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Archive for the 'Video Basics' Category

Snow and Ice Challenge

This challenge is no longer active. Thanks to all who sent in their submissions!

Are you tired of winter? Is the snow and ice wearing you out? Are you cursing the groundhog and Mother Nature? Unfortunately winter is not over yet. The forecast for the next 7 days includes low temperatures and more snow.

If you want to beat the winter blues, get involved in IT Training’s Snow and Ice Challenge. Grab your camera, Smartphone, or camcorder and take a photo or video that will raise our spirits and make our readers smile.

Your entry must be original and it must be submitted by the person who captured the photo or video. But unlike many other photo or video contests, for this challenge you MUST use your favorite application to enhance, distort, or manipulate the media in some way. For example, you can use Photoshop to put clothes on your snowman or use After Effects to convert snowflakes into ice cream cones. Be creative! Have fun! Get out of your winter funk! If you manage to make us smile, we will post your photo or video on this blog.

If you’re interested but you don’t know how to edit photos and videos, consider taking a Photoshop, After Effects, or Premiere Pro workshop. Our classrooms are always warm and full of bright ideas, but if you can’t bear the thought of getting out to attend an instructor-led workshop, consider downloading workshop materials or attending online training sessions.

For more information about how to submit your photo or video, click here.


…and we have a winner! Congratulations, Andrew! This video is quite entertaining. Nice job.

Thanks to everyone who sent in a submission. Here are a few of the other entries:

Woman, Snowman, and boy


Snow Scene


Boy in snow


CIB Bldg in Snow


Captivate 6 for Video Demos

One of the best ways to teach people about something is to show it to them. If you’re teaching about software, and you don’t have the luxury of having all of your students seated in a classroom, make a video demo.  There are lots of products on the market that you can use to create video demos.  Here’s a link to a blog post that describes five of them.

I’ve used TechSmith’s Camtasia Studio for several years, and I like it a lot, but IU’s agreement with Adobe makes Captivate 6 the more attractive option because I can get it for free. Camtasia used to be the obvious choice for making full motion video recordings of your screen. That’s what Camtasia is designed to do, and it does it well. Full motion recording in previous versions of Captivate was not the greatest. Full motion is better in Captivate 6, not perfect, but better. By the way, Captivate 6 doesn’t refer to full motion recording as full motion. It’s called Video Demo mode. You can begin your project by choosing the Video Demo option, or choose Video Demo when it’s time to start recording your screen.  The interface changes a little when you start the project in this mode. You can learn more about it in this  Adobe TV video.  Skip to 02:06 on the timeline. Read the rest of “Captivate 6 for Video Demos” »

Creating an animated Gif in Photoshop CS5

There are many different ways and programs you can use to go about creating a fun and interesting animated gif for the web. For this tutorial I will show you one quick and easy way to create an animated gif using Photoshop CS5. I am working on a Mac, but a PC will do just the same.

You can check out a preview of what the completed animated gif can look like by visiting this link. Keep in mind, this is a web page I designed to showcase the animated gif created for this specific tutorial. Uploading your completed animated gif directly to the web will not result in the animation being centered on the web page.

a series of images

To begin with, I used Photoshop to create a series of images of which I kept in one folder. These images will act as the states for my animated gif. It is not necessary to use Photoshop to do this. You can create an animated gif with a series of photographs or a group of illustrations created in Illustrator in much the same way. Really, as long as you can open your files with Photoshop, you can create an animated gif out of virtually anything. The important thing to note is that each layer, or state, should be the same dimensions and resolution and will need to have something different, whether that change is slight or dramatic.

Read the rest of “Creating an animated Gif in Photoshop CS5” »

Coming Soon, Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5

Have you heard? Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 will be released soon. If you are like me, you are just getting used to the changes that came with CS5. What could Adobe possibly do to make us want to upgrade again so quickly? 

While many of the new features in CS5.5 are simply small tweaks, probably the most alluring change has to do with processing speed. When CS5 came out, we learned that CUDA is an Nvidia technology that is used in GPU processing. This technology was used to speed up a number of processes in the last version of this application. Now, with CS5.5, there are even more effects, transitions, and behind-the-scenes processes that are affected by this technology. Adobe states that “…CS5.5 lets you edit faster than ever by offering industry-leading, cross-platform, native file-based workflows and GPU-accelerated filters and effects…”  Does that mean my machine won’t freeze up when I try to use time remapping or when I attempt to work with the alpha channel of a clip? If so, sign me up!

Changes in this technology are also said to improve the process of dealing with mismatched media, such as frame rate differences, pixel aspect ratio differences, and frame size differences. This, too, sounds promising.

Many of the other changes that I have read about are not quite as significant. For example, there are quite a few changes that deal with audio. Videographers who use a dual-system sound workflow will probably appreciate several of the new features. Now it is possible to use In points, Out points, timecode, or markers from two or more separate tracks when synchronizing audio and video. In addition, users can now use a feature called Merge Clips to lock a video clip to a separate audio clip so that the two can be manipulated as if they were one asset.

Another small revision has been implemented to make the files and folders  in the effects panel less clumsy and easier to work with. In CS5 there are 3 instances of every audio effect: one for mono, one for stereo, and a third for 5.1 audio tracks. It is necessary to select the effect that matches your audio track. In 5.5 Adobe has revised the audio effects folder so that one size fits all. Now each effect is only listed one time and when you apply the effect, Premiere automatically applies the instance of the effect that matches your audio track.

Yes, Adobe was definitely taking a good, hard look at the audio features in Premiere this time around. In fact, probably one of the most significant changes in the entire suite is the substitution of Soundbooth with Audition.  The Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection and Production Premium editions will  come with this new audio editing application. Since I have always liked Soundbooth and use its dynamic link from within Premiere often, I’m not sure how I feel about this change yet. More to come on this topic in future blog posts…

Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 also makes it possible to attach a closed captioning data file to a sequence. While this version won’t allow you to output the closed caption text without the use of a third-party device and plug-in, at least it’s a step in the right direction.

