Shooting in Portrait Mode
There comes a time in everyone’s life (well mine actually) that you have to decide whether you are going to descend into being a grumpy old fart stuck in your ways and resisting change or just relax and go with the flow.
Personally I’d much prefer to take the grumpy old fart path but unfortunately logic is getting in the way so I guess I am going to have to relax and go with the flow.
In the past the unshakable rule was that when you are shooting video on a mobile device you must turn the device on its side and shoot widescreen.
The reasoning behind that was that most people are used to viewing video in some kind of widescreen way so shooting that way made far more sense.
Similarly shooting widescreen allows the amateur camera person a greater chance of capturing the important points because it is far more likely that movement will occur “side to side” rather than “up and down.”
Widescreen shooting also makes it much easier to import footage into editing software already set up for 16:9 projects.
Unfortunately and even though most of what I just wrote holds true, shooting in widescreen is no longer the hard and fast rule it used to be.
With the rise of social media and a primary method of distributing video, more and more people are now perfectly accustomed to viewing video in portrait mode.
In fact it has become so prevalent that most of the social media and sharing sites have changed the way they deal with portrait videos to accommodate them, no longer cropping or changing them in any way.
Even Cyberlink in their last release of PowerDirector introduced a project setting to match video shot on mobiles in portrait mode.
I blame the kids and their crazy hip hop music.
It is quite common these days for amateur video makers to have access to footage of events from more than just one device.
In the past there may have been only one person shooting, nowadays everyone will most likely pull out their phone or camera and get at least some footage of an event.
Up until recently incorporating that extra footage into your projects was a pretty daunting task requiring hours of cutting and splicing it all together and that’s just in the case of not using any recorded audio.
The easiest project was a simple montage set to music and even then it was pretty labor intensive.
In response to this demand most of the major software makers have introduced a feature called multi-cam editing.
These modules allow you to load all your footage into multiple timelines and then instead of endlessly cutting and splicing you can just scrub though the timeline switching from clip to clip as you go.
The module remembers those switches and renders to a new file.
At face value it all sounds pretty good and to be honest for montage style projects it saves a ton of time.
However like most things there are limitations to what you can have it automatically do.
This becomes especially apparent when you want to include audio from the clips you are dealing with.
There is only so much software can do to inspect a group of files and find common audio events or common timings with which to synchronize all the clips you have.
So don’t go thinking this new feature is going to handle everything automatically.
CyberLink 2017 June Webinar
If you are a user of CyberLink PowerDirector hopefully by now you have taken advantage of the vast array of tutorials both written and video’d on their learning site.
One thing they do every month that I particularly like is to host an online webinar going through a mountain of stuff actually using the software.
Generally the topics they cover are determined by the questions they have received over the past month so it is always full of great visual information.
The one below is no exception and goes for about an hour.
To give you an idea of the wide range of topics and questions they cover in every one of these webinars here is a list of what is in this one:
- Fix common problems
- Stabilize shaky or handheld footage
- Fix white balance & color correction
- Remove wind noise
- Create special effect for your travel video
- How to create parallax effect
- How to use express project to create videos in just minutes
- How to edit 360 video
- Add titles, transitions, PiP objects and enhance video color quality of 360 videos
- How to control speed of your video
- Adjust the speed and create replay effects
- Create travel videos from your mobile
CCleaner – My “Go to” Tool for Problems
This week I wanted to open up with a bit of a plug for a free tool I use very, very frequently.
That tool is Ccleaner which started off in life many years ago as Crap Cleaner!
Personally I preferred the Crap Cleaner title because I think it more honestly expresses what the software does.
Anyway, I was answering a few questions from readers this week as usual and suddenly realized that in almost every case, I included a step involving CCleaner
So here’s why it is my “go to” software in resolving video editing problems.
The current common Windows operating systems are versions 10 and 7.
The introduction of Win 7 saw a huge leap in the ability of the operating system to maintain a defragged hard disc under normal operation.
I have had my computer for about 7 years now and every time I check to see if I need to defrag I find there is no problem.
However one thing that is still a problem with any version of Windows is the registry.
These are the core files and settings at the very root of Windows and are still incredibly prone to building up garbage and errors.
Now despite that more often than not, Windows still chugs along just fine… until… you try video editing!
There is nothing quite like video editing (especially high definition) that will expose the flaws in the system faster.
The underlying reason for this would take way too long for me to explain here but it basically comes down to a type of file Windows uses called a Dll file. That stands for
Dynamic Link Library and in simple terms it is a tiny piece of software that carries out a specific task.
Your computer has many thousands of them and any software maker writing a program for Windows can “call” these Dll’s to perform common tasks.
This allows software makers to reduce the complexity and size of their programs and increases the ability of their software to be compatible with an enormous range of Windows setups.
