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Digital Video Production

Check out my Video projects to date, or read my video editing techniques page. I'm also putting together some book reviews for books I have purchased on video production.

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We purchased a Sony DCR-PC110. It is a vertical-format digital camcorder which records onto MiniDV tapes. I did a lot of research on Epinions and on Consumer DV Reviews and the toss up was between the Canon Elura 2 and the Sony. In the end we went with the Sony, and we are very pleased. At first it appears intimidating with the controls scattered all over the camera body. However you rarely use all of them at once. Ignore the gimmic features such as in-camera effects, digital zoom and in-camera editing and aall you need to focus on is the zoom and focus settings. The digital camera takes pictures at 1024x768 which is acceptable but lags far behind today's average cameras. Think of it as an added bonus rather than as a must-have feature. It can take 15 second clips onto the MemoryStick - very handy for a quick email to grandparents!

I use Final Cut Pro 4 from Apple to log, capture and edit my raw DV footage from the camera. Typically I will capture a few weeks worth of raw footage, sort thorugh it on the computer, and then organize it into projects. I try to keep the pace lively through the movies, even though mostly they are just glorified home videos. I edit out all of the dull parts, set up action-reaction shots, lay over cut-aways where it illustrates a point and try to minimize the classic "smash-zoom" so common on home videos. Finally I gather appropriate audio from CD, the web and my musician brother to lay out a soundtrack and then I do audio sweetening and level adjustments. Once my wife (!) has signed off on the final cut, I export to DV and burn the movies to DVD using iDVD. Then I sit back and await more gushing praise from family members who still are amazed that I can make 30 minutes of home movies more fun to sit through than some TV shows. Job done. cover


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