Since this is a blog and not all about advertising, I’d like to take the time here to introduce myself a little and help you understand how important this kind of stuff is to me. I’m sure there are many people who feel strongly about the pictures they take, and get excited about using Photoshop, and surely blogging itself is very rewarding and personal. I not only think creating video is fun and interesting, but I have been touched and influenced by creating and watching video for many years. My parents took lots of video of my family and I, my close friends, my track meets, vacations, and things that I loved to watch again and again when I had the time. I occasionally borrowed the video camera and shot some skits and music videos and had lots of fun with it. Over time, those memories meant more and more no matter what they were and I’m so glad to have grown up in a family that liked to shoot video and take pictures of our lives. When I get to a new level in videography or editing, it feels like the continuation of what God was showing me all along. Life itself is captured, reviewed, and relived in our minds and hearts and “in the big picture” that is sometimes forgotten in life. Sometimes people disappear, and things change and all you have left are pictures, videos, and whatever memory you have stored away. No matter how silly they were at the time, they may become some of the best memories you will have of your parents and the life changing moments hidden within.
When I suffered an injury and could not return to work, I decided to go back to college and I wasn’t sure what to do next. I had already gotten into taking lots of family videos of my own with various camcorders so I had something to remember the family by when I was gone three weeks at a time, sometimes longer on the road. I thought about what skills I do have, my physical limitations, and that I have a family of five I would like to see more of in the future than I have for so many years. I sometimes felt I was missing things and couldn’t even have a memory in my mind of what my kids were doing to take with me. I remember the feeling of seeing the old videos that my parents shot, and thought this would be a great calling for me to follow to shoot and edit film professionally. It has not been an easy road to take to accomplish what would be needed, and to feel like I was doing the right thing with my life and trying something completely different that may just be looked at as foolish by many of my friends and family. There is a way to make a living for many types of video, audio, and cinema talent but it does not come to you. As even my truck driving trainer said to me during my training, “You can make tons of money and get the good loads, but they wont just get handed to you. You have to want it.” There are some people that whole heartedly believe that the chosen career they are in is what they should do and realize there is a need for it and a future if you work at it and believe. All you have to do is really want it.
Even when I worked, let’s say for legal purposes “70 hours a week” as a truck driver, I still did a lot of video editing, and made slideshows with pictures on my laptop during my little breaks. I never saw the “work” involved as much as I replenished myself by spending time creating memories I could watch over and over.
Now, onto the review. And why I am excited about this software should now be apparent…
I learned to use several types of software for video editing, and making slideshows. Some were bundled with cameras and things, and were simple to use but did not have a lot of features and seemed to use way too much of my laptop’s resources. I don’t recall the bundled software that made me decide enough was enough any more, but it had a huge problem syncing music with pictures and video. The first software I found to pull this off quite well though, was Camtasia. Since the developers of Camtasia are local (located in Okemos, MI), I will give them a free shoutout and Camtasia users will know why I was so happy with it, and may wonder after a while where are all those features that make some of the awesome, film like videos out there? A popular answer is Sony Vegas. Sony is great, and I use DVD Architect.
(Quick Note: Was very happy to see after uninstalling Edius 5, the start screen for Edius 6 still had all my projects and I like this start screen much better than the one in Edius 5!)
I will not be able to say which is “THE” best video editing software out there. But from trying several in a crunch to find something that opened multiple formats from several popular filmmaking cameras and accomplish my visual goals & complete my assignments in a timely manner, Edius was the sigh of relief I needed. Avid Media Composer just took too long, and I’d lose work sometimes in a crash on both Macs and PCs. Sony Vegas wouldn’t open the file format I needed. Adobe Premiere never looked right when I played it back and was very very slow. Forget trying to do much in Camtasia besides making cuts. Once I found Edius, it just kept getting better and better as I looked around and tried things with it. When that 30 day demo was ticking away, I had to get it. I purchased Edius 5 through Gradware and never looked back at another program to get started with my edits.
I always felt like I was in control, that whatever I wanted to do with color correction, white balance, and transitions was an extension of myself.
There were a few things missing though since I had the Educational discount edition of Edius 5. The bonus software disc with NewBlue Effects and things were absent. I still went into Camtasia occasionally for audio leveling and things.
