The Friday Roundup – Webcam Tips, Advanced Audacity and Masking

Using Your Webcam like a Pro

Recently there has been quite jump in the number of people using webcams as their primary means of creating videos as well as getting work done remotely.

So much so that even Canon recently released their own app to allow owners of their DSLRs to use them as webcams.

Most full image cams or even video cams are not really set up in such a way as to allow for their use as webcams and personally I have never really understood this.

Anyway, this week over on the Magisto blog they did a bit of a roundup of their own covering all things webcam.

There are a heap of resources and references on the subject covering what equipment you can use as well as some great tips for creating a good looking result.

Audacity – Tools, Plug-ins, and Effects

A few weeks ago I added a video which was an excellent introduction to the free audio editing program, Audacity.

You can see that video on this Friday Roundup here – Introduction to Audacity

The great thing about Audacity is that it is a fully featured audio editing program that has been and still is being actively developed by an enthusiastic community of users.

Very often good free tools like this start of with everyone jumping up and down and contributing then within a year or two it all falls by the wayside.

Not so with Audacity!

As it stands the program is packed full of features but like any program of this complexity, you need to learn to walk before you can run.

The video below is the follow up to that last one I referred to and begins the process of delving deeper into some of those more advanced capabilities.

How I Plan Shots & Transitions – B ROLL 101

As part of the series on this site covering how to shoot better videos there is one section devoted to the subject of pre-planning what you are going to actually shoot.

You can read that article on Shooting with the Edit in mind here

In that article I discuss the need for a storyboard whether it is a full blown or at least a plan in your head as to what shots you are going to need.

A lot of people have trouble with this because I think they tend to over think it especially when you are working at home movies or short projects end of the scale.

To try to add a little perspective I have added the tutorial below which shows how a pro does it in a commercial setting.

As you watch it you will find that many of the things he does are not going to be necessary for yourself and that’s OK.

My main point here is that you can get to see the process, not necessarily every little detail he includes.

Viral Instagram Effect: The Square Dance

This is a deconstruction of a Cache_bunny effect from Instagram.

If you don’t know who Cache_bunny is and you use Instagram then she is someone well worth checking out.

Just click here, Cache_bunny to see more of her videos on Instagram

She specializes in short, sharp, often funny videos that employ all manner of effects.

Anyway, to the video!

Be warned, Cache_bunny does not achieve the results she gets by employing a few automatic, point and click features in her software!

These effects take time in the shooting stage and a whole bunch of fiddly stuff in the post stage so take these on at your own risk!

The demo is in Adobe After Effects but any editor with masking and motion tracking can pull it off.

Erase An Object in Filmora – Custom Masks

For a simple, easy to use video editor you can still pull off some amazing stuff in Filmora when you know how.

This is another tutorial that relies on at least a little of the work to be done outside the program in some kind of image editing software.

The one used in this video is Affinity Photo which was previously called Serif Photo back in the day.

There is a 90 day free trial of the software on offer at the moment but bear in mind it is not software I use personally.

If I need to do masking as shown in the video I will use a more advanced video editor that already has that feature.

So again, this is just one way you can stretch the abilities of Filmora a little further.

An alternative to using that image editing software is the free Paint.net program which although a little clunkier to use, can still get the job done.

Remove The Sky in Filmora9

This is another tutorial done in Filmora9 using an external image editor to create a custom mask and then replace what was cut out.

In this example it is the existing sky in the scene.

It is basically the same technique shown in the video above, just applied to a different scenario.

Invisibility Effect with FilmoraPro

This one is a walk through and practical demonstration of the green screen module and other effects inside Filmora Pro.

How To Find Missing Media Files – CyberLink PowerDirector 18

This video is a demonstration of finding missing files for a specific project when they get lost.

Although it is essentially a PowerDirector tutorial, the concepts are universal.

The first thing to get your head around is the idea that when you “Save” a project in any video editing software you are not creating a video.

So many people get tripped up by this when they first start editing.

After all, save means save right?

Well yes it does but not in the way most of us think of it.

What it actually means is to save the project file that was automatically started when you began the project.

The software uses that file to record your editing decisions and the location of all your media assets.

This is so that you can close the program and come back to that same project later to continue.

That’s why moving (or worse) deleting media assets you are using in an incomplete project is a big no-no!

The video shows how you can usually locate missing files and explains project files.

Add Background Music in DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve is perfectly acceptable alternative for a free video editing program that offers a great range of features even at the free level.

However the program is essentially targeted towards the professional level editor so things can get hugely complicated really fast!

The video below is a good example of how that works.

You will see in the video that Casey simply adds a music track to the timeline in the editor.

He then just as simply adds a little fade-in and fade-out at the ends to make it seem smooth.

However at that point he attempts the process of audio ducking.

Audio Ducking is when you lower the background music well below the level of any voice-over that is occurring then raise it back up when the voice-over ends.

To do it effectively and professionally the level of the music should be constantly raising and lowering depending on the voice track.

All good so far!

It is when Casey starts to do that in the basic editor that things get troublesome!

What he has to do is add a key frame every time when he wants the music to lower, than add another when he wants the music to go back up, each time manually raising or lowering the music volume.

This activity even on a small project can quickly cause you to lose the will to live.

An obvious workaround to this would be to have some kind of automatic ducking feature and in fact that’s what most consumer level video editors have.

From the timeline you just tell the program to analyse the voice track and the music track and the ducking is done for you.

Now here’s where the difference in Resolve comes in.

Because it is pro and used for pro level projects of course it has a ducking feature BUT!

To access it you have to go into the audio part of the program called Fairlight and you are immediately confronted with a control panel that makes a space shuttle look simple!

Worse yet, the Ducking feature is not even called the Ducking feature, it has some other name and there are about ten steps you have to go through to get it setup and applied.

So as I say, DaVinci Resolve is perfectly fine as a free editor but when it comes to advanced features, things can go south pretty fast!

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