Video Editing Questions.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003 9:54 AM
I am thinking of purchasing a video camera to cover all the parks I go to for myself. My questions is on editing the video. What is the best way to put together a video to include music (like Robb Alvey's videos)? I know there are digital camcorders and the 8mm camcorder. I am probably going for a Sony. However, the 8mm is cheaper. So if I opt for the 8mm what is the best procedure to edit and put in extra music in it? Is there any kind of special equipment that you can plug into your VCR to add music?

For the digital camera what is the best way to add music? Can you play it on your computer, then add music from the CD player? Are there certain editing software out there? How much memory do I need to do this? I don't have the latest, ultra fast computer so that's why I'm more towards the 8mm.

Thanks in advance,


Wednesday, March 19, 2003 9:59 AM
I would suggest getting a Mini DV cammera. The quality will probably be alot better, and you can reuse tapes very easly. You won't regret going digital.

When it comes to editing, if you are new at the whole thing I would suggest that if you have Windows XP, use Windows Movie Maker 2 (you can download it free from Microsoft). However if you want to spend some money, I also use Adobe Premiere 6.5. You have to get over a very slight learning curve with WMM2, but not nearly as much as Premiere. If you arn't running Windows XP, I'm not sure what the best one would be to run other then Premiere, since I've used it since version 5.0.

I would suggest that you use only the computer to edit the video, rather than a VCR. Your quality will be alot better, and there is software out there where you can make VCD's that you can use in your "Set Top" DVD players (most of them will play VCDs). If you wanted to put the movies on tape you could always edit it, and then feed it back into the Mini DV cammera, then hook up the cammera to your VCR, and record it that way. Sounds complicated, but it's really not. Oh, and if you don't have a firewire port on your computer I would also suggest that you buy a Firewire card. Firewire is also known as IEEE 1394 or iLink. On a Sony it will be called iLink. Firewire has the best connectivity for a cammera to a home computer, in fact it's better than even USB 2.0 IMO.

When it comes to adding music, in most programs you can import almost any type of media file, like .wav, .mp3, .wmf, etc. You add the music right in the program and adjust the music and movie volume levels.

After you are done editing the video, you have to "render" it. This meens that it compresses the raw video and music into a format that your computer can read, and a format that takes up alot less space. WARNING: This may take some time. Up too and maybe more than an hour, it depends on your computer.

I hope that helps. If not feel free to e-mail me.

AkA somewhatchewy
To a man seated next to an attractive lady, an hour seems to pass like a minute. But take the very same man and seat him on a hot stove, and a minute will seem like an hour. THAT is relativity!

- Albert Einstein

*** This post was edited by InCLinE_LOoPeR 3/19/2003 3:04:45 PM ***
*** This post was edited by InCLinE_LOoPeR 3/19/2003 3:08:21 PM ***

Wednesday, March 19, 2003 10:18 AM
At this point I think it's insane to buy any camera format other than miniDV. It's very much an industry standard and it's very easy to get into your computer without loss in quality via a cheap firewire (1394) card.

As for editing, there are a lot of choices out there, and you pretty much get what you pay for. I think Premier is an overpriced piece of crap with a nasty interface.

If you hang out in the forums over at you can get lots of opinions on lots of software.

Of course, if cost is no object, I'd get Avid DV Xpress for Mac or Windows, or Final Cut Pro for Mac.

Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - -
"The world rotates to The Ultra-Heavy Beat!" - KMFDM

Wednesday, March 19, 2003 10:33 AM
Jeff I am a audio video student in college yes Adobe Premier is overpirced, but it works with all Adobe products like Photoshop so you can put still pictures in your videos. I use Avid Pro, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premier and After Effects. If you do get Avid or Premier do not put them on the same computer or your computer will crash alot.

Hope this Helps

Wednesday, March 19, 2003 10:48 AM
I've had both, and had no problems.

You don't need Premier to work with other Adobe products. After Effects can render just fine to any codec on the machine. Photoshop can output to any image format.

Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - -
"The world rotates to The Ultra-Heavy Beat!" - KMFDM

Wednesday, March 19, 2003 11:05 AM
What about the amount of memory that it needs when you put it on your computer and edit it? Would'nt video images use tons of memory? Also, I checked for prices. Is 400-500 about the price range for a standard miniDV? I think I saw wal-mart with the sony 8mm camera for $300. I guess it's worth spending the extra 100-200 for the Mini DV, correct?

For those of you that have one already, is it worth investing in? Do you appreciate the videos from the parks visited over the years?

