What is video editing and what software should you choose.

PhD Lecturer at “School of Computer Science for Business Management” – Romanian-American University

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Table of Content

  1. What is video editing.
    1. Introduction
    2. Rule of Six
    3. What software should I start with?
    4. Often used video formats
  2. Video editing software
    1. Premiere Pro
    2. Avid Media Composer
    3. Final Cut Pro X
    4. Windows Movie Maker
    5. Sony Vegas Pro 7
  3. VFX Software
    1. After Effects
    2. Nuke by the Foundry
  4. Color Correction/Grading Software
    1. Lumetri Color Panel
    2. SpeedGrade
    3. Colorista III
    4. DaVinci Resolve 12
    5. Color Fitnesse 3
  5. Useful Definitions
  6. Bibliography

1.What is video editing?

1.1.Introduction

Video editing is the process of taking a „raw” video, of any resolution, size or format and transforming it into a better looking footage, using various techniques in video-editing software.

Before you start, you have to understand what “cutting” means. A very good explanation of why the word is used in this industry is the old films on reels. Making an old movie required the actual film to be cut and put together with whatever the director wanted. Cutting something and put it back together results in a  “montage”, not often used in English language but it describes exactly what an editor is doing. He’s making a montage from whatever “film” he got.


“Good editing makes the film look well-directed. Great editing makes the film look like it wasn’t directed at all.”

(Victor Fleming 1939)


An inspiring quote that makes an editor think twice before it makes a cut, explaining that great editing submerges the viewer in the image, all the cuts happening at the perfect time with the perfect images that follow the cut. In order to achieve this I follow Walter Murch‘s “Rule of Six” when I cut my material:

1.2.Rule of Six

  1. Motion
  2. Story
  3. Rhythm
  4. Eye-trace
  5. 180° 2D plane space
  6. 3D continuity of space

1. Is this cut good at this point in the film? Does it feel right?

2. Does this cut have a continuing storytelling about what is happening in the film?

3. Is this cut good in a musical way? Does it feel right audio-wise?

4. As an editor, you need to have a pretty good intuition about where your audience is looking on the screen; let’s say you have something playing on the screen; at that point, you know the audience will be looking at a specific point on the screen and in the next cut something strange is happening in the opposite corner from where the audience is looking. Your cut will make way to the story’s space. You construct the film to direct your audience’s attention by where you place the cut.

5. Whatever is happening in the next frame of the cut having the same position in a 2D space? Think about a picture. Any picture. If you were to flip it horizontally, you would be flipping the entire reality of that scene, making your cut less credible.

6. Is the 3D space same at the next one?A living room, a club, etc. You have to make sure you do not create unnecessary paradoxes that confuse your audience or lessen the quality of your video perceived by poor cutting skills.  

These are in order of priority, It would be nice to respect all of these rules but if you can’t (many times it is not possible) try to cut them 1 by 1 from bottom to the top, so if you have 1 to 4 and you don’t have 5, you can still do the cut, same if you have 1 and you can’t have 2.



 

1.3.What video editing software should I start with?

Learning a specific program is less important than learning the art of editing, once you learned to edit, you can easily adapt it to any editing software.

Choosing which program to use is a very hard and slow step that will determine what kind of work style you will adapt at first. Of course the software you choose is an important task but after that, you will create a workflow that will suit your creative skills.

These are the software that I use when editing videos:

(Video-edit&Montage)

Premiere Pro –  Alternatives: Avid Media Composer, Windows Movie Maker, Sony Vegas, Final Cut Pro X, etc. (Any other „cutting” software can be used but these are the most used programs).

(VFX)

After effects –  Alternatives: Nuke by the Foundry

(Color Correction&Grading)

Lumetri Color panel in Premiere Pro – Alternatives: Speedgrade, DaVinci Resolve, Color Fitnesse 3 or Colorista III(Premiere Pro plug-in)

(texture and photo-editing *if needed)

Photoshop –  Alternatives: Lightroom(for photo adjustments),paint.net (free)

(3D model&animations *if needed)

Cinema 4D –  Alternatives: 3D Studio Max, Maya or Element 3D(after effects plug-in) // Overall Cinema 4D is more reliable for non-after effects users

For some useful definitions about: Image Resolution, Footage frame-rate and bitrate, Motion Blur, Camera settings, Raw format  and more, go to the end of the article.


Important!

