in rooms with bad acoustics, or some crappy background. So I plan on doing everything I can, to assure the remote people follow some basic rules to make this a good video.

Next, video editing tools. I have Microsoft Movie Maker 2012 on my work PC. Not sure how good it is. I played with it a little. It seems adequate to do a basic work type of video. Whatever I use, work won't pay for anything. So if there's a better freebie out there, I'm interested.

Any suggestions are appreciated.



  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,324 moderator
    edited October 9, 2018

    Let's start with software first. Since you appear to have a Windows PC, I recommend looking carefully Corel VideoStudio Pro (VSP) software. It's not free but it's very reasonable, especially if you can accept an older version (Corel VideoStudio Ultimate X8) and if the computer supports:

    Microsoft Windows 7 (32/64 bits), Microsoft Windows Vista (32/64 bits) SP2, Microsoft Windows XP (32/64 bits) SP3, Windows 8 (32/64 bits)
    Additional Requirements 1024 x 768 monitor resolution, DVD-ROM, sound card
    I recommend at least 8GB RAM and at very least a very large 7200RPM hard drive with mostly clear space. Two large, fast hard drives is even better.

    Note that the cheapest legitimate version I could find may not install properly on Windows 10.

    Corel VideoStudio Pro Ultimate X8 (Boxed)
    Cost: $29.99

    What this software provides:

    A very simple (relatively) user interface, but with the option to accomplish professional level videos.
    Runs great on older computers, albeit slowly with older computers.
    It comes with excellent titling capabilities, but they are also easy to use.
    Includes Royalty Free Soundtracks (Basically a small music library, to add musical transitions like stingers, intros, etc.)
    Supports up to UHD 4K in XAVC S Codec
    Excellent ingest capability (You pretty much don't have to worry about the majority of camcorder or video dSLR source media, but smart phone video can be problematic for any video editor.)

    Also includes:

    proDAD Mercalli SE
    Get video stabilization capabilities designed to help ensure steady video, no matter how fast the action. Additionally, rolling-shutter compensation helps reduce wobble and skew caused when panning (Not a panacea for every unstable footage, but it can help.)

    NewBlue FX ColorFast
    This integrated plug-in streamlines color correction and color grading in a unified workflow (Color control is important, especially so with submission video.)

    Assuming that you can get the above to install and edit, you should have a fighting chance at producing something decent if you have good video to start with. Don't expect to "fix it in post". If it looks bad coming in all you can do is tweak it, not really improve it.

    Try to get your submitters to send camcorder or dSLR video in a standard video format. Choose either 720p30 (HD) or 1080p30 (Full HD) as your project settings. Plan on outputting 720p30 video files in MP4 format for Windows compatibility.

    Try to impress your contributors to find, beg or borrow a decent HD/FullHD camcorder, including yourself. These are purpose-built for this type of project.

    If they insist on using a dSLR then insist that they also use an external microphone, or 2 external microphones if they don't record questions separately to be edited in later by you, or you can sit next to the person being interviewed in a pinch. That goes for you as well. (I have both a Sennheiser short-shotgun and a Rode VideoMic, along with a Tascam DR-60D, Linear PCM, Digital Audio Recorder, which is also a decent little 2-channel audio mixer and will work with Canon video dSLRs and most camcorders.)

    Absolutely do not accept any smart phone video shot in portrait mode. You can't use it at all. Caution everyone that you will reject any video that will not ingest or otherwise match your ingest specifications of 720p30 (HD) or 1080p30 (Full HD).
    Smart phones are just a really bad idea for audio too. Most phones are not capable of decent sound even in a good environment.


    The interview area needs to be as close to dead silent ambient sound as possible. Listen for equipment noise in the area and do check to see if RF induced noise is present before starting the serious video recording. Floor vibrations may enter through a tripod and produce ambient noise on the recording.

    The interview area needs to have decent lighting. At very least use a couple of modern daylight CFL lamps in suitable reflector enclosures and softened with diffusion material. A neutral white colored shower curtain liner works in a pinch, cut to cover the enclosure. (Do allow some ventilation as even CFLs produce some heat.)

