Copyright Michael Karbo, Denmark, Europe.


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    Chapter 24. Formats for film storage

    In the previous section, I have shown that you can transfer DF recordings to a computer, and then edit ”the film” in different ways. The final task is “purely physically” to produce the film. Let us look at the possibilities a program like Pinnacle Studio 8 gi­ves. Other programs will give almost the same possibilites; the biggest difference will be in the screen’s appearance. So this description is relevant regardless of which program you use to produce the video film.

    Different formats

    In the last section we started by re-recording the DV recordings in the ”raw” DV format. And by this got some enormous AVI files, where, for example, 18 minutes of recording takes up fire giga­byte of space. These files are now on the hard disk. All the information about the scenes, which are selected, and the transitions, texts and so on can be saved as a “project”. This means that if you don’t delete the AVI files, then the whole project can always be re-opened and you can make any changes that might be necessary.

    But in the end the film has to in one way or another be finished so it can be seen in other ways than on the computer. In Pinnacle Studio 8 this takes place on the third tab Make Movie.

    Other programs present all the possibilities on one big screen picture, which can be difficult to take in, but with this program the options are neatly sorted into six sections. This is a big advantage, if you are not very experienced:

    Figure 181.The six possible ports are on the left side.

    Let us now look a little at the six different types of output formats. It is important to know something about these, because we are now right down there where the whole problem with digital video editing lies – which format should we select to store our recordings in?

    Output for tape

    Tape means that the program asks us if we want to transport the video film back to a video recorder. If you click on the button Settings, you can see which tape recorder is available. In practice, this will either be a VHS recorder or, for example, a DV camera, which can record digitally from a computer (not all of them can). Select ”DV Camcorder” from the menu. If you want to transfer your data back to a VHS recorder, then you should select the analog grabber card:

    Figure 182. The film can be transported back to the VHS recorder via an analog port.

    AVI output

    AVI is another possibility, if you choose to store the film as a larger video file. You have to watch your step here, because you have to choose a codec, for compressing the recording:

    Figure 183. The video film is encoded with the selected codec.

    You are selecting, in fact, a method for packing the video film. It is stored in a file, which can be displayed on computer. Each of the individual codecs, has its own parameters, which can be adapted:

    Figure 184. One codec’s options.

    You have to remember the fact that the same codecs have to be installed on the computer, where the film is to be shown as these codecs. Read more about codecs in the following chapter.

    MPEG output

    You can encode video films to MPEG files with this. It can be a good choice, for example, if you are 100% finished with the editing of the film and you would like to store it on your hard disk. MPEG is a final format, where the file size is reduced considerably. Yet, the quality of the video is still quite good.

    Figure 185. A MPEG format is good for storing video files on the computer, if you don’t have enough space for the voluminous AVI files. You can see the different templates here.

    The MPEG format can be scaled up and down with regards to image size and audio quality. The program gives a number of templates to choose between; the format SVCD gives the same good quality, we know from a Super Video CD, and this can be a good choice for long-term storing. A relatively large file has been made here (about 15-20 MB per minutes’ recording), which can be stored on a hard disk and which can possibly be burned directly onto a SVCD later.

    Encoding to MPEG can take a long time, especially if you select an SVCD format, because compression requires a tremendous amount of computer power. Transitions especially are hard work for the CPU, but the result is absolutely worth waiting for. Wait until you are completely finished arranging your video production with scenes, transitions and texts, etc. before encoding to MPEG.

    Stream

    Streaming gives smaller video files, which can be streamed to the Internet. In this program, you can store in two stream formats – either Windows Media format or RealVideo. A third possibility, which is not supported here, is the QuickTime format.

    I personally prefer Windows Media, because all Windows users are able to play the files without having to download special players. Real format gives a bigger risk of having to download a codec before the video can be shown but, on the other hand, the video can be shown on computers, that don’t use Windows, and there are also some of them.

    Common for streamed media is that you select a format according to a bit rate:

    Figure 186. Encoding to Microsoft’s WMA-format.

    You can easily use one of these templates to stream from. I prefer, however, to use the program Windows Media Encoder for compressing in a stream format. But this requires, that I have first stored the video either in an AVI or a MPEG format.

    Share output

    The term Share covers the idea that you can share your video with others on the Internet. There are probably not very many who would use Studio 8 for this.

    Disc output

    You can, here, choose to burn your film directly onto a disk. That is to say onto a CD or in a VCD/SVCD format or on a home burnt DVD, if you have the equipment for this.

    Even the compression is the same as if you had selected the corresponding formats on the tab MPEG. The only difference being that Studio 8 both encodes in the MPEG format and burns the CD in one delivery. Which works very well. But, as described under the MPEG format, wait until you are completely finished with your film.

    Figure 187. Studio 8 burns a video CD without any fuss. It couldn’t be any easier.

    I have given you a rather thorough introduction to the program Pinnacle Studio 8. I really think that it is an excellent beginner’s program with a logical and intuitive user interface. It is very easy to edit video scenes in Movie Maker, and it is just as easy to add transitions and texts, etc. and all the effects can be controlled in ”real time”.

    Finally, Pinnacle has found a really good interface for the output part, where many other programs just let the user choose between a succession of codecs and a lot of fields with numbers and specifications, which have to be filled in. The division into Tape, AVI, MPEG, etc is much more logical and easily approached. Pinnacle Studio 8 costs about 800 kroner, if you buy it by itself.

    If, however, you become more ambitious, there are far more comprehensive programs for video editing. They are, unfortunately, both complicated and expensive, so I recommend that you start with Studio 8.

    IMPORTANT: Read about ”Resource allocation” on page 3, before you seriously start digitizing your video! It might be able to save you some frustrations.

     

    Figure 188. A professional but rather complicated video editing program Adobe Premiere.


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