Although Ulead VideoStudio 8 SE VCD has some limitations (it only exports to VideoCD) it's an excellent introduction to intermediate video editing. When you start the application for the first time, you'll be faced with a panel that gives you two options: Movie Wizard or Editor. I'll be concentrating on the VideoStudio Editor here, so click on this to start the program.
The application is separated into five key elements; a preview/playback window, a dynamic task pane to the left, a library pane on the right, a timeline at the bottom and a row of seven task-oriented buttons across the top - see Figure 1.
You can import existing video files by clicking on the folder icon at the top of the library pane in the Edit view (click on the Edit button if you're in a different view) and navigating to the folder where they're stored. If not, you'll need to use the capture tool.
Make sure your camera is connected and powered on, and then click the Capture button at the top of the screen. You can capture from almost any video device here (including live video from webcams), but bear in mind that you may need some extra hardware for analog sources like VCRs or 8mm camcorders, and MiniDV camcorders require a FireWire connection. Digital camcorders can be controlled using the software, while analog models will need to be cued up manually.
VideoStudio can capture video in a range of different file formats. However, while MPEG-2 and WMV captures may save on disk space, they're not good for editing with, so if you're unsure, stick with DV AVI. If you're using a MiniDV camcorder, you can capture only the clips you need by clicking the Batch Capture tab and using the tape preview controls to find and mark the in and out points of the clips you want. When you're done, clicking the Capture Video icon will automatically go back and capture the segments you've selected.
Get to work
Now that you've got some clips in the Edit view's library pane (click on Edit, then select Video from the drop-down list under where it says VideoStudio 8 if you're not in the right view), you can build your sequence. Just drag the thumbnail of your clip from the library pane onto the storyboard placeholder (where it says "Drag and Drop Video Clip Here") to create a basic running order. To remove clips, click the placeholder and hit <Delete>.
If you only want to use part of a clip, double-click it - either in the library pane or the storyboard - to bring it up in the preview window (note that the word "Clip" is now highlighted instead of "Project". You can now trim the front and back of the clip (called the in and out points) by dragging the markers on the blue bar underneath the screen to the points you want.
You can also perform this task on the timeline itself, but you need to select the Timeline View button first - you'll find this to the left of the timeline itself (see Figure 2a showing the Storyboard view and Figure 2b showing the Timeline view). This lets you see the running time, clip length and location of everything on your project, and gives you more control over your work. To trim your clip while it's on the timeline, move your mouse over the yellow bar at each end and drag it to resize. When you do this, you'll note that subsequent clips will move to take up the slack - this is called Ripple editing, and is a behaviour that cannot be changed for the Video track (the top one).