Documentation:Digital Tattoo Student Orientation/Creating Video/Tools

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Here is a list of recommended hardware/software needed to capture and edit the video.

Video Cameras

Below are some examples of video recording technologies we used to shoot the videos.

Digital Camcorder

My team used digital camcorders for videos that required us to move around a lot and interview people on the street. The video quality on most of the digital camcorders offered here in the CTLT and Irving K. Barber circulation desk is pretty decent, as we were able to get our hands on video cameras with HD quality. However, the problem of environmental noise such as the wind, air conditioning, and other people's voices made the resulting audio track extremely "noisy". To solve this problem, we used an external wireless microphone that could clip onto people's clothing and single out people's voices while we interviewed them. Specifically, this mic can be borrowed from the CTLT, but please note that from my knowledge, they only have one such mic.

If you don't have a microphone to go with your digital camcorder, I strongly suggest you go get one. It will make your audio track sound a lot smoother and less amateur.

Laptop

For most of the videos done during my time here, we used the camera on a MacBook Pro to capture our webcast series Think Before You Ink. While filming with your laptop camera is not as cumbersome as filming with a camcorder and a tripod, you do, however, sacrifice some video quality. The quality is still sufficient for most of your video needs, however.

For the most part, I used iMovie to shoot the webcasts because the resulting video clips have a high enough resolution. For screencasts, which is when you record what's on your computer screen, I used Camtasia 2. While Camtasia 2's video quality was sufficient enough for my screencasts, I still had trouble with the laptop's mic picking up environmental noise, such as the laptop fan, the room fan, and this irritable clicking noise made by the computer's hard drive. Like my solution for the digital camcorder, I used an external table mic and placed it away from the computer, but close enough so that it will pick up the presenter's voice.

Microphone

To capture good quality audio with minimal noise, I highly recommended that you use an external microphone, as opposed to the one that comes with your video camera or laptop. From my experience, while the microphone included in your video camera or laptop has no problem capturing audio, the sound quality may not be good enough and may sound "amateur".

Most of the microphones I used were borrowed from the CTLT.

Table Microphones

These are microphones that can be used in a stationary environment, say, inside the office, at home, etc... I used these for both webcasts and screencasts in an effort to reduce environmental noise. While this method of noise reduction worked for the most part, there were times when the laptop's fan and clicking noise was still picked up. Be sure to do a test clip to ensure your sound is exactly how you want it. It is also important to note that as the laptop gets hotter, it also starts to create more noise, so adjust accordingly.

Portable Microphones

These are the kinds of microphones you will want to use if you plan on moving around to shoot. I found these microphones to be the best when recording speech, especially the kind of microphone that can hook up on a persons clothing and record their voice from close-range. The CTLT has a wireless microphone set like this, but ask first to see its availability.

Video Editing Software

Below is a list of video editing software I chose to use for different purposes.

Adobe Premiere Pro

Adobe Premiere Pro is an advanced video editing software with enough capability to create professional level videos. I chose to use Adobe Premiere Pro simply because I had previous experience using it before, but my knowledge of the software was still pretty basic. As a result, there was a huge learning curve I had to overcome. Learning to use Premiere Pro required me to put in extra hours outside of my regular work schedule, especially when it came to learning different techniques that I chose to use in my videos, such as creating censors on videos, and removing "noise" from the audio track (fan sounds, computer hum, etc...). The payoff, however, was worth it, as I was able to do a lot more finer, more custom details that I would not be able to achieve with, say, iMovie.

Camtasia

Camtasia, other than being a screen cast recording software, is also a video editor that enables you to edit your screen casts right after you do them. I found Camtasia's video editing functions to be very easy to learn, and its screencast specific features, while limited, is simple and sufficient enough for you to point things out in the video (highlights, arrows, zoom-ins, etc...). Camtasia does have a tendency to crash however, and while it has an auto-save feature, it is highly recommended that you remember to save your work anyway.

iMovie

iMovie is a video editing software that comes with most Macs, or can be downloaded for free via the App store. I personally dislike the editing interface of iMovie, especially because its clip cutting function is very tedious and unintuitive. Learning how to use iMovie is still, however, a lot easier than learning how to use Adobe Premiere Pro. It is a basic video editing software perfect for beginners, and has enough capability to produce most of the videos for Digital Tattoo's purposes.