Wednesday, March 19, 2003 11:30 AM
I have a JVC digital camcorder that uses the mini Dv tapes, and it can take pictures etc, and its a small camcorder, small enough to put in a cargo pocket or somthing, but it can be a pain to always have it with me when I visit amusment parks. What I find myself doing is leaving it in the car, then going back for it later. How I edit my video, add music etc, is I bought a fire wire, and I put the video on a softwear then I can add music, save it to my hard drive etc. Then to watch it I can play it on windows media player, and If I want I can also burn them onto DVD's. Also their is a whole buthc of other things you can do with it, but you have to know what your doing. It has crossed my mind to buy a Mac computer, becuase it is made for that type of thing, but I can waste $1,500 on something else right now, such as a weekend trip to almost any park within a days drive from me.
Wednesday, March 19, 2003 1:14 PM
Coaster Ken - If you want a Sony DV cam, your gonna pay abit more than 4-500bucks. Although it's now a slightly older model, my TRV 18 (with wide angle lense and 500minute battery) ran me just under a grand. It's well worth the price IMO, and the picture quality is amazing!

If you want something alittle cheaper, I'd recommend going for a Canon ZR series camcorder. They're alittle smaller, lighter, and cheaper... But they have great picture quality and are extremely easy to use. I know from previous threads that many CBers have this type of cam, and have praised it.

I also use Adobe Premiere, and while the price is "up there", I'm very happy with it. One of these days I'll checkout Avid, but for now I'm happy with Premiere :)

You'll want at bare minimum 256mb ram w/ 20gigs of disk space, with a 700mhz processor. That's basically my computer, and everything works fine for me.

Hope this helps!
"his rod and staff comforts me" - and catholics say that gay's are bad! :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2003 1:24 PM
It almost sounds like you expect to do the editing on the camcorder. That's not going to happen (very well at least). I use Sonic Foundry products for pretty much all of my multimedia stuff. Vegas Video is easy enough that my 5 year old daughter can follow what I'm doing when she's "over my shoulder" and yet offers pretty much every feature you could be looking for.

As far as camcorders, Sony just introduced a mid-priced series of DV cams. TRV19, TRV 22, TRV 33 - the 33 is what I'm looking into (I'm still using Hi-8 and the quality shows) The TRV33 lists for $799, and has features that would've cost an arm and a leg a few years back (i.e. touch screen LCD menus)

Digital Video cam take up a lot of hard disk space and can use some serious processing. I only have a 1.4Ghz processor, 512MB of PC2100 RAM and a 60GB hard drive and at times I wish I had more drive space, or a faster processor (especially when you get multiple effects going in Vegas Video).

Lots of options. Most will cost a little if you intend to "do it right".


Wednesday, March 19, 2003 2:15 PM
These days I wouldn't even consider an analog camcorder. That automatically rules out VHS, VHS-C, 8mm and Hi-8. There are several different digital formats out there, and for the broadest compatability and the best tools, you want something that speaks DV (I usually refer to it as DV-25, to distinguish it from DV-50, which is Panasonic's DVCPRO format). The available digital formats worth considering are Mini-DV, Digital-8, Betacam SX, and MicroMV. You can rule out Betacam SX because for its 18 Mbit/second data rate you'll pay 10x what you'll pay for Mini-DV equipment. It's a pro format, and you won't find it at your local electronics shop anyway. Besides, it's obsolete.

I'd rule out Sony's MicroMV camera as well, because it records MPEG-2 streams. If you want to copy direct to DVD or use the stuff on your computer ONLY, it might be OK, but there aren't many editing tools out there, and it is Sony proprietary.

That leaves Mini-DV and Digital-8. So far as your computer is concerned, MINI-DV and DIGITAL 8 ARE IDENTICAL! The physical tape format is different, and Digital-8 is a Sony proprietary format, but it is DV-25. The picture quality is exactly the same, the data format is exactly the same, they both use FireWire connections, and the Digital-8 tends to be a little bit cheaper than the Mini-DV. It's also bigger, but it can play back 8mm analog video tape. So Digital-8 may be a reasonable option if you want to save a little money on the camcorder.

The best way to do your editing is in your computer. Personally, I would not consider any editing package that is not DV native. Every time you recompress video, you have significant quality loss. DV video is already compressed 4:1 (I think). If you have to compress that to an MPEG stream then reexpand it back to DV, you will see significant quality loss. This rules out certain versions of Adobe Premiere, and many video-card editing packages.

If you have a fairly recent Apple computer (iMac or later), Apple will provide you with iMovie, which is a halfway decent editing package, I guess (I can't seem to make it work worth a damn, but that's me...). On the PC side, there are more options out there ranging from Avid Xpress DV at the high end down to various freebies that come with FireWire cards. Usually, you get what you pay for.

On the Apple side, if you are planning to pay, there is now a DV-only version of Final Cut called Final Cut Express which is about $500, one third the price of Avid Xpress DV. If you have a high-end late-model Apple, you have the added bonus that the SuperDrive is practically standard equipment now, meaning you can burn your finished projects to DVD using Apple's bundled iDVD software.