Another significant improvement included with Premiere Pro CS5.5 is the ability to add keyframes directly into the timeline using the Pen tool or Selection tool without having to first enable keyframing. You will also be able to set keyframes without a modifier key.

I was also happy to hear that the trial version will include all the same codecs that are included with the full version. The trial version of Premiere Pro CS5 did not come with all of the codecs, and this caused a great deal of confusion for me and for many others. Apparently Adobe has learned their lesson here.

Lastly, if you currently use Final Cut Pro or Avid Media Composer, take note. This version of Premiere Pro supposedly makes it easier for you to import and export to, and from, both of these applications. This should make my colleagues in Media Productions happy.

For more information about Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5, visit any of the following links:


Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 User Interface

The Adobe Premiere Pro user interface can be intimidating for those just getting started with this application. While UITS IT Training & Education at Indiana University offers a fantastic STEPS workshop that will teach you how to create professional looking movies with this video editing package, participants who have never used an Adobe application before will feel more confident coming in to the workshop if they view the following tutorial first:

Becoming Familiar with the Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 User Interface

Since most of the other Adobe apps have a similar look and feel, this short video can also be useful for those getting started with Photoshop, After Effects, Flash, Illustrator, etc.

Premiere Pro Welcome Screen


Adobe CS5 Production Premium Preview Recording

Miss the CS5 Production Premium presentation on Friday, April 16th?  No worries, you can watch the entire presentation online at this URL:

Adobe CS5 Production Premium Preview

This presentation covered the new features and interactivity of Adobe Story, OnLocation, Premiere, Encore and After Effects CS5.

And don’t forget, on April 30th, we’ll be back discussing the Design and Web apps.  Keep an eye on the Web Community page for details.

A Beginner’s Guide to Video

Video is one of the most popular mediums available today. If you don’t believe it, then check the statistics for the online video hosting sites. According to reports, YouTube and Google Video brought in more than 10 billion views during the month of August 2009. Other popular sites, such as Metacafe, HowCast, Revver, and DailyMotion also have impressive numbers.

Have you thought about creating a video of your own, but you aren’t sure where to begin? Do you have a video camera but aren’t sure how to transfer footage once you’ve captured it? Maybe you’ve gone out to buy a new camcorder but were overwhelmed by the many choices available? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to check out the free IT Training & Education reference guide for beginning videographers.

 This learning module, called Video Basics: An Overview of Tools & Resources, is a comprehensive guide for beginners and it is free! You won’t have to spend hours searching the Internet, because all the most relevant information has been compiled into one convenient resource.

Below is a list of some of the topics that are covered:

  • Types of video cameras on the marketEyepiece Viewfinder
  • Storage formats
  • Features
  • Accessories
  • Cords and connectors
  • Lighting
  • Audio
  • Clothing
  • Video editing software
  • Transferring video footage
  • Publishing
  • Video compression, formats, containers, and codecs
  • Media players
  • Links to many useful websites, blogs, and movies
  • Much, much more!

So if you have dreams of becoming the next Steven Spielberg, or if you are simply interested in filming your daughter’s dance recital, check it out. You won’t be sorry.

Video Workshops from IT Training

It seems like every device these days includes a video camera.  Cell phones, music players, laptops and more all include easy to use video cameras.  Along with this, consumer level cameras are becoming cheaper and more powerful all the time.  But what to do with all of that video?  Well IT Training is here to help.  Starting next week, we’ll begin teaching on video topics with the following workshops on 11/4 and 11/5:

Video Basics – An Overview of Tools and Resources – In this workshop, Donna Jones will discuss the basics of video, starting with a discussion of cameras, and what features to look for, and then using Windows Movie Maker to edit a short video.  While working on editing the video, the process of shooting a movie will be discussed, including setting up lighting, getting good quality audio, and setting up good shots.  Donna will also discuss some simple ways to make your production look more professional.

After Effects: Text Animation and Video Basics – Adobe After Effects is an animation program focused on video production which allows you to combine video and animations into a single project and then export it into many common video formats. In this workshop, Andy Hunsucker will guide you through the creation of a short movie trailer that combines text animation, video, and background music, along with some animations created entirely within After Effects.  Participants will get a chance to spend time working in the interface, and learn the basics of the animation system and the effects system.

See the workshop descriptions to sign up.  If you can’t make it next week, we’re doing a rerun on 11/17 and 11/18.  And don’t forget about the same workshops being held at IUPUI.

Examples of Video Clips With Different Compression Settings

Several months ago a student stopped me after I taught a workshop at IU and she wanted more information about frame rate and display size as it relates to Web video. I did a quick Google search to try and find some examples of videos that I could use to illustrate a point that I was trying to make. I came across an excellent site from the University of Texas at Austin that I have bookmarked and used many times since then. Links to over 30 video clips are provided, and an easy-to-read matrix provides complete details about the compression settings that were used for each.

If you are interested, go to:

Thanks U of T. Great job!

Using Windows DVD Maker to Burn a Movie Created With Windows Movie Maker Version 6.0

You may have noticed that version 6.0 of Windows Movie Maker does not have a “Save to DVD” option in the Save Movie Wizard. Since video files are typically very large and may not fit onto a CD, you might find this perplexing. Never fear! Microsoft didn’t just forget to include this option. Instead, they decided that since they were including Windows DVD Maker on machines with Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate Edition, there was no need to include a DVD burning option in WMM, too.

If you would like to learn how to use Windows DVD Maker to burn your movies to DVD, go to the following vista4beginners website:

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