I’ll start with a caveat: I’m still learning the ropes when it comes to creating and editing videos, so please take the info. in this post as a starting point only.
Onward! Okay these the tools I use:
Action! video capture
Corel Draw X8 for any precise graphics
Good old Paint for quick and dirty graphics
Corel VideoStudio Pro 2021 for video editing
The microphone: Before I started doing voice overs, I did some research online and found all sorts of stuff about how to set up an area for audio recording. I also read up on the kind of equipment you would need. In the end, I bought the cheapest microphone Amazon had to offer – it was on sale – and I try to record when there’s no background noise [Offspring puttering around in the kitchen, dog barking, cat wanting to be fed etc]. That’s it. Not professional quality but…good enough.
Video capture software: I love Action! because I own it outright – no recurring subscription fees – and it’s sophisticated enough to allow me to take good quality footage. Plus it was relatively cheap.
I’ve owned and used Corel Draw X8 for a very long time. It’s a great program and I love it.
Windows Paint has been around for a very long time too, and it’s perfect for quickly resizing a screenshot, or adding some arrows and labels, or cropping out the bits I don’t want. And it’s free. Can’t argue with that.
And now to Corel VideoStudio Pro 2021…. I don’t love it. Keep reading and I’ll tell you why.
Before buying the VideoStudio editor, I tried out a number of editors, but not the Corel one. So it was an impulse buy based on Corel being a trusted brand… and it was on sale. I had trouble from the start. Installing the software and getting it to run ate up days of frustration and online searching. Once I had it running, I had trouble learning it because, although it looks pretty, the interface is weirdly unintuitive. It’s also inconsistent. It’s supposed to be great for beginners but I had trouble learning it. I’ll leave it at that.
One thing I do like is the ability to edit multiple tracks, which look something like this:
Once I have captured the actual video with Action!, I import it into VideoStudio and drag it to what’s called the ‘timeline’. The timeline can include all the tracks shown in the screenshot.
The first track to go on the timeline has to be the video track [for me]. This is my raw material. Once it’s on the timeline, I can snip out the bits I don’t like to get an overall feel for the length of the finished video and what I want/must present in that time.
The overlay track is where I place still images, or even snippets of video, that will create a ‘picture-in-a-picture’ effect. In the example above, my self portrait and the pic of Warrandyte both overlaid the video going on in the background.
Narration was always going to be important in my videos so it really helps that I can create short bits of voice-over [usually about one sentence worth] which can then be positioned at the precise locations that fit the visual narrative.
And finally there’s the music. I included music in the how-to video to provide continuity, but also to get rid of the ‘dead air’ you get in-between bits of voice-over. Essentially this dead air is the non-sound you get when the microphone is not recording. It’s quite disturbing when you first hear it. A very, very soft music track in the background just smooths the transitions from one audio clip to the next. If I could record everything in one hit, I wouldn’t need that smoothing, but I simply couldn’t do it, no matter how hard I tried. Ums, ahs, oops, coughs, and other gremlins would always creep in, even when I scripted what I wanted to say. It’s actually a lot easier deleting a blooper and re-recording a single sentence than trying to do Hamlet without a break. 😉
So that’s what I’ve learned to-date. I would recommend the KLM microphone and Action!. I would not recommend VideoStudio Pro 2021. That said, I would advise you to buy a video editor that is sophisticated enough to offer multiple tracks, including voice over, and does it without any fuss or bother. Do I know of one? No, but perhaps people will chime in, in comments.
I completed this house some time ago, but my video capturing and editing skills have only just caught up. This video includes a number of new features, including a soundtrack:
I still have a lot to learn but I now know how to use the ESO in-game camera a bit better. It doesn’t matter how good your editing skills may be if the raw footage is poor quality.
On the video editing front, I’ve learned how to:
Cut and splice the video footage with still images to create a smooth flowing visual narrative,
Focus on important images using freeze frame,
Narrate the important ‘bits’,
Add a ‘soundtrack’ to help tie the whole thing together.
I’m particularly proud of the soundtrack as I was just experimenting, and it worked. lol
For anyone who’s interested, I recorded roughly ten minutes of video just for the background music. Then I took the video into VideoStudio Pro 2021 [the software I use for editing] and ‘split’ the audio out of the video. This left me with just an audio track. I then added the audio track to the completed video.
What all that means is that the video is made up of three layers:
the edited video [complete with sound effects like bird calls and footsteps],
the voice over narration, and
the music soundtrack.
Once my skills improve a bit more, I hope to be able to create how-to videos and maybe, one day, a trailer for my books. That’s all in the future though. For now, I’m still on a massive learning curve. Thanks for coming along for the ride. 🙂
Some months back, I invested in Corel VideoStudio Pro, as well the Action! video capture program. One helps me take good quality video footage, the other helps me turn that raw footage into something a great deal more professional. Unfortunately, both have required quite a steep learning curve, but I’m proud to say I can now do a proper ‘voice over’.
In time, I hope to make short how-to videos to complement my how-to posts. You saw a tiny snippet of that in my last post. For now though, I’m doing player housing walkthroughs while I learn the ropes. This is my latest walkthrough:
This particular housing project is set in an area that looks like a real wasteland, so I tried to reproduce some of the things I visualised in The Vintage Egg, in particular the story about the Christmas Roast. I think I managed to fudge the grim feel of the Undercity, but I couldn’t quite re-create the high tech architecture. Still, I had a lot of fun. 🙂
I’m off to practise some more new skills.
 My first efforts saw me recording the ‘narration’ at the same time as I was trying to film the video. Okay for simple things, next to impossible for more complex things. Now I can focus on the video first, then record the narration over the top of the video. Still need a script but it’s miles easier.]
The reason I’m posting this short, 1 minute video is because I’m thrilled with my new editor – the Videopad video editor. I’m only using the free version at the moment, but I will be getting the paid version very soon.
So what does this editor do? Well for starters, it allows me to:
create separate video and audio tracks,
add in still images,
do voice-overs after the fact,
add groovy transitions [I didn’t in this one, but I will next time],
add multiple tracks – e.g. video, music, narration etc,
and slow the audio and video down to an absolute crawl so I can cut stuff out at just the right moment!
Honestly, after just a few hours of concentrated play, I’m loving this editor! My thanks to Dawn for recommending it. 😀
Oh, and here’s the video I did all my learning on:
Comments are off coz I don’t want to push our friendship tooooo much. lol
This is another video walkthrough that I’m posting, partly for posterity and partly because I’m proud of the level of editing I was able to achieve. Still not ‘professional’ by a very long country mile, but getting there.
I’ve turned comments off as these posts are mostly for gamers.