Beginner's guide to video editing
- How to organise different media files in one folder
- Advice on checking settings and importing files
- Create and add music to your video
This article, Beginner's guide to video editing, was last updated on 26 July 2008 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference. Explore our latest Technology articles.
Getting organised - putting the different elements of video editing together
Editing, by its very nature, is the assembly of numerous unrelated elements (footage, music, graphics, sound effects etc). The aim of this tutorial is to import these various elements in an ordered and simple manner ready to use.This tutorial uses Adobe Premiere Elements.
However, these principles of project organisation can be applied when using any video-editing program.The majority of users will have their video footage recorded on some form of digital camcorder.
Even if you don’t, the principals of importing footage remain the same; to simply take the footage currently stored elsewhere (e.g. on the tape/disc of a camcorder or mobile phone) and copy it onto the computer, ready to be edited.
When starting this tutorial, don’t worry if every single element needed for the project isn’t to hand. The whole reason for organising a project in a structured manner is so that extra sound effects, footage, music tracks, etc, can be added later, thus avoiding any ‘where's that clip?’ moments.
1Choosing a drive or folder to save the project
Video consumes more storage space than any other type of media file. Therefore, while not essential, it’s preferable to store media on a separate hard drive.
Check whether you have an additional internal drive in ‘My Computer’. Your main hard drive is labelled ‘C’ and an additional drive (or suitable ‘partition’) will usually be labelled as ‘D’. Create a folder called ‘MEDIA’ on the root of the ‘C’ drive or ‘D’ drive if you have one.
2Creating additional folders
Within the ‘MEDIA’ folder just created, make 4 more folders: ‘Video’, ‘SFX’, ‘Music’ and ‘Graphics’.
These won’t all be needed initially but as the project is built they will each serve a purpose; when media elements are imported later, each can be saved or copied to the relevant folder, regardless of how many projects are created. Storing all media in this manner also simplifies matters when backing up projects and their associated media.
3Checking the import settings
It’s important to choose the right setting for a project as it can’t be altered later. From the Premiere Elements start screen, click ‘Setup’. In the resultant window, choose the relevant setting.
UK based camcorders are ‘PAL’ format. You may need to check the camcorder documentation to be sure of format (MiniDV/HDV etc). If the footage was shot in a widescreen mode, choose the relevant ‘16:9’ preset to ensure the video maintains correct proportions.
4Create the project
Choose ‘New Project’ from the Premiere Elements start screen. In the resultant window, name the project. In the box below, browse to the ‘MEDIA’ folder created in Step 1.
Should you need to change the settings again, do so by clicking the ‘Change Settings’ button. Now click ‘OK’ and the main Premiere Elements interface will load. On the right hand side of the interface, the ‘Get Media’ tab is usually selected. If not, select it.
5Premiere Elements interface
The upper left section of the Premiere Elements interface is called the ‘Monitor Panel’, where playback of a project takes place.
To the right is the ‘Tasks Panel’. This section is used to browse the different media elements of a project, choose effects and titles etc.
The bottom portion of the interface is the ‘My Project Panel’, also described as the ‘Sceneline’ view. This is where a project is assembled.
6Importing files manually
If any video needed for the project already exists on the computer, copy and paste it into the ‘Video’ folder within the MEDIA folder.
Now, within Premiere Elements, click ‘Files and Folders’ from the Tasks Panel and browse to MEDIA\Video and select the files to import them into the project.
Once imported, they will show in the ‘Organiser’ section of the interface as a series of visual ‘tiles’.
7 Importing files directly
Import footage directly from a phone, camcorder, DVD, Webcam or Card Reader can all be done directly from Premiere Elements.
Connect the device to the computer using the relevant cable (Firewire or USB for example) and select the appropriate option from the ‘Get Media’ tab.
Now browse to the media and click ‘Get Media’. For DV/HDV Camcorders, ensure the tape is rewound and click ‘Get Video’.
8Importing CD music into your project
It’s not possible to import music tracks directly from a commercial CD. So insert the CD and choose ‘Copy music from CD using Windows Media Player’ from the Windows dialog.
Ensure MEDIA\Music is selected as the ‘copy to’ location. Check this by choosing Tools > Options within Windows Media and clicking the Copy Music tab.
Click the Change button to browse to the correct location, then import. Now select those files through the ‘Files and Folders’ option within Premiere Elements.