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Video Production and Halo: A Step By Step Guide

Lord Gideon

Lesson 1 | Lesson 2 | Lesson 3

Lesson Two: Editing With Windows Movie Maker

Editing is the method of cutting out excess and helping the story point get across while maintaining the tempo of the film. This includes shooting different camera angles of the same scene, then editing the audio into the video and incorporating the different shots together to form a fluid storyline.

Before I talk to you about the more complicated programs, let's learn how to use an easier one first: Windows Movie Maker.

Mommy, It's Free!

Some people hate Windows Movie Maker (WMM). For the beginner, it's a godsend. Easy to use, and navigate, WMM has become the doorway to beginner videographers to learn the basic principals before moving onto professional grade (and harder to use) programs such as Premiere Pro, Avid, and Final Cut Pro. The good thing? WMM is free!

Now let's get some editing done!

Fire up WMM, and on the left hand side you'll see numbered sections. Click on "Import Video". Select your video tracks and import them. You have to import them all at the same time. How? Easy. Hold down the "CTRL" key and click on all the files tha tyou want. You'll be able to import all of them at the same time.

Next, there's a button on the bottom that says "Show Timeline". Click it. This will change to timeline view, and allow you to edit your clips down to the parts you need and cut out the exteraneous things. Simply drag your video out of your Collection window down into the timeline, and start editing!

Transitions & Video Effects - Not Always Needed

Sometimes, especially during a conversation, using transitions actually distracts from the subject. It's not always necessary to have them. Use your judgement. Usually I use them for opening the scene and ending it, or going from one storyline to another. Don't go transition crazy! Also, remember that WMM has some really cheesy transitions. Try to use the ones that actualy look semi-professional.

Also, WMM does have come cool video effects. I'm actually a fan of the "old film look".

Best rule? Play with it! It's how you learn!

Making the Video Rock

Done editing? Let's add the audio! Sometimes this step precedes the editing. Why? Sometimes you might want to make your editing match the pace of the music. In that case, this step will supercede the editing portion. For now, let's assume you have a skt you're editing and now just want to add some background music.

Distraction or Interaction?

One important thing you want to remember is that music has always been, and always will be, an emotional medium. If you're trying to tell a joke, playing Marylin Manson behind the joke teller isn't going to enhance the mood. Try and find music that enhances the "mood of the video". If you're blowing crap up, pick something with a guitar and some kickin' base. Make the music blend!

After you find the music you want, drag it down into the "Audio/Music" timeline, and let 'er rip!

Obviously, you need to make sure that the audio doesn't override the people talking. In order to do that, go to Tools >> Audio Levels.

A little menu will pop up. The farther to the right you drag it, the lower the video volume and the louder the music. The farther to the left you drag it, the more audio you'll hear from your video, the less you'll hear from your music.

After getting your movie just the way you want it, it's time to export it.

Exporting with Windws Movie Maker

Windows movie maker is extremely easy to export from. Go to File >> Save Movie File. WMM will ask you where you're going to use it in the end.

We're going to click on "The Web". Then click on "DSL, Cable Modem, or Higher". One of the benefits of this being a movie for Halo 2 is the fact that anyone that plays it has Broadband. :)

Hit "Next". Your computer will start exporting the video to a compressed format. After it gets done, watch it. Check the audio. Is the music too loud? Too soft? How do your transitions work? Are they distracting? How is the editing? Does it keep the video moving along at a normal pace?

When you're satisfied with your masterpiece, you're ready to send it up to a server, and show your friends!

Next lesson, we'll talk about more professional grade editing and audio editing using Premiere Pro, SoundForge, and Adobe Audition.

LordGideon has been in Video Production for 5 years. When not making commercials and webites, he enjoys long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners, and the dulcid tones of a chainsaw. Questions or comments about Video Production? LordGideon can be reached on the PraetoriaGuard forums, located at PraetoriaGuard.com

Lesson 1 | Lesson 2 | Lesson 3