Video Editing Made Easy

So you've had that nifty digital camcorder for a while now, and you've managed to capture footage of your exotic vacations, family birthdays, and get-togethers with friends. But if you're like most casual videographers, you've probably noticed that while it's fun and easy to shoot lots of video, you rarely get around to watching much of it. It's just too much work to load the tape back into the camcorder, rewind to the beginning, and fast-forward through the parts where you accidentally recorded the inside of your camcorder bag. Plus, you're viewing everything on your camcorder's small screen.

What you really need to do is to port the video over to disc, where you'll have random access to all its scenes. Along the way, you can use video-editing software and your PC to edit that raw footage, putting the best of your video in a format that's easy to watch (as well as easy to pass along to friends and family). By the time you're done, you can wind up with a convenient and high-quality DVD that will work in almost any player, or you can save it as a video stream that's Internet-ready.

To the uninitiated, video editing can seem like a mysterious art full of obscure tools and terminology. In truth, video editing is time-consuming, but with a little knowledge about video editing workflow and some good software, such as Adobe Systems Premiere Elements or Pinnacle Systems Studio Plus 9, both priced around $100, anyone can create great-looking home movies.

To demystify the process, we'll help you choose a video editor, and we'll step you through the process of transferring video from camcorder to PC, editing video, and saving the final cut to DVD--the most convenient media for storing and watching your mini-video masterpieces.

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