20 Mar

Getting Started With Video Editing – Beginners Guide

Being a digital filmmaker means you need to wear many hats. Whether you are shooting a wedding film or editing a corporate video. You really need to become a jack of all trades, so to speak.

Being an editor has never been easier. There are so many fantastic tools available to you now it almost makes it confusing where to start. In fact, it’s so easy to edit a piece of footage you can literally do it with an app inside your phone! Does this make you a professional editor? No, not quite. But it does, however, give you, the average joe, a chance at becoming one.

One of the main tool’s you’ll need for video editing is a computer. Now, depending on what kind of editing you’ll be doing , a general rule of thumb is the faster it is, the better it is. You’ll need lots of space on your computer. It’s best to keep all your footage on an external hard-drive, oh don’t forget a backup as well.


editing computerOnce you’ve got the computer, you’ll need some editing software. Again, it all depends on what you’re hoping to achieve. One of the best options on the market right now is Adobe’s creative cloud. This cloud based software requires a monthly fee, however, you’ll always be using the latest versions of their software, no need to upgrade or shell out $999.99 right off the bat. In fact, your startup costs are even cheaper than buying an consumer level editing program, which normally run at about $100.

Other useful tools include having a good card reader. Gone are the days of tapes and film. Card readers will upload your footage straight from the camera’s memory card. Different manufacturers use different types of cards so it’s best to buy a multi-card reader.

Don’t forget to invest in a good pair of headphones. Good sound is important but making sure you’re listening to good sound all day is even more important. They’re no point slaving away on a project that won’t sound anything like what you anticipated.

30 Apr

How To Add Light Leaks To Your Editing Projects

We’ve received a number of requests to make a tutorial on how to add light leaks into your projects. Now, because there are a number of top editing programs available on the market, the process for doing this is a little bit different each time. What’s important to remember is that you’re going to be changing the blending mode or composite mode of your digital effects (light leaks that are either created by you or by someone else).

Final Cut Pro 7

light leaksSome people are still using final cut pro 7, why? Because it was a fairly good editing software, almost every film student learned it by getting a cracked version and it was an apple product. Getting digital effects to work as overlays is extremely simple. First, drag your footage on top of the footage your a trying to effect. Right click on your light leak and scroll down to ‘composite mode’. The drop down menu should now give you a bunch of options, each will give you an entirely unique look. I’d suggest started with ‘screen’. Soft light also gives you some rad results.

Final Cut Pro X

final cut xThe process in final cut pro x is very simple to its predicessor. Once you’ve found the effect you like and dragged it on a track above the footage you’d like to change. Simply go to the inspector window. Inside that window, look for ‘compositing’. Here you’ll be able to select your blend mode from the drop down menu.

Adobe Premiere Pro

logo adobeAdobe has really upped their game over the last few years. Finally realizing that most people were switching between final cut and after effects on a regular basis. Using light leaks in adobe premiere is very simple. Again, once you’ve got your light leak in place on a track above your footage you need to click on it and open up the ‘effects controls’ tab. Here you’ll find the opacity drop down button and the blend mode menu. Choose the blend mode that best suits your project and you’re done!

What’s next?

Well, this is where the fun part begins. Now that you have your footage in and your light leaks on you can start experimenting. Change the color, opacity, size and speed to see instant results and even more ways to improve your films.

Where to buy light leaks?

A simple google search will offer plenty of places to find light leaks. I’ve been using these premiere effects from www.LighTLeakS.me

Stay tuned for an in depth look into using light leaks with Avid Media Composer!

30 Mar

How To Use Light Leaks In Your Films

I had a few comments about a recent post on plugins, a few people wanted to know more about using light leaks. Specifically, how to add them to your projects.

How to use light leaks

lightleaksWhether you’ve purchased a set of Lightleaks or created them yourself using a lens whacking technique. I’ll be posting a more in depth tutorial about this in the future. However, one way to create your own digital effects is by taking your camera, flashlight and coloured gels into a dark room of your house. Start by pointing the light right into the camera to get edge burns, glows and lens flares. It’s important to note that you should set your focus to infinity so all the effects create an interesting bokeh.

If you’ve purchased a set of light leaks, you’ll receive each light leak over a black background. Implementing them into your project is a extremely quick and painless process. Depending on which editing program you’re using you’ll need to look for a blending mode, also known as a composite mode.

light leakIn premiere pro you can do this by going into the effects controls tab, under the opacity menu you should see a drop down button, this is where you can control the look of your light leak.

Final cut pro has a similar process. Open the inspector window and click the “show” button under compositing. Here you’ll be able to adjust the blending mode accordingly. For those using the older version of final cut you can simply right click on a layer and select “composite mode” from the drop down menu. Boom. That’s how easy it is.