Within the next four months there will be no excuse for anybody to be using lousy editing software, because Avid will be introducing a scaled-down version of Xpress DV...downloadable for FREE. I think they're calling it "Avid FreeDV" or something like that. Not as capable, supposedly, as Xpress DV or Final Cut, but you can't beat the price for something that works like a scaled down Media Composer.

No matter what software you use, the big issue you have to deal with is disk space. I'm not gonna sugar-coat it; I'm gonna lay it out for you:

1 Gb = 00;04;59;ff

Just under five minutes per gigabyte. I have about 36 Gb of space available on my computer right now, and that's just enough for about 02;59;24;ff of total video. But that's not the whole story. If your editing program is reasonable, the file you create will just be pointers to the actual media files stored on your computer. So it shouldn't be more than about a meg or so for an elaborate project. But any time you add any effects...dissolves, titles, wipes, whatever...that is more video that has to be stored. Add to that the fact that you will be keeping only a fraction of the video you shoot...for starters expect about a 2.5:1 ratio of video to useful video. So realistically I can't expect to do a project any longer than about an hour with my 36Gb drive. And that's assuming I don't plan to use the drive for anything, for instance, encoding a DVD (a DVD holds 4.7 Gb of data) or surfing the Web. If you are serious about video editing, you will probably want to have a separate media drive for your video clips.

At work I have three Windows 2000 machines running Avid Xpress DV. Their speeds are 733 MHz, 933 MHz, and 1.2GHz. Their performance is not significantly different from one to the other for most operations. At home, I have a dual 1GHz Macintosh running Xpress DV, and it makes the Windows 2000 Avids seem really, really slow at rendering, though in a contrary sense, some more basic operations are more sluggish on my OS X box.

If you don't have a computer for editing and you want to get started right away, Apple has got about the best boxes for the job, with decent software bundled and preinstalled. With any system, you can export to computer movies for the Web, or to videotape. With the right hardware, you can also create your own DVDs. There are lots of ways to get where you want to go. But it all has to start with a DV camera. DV-25 is your friend. Start there, and work on the other choices as the options become available.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003 3:23 PM
Thanks everyone for their information. It's a good thing too, as I didn't realize all the extra costs that may happen. First off, I don't even have a computer that has that much memory to store all the video feed that I would imput. I would have to buy a whole new computer with more memory. At this time I don't have that kind of money sitting in front of me. Oh well.

Right now I'm leaning back towards the 8mm versions. I know everyone says digital is the way to go and the quality is better. If I opt for a 8mm and put together a video is there any way to add just music to it without having to put the video on a computer. For those of you who have seen Roy Brashers "Roller Coaster Weekend" videos that were produced in 1991/1992, how did he do it?? That's kind of the type of video I want to put together from all my trips. Sure the quality's not top notch and there's a few shuffles here and there, but I'm mainly doing it for my enjoyment. I don't plan to market the video like Robb Alvey does. I want to do it as cheap as possible without hundreds of dollars worth of equipment. If I have to buy some equipment I will, but not like $800 for the camera, price of software, a new computer, etc. If there's a equipment that I can plug into my VCR and somehow add the music, I will buy that. No problem. If anyone knows how to do it like Mr. Brashers did, let me know. I will apreciate it.


Wednesday, March 19, 2003 3:45 PM
Its funnie you ask cause right now in this class called Production Media Iam taking at school we are making and editing music Videos. What I did was use my 8mm camera then used a converter box which I guess are pretty expensive to download or import to my computer then used Imovie to edit.I is very fun.

choose thy fate: freeze or burn

Fly with the Man of Steel in 2003

Wednesday, March 19, 2003 7:08 PM
I'll add my 2-cents worth on the editing side (the camera topic has been covered well)...

If you're looking at a lower-cost editing package, I would recommend Pinnacle Studio DV version 8. It's usually under $70 and does a spectacular job FOR THE PRICE. Version 8 has DVD authoring built in if you have a DVD burner. If you decide to get it, immediately check their website for the 8.5 update and download it. They had some lingering bugs in the earlier 8.x versions.

On the computer side, definitely have to have Pentium 4 with 512 Mb RAM (or better) if you want to avoid endless waiting! :)

Jeff's Stalker
My K'Nex Coasters
Spring has arrived in Ohio...the Orange Barrels are blooming

Wednesday, March 19, 2003 7:31 PM
Okay, let me hit this from the old-tech side...

Again, I strongly suggest that rather than 8mm or Hi8, you would be better off to go with either Digital-8 or Mini-DV. Even if you don't have a computer editing system. The analog formats are a dead end at this point; with a DV-25 format, you can easily upgrade to digital editing later, and for now you get superior video quality with analog editing. A camera rig is an investment, and if you spend a little more now, you effectively future-proof yourself a little.