  1. If the video format is usually used for high quality material, this doesn’t mean every file with that format will have a good quality, for example, you can convert a gif(low quality, no sound format) into a .avi file that can have a size substantially  larger than the gif. but the same low quality.
  2. Your machine’s components are very crucial! If your machine is „weak” or not taken care of, it can influence your work, meaning that you will have to use lower resolution videos and/or lower size files, which can also impact the quality of your video.

1.4.Often used formats video:

⦁ .avi(uncompressed, additional info stored)

⦁ .mkv(often used to store Movie quality footage like Blu-Ray)

⦁ .mp4(Probably the most used in everyday situations like YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, etc.)

⦁ .flv(flash video, very often used in sites)

⦁ .gif(no sound, a sequence of images, more used in forums and similar sites)

⦁ .mov(a format which can keep the information of alpha channel, the transparency)

⦁ raw formats, every camera has it’s own RAW formats (not that often in the everyday use, uncompressed, keeping the sensor information for further post-production editing)


2.Video editing software:

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premiere pro logo What is video editing and what software should you choose.

2.1.Premiere Pro (Pr):

The base program for any video editing method. It is a layer based software that can cut, move, color correct, add transitions and many more, easily to any video file. It can be a very powerful tool with an easy to learn interface and the power to use the Adobe Dynamic Link, giving the possibility to transfer your projects into other Adobe software, making it a viable for any workflow from casual to a professional one. It’s a subscription-based program through Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription, which can give you the access to many Adobe programs that works seamlessly with Pr like: After Effects, SpeedGrade and Audition.

Why would you use Pr over other software?

A very important question is, do you need After Effects? If the answer is yes, you will have to go with Premiere Pro. Dynamic Link is the feature that keeps the reason for me to use PP. It helps switching from a program to another that makes editing very easy and less time consuming. And as a bonus, all the programs are under the Creative Cloud Subscription.

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Premiere Pro Interface


BOGrXMD5 What is video editing and what software should you choose.

2.2.Avid Media Composer

Avid’s software is often used by TV producers, it is more expensive than the other programs, giving you the option to pay monthly or to buy it once, a thing that Adobe’s Premiere Pro doesn’t have. This editing program is probably the most complicated to learn compared to the others but has more features included in the program, for example: it has a more complex color correction system than Premiere.
Screen Shot 2012 01 09 at 12.09.10 AM1 What is video editing and what software should you choose.


final cut pro x icon What is video editing and what software should you choose.

2.3.Final cut Pro X

First of all, it is an iOS (Mac) only product, this is the biggest reason why this software is not as much used as Premiere Pro in the industry; for personal use is very common because is a one time buy product and has a very good performance because it is made to work only with iOS products. For a price of $300 (2016 price) you can have a lifetime licence with access to all updates of the program, unlike the subscription of the Adobe Creative Cloud, but again, if you need After Effects you will have to go with Premiere Pro.

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2.4.Windows movie maker

This software is very basic, made for people who need a quick, simple and fast cutting, is not a layer based program, which makes editing a large material very hard or almost impossible in some cases. It also lacks many effects and effect controls which other software do have.
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AppIcon What is video editing and what software should you choose.

2.5.Sony Vegas Pro

Premiere Pro is working seamlessly with other Adobe programs, like After Effects, thing that gives a very big head-start, compared to Sony Vegas Pro, but it’s interface makes learning basics very easily, it has the ability to scale the opacity of an entire track of layers and on top of that, it has a very good 3D positioning system, an ability that does not exist in Premiere Pro but with the help of After Effects, it can be done. In Sony Vegas Pro you need to disable video resample  (not disabling it will make your frames blend within each other) and in Premiere you don’t have to , beside that, the interface is not the best for the eye fatigue, making the program in many cases hard to look at after a while of work (requires eye pauses).
Sony Vegas Pro 12 Review Screen 1 What is video editing and what software should you choose.



3.VFX Software:

after effects cc logo BCC55BAFF7 seeklogo.com What is video editing and what software should you choose.icon Nuke What is video editing and what software should you choose.

after effects cc logo BCC55BAFF7 seeklogo.com What is video editing and what software should you choose.

