As mentioned in my previous blog post, part of what motivates my work at Corel is contributing to the products I use in my personal time.
One specific example is the music videos I create from family photos, to share life’s every-day moments with family & friends all over the world. As my children have grown, I’ve had less time to work on such videos – so it was with great enthusiasm that I took on a recent video-editing project:
My cousin Morgan was married over Labor Day Weekend 2011. Sad that I was unable to attend the out-of-town celebration, I at least wanted to send along a special surprise for the reception. Working from music and pictures passed along by my aunt, I put together a 5-minute “multimedia scrapbook” of the bride & groom.
In the past, I had tried out a variety of low-end slide-show tools. For this project, however, I was determined to push my creative skills with a full video-editing software package, VideoStudio – and I (and Morgan & Craig’s wedding guests!) couldn’t be happier with the results!
VideoStudio is easy to learn & use: The project workflow is built directly into the UI, and the Corel Guide offers any additional assistance you may need.
Still, I find that – as with everything in life! – some things are learned only by experience. Provided here is a breakdown of the process I typically follow when creating a music video, along with some of my favorite tips.
1. Get to know the music.
I like to start by playing through the song a few times, just to get a feel for it. Generally, I strive to line up the photo transitions with the beats of the music, so I play through the song enough times to break down its rhythm and calculate how many photos I’ll need. For more complex videos, I sketch a story-board.
Tip: I aim for a pace of at least 5 seconds per photo (or caption).
2. Narrow down the selection of photos.
After estimating how many photos I need, I choose the best candidates for the project. Although I could import all relevant photos into VideoStudio and perform the selection process from there, I find it easier to create videos from a small pool of candidate photos.
Tip: I copy all the candidate photos to a working folder. This way, I don’t accidentally save over any originals while making adjustments.
3. Crop & adjust the photos.
To ensure that the photos look as good as possible, I use a photo editor (such as PaintShop Pro or Corel PHOTO-PAINT) to crop and adjust them. Typically, I use the auto-adjust and red-eye removal features.
Tip: Landscape photos better fill the width of the screen, so I try to crop & center all photos accordingly.
4. Create & test the video.
Having selected and enhanced all my photos, I import them into VideoStudio and set them to the music. To keep emphasis on the photos, I use text & effects sparingly – and I refrain from using multiple text styles and effect types within a single video.
I play through the video multiple times, adjusting the transitions as need be, until I’m happy with the results.
Tip: For a professional look, I fade in from black, use cross-fades to transition between segments within the video, and fade out to black.
5. Test & finalize the output.
Before committing my video to its final output, I test it out on multiple devices: computer monitor, 4:3 television, 16:9 television, and so on. I try to focus on the devices that my audience will most commonly use.
Tip: I double-check that no important elements are cropped on older 4:3 displays.
When happy with my results, I finalize the project – most often, by creating a DVD with custom menus.
A note on distribution: Remember that any music or photos not owned by you are subject to copyright. To be safe, either keep your masterpieces within the confines of your living room or – if you want to share them with the world – use your own source materials (or those from the public domain).
I hope this post has given you a taste of how easy – and fun! – VideoStudio makes it to create lasting memories from your photos.
Have any tips or recommendations of your own? Please feel free to share them in the Comments section below, or in any of the other VideoStudio forums.