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Filmmaking Amateur | Simple Video Editing: Video Pad vs iMovie (Day Three)

by Scott
(Georgia, USA)

Digitizing video today took longer than I expected. I digitized (uploaded) some test footage that I shot yesterday using my Panasonic DVX100A. The DXV100A is a 2006 model that uses tapes. Remember tapes?


I've got friends in the video business and none of them, that I am aware of, are using tapes anymore. It's all shot digitally and more easily placed on a computer's hard drive for editing. Ten years ago when I was working in video I still used tape to tape machines. This, the digital revolution, is part of what I am trying to learn. It's not entirely different, but there have been major changes in the past ten years and all of them are changes for the better. I'm just trying to catch up on this technology.

MiniDV tapes record well, so I am still able to get high quality footage. Or so I thought. The test footage I shot today looked soft when I saw it on the iMac. I shot footage this summer on a Kodak Zi8 and a GoPro HD. These tiny cameras bring in surprisingly sharp images. The Panasonic footage is good, but I was expecting something better from a $3,000 camera (even if it is five years old). I'll be doing some more test shots tomorrow on the Panasonic to see if I was somehow not getting the best out of the camera.

As I digitized the footage from the MiniDV tapes to my iMac, I was afforded over an hour of time to do other things. I spent this time working on my PC, finishing a short project for the Fuller Center Bike Adventure. This summer, I spent two months documenting this incredible cross-country journey that serves as a fundraiser for The Fuller Center for Housing. All the videos I made this summer were edited on my Dell laptop in the video editing program Video Pad. This delay in digitizing gave me the opportunity to compare Video Pad and Apple's iMovie.

Video Pad is a simple editing program that gets the job done but leaves little room for extra creativity. I like Video Pad but little things like titles are left wanting. After the footage from my Panasonic was uploaded to the Mac, I had a chance to dive into iMovie-another simple editing program. iMovie, initially, confused me. But that was months and months ago when I last tried using it. Today, as I sat down to learn iMovie, it all made sense. Somehow all of those quirks that frustrated me in the beginning made sense to me today. I was able to make a ridiculous video of my test shots of trees from my back porch as I narrated each camera setting change. This video will never see the light of day, but it provided me with what I was looking for; a chance to learn.

iMovie has a lot more creative options that Video Pad. The title effects are better. The royalty-free music choices are better and the sound effects are better than what Video Pad offers. Video Pad is good. But iMovie has that special Apple quality. I also have access to Final Cut Express, but to he honest, I'm not at a point as an editor to make the most of what Final Cut can do. It's kinda like giving a Porsche to a 16 year old-they're just not ready. But it doesn't matter. I'm also trying to improve my story-telling skills. Most documentaries, or at least the ones that I think I will be making, are not going to use an abundance of special effects. Simple wipes and fades are all I'll need to move between edits. Both iMovie and Video Pad are good for me, as a "beginner", because they allow me to focus on what's important. And what's important is the story.

Video production encompasses a lot of things. Today, I was able to multi-task well because of the time it took to digitize footage. Tomorrow, I will shoot some more with the Panasonic and make another ridiculous video with my test shots. This is a time where I am taking small, but important, steps. But this is also a time where each step is one giant leap for my kind; the kind who want to produce, but don't quite know how to do it well. Yet.

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