Ideally, you use an edit controller. There are some controllers out there that can talk to consumer camcorders and VTRs, and at this point those might be best obtained on the used market. This is the second-most primitive way to go. My suggestion in this case is that you forget about the audio from your videotape, and attempt to edit to match music. You do this by synchronizing the player and the recorder to each other, and just selectively copying the video to the recorder. Once that is done, you can do an audio dub to add music (a feature of many VTRs and camcorders). Or if you can't do that, simultaneously play audio and video from two sources to a record VTR...that is, take your edited video and play that simultaneously with your music track to a second VTR.

You can do it without an edit controller, but that is REALLY primitive. Basically you roll the source, then un-pause the recorder, and the results are functional, but not exactly clean.

A "real" videotape editing system is the best non-computer solution, and if you look hard enough you may find that there is a library, school, or public access production facility near you that has one you can use. You might have to dub your footage to some oddball format (such as 3/4" or Beta) to edit, then bounce back to VHS, but it is very do-able. Such a system gives you the ability to independently control the video and two audio channels. Record your music onto videotape first, then 'insert edit' the video into place. Before the advent of high-end compuer based systems, this was THE way to do it. If you saw the "Ride the Roller Coaster" segment I had on my web site in January...that's exactly how I did that one.

As a side note...we're learning something interesting from our interns these days. It seems that just about anybody can edit video on a computer, but TV stations and production houses are still looking for people who know how to edit videotape. So if you learn how to edit videotape with an industrial editing system (or even a simplified system like this one:) ) you will have learned a potentially marketable skill!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
Media Services, Capital University, Columbus, Ohio

Thursday, March 20, 2003 4:18 AM
Ah, good old fashioned video tape editing. How quaint. ;) Does anyone use an old fashioned A/B-roll editor with a DVE and switcher? God, I hope not!

Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - -
"The world rotates to The Ultra-Heavy Beat!" - KMFDM

Thursday, March 20, 2003 4:31 AM
Jeff, I only wish I had a DVE and A/B controller. Instead I have, in Master Control, no DVE (except for the switcher) and a single-event controller with an added-on 3rd-deck control, which means that actually doing an A/B roll edit is a PITA. But it can be done. To make things even more interesting, the S-VHS decks in MCR do not have time code. :)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
Doing video the hard way since 1984...

Thursday, March 20, 2003 4:33 AM
Hehe. I had access to one of them Jeff.

I use Premiere 6.0 to edit (it came with my capture card --Matrox RT2000), and I use a Canon XL1 to shoot on. I have yet to take it to a park though.
CBClub member #30 and #364 (renewal)

Thursday, March 20, 2003 5:16 AM
A related question Incline Looper or whoever mentioned Pinnacle Studio 8. Is there a way to get MP3's into your video cause I seem to have to burn them to CD to get them in?

As for the camera, I have recently bought and am completely satisfied with a digital eight. I like the tapes because you can fit more and I have a Sony and the quality is nothing to complain about. I cheaper overall especially if you don't have a lot of space on your computer to work with. If the extra hundred dollars is making your decision look into open box models at stores, you can usually find new cameras, not used with open boxes that therefore have to be marked down a decent amount.

Koaster Count: 92
The Amusement Park rises bold and stark, kids are huddled on the beach in a mist
*** This post was edited by KoaSteR737 3/20/2003 10:17:53 AM ***

Thursday, March 20, 2003 5:24 AM
Regarding Pinnacle Studio and MP3s...

You shouldn't have to do anything special to get them in. They are treated like .wav files. I have noticed that on a rare occasion that the program has trouble recognizing an MP3 (I'm not that technical to tell you the difference between MP3 A and MP3 B that would cause this). That may be the problem you're having.


Jeff's Stalker
My K'Nex Coasters
Spring has arrived in Ohio...the Orange Barrels are blooming

Thursday, March 20, 2003 10:15 PM
The problem with going 8mm is that you're stuck in analog. If you want to do any editing you're going to have to somehow convert to digital. That or you're going to have to find a way to use some old pro analog equipment like Dave Althoff pointed out. That's going to require you either purchasing a card to put in your computer that will take the analog data and convert it or some external device. Some of the money you saved by going 8mm will be blown on getting the conversion equipment.

With MiniDV, you can easily capture it to your computer with a 1394 (Firewire) card. Paid $15 for my card and it works just fine. Many systems and motherboards are including them now.

As for editing software, there's certainly Premiere and it works quite well. There's also Premiere LE which is a scaled-down version. It seems to get bundled in with other things a lot of times. There's other software that can do the job as well. Might want to check with the appropriate newsgroups to get more info on what software you can use.

You can probably just hack something together by recording from your camcorder to the VCR and instead of hooking up the 8mm's audio, just hook up the stereo instead. Then you get the audio you want and the video you want. You don't get a whole lot of control that way but it would work.



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