To walk the line between the bright side... the things you want to do with digital video, and the dark side... hurdles and pitfalls that can hinder you along the way... take a good look at yourself. What are your current skills, not to rate them, but to determine where to enhance them.
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What Videos do you Want to Make?
You are the Key
Your vision or goals will change from time to time. Today it might be fame from family and friends enjoying your videos, and tomorrow it’s money from DVD sales. You remain at the center as the anchor, the key to achieving whatever it is you’re currently striving to do with digital video.
Hardware and software change often, sometimes for the better and other times not. Your video and computer skills change over time, toward more understanding and better skills.
Let’s assume for now you have your computer setup, and know how to connect your camera and camcorder, and you have a routine way of copying pictures and video files to your hard drive(s)… if not, go to (the Basic Computer Skills section for tutorials).
Could You Improve Your Computer Skills?
Being comfortable with your computer as a video editing tool is similar to being comfortable driving your car. You need some basic understanding, and a bit of hands on practice. Take this self-assessment quiz and rate yourself. Are you ready to go for a test drive?
1. Do you know what file types are, and do you see file extensions? Windows has the extensions hidden by default.
2. If you can’t see the file extensions, can you make them visible? It’s important to know that a still picture is a .BMP or .JPG, or that a video clip is an .AVI or .MOV. You might be totally confused when someone asks if your video file is an .MPG but you only see the first part of the file name.
3. Some of the file folders on your computer are hidden by default, including ones used for video editing. Can you see both the un-hidden and hidden folders? If they are hidden, are you confident you can find them?
4. Some features of a graphical user interface such as Windows makes things easier… are you comfortable copying and pasting, and dragging and dropping files to get them from one drive/folder to another?
5. Can you rename a file or folder? And create a new folder? Can you do it quickly, easily, almost without thinking?
Those are low level computer skills that make for easy video editing. Going beyond them is needed when you're ready to try things such as making or tweaking custom transitions and effects... here's some more of what's needed...
Select and copy text or objects from one file into another. Create and edit a text file using Notepad, a basic tool that can edit html or xml text files. Zip and unzip packages of files... take the contents out of a downloaded zipped file and put the files into a new folder. Go to newsgroups and forums for help. Search for info… using Google or other search engines. Use the Windows XP 'Event Viewer' to help assess problems.
Sometimes the biggest difference between having an easy enjoyable rewarding experience when making movies versus a frustrating throw-in-the-towel one has nothing to do with your computer and the software on it… but with YOU, and your basic skills.
Learn and enjoy!!!! The more comfortable you are with your computer, the more fun you’ll have taking it for thrilling video editing rides.
As with all aspects of life, there are some administrative chores that need to be done on a regular basis. Backing up your important files is one of them, as is updating your computer, cleaning up your hard drive, maintaining virus protection.
Video editing is often solitary, as are lots of artistic endeavors. Your personal growth will be the key to your success.