I wanted so badly to pick up Edius 6 since it came out, but I also needed to keep expanding my business so I could accomplish the shots that clients desired. Edius 5 worked great, and a lot of the features that are still Edius 6 you should definitely play with and see what they do. But it’s always nice to see what the interpretation of “Auto Contrast” is before going overboard with it manually. Luckily, I already have tons of footage where I can compare what I did without the extra plugins to what the plugins’ presets do. Some of them take me down to earth a bit, and some of them push the concepts further that I was afraid to do. There’s always a creative decision to make. But if you aren’t sure, you can quickly let the presets decide and check/uncheck the filter and look at it in real time and see which one you like better.
Off topic a bit, I wouldn’t have even known about the great piece of video gear known as the Konova Slider if not for seeing what people actually thought was impressive looking and professional video. The solutions I knew of for such stable video included rails and extra setup time and in some cases as a one man crew would be impossible anyway. In a similar manner, the NewBlue Effects included with Edius 6 try to accomplish the most popular looks and much needed edits and effects that clients expect. Edius runs very fast, one person can get tons of edits and creative effects completed and meet deadlines. Every second counts, and you will save a lot of time using Edius over software like Adobe Premiere. Spare time to make more money, and spend time with your family is invaluable.
Edius 6 offers a complete video and audio solution, including iZotope audio effects. You can experiment with sound effects and even get your feet wet with mastering reverb and other things that are an audio engineer’s dream. I have been using Pro Tools for a lot of things before I bring my sounds and music into my videos. I am also a long time VST audio plugin user, from many years of using Cakewalk. VST is the most compatible type of audio plugin, and several are included.
iZotope is not just another company that tries to include audio effects in their products. They are very well known for their software being used in audio engineering classes at some of the top colleges in the country. Part of my training in my Digital Media, Audio, and Cinema classes included audio editing and was very exciting but we were limited to using Pro Tools and I never did get to touch iZotope software so that really caught my eye.
I am very glad that I was able to explore on my own some plugins in between Edius 5 and 6. I found some ok solutions for cleaning up video and stabilizing it. It was kind of a chore, and very time consuming since I used some plugins in a program called VirtualDub. DeShaker for stabilizing, and Neat Video for cleaning up noisy footage at least were in existence as solutions for me on a low budget. I thought perhaps it was time to “go the budget way” and put up with the hours and hours of one frame per second analyzing and processing. Then I thought, “I need another laptop for this!” That’s not very cost effective.
The proDAD Mercalli 2.0 plugin is mind-blowingly fast. I found it to be from eight to twelve times faster than DeShaker. I liked the little GUI. This is so much easier to explain to future employees to use than VirtualDub plugins and settings. Another point for “time saved=money=family time.”
The NewBlue Touchup filter is the Neat Video type plugin I needed. As you are looking at these plugins in Edius, you can access the help file (question mark) in the plugin at any time and there are videos that play and very simple to understand instructions and explanations of just what they do. The clip for Touchup shows a close-up of someone’s face and every plugin shows some type of “before/after” example. If you don’t like to read, you can probably figure out in a few seconds what does what by viewing that help file.
In between video clips, it is always good to add a transition. On some transitions you will see a “D” on them for “default.” These are not “boring default if you aren’t sure what to do here” type transitions. These are industry standards like a simple 2D dissolve. I use those a lot, and they look great. Sometimes I bring in my JPEGS of matching 1920×1080 black and white backgrounds so I can dissolve to those (fade in/out). It is always good to think of what you want to transition to to close a scene and end the video.
There are so many transitions, it is almost overwhelming but once you click on one it will show a little animation so you can decide before you add it to the timeline (usually right clicking and adding it to the currently selected clip).
Some of my favorite transitions are “peel” for a page turning effect (or to create an opening/revealing effect), explosions (the end of the clip just explodes like the Death Star in Star Wars), waves & flags (love the ripple effect that makes everything appear under water so I extend that one a lot so it lasts longer), and a new one I see that comes in the bonus proDAD package, a great Vitascene transition.
Vitascene effects (non transitional) opens up the largest plugin GUI so that you can look through the features and still see the effect on your video. It has some very much requested dreamy film looks and solutions. You can adjust the look to create continuity between clips that were shot on different days with different types of daylight that might reveal the “video magic” of shooting things that were supposed to happen seamlessly.
Another great plugin for continuity is the NewBlue Dual Booster. The help file shows a video to demonstrate ways you could use this to even take a daytime shot and make it appear to be well after the sun has gone down. Very nice! (Lots of the screenshots I used are from the help file because it is so well done!)
