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The Digital Director Experience: Video Editing Fundamentals

Money can't buy you creativity...

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If you're anything like me, you'd happily spend a small fortune on video gear. And it's easily done - software alone can set you back a few grand. We probably talk about the latest fad more than we'll actually used it. But how do you justify spending (or as my wife would say, "wasting") money on new gear, particularly when you're just replacing a perfectly good camera.

My last "upgrade" was a DSLR. I managed to persuade myself that a DSLR was a logical step, especially as I wanted to get a bit more serious about photography. And those stunning "test footage" videos on vimeo were the final push. But I'd overlooked a critical fact - I'd never used a DSLR for video. I spent a good few days getting myself acquainted with a camera that was never designed to take video. Yes, the video quality was stunning, but all those tricks for holding a "proper" video camera had to be adapted. Looking back, it was initially a step backward - I wasn't anywhere near as creative with my shots because I didn't know how to hold the camera. I'm still not sure I'm as comfortable with a DSLR, but it's just opened up a whole new world of buying opportunities. I've currently got two lenses in my wishlist.

There's only a few pieces of kit the budding amateur needs. And I mean really needs. A camera and a tripod to film, a PC and editing software to edit. Every additional piece of kit you buy go towards adding wow factor, but it's your core pieces of kit that provide the "guts" of your video. And those "wow" shots need to be used sparingly, or they lose impact. More importantly, for every piece of kit you buy comes a brand new learning curve. Even simple pieces of kit like a glidecam take hours of practice - it's not just moving a camera along a track, it's finding creative uses to get stunning visuals. Put simply, you don't just "use" video gear, you find creative uses in the best circumstances.

If you're hankering after the latest "must have", dig out your last purchase and see if you've mastered that "essential" piece of kit. If you don't know where it is, it's covered in dust, or you can't get the thing working, you probably don't need another gadget. So get our there, film, and have fun learning your hobby. Only buy a new gadget when you've mastered what you have - buying a new gadget won't improve your creativity!

And on that note, I'm looking for a Steadicam Merlin. Don't supposed anyone's got a Steadicam gathering dust, have they?

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  1. threedoors's Avatar
    People are getting better and better at it. Or is it me whos getting old. Or they learn new software and have better equipment.
  2. vidmanners's Avatar
    "Money can't buy you creativity" - was the title and in essence it's correct, or rather it would be if creativity didn't involve having the [B]right gear[/B].
    e.g. If your creativity requires a steady sequence, then you "need" a steadycam; but sometimes there are alternatives -that's creativity in a "technical" sense.
    However, I suspect Marc Peters meant "Artistically - telling the story, etc."
    There needs to be a certain minimum level of kit (& knowledge!), to achieve what might be described as a "competant film" - where you can hear the words, be moved by the music, and the visuals don't "get in the way" of the story, (although some might say that's the Editor's job).
    So, M[U]oney doesn't buy creativit[/U]y is only half-right IMHO, as it can give a creative person another angle to play with . . . and no-one want their film to be "Just like ...."
    NOR do film-makers want it to lack stunning visuals - and those usually mean more Dosh.

    Hope that helps -[I] or have you already bought said Steadycam and Lenses?[/I]
    Updated 02-27-2012 at 01:19 AM by vidmanners
  3. enc's Avatar
    I must admit my gear buying habit was getting out of hand. fortunately im now fully recovered. However, i do possess 3 cameras and associated paraphernalia some of wich is now unused.
    My equipment out shines my abilities but i kid myself i'll get better LOL
  4. TonyBR's Avatar
    "An idea in your head and a camera in your hand" was a motto when I was in high school "cinema project" classes..... Digital era/softwares sure brought MANY more options to the ideas in our heads but, still, thereīs always the first tought on "whats next", right? On the other hand, I donīt buy more stuff just because I donīt have the money!!! :( :D
  5. markBrown's Avatar
    Hi, I have a project that is overflowing with ideas an have picked up hours of incredible footage ad masterfull shots and have now been let down by technology, the editing software I am using(vegas pro11) seems to be totally useless when it comes to rendering a file that doesn't look a chewed vsh tape for some unknown reason.

    It seems a reasonable amount of money can't buy technology either
  6. markBrown's Avatar
    vhs* tape sorry
  7. emarie15's Avatar
    I actually diagree. Maybe it cant make YOU creative, however money can buy someone elses creativity! I went through a great company to make my projects video and they did a great job being creative. I know this isnt the point you are making but, just sayin.