3.1.After Effects:

After Effects is a very common program by the Premiere Pro users, having a complex way to move, transform, animate or add effects to a video. After Effects is a layer-based program that has a big variety of options for any kind of animation, transforming or video effects. It does, however have it’s disadvantages when it comes to 3D – even if it has a 3D interface with a complex 3D rendering capability and a very good quality camera tracking system, it lacks a 3d model importer, work which then needs to be done with an external software like Cinema 4D or the AE plug-in Element 3D. If you don’t need complex 3D animations or extremely high quality textures or shading, After Effects can do whatever your imagination wants to.
After Effects Iron Man Avengers What is video editing and what software should you choose.


icon Nuke What is video editing and what software should you choose.

3.2.Nuke by the Foundry

Not so popular but surely very used in the movie production industry, Nuke by the Foundry is a node-based program that has a complexity level highly above AE when it comes to 3D compositing. 3D effects, tracking, animations are better managed and used in Nuke because of the node system it has, but if you want to make motion graphics, AE has a more suitable number of tools and ways to help you achieve what you want.

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4.Color Correction and Color Grading

4.1.What is Color Correction/Grading

Color correction and Color Grading are two different things. Color correction is the process used to adjust your image to have the white whites and black blacks. Color Grading is changing your image to look how you desire, adding colors, changing tones, (de)saturating colors and much more.

Color Correction and Color Grading software:

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premiere pro logo What is video editing and what software should you choose.

Lumetri Color (Premiere Pro Window)

When it comes to color grading I prefer to use adobe premiere pro’s lumetri color panel, easily accessed from the windows panel at the top bar. A very easy tool with a familiar interface for photoshop and lightroom users. It has a low resource demand and it works with 32-bit color depth so I prefer this tool on top of any color grading software. It’s a new tool, added with the CC version of the PP. It has the ability to use color LUTs, for the first time ever in premiere, a big reason to use this tool.

 

SpeedGrade What is video editing and what software should you choose.

Speedgrade

Adobe’s color grading software, it comes with the Creative Cloud subscription so it is very reliable for the Adobe software users. With the dynamic link implemented, it has an easy way to edit your image from a Premiere Pro sequence or an After Effects composition. It’s controls can be tricky at first but after a while, you get used to it. One of the disadvantages is the fact that it has no thumbnails, a big problem for anyone that doesn’t know the imported project.

 

premiere pro logo What is video editing and what software should you choose.

Colorista III (Premiere Pro and After Effects Plug-in)

It’s a Premiere Pro and After Effects Plug-in. Powerful color grading software, with a very easy interface and a variety of color grading options. It has large improvements over the previous version (Colorista II) but it has a medium demand from your machine.

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ResolveBeta11Icon What is video editing and what software should you choose.

DaVinci Resolve

The most complex color grading program. A software that has the ability adjust the image exactly how the editor wants it. It’s interface makes the program hard to learn for someone who doesn’t own color grading knowledge. It demands large amounts of resources from your PC but it has a lot of advantages that forgive the program’s hunger for your computer’s RAMs..

The software works in 32-bit color depth, that means the program can “adjust the luminance gain of your video without rebalancing the color of your whites, mids, or blacks.” as Blackmagic Design (the company that owns DaVinci) describes the software.

The software has just one timeline with big thumbnails that makes multi-layered montages hard to color grade, so you will have to clean your timeline before you make the transition to DaVinci.

The Lightbox is a feature in the program that allows you to see all the different scenes of your edit, with large thumbnails, to be able to see the color differences and how they blend one with each other.

It has better control over HUE correction, allowing you to manipulate the tint of a certain shade, for example, changing color of all the greens in the scene but letting the reds as they are.

It also features a very powerful Saturation control graph, able to (de)saturate colors based on their intensity, so you can bring, for example, three differently saturated reds to the same shade or level of concentration.

Resolve9Post 720x350 What is video editing and what software should you choose.

 

 

after effects cc logo BCC55BAFF7 seeklogo.com What is video editing and what software should you choose.

Color Finesse 3 (After Effects Plug-in)

Color Finesse 3 gives you the high-end color correction and enhancement tools you need for your favorite application—including Adobe After Effects, and Premiere Pro.

  • 32-bit floating-point color space for incredible resolution and latitude.
  • Automatic color matching and black, white, and gray balance.
  • Custom correction curves.
  • Six channel secondary color correction.
  • Waveform monitor, vectorscope, histogram, and tone curve displays.
  • Highlight Recovery tool provides a visually-pleasing way to recover overbright areas of the image which would normally be clipped.
  • Export color correction settings as 3D LUTs in a variety of formats.

https://www.syntheticaperture.com/

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Useful Definitions:

Image Resolution:

The resolution of an image is represented by the number of pixels on a specified area, for example a 7-inch display and a 24-inch one can have the same amount of pixels but the 24-inch one will have bigger pixels. The size of one pixel on a display is set by the pixel density, the larger pixel density, the smaller individual pixels gets.

