View Full Version : Need Help with ALL aspects of Making Videos

13th Sep 2014, 11:09 AM
I couldn't find a place for this mainly because it is so vast in its coverage!

I tried to make a video of some switching moves on my layout. I was working solo - camera man, engineer and brakeman. I tried to use a tripod but that proved to be a mistake. I got some fair footage (inchage?) but mostly my foot, my arm, the structures on the layout and an occasional glimpse of the work I wanted to video.

So, I need help in making the video then editing it and finally uploading to You Tube.

I am using my Sony DCS 750 point and shot camera.

Any help would be really appreciated,

13th Sep 2014, 12:27 PM
I'm not a video pro (or amateur, or even novice...) by any means, but maybe I can offer a few tidbits that might serve as building blocks to work from... I don't do much video, and everytime I make one I have to relearn a lot of the stuff that I figured out the previous time. But anyway... do you have any idea what software you would use to edit it? I don't know if you're on a Mac or a PC but I'm assuming if you have anything fairly recent it has something onboard that you can edit with.
If you're doing switching, and you're solo... I think the tripod has to be part of the process. I have no idea what the physical configuration of your area is, but if you're switching... and filming... you only have 2 arms. Even if you had 5 arms I would still use a tripod.
Once you get used to your software, and how to use portions of the "clips" that you film, I bet you can make it work. Picture this... tripod is set up somewhere to film the train pulling into the yard and backing down a siding to leave a cut of cars. So the train pulls in and stops. Gene reaches in and flips the turnout. Train backs down. Gene reaches in and uncouples. Train pulls forward, leaving cars behind. Camera never stops filming and it gets everything (including Gene's hand).
Gene than downloads the clip to his computer, stops the frame right before his hand reaches into view, "cuts" out the whole portion with his hand operating the turnout, and joins the clips back together with that part gone. Now, because you used a tripod and nothing in the background ever moved - the train pulled in, the turnout magically operated, and the train backed down the siding. Gene's hand was edited out and you would barely notice any seam (because of the tripod use... don't move the camera.) Same process for stopping at the end of the siding and "cutting out" Gene uncoupling the cars.
If you have a software program on your computer, the "help" section should describe things like cutting, joining, transitioning clips, etc.
You can move the camera/tripod once the train stops and before it backs down the siding, to give a different perspective for the back-down, etc.
Just take a bunch of footage and do a lot of cutting and joining of clips. I bet once you do a little of that the learning curve will progress pretty quickly.

When you handhold the camera it gets difficult to cut out stuff you don't want to see because the camera viewing perspective is constantly changing.

I would fool with that a bit before you worry about uploading to Youtube or wherever. I use Vimeo. They have pretty self explanatory directions on how to upload a video. As long as you know where the clip is saved to on your computer, you can upload it and have a link to view it from.

I'm not sure if this is helpful at all but maybe it will be a starting point.


13th Sep 2014, 12:56 PM
Thanks Paul,
The info is great so far.

I have 2 laptops - old running XP that I use for the layout which has older version of Movie Maker and a newer computer running Win 7 in Win 8.1. It too has a version of Movie Maker but it seems like it doesn't have all the features that the older version has.

Would it be better to save the finished film to my Flickr account?

Thanks for the help,

13th Sep 2014, 01:37 PM
I first learned how to edit videos on a Mac using iMovie, and later started trying to do the same using Movie Maker on my Win 7 PC. iMovie was both easier to use and more capable, though as I learn it some more I am finding that I can get Movie Maker to do some of the same tricks that iMovie was doing effortlessly.

Paul's point about using the tripod to help make edits more seamless is valid, but you can also rely on transition effects to help, if you're splicing a non-stabilized shot. If two shots are from a similar vantage point, and you're just wanting to snip out a few seconds, you could fade from one shot to the other to make the movement less jarring.

Since I'm using a YouTube account and have had my audio squelched for trying to include good music in the background, I went through and downloaded all of their royalty-free, free-to-use, "blessed" music tracks that I liked, to make a little library for myself. In general, I can't stand life without background music - I have it on all day at work, I go to sleep with Pandora playing, etc. I usually add the music last, because in Movie Maker you almost have to (I hate the way Movie Maker adjusts - or more precisely, screws up - your timeline when you make minor edits to interior clips), but sometimes you might discover that a particular beat or event in the music coincides nicely with something in the footage, and then you might want to tweak to play that up.

Don't be afraid of making severe edits! My last video got chopped down from 30 minutes to 15, because of YouTube's length limits for non-ad videos; it was hard to make those cuts, though, because the footage itself was all pretty usable. I had to clip out a phrase here, tighten the lead in to a clip there, etc.; everything I could think of to get it down to size. Sure, I could have just gone with ad support and avoided the limit, but I think I really ended up with a better video for having gone through the process. That cool shot you took, of the train off in the distance as just a bright headlight, coming on in towards us? Don't include the full runtime of its approach; cut out the middle and crossfade from far to near.

