With the cost of camcorders decreasing while the functionality and ease of production of videos increases, relative amateurs (compared to highly-trained professional film or ENG [Electronic News Gathering] teams) can and do produce acceptable films very economically directly into digital formats which can be distributed either over the organization’s Intranet, the Internet or on Compact Disk.
Typically the initial formats will be avi or mpg but there are a number of inexpensive editing tools, for example Pinnacle and ULead Video Studio, enabling:
- Transition effects
- Overlay of the main video track with another
- Addition of titles in many forms and fonts
- Addition of voice over and / or background music
All of this can be managed by the Storyboard interface (much like Macromedia's Director product).
The video project and all its referenced elements can be saved or modified and saved as another version of the project. The output too can be varied to produce:
- Digital Video Disks DV
- Streaming RealVideo file (.rm)
- Streaming Windows MediaVideo file (.wmv)
The definitions of these are given at the end of this topic and were obtained from the ULead VideoStudio Help system.
CHL has used ULead VideoStudio for the conversion of .avi files to the various forms of MPEG as well as the two forms of Internet streaming files. The addition of titles and effects as well as voice over and background music are all easy to manage. Such videos, while not up to television production quality can well serve for distribution of important messages within an organization.
In conjunction with TechSmith Camtasia, CHL has produced a number of training videos for Microsoft Word and Excel as well as as the musical talents of colleagues at a client site.
In addition, much experience has been gained through filming construction and development work and its subsequent editing, together with adding suitable musical accompaniment and subtitles.
Digital Video with a capital "D" and a capital "V" stands for a very specific format of video, just like VHS or High-8. This format can be understood (played back, recorded) by your camcorder and also by your computer, if you have the proper hardware (capture card) and software (DV codec). The most exciting thing about DV is that it can be copied from your camcorder to your computer, and then back to your camcorder (after editing, of course) without any loss of quality.
Moving Picture Experts Group is an organization involved with defining standards for compressing video data for use on the PC. Also refers to the file format that utilizes the compression standards defined by this group.
MPEG-1 generates very small media files yet provides excellent video and audio quality. It is a widely used standard for playing videos on the computer, especially on slower PCs (200MHz or less). MPEG is very CPU intensive, which means that your computer must work very hard to decode the video. MPEG-1 is limited by frame size and data rate. If you want to make VCDs, you must use this format and you must very carefully create Whitebook standard files. (See VCD below).
MPEG-2 is a much more flexible format and is capable of producing higher quality movies, but it is also only recommended for playback (and capture) on faster computers (350MHz and above). It is also the widely implemented format in applications such as digital versatile discs (DVDs), direct satellite TV, high definition TV (HDTV), digital cable systems, personal computer video, and interactive media. MPEG-2 provides supreme picture quality at 720 x 480 resolution and 29.97fps frame rate for NTSC (720 x 576 pixel resolution and 25fps for PAL).
Video CD Disc is a special type of CD-ROM that contains a special video file in MPEG-1 format. This MPEG-1 file is not just any MPEG-1 file, but one that exactly follows a WhiteBook specification.
Streaming RealVideo file (.rm)
Streaming is the process of sending multimedia files over the Internet. As a video or audio file is delivered over the Internet, the user can start viewing the content without waiting for the whole file to be fully downloaded. The RealVideo file format is that developed and used by RealNetworks Inc.
Streaming Windows MediaVideo file (.wmv)
A streaming file in the Microsoft Windows MediaVideo file format.