I know this is kindergarten for most forum members here but I have a small business and a tiger by the tail and need to get on the right track as efficiently as possible, so please allow me to ask the most basic of questions. Thanks so much!
I just want to produce some simple videos as business presentations for customers and for potential investors (and maybe my Board of Advisors), and to put them on our web site as well as distribute them on DVD. I'd like to do what I can for quality "within reason" and do not need or intend to get carried away for top quality at all, and I don't need the videos to even remotely be full-screen.
I plan to be making, say, oh, 6-to-12-minute clips... maybe about a dozen (though it will evolve over time). I'd like to accommodate web viewers with PC -- WMP or Real (if such a designation is still appropriate like it used to be), or Mac, and maybe dial-up or high speed (I guess dial-up is really not necessary, though).
Mainly I just want to select sections of what shot and delete other sections, and maybe re-sequence some pieces. Then, I want to add in some stills such as PDF or JPEG images. That's really about it.
I bought a Panasonic PV-GS300 camcorder, and have it connected to a video monitor for framing and playback. It's on a tripod. I found good lights on tripods and will get them in shortly. I may splurge for a Countryman headworn microphone -- otherwise I'll just use a lower-end mic that I have on hand.
I'm running XP Pro.
My computer doesn't currently have firewire. It's got a 3.6 GB processor, 1 MB RAM, and about half of the 160 GB hard drive available. I can add a firewire PCI card if needed. I use Nero to burn DVDs and have no problem doing that (I've had it convert files and burn DVDs).
By the way, I also have a Logitech Quickcam Fusion webcam on top of my monitor, and the Logitech software that came with it that allows simple recording and playback of audio and video. When I record a video with audio at the default of 320 x 240, which comes to about 2.75" x 3.75" on my 19" LCD screen, the result looks, well, barely adequate for my purposes. The question is how hard it is to do better quality with the camcorder. The Logitech webcam and camera software creates AVI files (60 seconds comes to about 7.5 MB of space with those settings).
I know ZERO about editing video. I'm generally tech savvy but have never gotten into video editing. I'm still learning how to use the basics of the camcorder! I need to make a few basic decisions and would greatly appreciate advice please:
1. Is it more realistic for me to do this myself, or should I use an outside service?
I know a good outside service locally. They even sold me a portable blue-screen background for a few hundred bucks and say they can put any background there. I really don't know that I need that level of gimmickry, though. And the turnaround time to get work to him and back concerns me. Also, the cost is going to add up.
On the other hand, I do NOT have a lot of time for a learning curve and doing the work, though it would be nice to do it myself so I know what I'm getting and can do it right away... and so I can save money doing it.
If it's better to do this myself, then:
2. Is my system sufficient, or do I need more powerful hardware?
First of all, to get it out of the way, should I just stop laboring over this and use the Logitech Quickcam webcam while sitting in my chair, and use the Logitech software to record and create the AVI file and then use software to edit that? Or is my using the camcorder and transferring to the hard drive from the mini DV disk worth the effort?
3. The biggest question is what should I use for software?
Again, I have zero experience with video editing software (though I am a bit experienced with Adobe Audition at a very basic level). I'm wondering about using QuickTime Pro, the software that came with the Panasonic PV-GS300 camcorder (MotionDV STUDIO 5.6E LE for DV, and Quick Movie Magic 1.0E), Adobe Premier, or, well, I'm wide open for suggestions on what to consider.
4. Once I choose the approach and software, where do I go for a basic tutorial?
I'd really be grateful for any advice you can give me, please!