Looking forward to seeing your videos!

13th Sep 2014, 04:09 PM
Would it be better to save the finished film to my Flickr account?

I'm not sure, I've never used Flickr. And to your Movie Maker decision, maybe just film yourself a couple of clips you can tie together - and fool with both versions of MM to see if you can make it do what you want. WP is right about using transitions to smooth out the change from one scene to the next in a handheld video clip. So if you're more comfortable holding the camera, just do that. Then you learn about adding transitions, too!

13th Sep 2014, 04:26 PM
ok so I guess I should shot a short video and play with it...

13th Sep 2014, 07:21 PM
Another question just occurred - I could not get my voice to record loudly enough to hear on playback. Is there a way to increase the volume or is that a function of the camera?
I watched Michael's video and his voice was very understandable. Do you use an external mic?

more help...

13th Sep 2014, 09:38 PM
I only use my iPhone - I don't have any other camera capable of doing video. I noticed, though, that when you bring clips in to Movie Maker, they are set at the middle of the volume scale. I dial all my dialogue clips up to full, and I dial the background music down to 10% or less. Of course, this means that you need for things to be silent while recording, and for me that was a pain, because I'd much rather have music or podcasts playing while I work. Plus, at one point, my doorbell rang in the middle of filming! I managed to cut it out.

14th Sep 2014, 03:05 AM
Well I have experience with Movie Maker and can tell you its a run of a mill video editor...
For video editors check out Sony Vegas Pro, http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/vegassoftware from what I've seen its very nice and somewhat easy to use, there is a Trial download so you can play with it before you drop mega bucks on it.

Also as much as I love both of my Cybershots, I would suggest investing in a nicer camera or Camcorder.
If you plan on making a bunch of videos, I strongly suggest buying a camera that does 720p or higher.

14th Sep 2014, 10:27 AM
yeah I thought of buying a video camera so we could shoot movies of the grand kids!:innocent:

that said any suggestions?

14th Sep 2014, 04:08 PM
that said any suggestions?

Sure... iPhone... that way you can start texting your grand kids too! :D

14th Sep 2014, 05:04 PM
I have used Windows Movie Maker for everyone one of my videos, I find it very easy to use. You can add in your own audio if you want. You can shorten videos (removing your arm or hand in the shot) I use a tripod and start and stop the video move things, then mess the videos using the software. Here is a link to my You Tube Channel, to check some out if you like. Feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to answer them.

I started out using only my Canon A560 point and shoot camera, but just recently bought a Panasonic HC-V100M full HD video camera, made a huge difference in the quality of the videos.


14th Sep 2014, 08:58 PM
Having tried to make some "professional" videos, here are some tips for the casual, and serious movie maker.

For the casual:

- Long shots are boring. Use a stop watch with a TV program. They will change camera angles every 1-5 seconds. Watching an entire train pass once is boring, watching different parts of that same train, for the same length of time, pass 8-10 different spots is exciting.

- Don't pan and zoom. Ok, not quite zero, but you'll find you're always doing too much camera movement at first. If you have to pan to see two things you want to show, better to get two still clips and cut between them (see above).

- Intros/setups are boring. If your video opens with 30 seconds of you explaining what's going to happen, people will not watch. Here's an intro "And now, the Foo & Bar Railroad...", what's that, two seconds max?

- Lighting is key. You want more light than you would for normal layout viewing, and you want it to be consistent (same color temperature, same intensity) between shots so your cuts look good. I recommend some "daylight" temperature CFL's or LED's in cheap (work-site grade) fixtures pointed at a white ceiling, if that works in your environment.

- If you don't need to talk over it, a good music track is often easier than trying to get good audio with low end equipment.

For the serious:

- Sound is more important than the video. The built in microphone is NOT good enough. Depending on what you want to record, a cheap shotgun or lapel mike will make your video 10,000 times better. Your camcorder must have a microphone in jack, if it does not, do not buy it.

- Inside you need a wider wide angle than you think. Man consumer camcorders have optional wide angle lenses, you will want it.

- A fluid head video tripod is necessary to get smooth pans. A decent Manfrotto will set you back $200-$250 with a good head, but it is worth every penny.

- Pros always shoot "A" footage (the interview/subject/whatever) and "B" footage (random stuff) at a minimum. Don't forget the B footage. Short clips of things like the door to the train room, a sign by the highway with your town's name, your name badge, some railroad signs, random spots on the layout, and so on. You can cut in very short segments of them (often less than 1 second) between segments and stuff as a sort of relevant bumper.

- Final Cut and Avid have huge learning curves, but ARE worth it. Take a class, learn to use them. Shell out the dollars.

- Once you have learned your video editing software well, two cameras on the same scene can really up level your production. Adding in a stand alone sound recorder for more audio tracks can give you a LOT more options when editing.