Photography News 112 - Web

Making movies

adding transitions between shots, incorporating music, sound effects and captions, enhancing colours, lighting and more.

for two seconds is fine. But footage shot at 240fps that’ll last for almost 20 seconds is a very long time for the viewer. So it can be best to use a ‘speed ramp’ in post-production to maintain the peak of the action in super slow- motion, yet speed up the rest. 7 Get the technical details right Every NLE program has its own range of tools to alter the exposure, contrast and colours of our footage, exactly like in stills photography software. And there are lots of ways to adjust footage to get it technically ‘right’. The easiest is to tweak the white-balance and exposure in order to achieve a natural look. There are simple adjustment wheels, sliders and curves to do this. Then it’s on to a colour ‘grade’ where we can manipulate the colour, contrast and saturation for a creative look. There are also lots of plug-ins and LUTs (lookup tables) that can be applied to give footage a filmic look. 8 Don’t skimp on sound Nothing ruins an edit more than bad- quality audio. By dragging the audio levels on our clips up and down, we can balance our audio tracks, avoid sudden changes in volume and make sure dialogue stands out. Audio is more than just dialogue, of course, as music and sound effects can be included to enhance the story. But be careful not to let music overpower the soundtrack, and make sure the songs used are royalty-free if aiming to share the video publicly on YouTube and the like. 9 The last hurdle Once video has been assembled into an initial rough cut, it’s time to go through it again several times to fine-tune it. Once we’re happy with the final edit, it’s time to export it.

“Make sure the songs used are royalty-free if sharing them on YouTube”

5 Pick the right effects Software gives us a choice of

transitions between clips and many beginners make the mistake of using lots. If moving from one clip to the next within the same scene, however, we probably don’t need any – just a simple cut. If our film includes multiple scenes, we might want to add transitions between them, but it’s often best to stick to crossfades or dissolves. When it comes to built-in effects like lower-thirds graphics and titles, less is often more. Yes, we can buy lots of plug-ins that offer loads of effects, but they can quickly appear gimmicky. It’s the same for motion blur, glitchy footage, or making your film look like it was being displayed on a fifties TV. Choose wisely, but we reckon if in doubt, leave it out. 6 How slow can you go? Again, if used sparingly, slow motion can add to our production values, but needs to have been shot at a faster frame rate in-camera in the first place. Many cameras offer frame rates up to and including 50, 60, 100, 120, 180, 200 or 240fps, as well as the more conventional 24, 25 and 30fps. These higher frame rates allow action to be slowed down for slow motion. However, at such high speeds, often no audio is recorded. If we’re using a 25p timeline and put some 100fps footage on it, most NLEs will convert it so it appears in real time. If slowed down to 25%, it will appear as quarter- speed slow motion. Super slow-motion can look great – within reason. Footage of a dog jumping to catch a ball that lasts

Different editing platforms offer different export settings, encompassing video format and bit rate, which determines the quality. Many offer templated settings for YouTube or Facebook, or we can opt for full quality. These are a great starting point and most of us will never need to change anything. Settings are easy enough to alter. The video format determines how our video file stores audio and video data, as well as how that data is used for playback. Video formats include .webm, .flv and .mov, most of which are supported by the main platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. So check the platform we’re uploading to supports our format. The most universal format is .mp4, which is an H.264 file. Some NLEs give a bit rate option. HD is 20-30Mbps or 60-80Mbps for 4K. The resolution and frame rate should be the same as the set for the Project. If you want to convert a 4K video to Full HD or smaller, here is where you do it. Audio is usually best as stereo with a 48kHz sample rate in an AAC format and codec.

ORDER, ORDER The arrangement of the clips in our timeline needs careful consideration so as to immerse the viewer in the story

Before adding clips to the timeline, it’s best to watch the footage to decide what we want to use, hitting ‘I’ on the keyboard for an ‘In’ point and ‘O’ for an ‘Out’ point. Then drag our footage onto the timeline in the place we want it to appear. We can tweak the actual In and Out points on the timeline, too. 4 Pick the key moments It’s best practice to prioritise clips that show important action and add

them to our timeline, trimmed to include only the parts that we need. Start off with an establishing shot that shows a scene’s wider context, helping immerse viewers in our setting. Then add a mix of close-up and medium shots. It’s best to go for variety, rather than lots of medium-length shots one after the other. The art of video editing isn’t only about splicing different clips together, however. It’s also about

WHICH SOFTWARE IS RIGHT FOR YOU? There’s a myth that video editing software is expensive, but that’s not the case as there are free, far-from-basic options available. blur filters, colour correction and chroma key. Or for just £29.35 per year we can upgrade to the Pro version, which includes video masking, motion tracking, hardware acceleration and

Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve software is available for Mac or PC and is used on the highest-end Hollywood blockbusters where it is industry-standard for colour correction and grading. It also has full editing and audio capabilities – and the standard version is free. The downside is that it is complicated, and not all options are available unless you upgrade to the paid-for Studio version at £255. The free version can output standard 4K – not DCI 4K widescreen – at up to 60fps, while the Studio can handle up to 32K at 120fps with advanced HDR options. It also works with All-Intra 10-bit 4:2:2 files, is faster and has AI learning. For most users, the free version is all you need. For Mac users, iMovie comes bundled free and it is the simplest and most intuitive NLE on the market. It also works on an iPhone and iPad. It includes decent colour correction functionality, chroma key, titles, plus a set of basic transitions and themes for slideshows and presentations. It doesn’t have advanced tools like video masking or custom animations, but it’s a great tool. For Windows users, VSDC is a well-featured free program with lots of effects, customisable

audio waveforms, among other features. True professional-grade software like Adobe Premiere Pro can be bought stand-alone, either as a £32.98 monthly subscription or £262.51 for the year, and includes 100GB of cloud storage, plus Premiere Rush, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Fonts and Adobe Spark software. Those who already have a full Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, costing £85.48 per month or £656.21 per year, already have it included in their bundle. This also includes Photoshop, Lightroom, InDesign and After Effects, which is industry- standard for video motion graphics. For experienced Adobe users, it makes sense to go with Premiere Pro, which offers powerful hardware acceleration, ProRes HDR, lots of transitions and special effects, video noise reduction, audio mixing and integration with various plug-ins. Windows users can also look at Vegas Pro from Sony, which uses AI algorithms to achieve incredible motion tracking, video stabilisation and colour correction. It costs from £149 for the basic version to £349 for the full-blown

IN THE EDIT Free software is available, as are well-priced subscription versions like Premiere Pro (above)

software. But it’s not particularly popular, and so most plug-ins don’t work with it. Popular with Mac users is Final Cut Pro X, which is the most intuitive and easiest to use of all the pro-level NLEs. It costs £300 for a perpetual licence and works on Apple

computers, iPhones and iPads. It doesn’t quite have the colour grading and audio features of DaVinci Resolve or adds-ons like After Effects for Adobe Premiere Pro, but it is relatively inexpensive and is fully featured software capable of professional results.

36 Photography News | Issue 112

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