Video [#5] - Project Setup

Education & Training with Tech Training for You!

Before we go too much further with video editing tasks, let's talk today about getting your video project set up properly. I want to cover a few concepts that will be helpful to consider. This is part 5 in the Video Class Series and that link will let you go back and catch up if you missed the previous classes.

First of all, let's talk about file organization. When you upload the source files from your video camera, you need to have a logical and organized way to save the files. Usually, you will have some sort of main "videos" folder on your drive with subfolders that make sense to you. For me, I use dated folders, first of all a folder for the year, example 2011 and then a subfolder for the project. That may work for you too, or you may have a different way to organize, e.g. by video type.

When you put your video file on your drive, you want the place you land it to be a permanent location that will NOT change. This is important. When you are doing a video edit project, you editor app is storing a linked reference to your source file name and location. What do you think is going to happen if you rename your file OR decide to move it when you are halfway through an edit project? That's Correct! You'll get broken links and "error" messages. Take a few minutes up front to organize properly. Don't drop the file on your desktop and then think that is a good place to start editing from!

Next, you are ready to start your editing project. Start you app (e.g. Windows Live Movie Maker for Windows, or iMovie for Mac are entry level apps). Before you do anything at all, you need to verify your project type is set up properly. There are two typical frame sizes (shapes) for video creation and they are widescreen 16:9 and standard 4:3. Traditional (original) television was in 4 by 3 aspect ratio. This means the frame has a 1.33 ratio or in other words the width is 33% larger than the height. Modern television and video (including online video at YouTube for example) is best in widescreen format which is a 16 by 9 ratio, 1.77, or 77% wider than tall. Many digital cameras have ability to take video clips. However it is important to note many digital cameras will only take 4:3 so it becomes a noteworthy issue when you actually want to use it. Some apps will let you crop source frames down to make it fit in the desired widescreen format (iMovie yes, Windows Movie Maker no). However, this means you will be chopping off some of the top and bottom and if you did not consider the chop allowance when you filmed, you might be chopping off necessary elements! So best advice is record in widescreen whenever you can because that will provide the best output results.

The first step of working with a new project is setting up your project aspect ratio. Pick the aspect ratio that you want to output to and remember the 16:9 recommendation. However you may have exceptions when your footage is 4:3 and you want to keep the output 4:3. You need to tell your video app which aspect ratio that you want. Many beginners overlook this setting and get the "default" which means that the source and output frame sizes will not match. One of two things will occur then... Letterboxes (top and bottom) or Pillarboxes (pillars, like columns) on each side. The illustration below shows this.

After you have done a few minutes worth of work getting your project setup correctly, you will want to save your project file. A project file stores the arrangement of your work and the parameters you have chosen. In Windows Live Movie Maker, the project file is of a .wlmp type. Remember that the video clip files that you are using are not embedded in the project file. Rather, they are externally linked. That is why I emphasized above to save your footage files in a permanent location where the links will not become broken. When you are completely through editing a project file, you will render it to final output. That is a different selection on the menu and that will be our next topic in the classroom.

If you are ready to get serious about using video in your marketing plan, consider coming to my premium online class called "Video Essentials for Business." That link will take you to the page to tell you more about the class. The class is a set of pre-recorded training videos to teach you what you will need to know to produce quality videos for your YouTube channel. I hope to see you in class! :)

To read more posts about video editing, check out my list of posts in this video series

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Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Craig -- Very understandable discussion on aspect ratios, much better than most of the manuals/tutorials that are out there! Thanks.

Mar 01, 2011 01:12 PM #17
Robert Hammerstein
Keller Williams Valley Realty - Hillsdale, NJ
Bergen County NJ Real Estate

Craig - Bookmarked for later reading... Thanks for posting this... I need it...

Mar 01, 2011 01:15 PM #18
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Phil - thanks for sharing the link to your page - I think it lends nicely to the video discussion we are all having of its value. A few minutes of video and we really get to feel like we know you and that you are somebody that we would feel very comfortable working with. The advantage in this for consumers is a comfort before they even call you. Talk about pre-qualified in a different way! I love the team podcast and videocast format. The conversations between teammates works nicely. Thanks again for sharing. Look forward to seeing more in the future.

Chris - thanks for the input - glad it makes sense and easy to understand! :)

Robert - glad to know you'll come back when you are ready - check out my class catalog I newly created also for future reference (you'll find the link in my signature above) - thx!

Mar 01, 2011 01:32 PM #19
Kristal Kraft
The Berkshire Group Realtors - Denver, CO
Selling Metro Denver Real Estate - 303-589-2022

Craig, This is excellent information. You really have a talent for explaining things in a logical manner.  My husband has been getting very serious about video production and he keeps having stubbling blocks in the process.  I've sent him a link, so he can benefit from your hard work.

