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Thread: Need Software Advice for Video & Audio!

  1. #1

    Cool Need Software Advice for Video & Audio!

    Hello Everyone!

    I am just getting into video/audio editing and am a bit confused as to what editing software I need.

    I have a 6' x 6' treated sound room in which I plan to record video with voice-over quality audio. I have recently purchased a high-quality Equitek condenser mic which will plug into a Tascam DR-60 on which my Panasonic HDC-TM90 consumer level HD video camera will mount. I will then transfer video and sound files to my workstation using a card reader and then sync the audio and video tracks using Plural Eyes by Red Giant. And this is where I am now stuck.

    I am not sure what is a good video editor (I know of Adode Premier and Cyberlink Power Director) and separately what is a good audio editor (I know about Audacity).

    The video will be simple, mostly a static head shot of me or me at a blackboard. It is the audio which needs to be voice-over quality and so I am not sure about using two stand-alone programs (audio and video) and their ability to work together. I see the Power Director Suite has an Audio editor, but not sure if Audacity is better. I'm very familiar with computers, but no editing experience. What's got me a bit concerned is I paid $79 for Plural Eyes which only syncs audio files with the video track and it seems that any good video editor should be able to do that or am I wrong?

    All suggestions and comments very much appreciated!

    William in San Diego, California

  2. #2

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    We used PluralEyes for a while but no longer use it since the editor we use (FCPX) can do it internally.

    However, I doubt you really even need anything like PluralEyes if you are doing everything yourself in your own facilities. While PluralEyes could save time here and there, it's not essential and syncing has been done for decades without it.

    You need two things for sync, one visual and one audio event that can be sync'd. That is what clapper boards were used for, not just to mark the film with the scene, take etc, but also the act of the clapper closing created the visual cue and the sound of it gave the audio cue.

    It's even easier at home. When we do this I ask the talent (you?) to clap their hands, maybe once, maybe two or three claps. That gives me both visual and audio cues from the camera (and it's internal audio track) and also on the external recording. Finding and lining those up manually is trivial and takes just a few seconds. It takes longer to launch PluralEyes than it does to sync this manually.

    For live events (which we do a lot of) it's not so easy, which is when we use the audio sync within FCPX (and previously PluralEyes in FCP7 and Premiere Pro) to sync multiple cameras as well as multiple audio sources.

    In terms of video editor, it doesn't sound like you're in need of much more than some very basic edits with the ability to add more audio tracks, mute the audio from the camera etc. Virtually all the editing software around can do that.

    So the next question comes, what else to you actually need? Only then can we look at different packages and being to filter them based on requirements. the very best video editor is the one you enjoy using and has the capabilities you need. That could be different for you vs me vs the next person because we all make different kinds of videos with footage coming from different sources and ending up with different delivery requirements.

    One last thing, if you had to go buy some editing software, what kind of budget do you have in mind?

  3. #3
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    The three editing packages you should probably look at are ...

    Sony vegas
    adobe premiere pro
    apple Final Cut Pro

    the he last one is for Mac so it depends on your platform

    you can sync an audio and video track by eye in any of the above, but a clapper board makes it a lot easier as suggested above - but you can use anything that makes a sharp sound and where you can pinpoint the frame where the sound peaks

    you should learn about something called cutaway shots, or you will snooze your audience

  4. #4

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    Thanks to David and Zamiotana!

    Very good points. Thanks!

    I can have an assistant (my wife) help with the clapper, but I am not opposed to spending some money to get an editing program which has this capability. For video editing software I could go as high as $350 and have been looking at Sony Movie Studio 13 Platinum (Sony $79) and Video Studio Ultimate 7 (Corel $99). I am planning to buy a Dell Workstation T3610 so I am going the PC route. While I do not need any fancy video editing now, I am not opposed to buying an intermediate level software that I can grow into and utilize its additional capabilities as new more complex project ideas come along.

    Do these and most editing programs allow the user to import audio files such as the wav files I will be offloading from my Tascam?

    And my Panasonic HDC-TM90 outputs files in m2ts files. Can most editing programs import m2ts file directly or do I need to convert to mp4 or something?

    And what about audio editing? Should I plan to do that in something like Audacity and then export to the video editor or do some of the video editing programs out there have good built-in audio editing tools?

    I think those are my areas of confusion. Knowing a bit more would really be helpful.

    Thanks!
    William

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by kdihan View Post
    Do these and most editing programs allow the user to import audio files such as the wav files I will be offloading from my Tascam?
    Yes.

    And my Panasonic HDC-TM90 outputs files in m2ts files. Can most editing programs import m2ts file directly or do I need to convert to mp4 or something?
    While I don't know for sure, I suspect your camera is recording to AVCHD and most software packages can directly import from AVCHD. To check, what is the folder structure like on the cards you have? Is there an AVCHD folder?

    And what about audio editing? Should I plan to do that in something like Audacity and then export to the video editor or do some of the video editing programs out there have good built-in audio editing tools?
    Most video editing apps have sufficient audio editing capability for 99% of the jobs I do. I only go to external apps when I need something very specific, like being able to remove a siren from the sound track or something like that.

  6. #6

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    Hello Dave,

    Thanks, and yes, it is AVCHD. I guess that mt2s is a Panasonic-specific file type. I guess I am good on that then.

    Also, when I say audio editing, for my situation I am mostly talking about enhancing my vocal sound through EQ controls and other functions, not cutting and removing. I think Audacity (open source) will let me do that so I am probably good on that too.

    But one other thing just came to mind.

    I want to overlay text to various areas of the video which I'm sure every video editor can do. But in addition to English, I want to also be able to add Chinese. With Microsoft Windows, there is a built-in Chinese language program which allows me to type in Chinese fonts into any other program I am using (email, chat, Word, etc). Do you think that would work with a video editor? I don't think so because to read Chinese fonts as Chinese characters, the reading party needs to have the Chinese font software which most people do have if they are using Microsoft Windows. So I am thinking I may need to do this with images, like embed images of the characters into the frame, or maybe there is an add-on program in the video editing industry which does this because making and adding images would be really time consuming.

    Any suggestions on that? I do not know where to go to even research that one.

    Thanks!
    William

  7. #7

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    All the good video editors have audio sweetening tools, like EQ, Compressors, Limiters etc. These are the sorts of things that may be missing from the cheap/free ones.

    Certainly Premiere Pro and FCP have them and I'm quite sure Sony Vegas will too.

    In terms of Chinese, I can't be of any help there since I've never done anything like that. I've only ever used fonts that were available on the system, but if that's all you need then you may be good to go.

    Try finding 30 day trials of the software and check out if they work or not.

  8. #8

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    Thanks Dave!

    I have sent the Chinese sub-title question to a couple video editing software companies and will let you know their reply.

    Best,
    William

  9. #9

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    Hello All,

    Cyberlink got back to me regarding the Chinese subtitles and to my surprise, the Microsoft Windows Chinese (and other foreign language) font set can be used to type Chinese characters right into the video just the same as with English.

    William

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