Where do I start?
Open Virtual Edit, you are prompted to create a new project or open an existing, select create to make a new project. In the new project dialog box enter a project name, and make ensure that the Project Frame rate is set correctly, as this may cause problems later.
You must also specify if you want your project to be a Standard, or a Pro-HD project. Standard mode is for editing Standard Definition video from a DV or Digital8 camcorders and a variety of difference sources. Pro-HD mode is for editing High Definition from AVCHD and .mp4 camcorders, also DV, Digital8 and a variety of different sources.
Why is frame rate so important?
The frame rate of a new project specifies the rate at which video frames are played back per second. When specifying the parameters of a new project, this must be set to the same rate as the source material you want to edit.
If you are editing source material captured from a camcorder, the frame rate is dependent on the Television Standard of your region. There are two predominant standards, PAL and NTSC, these are 25 and 30 (29.97) frames per second (fps)respectively.
Virtual Edit handles 25 and 30 (29.97) fps quite naturally, and you shouldn't need to worry about it. But to help you choose the right standard for your equipment, refer to the table below.
How do I capture video data from my DV video camera onto my PC?
Assuming your video camera is a DV or Digital-8 camcorder with a DVout, you can connect your camera to a PC using firewire (also called I-link, 1394 and DV). Some newer PC's have a built in firewire connector, others do not but you can buy a PCI interface card.
Some other digital video cameras can stream video over USB, but you will have to consult your manufacture's handbook to find out how to achieve this.
Once your camcorder is connected to your PC, ensure that it is switched on to the correct mode for video capture. For most cameras this is just 'player' mode, but consult your manufacture's handbook for details.
If you want to capture DV, Virtual Edit has an integrated DV Video Capture Utility, which is very simple to use. Select 'File->DV Video Capture', or click on the 'DV Capture' button on the clip browser to open the DV capture utility.
The 'preview window' shows what is currently being played from the camera, which you can control using the camera control buttons. To record a clip, press the 'record' button, and then 'stop' when you have finished. In the 'clip view window' you can delete unwanted clips by selecting them and then press the 'delete' key. You can also rename clips by treble clicking on their names, or 'right-click' the mouse and select 'rename'.
The progress bar is an indication of the amount of free disk space you have left. However, as your disk gets fuller, the remaining free space is likely to be fragmented which will cause dropped frames in your captured video. It is recommend that you de-fragment your disk on a regular basis in order to maintain smooth video capture.
You should also note that Virtual Edit has two capture modes 'AVI' and 'DV RAW'. 'AVI' capture (default operation) mode has a limited file size, which may be an issue if you want to capture clips over 5 mins in length. Therefore, it is recommended to use 'DV RAW', which is limited to 4GBytes (aprox 20 mins) on FAT file systems and effectively limitless if you have a NTFS file system. This option maybe changed in the 'Options->System Options' dialog box along with the default Video Capture and default Project directories.
Once you have finished capturing video data, close the window and you will be asked if you want to import your captured clips into your Virtual Edit project.
You could also use the software that came with your video capturing equipment, or a third party piece of software to capture your video clips onto your PC. In which case import these clips into your project using the import function described below.
How do I transfer video data from an AVCHD SD memory card onto my PC?
Most AVCHD video cameras record to a removable SD memory card. If you have an SD memory card slot on your PC you can transfer the video data directly into Virtual Edit.
First make sure you have a Pro-HD project open and ready to receive the video data. Insert the memory card from the camera into the card reader slot on your PC. Virtual Edit will automatically detect the card and allow you to browse its contents through the 'memory browser' utility.
In the 'memory browser' utility, select the video you want to transfer to your PC (ctrl + 'a' to select all). Then click on 'copy' to copy the video data. Please note that any data you do not copy is left on the card.
Some AVCHD cameras also have the option to transfer the video data via USB. In this instance make sure you have a Pro-HD project open and ready to receive the video data. Connect the camera to your PC via a USB cable, you may have to select USB transfer mode on the camera if prompted. Virtual Edit will automatically detect the camera and allow you to browse its content through the 'memory browser' utility.
How do I import video and audio from other sources?
Once a project is opened you can import data from other file sources by selecting 'File->Import', or click on the 'import media' button on the clip browser to open the import media utility. Using the browse button, find the source material you want to import (Note that the browse dialog box has a video/audio/stills file filter at the bottom, and you can also make multiple selections). Then when you have selected your material press 'open', and your material will be added to the 'media file list'.
Note that you may see the file details of any media file by double clicking on the item in the 'media file list'.
When you have made a list of the material you want to import, press 'import' and Virtual Edit will process your media source material and convert it to Virtual Edit's native format for editing purposes. (NOTE: That you have the option of not importing audio with a video clips, this might be useful if you are doing mute work).