    Mount the lights on either side of the camera and higher than the interviewee. One of the lights may be double-diffused to reduce its illumination and give a bit of dimensionality to the light. A third light for background looks better still.
    Distance from light to subject also affects illumination and shadow definition, so play around a bit with that.

    I suggest that interviewees wear solid color shirts/tops but recommend against white and fluorescent colors. Many patterned fabrics will cause moire to appear, so avoid those as well.


    When you get to editing, YouTube tutorials are great to cover basic editing on VSP and how to do titles and transitions. Plan on spending serious time both learning the edit process as well as for the editing itself. Even accomplished editors generally recommend at least 6x edit time for each running minute of finished video in a simple project. Beginners take much longer, so just figure on it.

    Oh man, there is so much more to cover but I just don't have the time. If you have specific questions, feel free to ask.

    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • scottcolbathscottcolbath Major grins Registered Users Posts: 278 Major grins

    Thanks, Ziggy. I'll look into this. Even if work won't pay for it, I would. But the next concern would be, if work let me load it on my work PC.

    Anyway, I'll chase this down, and follow up here.


  • scottcolbathscottcolbath Major grins Registered Users Posts: 278 Major grins

    Well, I just realized there's a couple of "issues".

    Assuming I'm using my work PC, it's a Winderz 10 computer. So I'll

    Also, some of these people are remote (India and US), and I'm guessing that that at best, they could possibly scrounge up someone with a camera with video capability. It's also quite possible that I may be stuck with some friggin' cell phone videos. Anyone local will be shot with my Canon 5D Mk3. I plan on buying a microphone for my shoots.


  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,324 moderator
    edited October 11, 2018

    The current version is compatible for sure with Windows 10. It is $79USD, so still reasonable for what you get.

    I recommend getting the Box Set so that you get the install disk. At least then you have a little better situation for a reinstallation. Same price for download or box.

    BTW, I am not affiliated with Corel (the manufacturer) in any capacity, just a happy customer for over 20 years. VideoStudio is based on a product from Ulead, which I used prior to Corel purchasing the product.

    I've been involved with video production of some sort since 1969 and Ampex 1" open-reel, B&W video. Later I used VHS, 3/4" U-Matic, S-VHS, and finally digital formats including Motion JPG, DV and now various codecs through and including UHD 30p.


    India uses the PAL video system and I have never tried to ingest video from a PAL country. I think that Videostudio can handle 1080p50, 1080p25, 720p50 and 720p25, so do check to see what format you will receive and then contact Corel to see if they confirm the format as suitable for ingest.

    If you are in Canada, the US and Canada both are NTSC countries, so you should be able to support 1080p60, 1080p30, 720p60 and 720p30 with Videostudio (I've used those).

    No matter which formats you get, I suggest setting your project settings to 1080p30 (FHD) MP4 and then outputting to 720p30 (HD) MP4. This should yield a very nice compromise in file size and image quality, and 720p30 MP4 should playback nicely on a vast majority of computers and portable devices.

    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • scottcolbathscottcolbath Major grins Registered Users Posts: 278 Major grins

    I got the green light from our admin to get the Corel product. I'll be ordering it today. Thanks for the help.


  • JonaBeth RussellJonaBeth Russell Major grins MauiRegistered Users Posts: 1,065 Major grins
    edited October 18, 2018

    You can get DaVinci Resolve, by Black Magic for free and it's fabulous. It's a nonlinear editor (NLE), capable of simple work or blockbuster video production.

    As for format, I personally wouldn't roll with anything less than 1080p. 720p is well on it's way out of today's visual world.

    Cell clips will do just fine if they use a modern phone and have good lighting. Most cell phones record in 1080p or 4k these days. Like Ziggy said, audio from phones will be the toughest variable.

  • scottcolbathscottcolbath Major grins Registered Users Posts: 278 Major grins

    Thanks JonaBeth, I'll also look at that option.

    I should add that this effort is going to be shown through a crappy projection thingey, on a pull-down screen. And it will be shown to people who don't know good quality from bad.

    That being said, I still want it to look as good as possible.


Sign In or Register to comment.