A Beginner's Guide to Digital Video Production
By Steve Saylor


A Beginners Guide To Digital Video Production" is a 4-hour, 20 minute presentation available on two VHS tapes. This Windows-based tutorial features Adobe Premiere software for non-linear editing, and the Digital Origin Moto-DV editing system which transfers your digital footage from Mini-DV camcorders to your computer, and back again.

       The video, comprised of four chapters -- Introduction, Camera, Computer & Software, and DV Editing -- covers every step of the journey, from production to final print, explaining the technical intricacies of this new format in decidedly non-technical terms.


Part One



1. How did I Get Here?    (4 min.)

A brief description of how this project began, and continued, and continued.  Why?

Shooting a movie with no budget means the actors work for free (or a percentage of any profits).  In my case, the actors didn't have much time.  Which meant I had to shoot the entire movie in a week or two.  No crew, no lights.  Which meant... A lot of fixin' in the mixin'.

Secondly, my limited experience with computers made it slow-goin' at first.  And, dag-nabbit, all these new fangled gizmos ain't always workin' like they's sposed to, pard!  Bugs and Ghosts in the Machine.

Well, it's come a long way in just the short time I've been in the game.  Gettin' better all the time.  Two years ago, when transferring footage from DV tape to computer, you might drop a few frames here and there.

Dropped-frames are quickly becoming a thing of the past as the equipment becomes more and more reliable.  Get on-deck.  It's a good time to learn the rules and join the roster.


2.  How Does It Work?    (5 min.)

An overview of the technology: Non-Linear Editing and the Digital Format.

Two decades ago, the word processor transformed the world of the Writer.  No more White-Out.  No more cutting and pasting your pages.  You could get everything "just right" on the computer screen before you printed it.  And you could shuffle those words around, grab a paragraph from down there, move it up here.

Today, the Videographer gets the "big break".  But instead of shuffling words, we're juggling video clips.  Push everything in your program down, stick a scene in here, pull everything back and take out the gap.  

Also, when your footage from the camera is recorded onto the hard drive in this digital format, the computer can manipulate those images in a thousand different ways.  You've got a first-class, post-production facility sitting right there on your desktop.  Go nuts.

One more thing.  When you make copies of your work in the digital language, you don't lose picture-quality like we used to with "analog".  And that's nice.


3.  A Demo   (9 min.)

The Whirlwind Tour: We transfer clips from camera to computer, slice 'em, dice 'em, add music, then compile everything into our final edit before moving it back to tape.

Move along frame by frame, click on the razor tool, make a cut here, maybe another over there.  Oops.  Don't wanna cut it there.  No problem.  We can undo that.  Or undo them all.  Just takes a second.  

Cutting film was never like this.  Say bye-bye to the bad-old-days.


4.  The Story    (11 min.)

Excerpts of scenes from the movie illustrate just what this little camera and computer can accomplish: Professional Editing Capabilities -- Effects, Graphics, Transitions, Sound.

At the same time, I sketch in the synopsis. (We'll be using these scenes for examples, might as well know what's going on)

Also, a few comments on story, and some technical tidbits.


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4