For years I’ve been asked what software I use for my video editing projects and how I go about the entire video editing process. Due to busy schedules or laziness, most people would rather stimulate their brains by watching a video instead of reading about a book’s review and synopsis. It’s a shame, but it’s something we, as writers, must live with in order to broaden our audience and please our readers.
Videography, or in simpler terms video editing, is something a writer must invest in, whether you purchase the software and equipment or hire a professional. Many people have told me marketing starts BEFORE you publish your book, and while that is true there shouldn’t be hundreds or thousands of promotional videos popping up in Youtube’s search bar and spamming Google’s search filters. If that were to happen it would be horrendous! Video editing takes time and effort, just like writing a novel, and if you don’t take the time to learn the basics and study the terms and techniques then there will be trouble.
Like writing, videography is an art—every style differs. Take this promotional video for example:
- Pictures (used with permission from the illustrator)
- A “voice-over”
- Frame Effects and Masking
If you do not have any of these aspects, then your video won’t look professional and won’t stand out in the sea of competition.
The pictures and voice-over are the MOST IMPORTANT part of the video because that’s what you’ll be using to tell the story instead of the written words you love so much. You don’t always need animation, transitions, typography or effects, but always keep in mind that if you don’t have pictures or a voice-over, then your video won’t be able to tell your story properly. In other words, if you write for Middle Grade or Young Adult and don’t have illustrations, you can always hire an illustrator to make the art for you. Always keep in mind to credit any sources you use, whether it’s art, music, effects, actors or voice-overs, because videography is a team project not an individual one.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, I’ll get into what programs you should use for your upcoming promotional video. If you’re passionate about videography like I am, and plan on saving and spending hundreds of dollars on a computer with buckets of memory, recording equipment for your voice-overs and finally the professional video-editing program then I suggest you start your investment right now. The program you will be using is called Adobe After Effects which ranges from $800-$1000 or if you go for Adobe Creative Cloud your pay $20-$40 a month. Adobe After Effects is essentially used for creating motion graphics and visual effects and though its price is ridiculous it allows you to animate, alter and combine media in 2D and 3D space with various built-in tools, effects and third party plug-ins. Recently (after I made the video above) I invested in Adobe After Effects because most of my projects will focus on animation instead of visual effects. It’s a wonderful program that can be tricky to learn at first, but if you study to techniques and dedicate your time to the hundreds of tutorials online you will get the hang of it.
Let’s say you don’t want to spend that much money on a video editing program because you want to focus on effects and simple animations. A great program for you is Sony Vegas that ranges from $300-$500. If you were to look at the video above you’ll see that I used Sony Vegas for my project. It’s a wonderful program that I’ve used since I was twelve years old. Many people make montage videos with Sony Vegas such as wedding videos, tributes to their favorite characters on television/movies or Typography/lyric videos for their favorite songs. Trust me, if you don’t want to get technical about video editing and learning over thousands of terms, graphs and numbers, then I advise you to stick with Sony Vegas. If you master it your videos will look similar to those edited in Adobe After Effects. Another reliable program (for those of you with Macs) is called Final Cut Pro from the Final Cut Series. It’s similar to Sony Vegas, ranges from $400-$1000 and is a great program after you download a few plug-ins.
The last of the programs to use that are the easiest to master and cheapest to invest in are Windows Movie Maker and IMovie. For PC users you can easily access Windows Movie Maker in your Start Menu. Most of the time the program is already installed on your computer and is free to use. Though it is limited with effects, you can make the best of it by purchasing a bundle that includes over 1,000 of effects. The same goes for IMovie for your Mac users.
Now that you’ve figured out which programs you’ll be using let’s talk about computer/laptops. Most people think Videography doesn’t need that much RAM to work properly, but take it from me who has gone from three laptops to a professional video editing/gaming computer, that is false. If you use Windows Movie Maker/IMovie you won’t have to worry about your computer’s memory. The same thing goes for Sony Vegas, that is, only if you don’t install that many effects or upload hundreds of pictures in your timeline. Though, if you use Adobe After Effects, I recommend you invest in a great desktop (not a laptop) because there will be technical difficulties.
So you have your programs and your computer, but what about your recording equipment for your voice-overs? Now-a-days, microphones come in all shapes and sizes, but you have to be sure to invest in one that is USB port connectable, matches your computer’s recommended settings, is compatible with your computer and has a great sound. The microphone used in the promotional video above is called a Blue Yeti (Snowball) USB Microphone with a separate Pop Filter. Its price ranges from $40-$80, while the Pop Filter was $16.00. It’s important to use a Pop Filter when recording because it takes out the ‘S’ and ‘P’ sounds when you speak. If you view the video and listen closely, the sound/voice is crystal clear as if you are in the same room as the author. There are hundreds of microphones you can choose from on Amazon, but make sure it says USB and is compatible with Windows or Mac.
And that’s all you’ll need to get started with videography, but remember to take the time to learn about the techniques before making your purchase. If you have any questions or concerns please follow me on Twitter (@katyaszew), give a Like to the video above or reply to this topic. I’m always happy to lend a hand. I didn’t have that many people helping me out in the past when I invested in these programs, so I want to make this easier for everyone. You can also read some of my blog posts that concern video editing to get a better idea about the programs and techniques. Everything is listed below for your convenience.
Happy editing everyone!