Now, once you have you effect set up, you’ll be able to change the colour, strength and even the speed. This will give you the maximum amount of control, and giving your films a truly unique look. Check out www.lightleaks.me for more information on these digital effects.

26 Mar

Picking A Lens For A Wedding Shoot

Picking The Best Lenses For The Big Day

wedding lensesShooting a wedding can be a very stressful process. Coming prepared means having the right tools to do the job properly. No two weddings will be the same, and a filmmaker needs to be prepared for any and all situations. From dark open spaces to cramped interiors, having a perfect set of of lenses will make sure you create a magical wedding film.

The Wide Angle Lens

Having a wide lens will make sure you capture every moment that happens throughout the ceremony. One of the best uses for a wide lens is when you’re using a steady-cam or other stabilizing device. A wide lens on a steady-cam creates a natural looking movement and one that is without unnecessary rolls and camera shakes. This is extremely useful because it let’s you capture the events easily without having to change lenses constantly. Remember, some locations are very small and moving further away to capture a moment isn’t an option. Without a wide angle lens you may completely miss an perfect moment.

So which wide angle zoom lenses are the best?

As far as lenses go I really like the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom, it covers all the bases and stills allows you to zoom in slightly. Another lens I like is the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Standard Zoom Lens. Although this isn’t as wide as the one above, it’s a bit more telephoto and may be a better option should you only have the budget for one lens. Both lens are 2.8 so shooting in lower light situations becomes a lot easier and you don’t have to rely so heavily on your ISO.

You can find these bad boys at any camera shop. Also, you can find some great deals online as well. One site that pops to mind would be bhphoto – there are lots of deals here.

23 Mar

Essential Plugins Every Editor Should Be Using

As I’ve mentioned many times, an editor needs to wear many different hats. However sometimes what you can limited by the tools you have. Our simple editing tools can only take a project so far. Sometimes you need a little extra firepower to really take your projects to the next level. This is where plugins come into the mix, the goal of a plugin is to perform an action quicker and at a higher quality than your native editing program. Even if you may be on a budge you’ll find a lot of neat add-ons that can really improve the look, feel and production value of your film.

Editing-ToolsPlural Eyes

Having recently been bought by Red Giant, plural eyes has come a long way from it’s simple days as a audio video “syncer”. With an updated interface and a wash of new features, plural eyes syncs audio to multi-camera video instantaneously. Gone are the days of manual trying to line up the sound with the clapper.

Light Leak Effects

Trying to get that vintage look to your film? Try adding light Leaks, they are a great way to add a bit of flare (pun intended) to your projects, wedding films and even home movies. The effects created at www.Lightleaks.me are a good example of how easy it is to implement these effects into your projects. In fact, you can add an effect in about 5 seconds by changing the blending mode.

3D Tools

Many times we are required to create film titles and opening credits for our projects. The client will often send reference from a big budget commercial or feature films, one that had a dozen artists slaving away for weeks. Unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury. However, a plugin called Element 3D from Video Co-Pilot gets you really close. This program lets you import 3d models, extrude text and even add textures and lighting. It easily integrates with after effects, premiere and final cut pro.

15 Feb

Tips For Boosting Your Editing Efficiency

Staying efficient as an editor can be a daunting task. Don’t worry we’ve all been there. Improving your workflow doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a process that involves kicking a few habits and introducing some new ones. That’s the nature of the game, things changes and it’s easy to get left behind.

I used to spend ages using different pieces of equipment and programs only to really end up with a some-what convoluted end product. I many cases I’d have no idea how I ended up where I did. One thing was for sure, I had create a monster, and not the good kind.

So, here a few tips for boosting your efficiently.

1. When I worked as an visual effects editor I was constantly struggling with trying to balance my heavy workload. Many times, the amount of work would just get overwhelming. Making a ‘to-do’ list was the only way I could keep track of my task’s. You may already do this, however, I spent years using stickies. But stickies don’t work, why? Because they just turn your desk into a yellow mess. Making a ‘to-do’ list in a notebook is great because when it’s time to look back at your tasks everything is clear, conciseediting efficiency and easy to read. So, the next time your boss says. “Hey, minion! Did you export that sequence?” You can tell him or her, exactly when you did it.


2. File Organization. Staying organized outside of your computer is important, but not as important as having a well-oiled workflow. With so much footage now-a-days, it’s easy to look track of files, images, music, notes, etc. Creating a workflow that is the same across all your projects is the only way you’ll be able to editing and work quickly. How do you name your files in a way that let’s you find them? The more time you spend looking for a file, the less time you get to spend editing.


These two tips are a simple, and quick way to