Adobe Premiere 001 - My First Time Video Editing Experience

Recently, I was asked by my father-in-law, Bob, to help shoot a video for his Poker Stars Million Dollar Challenge submission. I thought this would be a great opportunity to play with Adobe Premiere again.

My very first shot at Premiere was back in late September of this year (2009). It was a 38-second slide show. Actually, putting the video together was kind of a secondary project. The main project was the instrumental music I composed using Audacity.




At that time, I didn't know how to post the music on the internet unless I did it through a video on Youtube. So I picked a FALL theme and grabbed a bunch of free photos online. In less than 30 minutes I had a video with my freshly created jingle playing in the background.

Making the Poker Stars Million Dollar Challenge Video
The idea was to shoot a simple interview type video. I've seen other audition videos on Youtube and a lot of them were amazing,  small-production type videos, complete with storylines and props. Compared to the other entries, getting our video noticed will be a very long shot.

I don't know how much production value would influence the selection process but from what I gather, the video quality wasn't even a big factor so anything goes on this one. The one important criteria that we needed to follow was that the video had to be no more than two minutes.


The only equipment we had was Bob's wife's hand-held Panasonic DV Camera, the DV tape kind, and my Dell D810 laptop. I thought, no worries, since it's DV, I will be able to capture the footage from within Premiere.

We got back to Bob's house around 7:30pm-ish. I thought everything should be a breeze, after all it's just a 2 minute video. We probably got approximately four to five minutes worth of raw footage. I estimated I should be done by 9pm. Boy, was I wrong. 
 
If There's A Will, There's A Way
The first place we hit a snag was the video capture process. The only thing we had for an interface between my laptop and the camera was a USB cable. We thought this was enough and we tried and tried, doing different things, from installing software to changing settings on Premiere. An hour-and-a-half  later, we still couldn't transfer the footage to my laptop.

We finally accepted the fact that we needed a DV cable and by this time, Best Buy was already closed. I should've checked on this in the first place (mental note on future projects: make sure you have the required gear before hitting the record button), but we were already in the situation so thinking about the "shoulda's" and the "coulda's" wasn't going to help.

There had to be a another way, I thought. Then, like I mentioned in my previous blog-- "the less gear you have, the more creative you need to get"--, a light bulb moment!

In true DIY fashion, I figured I could re-shoot the footage using my Canon digital point-and-shoot camera. Going back to Steve and Joe's house to re-shoot wasn't an option. We hooked up the DV cam to Bob's flat screen TV and played the video while I "re-shot" the footage coming from the TV screen. The TV had good enough resolution that we didn't see any lines.

And The Hits Keep On Coming
A second snag! Hooking up the DV cam to the TV proved to be a challenge. The cable that came with the DV cam was a 3.5mm male jack to component A/V RCA jacks. The problem? There was nowhere to plug the 3.55mm jack into the camera! All it had was an S-video input... and we didn't have an S-video cable, at least none lying around.

We searched the house for an S-video cable. Eventually Bob found one and I thought we were in business until we hit snag number three! As the word "video" in S-video implied, all it provided was just that... VIDEO. What do we do for sound?

Another light bulb lit up! I could place the point-and-shoot camera on top of the DV camera while I recorded what was on the TV screen. My small Canon would be close enough to the DV cam's speakers to pick up the sound. So I held both cameras, one on top of another and tried to be as still as a rock as I "re-shot" the footage. Five minutes later, we had the footage on my Canon's SD card. We were finally in business!

Editing In Premiere
Before I begin, let me say that I am a novice user of Adobe Premiere. But I think it is intuitive enough since I was able to produce my "FALL" video with very little instruction. I just went in and played with it... thanks to "tool tips".


This time around, I had a book, The Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 - Classroom In A Book. I got it at a bargain on Amazon.com and I highly recommend you get one (unless you want to wait for me to discover and share) if you're interested in learning Premiere.

For this video project, I already knew how some of the stuff worked in Premiere, such as importing clips, creating black clips, creating titles, some of the transition effects, and other basic stuff.

With Bob, supervising and directing the editing process, we put together the full sequence in just a few minutes but we ended up with a video 40 seconds too long. We picked the frames that could be cut out but I had to find a way to cut them out efficiently, in the shortest time possible.

I flipped through the book and discovered a very helpful tool... the Extract button. I could not explain the details without showing you snapshots. I didn't have this blog in mind while I was working so I found an article on eHow to explain how the Extract tool works.


After we got the clip down to 1 minute and 57 seconds, and Bob was satisfied with the final edit, I saved my work and headed home. It was 10:30pm. I still had to do a bit of polishing before I uploaded the video on Youtube.

Titles and Tweaks
At home, I added some titles, tweaked the sound levels a bit, finalized the clip, exported it to an AVI format and then converted it to MPEG format so it would work better with Youtube. Here's the end product.



While I won't be the next Spielberg and given the limited time and resources, I'm quite happy with the result. Plus I learned something new.




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