Resolution is the key component that makes the difference between high and low quality video.

1920 pixels vs 3840 pixels What is video editing and what software should you choose.

Video frame rate:

The frame rate of a footage is how many images per second are displayed on a screen. The footage of professional cameras can have 240-fps+ far beyond a display can show. The extra frames filmed are used to create a slow-motion effect in almost every post-production software.

L0112 FrameRates What is video editing and what software should you choose.

Camera frame rate Definition:

A camera can film at a different frame rate at any time. Of course, it depends on which camera you film with; a normal camera can film with 25-30 frames per seconds, which is the standard for television and movies. Professional cameras can film up to 120-300 frames per second (such as the RED Epic, Arri Alexa, Sony FS cameras, etc.) meaning that you can either have a footage played at a higher fps for high frequency monitors or can be played with a slow-motion effect, cutting the speed in half or even slower.

Of course there are cameras that can film more than 300-fps (such as Phantom Flex4k camera-Up to 1000-fps at 4k resolution), these can have a much smoother slow-motion effect with a better quality than the other cameras.

When importing a high-fps footage in a video-editing software, it usually plays in slow-motion by default, adjusting speed as you wish when you need another playing speed.

LINK CU SLOWMOTION (SLOMOGUYS)

Motion blur Definition:

The motion blur in a footage is the camera shake or a high speed moving object that passes in the front of the camera at a higher speed than the camera sensor can record it.

Frame rate is one of the important way to define the quality of a „high movement” footage, meaning that a higher frame rate used a lower motion blur effect is recorded.

MOTION BLURR LA FPS DIFERIT

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Footage bitrate:

The bitrate of a footage is the size of one single second played. If there are 30 frames in a second and the bitrate is 5MB/s at a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, each image shown has the size of 170kB, so there needs to be a balance between the resolution, frame rate and the bitrate.

A high bitrate may influence the performance of your computer, because it takes a lot of reading speed from your hard drive. YouTube, for example takes and converts the footage to a bitrate of ~4.5MB/s

The amount of details that can be recognized in the image is influenced by the bitrate. This can be seen in an image with many greys, because it is not a smooth gradient, but a differential line between the colors is obvious.

IMAGINE CU GRADIENT DE GRI, BITRATE DIFERENTE

 

compression split What is video editing and what software should you choose.

Color bit Depth:

The color bit depth is how many bits are on a color channel. 8-bit meaning that there are 2^8 (256) colors per channel(RGB).

  • 8-bit for the web, DVD, Blu-ray or personal viewing, and for light grading.
  • 10-bit for broadcast delivery and for decent grading (even cinema).
  • 16-bit for mastering and heavy grading.
  • 32-bit for visual effects work and really heavy grading (like trying to rescue an impossible clip).

10 bit chart What is video editing and what software should you choose.

Camera settings
Any professional camera can film at different ISO, which means how brightly the image is recorded. Different diaphragms, which determines how much light enters in the sensor, improving the depth of focus blur and different frame rates which lowers the motion blur effect. Behind all the adjustable settings, a camera has a sensor that receives and records the colors. Before the camera writes the recorded footage on the storage device, the material is processed and converted, unless is stored as a RAW format.

iso 625x1000 What is video editing and what software should you choose.

Video Formats

The format of a video is the type of video data stored on the device or drive, and is very often found in a compressed form. Almost every video-editing program doesn’t require add-ons or plug-ins to read any video format, but the players require codecs, which gives a certain video player program the ability to read that type of formatting.

A codec is a software extension that is „teaching” video players to play a coded video format.

Raw Format

A footage that is a RAW format, has all the information from the sensor, unprocessed, untouched by any compressing method. Is the top quality format for any video, giving the possibility to edit the image after it was filmed with all the information from the camera sensor.

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References:

https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve – DaVinci

http://goo.gl/a1QOX1 – Bit Depth

 

 

 

Article reviewed and approved by: Garais Gabriel

PhD Lecturer at “School of Computer Science for Business Management” – Romanian-American University


Article Autor/s:

Adrian Protesaru

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