Once completed you will find imported video under 'video', audio under 'audio' and still image files under 'stills' in the clip browser window. Also all imported files have a little 'i' on them. This means that this clip is the import reference to that particular piece of media, and you may not delete or move it. However, you can copy and derive any number of sub clips from an import reference clip.
What is timecode?
Timecode is used by the broadcasting and production industries to describe the time for each frame in a video sequence. It may also be used to describe the time of audio, and other media events.
It is quite simple to understand, and a very useful tool when navigating through content as it is very precise. The format of timecode is always hh:mm:ss:ff where hh=hours, mm=minutes, ss=seconds and ff=frames.
For example, 01:16:04:10 means 1 hour, 16 minutes, 4 seconds and 10 frames.
Not only may timecode be used to describe the location of a frame in a video sequence, but also the length of a video sequence.
There are some terms you should familiarise yourself with. 'Record In' and 'Record out' are terms often used to describe when a video clip starts and ends (in time) within your whole video project. There are also 'Video In' and 'Video Out' times, which are used to describe the start and end points of a particular clip (i.e. you may have a video clip where you only want to use a section in the middle).
How do I make an edit?
Your imported material may need to be topped and tailed before you want to make an edit (i.e. defining 'Video In' and 'Video Out' times). To do this drag the video clip from import on the 'clip browser' window, to the 'player window'. You may play the clip, and shuttle through the data using the 'Position Navigator' (slider bar).
Using the 'Mark In' and 'Mark Out' buttons you may select a sub section of the video clip (i.e. 'Video In' and 'Video Out'). Picture stamps of the marked points will appear at the right hand side of the player window. Once marked you may drag one of the picture stamps (representing the new marked clip) onto the 'Graphical edit' window and/or back to the 'clip browser'.
The graphical edit window uses 'A/B roll' style editing on a timeline. A timeline can be thought of as a long piece of video tape, and you can choose when and what video to put on it. The timeline is measured in 'Record time', therefore each piece of video has a start (Record In) and end (Record Out) points in time.
'A/B roll' means that an edit is achieved by 'rolling' from Video-A to Video-B or vise versa. The amount that a clip on Video-A overlaps a clip on Video-B shows the transition period (fade) between two successive clips. When you drop a clip onto the timeline, you cannot specify which video line (A or B) it will fall on, as it will just go onto the next logical line.
You may move any of the clips in time, by selecting one with the left mouse button, and then dragging it left or right. Once selected you may also change the start or end time of a clip by stretching its start or end. There is also the option of ripping the clip off the timeline by picking it up by the 'rip' tag. The clip is removed and you are free to drop it else where on the timeline. If you hold 'CTRL' down during this operation, you are able to rip and drop a copy of the clip.
The editor has two modes of operation, 'insert' and 'overwrite'. In insert mode, inserting or deleting a clip at a specific time has the effect of changing all the start times (record in and out) of the following clips to make space, or close the gap of the current clip.
In overwrite mode, inserting or deleting a clip has no effect on following clips, this is particularly useful if you have lined up several clips to a sound track, and you want to remove or replace the first one, without disturbing the timing of any of the following clips.
How do I make a black or coloured background?
As part of your video edit, you might want to fade to back, or maybe to another colour. In which case you can make a static 'still frame' using the 'new colour' button on the browser window. This will open the colour selector, which has three main windows, a colour selection window, a brightness selection window and your current selection. When you have chosen your required colour, click 'OK' and a still colour file will be created in the 'stills' section which you can drag onto the 'player' and/or 'graphical edit' windows.
How do I view my edits?
First you must hit the 'play editlist' button in the 'graphical edit' window, to connect the player to your current editlist. Then you can either press the left mouse button in a blank space in the 'graphical edit' window and drag the cursor over the edits which will display the current frame and timecode as a static image in the player window. Or you can hit play in the 'player' window and view your editlist in real time.
How do I edit the fine details of a clip?
In the 'browser' and 'graphical edit' windows you may see the exact details of any clip (such as the source video file, name, video in/out points and record in/out points), by double clicking with the left mouse button on the clip.
You are free to change the name to whatever you like, and make minor adjustments to the video timecodes. However, it is strongly recommended that you do not change any of the file details as you could cause problems for the player and renderer!
How do I render a my editlist to a final output file?
Once you have finished your edits, you may create an AVI or Windows Media file. Select 'Tools->Render Project' from the menu bar, choose your audio and video quality options and output file type, then press OK.
There are five main output file types, 'Standard AVI' (which uses the Windows Media codec by default), 'DV Type 1 or 2 AVI' (for High Quality DV output), 'MJPEG AVI' (for older style video capture systems that use MJPEG) and 'Windows Media' (which uses the Windows Media codec for creating media files suitable for the internet).
You can also select a video codec of your choice (e.g. DivX) by selecting the 'Standard AVI' file type, and 'other' in the video quality options. For more indepth project rendering options see the Advanced project rendering FAQ.
The renderer will create your final video output, but be warned, it is quite a lengthy process!