VideoStudio walkthrough

Here's a walkthrough of Ulead's VideoStudio 6 SE Basic to get you started.

Once you've got your footage, every video production has three key stages: capture, edit and export. VideoStudio 6 is geared around these, with a tabbed interface that takes you through each stage in order.

We'll be using a MiniDV camcorder with a FireWire connection for the purposes of this walkthrough - if you're using an analog camcorder and capture card, remember that features like Scene Detection and remote control aren't available.

Click here to see a screen shot of VideoStudio 6 SE Basic.

Capture

Connect your camcorder to your PC and switch it on, then, in VideoStudio, click on the Capture tab at the top of the screen. Hit <F6> to bring up the options menu, use the browse button next to 'Working Folder' to select the folder you want to capture to, then click OK. Use the tape transport buttons under the Preview Pane to cue the tape to your start position, and make sure that the 'Scene Detection' box is checked before clicking on the Capture Video button. VideoStudio will now capture your footage until it reaches the end of the tape. If you don't want the whole tape, click the Capture Video button again to stop the capture.

Edit

After capturing, you'll find that VideoStudio puts thumbnails of all the clips into the Video Library (the right-hand pane), as well as placing each of the clips onto the Storyboard at the base of the screen. You can use the Storyboard view to rearrange the running order by dragging and dropping, or deleting, the thumbnails. If a clip needs trimming, click on its thumbnail, then use the Trim Bar under the Preview Pane to adjust the In and Out points by dragging the red markers to where you want them. You can do this with the Timeline view, too: click on the Timeline View tab at the bottom left ( see screen shot), and the view will change to show clip lengths, plus the additional tracks that VideoStudio offers (Overlay, Title, Narrative, and Music). Click on the clip you want to adjust, and drag the yellow bars (called handles) that appear at each end to trim it.

When you're happy with the running order, clicking on the Effect tab will let you add transition effects between clips. Pick the effect you want from the Library pane at the left, and drag the thumbnail down to the placeholder between the clips to which you want to apply it.

Now add some text. Click on the Title tab, which will switch to the Timeline view and bring up the Title options pane. Find the point on the Timeline at which you want the title to start by clicking on the ruler, then click the Create Title button (top left). Choose your font style and layout options, then click inside the Preview Pane to add your text. Click on Add, and the title will appear on the Timeline. In the same way that you can trim a clip, you can drag the title's handles to increase or decrease the length of time it stays on screen.

To add some background music to your project, put an audio CD in your CD-ROM drive, click on the Audio tab, then the Music tab in the left-hand pane. Select the CD track you want to add, and VideoStudio will copy it to a WAV file and add it to the Timeline. Of course, you can also just select an audio file on your hard disk. Alternatively if you have a microphone plugged into your PC, you can record a voiceover while watching a preview of your project by clicking on the Voiceover tab, then the Record button.

Export

When you're happy with the way your project looks and sounds, click on the Finish tab to view the export options. These include output to an AVI or MPEG-1 file, or you can choose RealMedia or Windows Media file export if you're sending short clips via e-mail or posting them on a Web site. Alternatively, the Create VCD button will produce a VideoCD-compatible MPEG file that you can burn to a CD or DVD which will then play back on your TV using most current DVD players.

Bear in mind that this has only scratched the surface of what VideoStudio 6 SE Basic can do. Dig a little deeper and you'll find overlays, adjustments filters, and animations. Have fun!

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