I'm in the midst of writing my Video Series, but I'm jumping back to my Graphics for Bloggers Series for a day to help you with a graphics skill that we will need on the next video lesson. I am going to demonstrate how to do screen captures AND get them cropped to the right aspect ratio so that it will be all ready to insert as new clips into your video timeline.
So let's take the case of a home tour video. You have gone out and recorded clips of you touring the house. As a lead-in to help give a more comprehensive overview of the house, let's add a map view and a satellite view. This adds valuable content as people aren't just buying a house, they are buying into a neighborhood too. We'll go out to google maps and do two screen captures that we will then insert as clips to our video.
HOW TO DO
Now to the "how-to." Go to Google Maps in Satellite View and zoom in to the area that you want to capture. In Windows computers, you press Alt+PrntScrn to capture your current window to a clipboard image. (See my Graphics For Bloggers - Screen Captures article for more information, including discussion of screen captures on Mac in the comments section). Since I'm still using windows, I'll be using Irfanview (free app) for my graphics prep work (article Graphics For Bloggers #1 for more info). First of all, open Irfanview and paste the graphic from the clipboard (Ctrl+V, Paste shortcut works well). Next we need to set up a crop window that is the same proportion as our video frame which is 16:9 (16 by 9 ratio). The way I do it is this: I drag the mouse to draw a rectangle that defines the width of what I want to crop to. When it comes to the height of the box, I'll drag upward just a short distance. At the top of the screen the coordinates of my rectangle are shown, I make a note of the width. Next I do a "custom crop selection" by pressing Shift+C and in the dialog I specify that I want a 16:9 crop and then enter the width that I want to use, the height is automatically calculated. Press "Save and apply". You will see the drawn selection rectangle grow to the proper height. Next, I can slide the box around by clicking inside the box with my RIGHT mouse button and dragging the box around to more precisely place it. Once ready to crop, Ctrl+Y will do the actual crop. Finally, you will want to save the file. I put it into a folder that I will remember and save it as a JPG file type.
REPEAT ONCE AGAIN WITH A REGULAR MAP
Next switch to regular map view in google maps, zoom in to the right factor that looks best and repeat the steps above - copy to clipboard, paste to Irfanview, create proper ratio crop box, crop, and save. The map view image should be saved in the GIF format. (I'll explain JPG, GIF, PNG, TIF and other graphic file types in another post, for now just take my word for it...)
COULDN'T YOU JUST USE PICASA?
Sure, Picasa can do the similar crop also. If you have Picasa open when you do screen captures, the screen capture images go into a special folder with "screen captures" name (tip: take advantage of the search box at the top of picasa to quickly find target folders). Once you find your image, click on the crop tool. You will see a list of available predefined shapes. Remember Picasa is non-destructive, so you will have to export the image to use it with your edits. So, answer is, "yes it will work just fine in Picasa!"
I just showed you the way I do it in Irfanview, because I feel it is just slightly faster and that's why I choose that method. But there are multiple options and means for you to do the same thing, the concepts are all the same!
WHAT'S COMING NEXT?
Well I'm saving it for the next article where I'll show you how to use the two images that you have cropped and prepped to drop into your video timeline. Do you want to see a preview of what you'll be doing with them? Check out the very short video below.