The downside is that the software maker can assign their own software a higher or lower priority when two or more programs are seeking to use the same Dll.
Manners would dictate that each developer should assign his own software priority based on real need. Sadly manners are lacking these days.
This often results in your editing software being pushed down the priority list by pushy upstart new programs you install.
So why do I use CCleaner?
First, it can gracefully clean all the crap out of your system that has built up over time that will be using up valuable disc space.
Secondly, it has a Registry Repair module that you can run to clean out old or unnecessary registry entries that may be slowing any processes down.
Third it allows you to directly view and disable what programs have elected themselves into the Start Up menu and are loading themselves when you turn on your computer even if you don’t need them. These programs will eat up your RAM without you even being aware of it.
And finally the important one.
Very often the advice for fixing a misbehaving video editing program is to uninstall and reinstall the software.
Just as often no real explanation is given for why you should do that, so here’s that explanation including why I use CCleaner as part of it.
By uninstalling the software you remove all trace of it except for usually, some working folders and also a lot of registry entries.
Once that has been achieved you run the CCleaner Registry module to get rid of those registry entries so to all intents and purposes that software never existed.
Then you reinstall which most importantly, allows the software to re-establish it’s position at the top of the priority list for access to the Dll library.
Eight times out of ten (OK, that’s a guess!) most problems are resolved by this alone.
There is a free version and paid version of the software which you can get at the link below.
I run the Pro version so I never really have to do anything with it. It just runs in the background cleaning all the time.
The free version does exactly the same job only you have to manually run it.
Rolling Shutter Explained
Currently when it comes to shooting video footage you are going to be using one of two types of sensor in whatever camera you are using.
It will either be a CCD (Charge Coupled Device) or CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor).
CCDs are most often found in DSLR cameras and higher end camcorders whilst CMOS sensors are found in just about all mobile devices, MILC cameras and most point and shoot cams.
With the rise of cameras other than DSLRs in being the “go to” choices for recording video it is important to understand what the difference is.
First up the reason for the rise of the CMOS sensor is pretty simple, it’s cheaper to produce and uses far less power to run and it really is as simple as that.
However in achieving those benefits there is a trade off.
When you are shooting using a CCD device each time an image is captured as part of the sequence of images that comprise a video, each one is captured in its entirety in one shot.
In other words the entire sensor captures the information in one go for each frame.
When you are shooting using a CMOS sensor, instead of capturing the entire image in one go the sensor scans down the surface top to bottom to get the image.
Whilst overall image quality is not really all that different, this scanning process introduces a specific kind of distortion to moving objects in the video which is described by the term “rolling shutter.”
So when you are looking at a device for your videos and come across a CMOS device there will usually be some reference to the rolling shutter effect on that device.
Now if you are willing to pay for it there are great CMOS cameras around that have software in them to counter the effects of rolling shutter but the variation in how well each device works is huge.
Check out the video below for a great demonstration of what rolling shutter is and what it looks like.
Making Better Titles
OK so nothing in the world of video communicates the concept of “amateur” than cheesy titles.
Hang on… possibly cheesy transitions do it better but in any case it is at least a toss up as to which one does it more.
So in light of that and the fact that I have been hammering cheesy transitions for a few weeks now here are some basic tips on taking the cheese factor out of titles.
How to Edit 360 Video!
So as the age of 360 degree video looms large in our sight I thought it was about time I started adding any tutorials I come across to the weekly roundups.
So far I would say that most people are definitely not dealing with 360 degree video quite yet but access to it and deployment of it is just around the corner.
The prices of 360 cams are coming down, most of the major video editing software is now equipped to deal with it both from an import and export point of view and services like YouTube are ready to display it.
So, might as well start getting up to speed!
Green Screen Chroma Key Tutorial
As I have mentioned many times before one of the features most often used by marketing departments in video software companies is green screen or chroma-key.
They basically use it to sell software because of two reasons.
The first is that people want the feature as these days most people are aware of it as an effect so are interested by it.
The second is that it can be visually represented both in still images and short videos in an impactful way.
It’s got that wow factor!
So whilst it is in fact a desirable feature it is usually presented and a kind of “one click” and everything is done feature.
The reality is not quite the same.
So whilst your video editing software most likely has the feature, getting good results requires a little more than what is advertised on the box.
The first thing that you have to understand is that success or failure with green screen begins primarily at the shooting stage of the process not the editing stage.
Getting footage shot exactly the right way is vital and if you want to know more about that just use the search function on this site for posts on shooting green screen ready footage.
The second stage of green screen is how you apply it in editing and again, it’s not just a point and click process.
For a better idea of real green screen effects check out the video below and especially pay attention to the minor adjustments you will need to make before you get a perfect green screen effect.
The video uses PowerDirector as the example but the settings are pretty much universal regardless of what software you are using.