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Video Capture, Storyboards and Trimming

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Lots of people have camcorders, but only a very small percentage of them do anything with the footage once it has been shot. The majority simply leave their videos, unedited, on the camcorder recording medium itself. But this is hardly going to make people want to watch what you've shot. Creating video that viewers will want to see, rather than endure out of politeness, usually takes some editing - unless you were lucky enough to have your camcorder with you at a major international news event!


Fortunately, if you want to try your hand at video editing and you have a PC, you can give it a go almost for free. Any system running Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or later installed, or Windows Vista, will already have a fully featured application you can use for video editing lurking on its hard disk. It's called Windows Movie Maker (WMM), and it may not be the professional's choice but it has everything you need to take your videos from camcorder to disc or the Internet. In this tutorial two-parter, we're going to show you how to use this surprisingly well featured piece of software.


Before we get to grips with WMM itself, we should first make sure your PC is up to scratch. Video editing can be a processor-intensive task, but any PC with a 1GHz processor and 256MB of RAM will just about suffice – although we'd recommend 512MB RAM, and the more power the merrier. The most significant requirement is hard disk space. Video eats storage for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so no hard disk is too large. For example, video in the mainstream DV or HDV formats takes around 3.6MB for every second, so you will only fit four and half minutes in a single gigabyte. You should also factor in space for rendered files and wasted footage you don't use. Make sure you have plenty of free space – or even a separate spare hard disk dedicated to video storage – before you begin. Other than that, though, virtually any desktop PC or notebook can become a video editing workstation

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