If you use consumer DSLR for video, or camcorders (some even as you upgrade toward “prosumer”) you still have a rolling shutter effect. I notice this on DSLR more than camcorders. If you move the camera and it seems like your eyes are having a hard time tracking the details in a video, it is most likely the rolling shutter effect happening. NewBlue includes a rolling shutter correction plugin, and once you get to the point where you notice this it will be a must have. The proDAD Mercalli plugin also includes some rolling shutter correction as to take a video walking around, and especially driving around, there will be a lot of shaking and things that will make it hard for your eyes to watch.
The NewBlue Detail Enhancer plugin does a great job of restoring details that you will lose with depth of field. You may not even notice a depth of field effect until you see the difference. You will have to be careful how you use the plugin as I chose a scene where the detail was lost quite a bit because I did not use a fast enough shutter, so there was a lot of motion blur. There is a way around this through keying and combining your detail enhanced video track with the original and most likely a way to select the parts of the video to work with. But it’s always good to see just what a multitrack video looks like and what keyers can do for you.
Before & After NewBlue Detail Enhancer:
My favorite keyers from Edius 5 were the ones that allowed certain things to come through like types of light. Those you will have to see for yourself for your particular needs. To add keys, you have to click on the video clip toward the bottom. Your clips will have three parts you can click on, the top being the video (most of the time you will use that), the middle being the audio, and the very bottom and thin line is where you add a keyer to let the program know it needs to look for information from another track. You can key in pictures, graphics, and even other videos for multitracking. It’s not really very hard at all to do but will take some experimenting to find out what they all do.
The NewBlue Video Essentials keyers included really blew me away. I had not seen these before. The split screen worked so well I had to do a double take because it was so seamless looking. If you are careful to keep some of your subjects on one side of the screen you could mix and match scenes with different backgrounds, perhaps another part of the location with more trees or less things in the background.
The Title Tool is easy to use and keys itself for you and you can create transitions and fades. There are some creative looking fonts filled with textures and useful options for creating shadows and depth to your titles, and they are very fast to make & align. Once you create your text, you can drag it around and stretch it as needed.
One of the things that caught my eye with Edius 6 was a video on Youtube by EdiusMagic called “01. Using the New Mask Filter in EDIUS 6.” I really wanted to jump in and do this first as I was very excited to see the preview video but am going to watch this some more and see what I can pull off. I have an idea already that I’d like to try, but this is the one feature that is a little over my head, but if you are familiar with Photoshop editing it should make perfect sense.
Grass Valley Live has lots of videos, one that got me pumped up before my review copy of Edius 6 arrived was “Amazing Video Editing: EDIUS 6 from Grass Valley.” And that “new freehand curve mask” part with the elephant where they moved it to a new clip.
There are so many things to do, and more than I will use at the moment and there’s where I like to be. Using multiple cameras and monitors will hopefully be something I will use in the future to save even more time and accomplish something I haven’t before.
(Screenshot from a clip using Detail Enhancer and Color Fixer Plus for the entire shot, and Pixelator on the license plate which is a very small target and not an issue in this clip but was easy to target and blur out).
Gradient Tint should cure me of my over coloring to enhance greens for grass and blues for skies.
A quick example of keying in different backgrounds via Split Screen Keying:
It’s so nice to be able to jump in and use Edius, and learn as you go. There’s a little tip I need to let you know about exporting your video though. There’s an icon just below the video preview window that will allow you to “print” your final product. You will use “print to file” to open up a window that gives you encoding options. Since I like to have a lossless file and create multiple formats for DVD, media players, Facebook, and many different devices, I use the “Canopus Lossless” format. It will create a very large file, but you will not only have a perfect copy of your edit but will also be able to bring that back into Edius later and edit it as if it were your raw clips. Occasionally, I will have so many plugins going and could easily just select the whole thing and “render” it so it plays perfectly, but I like to skip that and make my lossless file so I can create my renders and start uploading as fast as possible and it seems a little easier to work with multiple video tracks that way. Sometimes, I kill all the plugins and make a lossless file that has my raw video look and key that in.
There are so many ways to get to a unique, high quality, professional looking and sounding video. Anything you might think of will always have a solution with Grass Valley’s Edius software.
Edius software is simply amazingly fast and powerful, I can’t say enough about it. Try it out!