Thank you.


P.S. You deserve more stars.5 Stars for Craig

Mar 01, 2011 01:42 PM #20
Geri Sonkin
Douglas Elliman Real Estate 516-457-7103 - Merrick, NY
Long Island Real Estate & Staging Expert

I'm committed to doing video as a regular part of my business this year.  I'll refer back to your series over and over again, I'm sure.  Thanks for sharing.

Mar 01, 2011 01:48 PM #21
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Thanks for taking the time to explain video 101.  I have bookmarked this series and will be reviewing these posts so I can learn how to do this.

Mar 01, 2011 02:01 PM #22
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

kk - awesome thanks! glad to hear that - I'll be watching your posts - PS I like stars :)

Geri - 2011 is going to be a good year for video - it's nice to have the community on AR we can do this and learn together

Joan - I'm glad there's interest in this topic - I believe it has good value for our time - glad I can help at "square 1"

Mar 01, 2011 02:01 PM #23
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

Great post - thanks. 

 By the way, if you know of anyone looking to move to the Coastal area of North Carolina... refer them to me and I will gladly pay a 30% referral fee on any resulting closed transaction.


Mar 01, 2011 02:13 PM #24
Dave Sulvetta
Dave Sulvetta, ReMax Connection, Gloucester County Realtor - Sewell, NJ

Thank you for the information. I shoot my stills with a Canon 7D and luckily it has an incredible and professional video mode. There is however a learning curve. Thanks again 

Mar 01, 2011 02:35 PM #25
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

Almost as dizzy as when I watch my shaky walking tours!

Really valuable input from Ginger, could tell she really read who the author is. 

Mar 01, 2011 03:28 PM #26
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


I'm not sure if I will ever get the hang of editing videos, but I am trying.  The information you provide is very valuable.  Thanks.  Like your scrabble tiles Title.

Mar 01, 2011 04:48 PM #27
Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986.
eXp Realty, Victoria BC - Victoria, BC
Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490

Hi Craig,

Can we nominate you for the Golden Umbrella, as you keep coming up with awesome ways to get us out of the rain and into sales paradise with awesome tips and tricks, thanks again.


Mar 01, 2011 04:54 PM #28
Barbara Hensley
RE/MAX Properties - Rockwall, TX
Homes for Sale in Rockwall County, Texas

Craig...we are trying...and with your help it gets easier.  I have a team meeting in the morning and we will be going over this one.  Likely your ears burn every Thursday morning when we meet.  Thanks as always.

Mar 01, 2011 10:36 PM #29
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Ginger - thanks for visiting

Dave - I can only imagine (no, really) ;)

JPF - your tours are good and will quickly get better. Point is you are doing video just like you said you would! kudos! Look it is already part of NY Times article--value already! and for your other insight #justsaying LOL

Evelyn - glad you are trying - please share your work our vbloggers group when you are ready for show and tell

Pfanns - golden umbrella, hmmm I could sell it and think of all the tech toys I could buy with it! glad you guys are back in the rain, enjoy seeing you here

Barbara - oh that's what it is, I was wondering why the ear burning ointment wasn't working! :)

Mar 02, 2011 02:16 AM #30
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Dear Craig -

As always - thanks for the tech tips.

One thing especially that I appreciate that you do -- giving the link to the series of articles.

Keep the lessons coming - like vitamins - once a day keeps the (tech errors) away!

Have a happy day -

Mar 02, 2011 03:55 PM #31
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Lynn - glad you enjoy learning along with my tech posts! thank you
Yes I try and leverage the tags feature in AR to categorize my posts on a similar topic - everyone can do this too on their own posts - my post "Your Tags Are Virtual Folders" tells more about this if you are interested

Mar 03, 2011 01:41 AM #32
Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Executives - Woodbridge, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"

Craig  My camcorder is set 16:9, but I can set it to 4:3.  Similarly, my digital camera can be set either way.   My editing software is Adobe PE9.  Which would you suggest is best for YouTube? 

Mar 05, 2011 07:49 AM #33
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Karen - I highly recommend that you set BOTH your camera and your software to 16:9 - this is widescreen and is the new standard - youtube handles 16:9 widescreen the best - hope that helps (important: make sure you set your project settings in Adobe PE9 to 16:9 - that will eliminate the letterboxes you have been experiencing)

Mar 05, 2011 08:12 AM #34
Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Executives - Woodbridge, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"

Craig  Gotcha - will do and thank you

Mar 06, 2011 01:03 AM #35
Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on video great ideas and one to think about

Mar 24, 2016 03:43 AM #36
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