Making Videos Tips and Cooking Fried Rice

You can shoot cheap, edit cheap and create gold.

"Just as cinema of the 20th century was created on celluloid, so will the cinema of the 21st be defined by the digital image. DV represents the ultimate democracy in storytelling: you can shoot cheap, edit cheap and create gold. It will encourage a thousand people to make films - some good, some bad, but they will be made. The future is already here. What are you waiting for?"

Tom Bainton

Writer/Director/ DV Producer, Cool Hills Films

Analogy of Creating a Fantastic Video and Fried Rice!

Thousands of people will be making videos (or films) - some good, some bad. So, why produce something bad and boring when you can make good videos without costing you an arm or a leg, and if they are done correctly could "create gold".

Here are some video making tips to vet the appetite for cooking a fantastic video.

Well, video making is just like cooking a fabulous dish to be shared with family, friends or guests. First, you have to decide what particular dish you want to serve to your guests, the utensils to cook it, the ingredients, the seasonings for the special flavor, cooking it, and then serving it. It could be as elaborate as a stuffed turkey or as simple as fried rice.

In video making, it doesn't matter if you're using a camcorder, a mobile phone, video clips or old photos that you dug up from the bowels of your computer. Every time you make a video, you're like preparing a delicious dish where you put all your skills and efforts into creating something worthy to be shared with others. Like that special dish, making good videos also require just the right combination of things and events to make them a sensational and satisfying experience and "you can shot cheap, edit cheap and create gold."

Okay. Let's use the analogy of cooking fried rice because you love fried rice- everybody does. Anyway, you'll get the recipe here and the six key elements to creating sensational and satisfying videos.

Yummy Chinese Style Fried Rice

1.Good Videos Need an Action Plan - A Recipe

The truly good videos not only entertain but inspire. Good videos offer some form of a structure and not just a random compilation of video clips, pictures and music.

In cooking, it is the recipe that makes the dish. In video making, it is a set of simple instructions that either you have in your mind or have them written down for making your video.

Simply put, it is an action plan. And this plan is nothing more than the basic idea behind your video. Tweak the idea a little bit more and you have a storyline. Then write down all the things that you need to do to make a video that would tell the story and achieve the desired result. You can call it an outline. The professionals use a storyboard.

Thus, to cook fried rice is fantastic but to "cook Chinese style fried rice for 3 persons" is better! Next, you do exactly what the recipe says.

Mobile phones are versatile..

2. No Need For Fancy Equipment To Do The Job

In cooking Chinese style fried rice, you would need a kuali or a wok. But it does not really matter if you don't have one because a good 10-inch frying pan could do the job just as well.

In video making, you do not need to have an expensive video camera or camcorder or a digital SLR camera. A good mobile phone with video recording capability and digital camera works pretty well for home-made videos. I use a lot of videos and pictures that I captured with my handy Nokia N82 mobile phone.

However, if you are seriously into video making then you should invest some money on a good digital video camera or camcorder and digital SLR camera and the right accessories to go with it like lenses, lights, filters. microphones, headphones, tripods, cases and bags etc.

Next, you get a good computer to assemble all your video clips and photos into a video to be shared with others. Choosing the right computer is more of a personal choice. You can buy a "one-box" system for video editing only or a PC (personal computer) that can do video editing as well as other things. This usually boils down to choosing an Apple Mac or a PC.

The Mac OS is found exclusively on machines manufactured by Apple Macintosh. The Mac OS is very stable, intuitive, versatile and stylish but it's exclusive. Whereas, the PC runs mostly on the familiar Windows OS which is found almost everywhere and there are lots of video-editing software to choose from.

Be Creative With Your Video

3. Choose The Right Video Clips and/or Pictures - The Ingredients

Now that you have your action plan or storyline, you need to find the right video clips and/or perfect pictures that would set the mood or tone of your video. They are the ingredients to make your video and they must support the story you are trying to tell.

The mood or tone would help keep your video in focus and create the appropriate atmosphere the video is supposed to do. If you want to make videos on holidays, birthdays, weddings for posterity, or a serious documentary or how-to video, then you should have lots of scenes showing the appropriate mood according to the theme you have chosen.

Like cooking the fried rice, you would need to focus on Chinese style and have the right ingredients to make authentic Chinese style fried rice, not American fried rice, or hot-and-spicy fried rice or any other style of fried rice. According to the recipe, the right ingredients to set the mood for Chinese fried rice are as follows:

  • 3 cups cooked cooled rice (preferably overnight cooked rice)

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

  • 2 tablespoon oil

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic

  • 100g prawns, shelled and diced

  • 2 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked and shredded

  • 1 pair Chinese sausages, sliced

  • 2 tablespoon frozen green peas

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If you do not have all the ingredients listed, you would have to go to the grocery store to get them.

So is your video project! If you do not already have all the video clips or pictures, then you would need to go out and shoot them. Follow your action plan and the mood you have set for the video. And do be creative because there are no hard and fast rules to all the things you could do to your video project.

The best and easiest way to pick the right video clips and/or pictures for your video project is to start with the widest variety possible and then trim back from there. Always be focused and pick the ones that support the story you’re trying to tell.

The Internet has a lot of free stuff that you can download and use for your video project. This is one of my favorite site where I can find plenty of good pictures, illustrations, animations, and sounds. It has categories ranging from academic to transportation. This lovely collage is proof of what I could do with free stuff.

4. Add Music To Invoke Emotions - Seasoning

Cooking Chinese style fried rice must use the correct seasoning to heighten or improve the flavor of the dish. Without this very important seasoning, your dish is just an ordinary one.

Seasoning

  • 1 tbsp premium oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp sugar to taste
  • 1/2 tsp chicken stock granules

Garnishing

  • 1 tbsp chopped spring onion and sliced red chilli

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Thus, a good video needs the appropriate seasoning - background music - to make it a better one.

Did you know that music has a greater impact than all the video clips and pictures you have assembled for your video?

"Music should be able to invoke the natural emotions in all human beings. Music is not notes fixed on a piece of paper."


Toru Takemitsu

Japanese composer and writer on aesthetics and music theory


The moving images of your video are important, but it's the music that draws them in and get them involve with the story you are telling. Try to make your music connect to people on an emotional level.

Choosing the right music is a tough task but it's a job worth it's weight in gold. Create your own music if you can or have someone do it for you. Your music must fit nicely into your storyline and the mood of your video.

Adding background music to your videos can make your videos come alive. You can create free customized music with the free PhotoStory for Windows.

Basically, PhotoStory is a video slides-show editing software and the good thing about this free program is that it also has a great library of prerecorded music that you can freely use for all your home-made videos without the hassle of music copyrights.

Let Me BeThe Boss..Please....?

5. Editing Your Video or Cooking It To Perfection

This is the part where you actually get into the serious work of creating good videos just as you go about cooking the fried rice.

In cooking Chinese style fried rice, you do exactly what is listed in the item marked "method" in the recipe. It needs skills and patience. When you are all done, you have created a fantastic Chinese style fried rice. This the most creative part of the whole process and it is also the most time consuming.

Method

  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok and fry beaten eggs until just cooked. Remove and set aside.
  • Reheat wok with 3 tablespoons oil till smoking hot, add garlic and fry until golden and fragrant. Add prawns, mushrooms and sausages.
  • Stir-fry for a minute, then add in rice and mix in seasoning and green peas. Stir briskly to mix the ingredients thoroughly. Add sesame oil to glaze the rice. Return the eggs to the wok and mix well to blend.
  • Dish out and garnish before serving.

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Video editing is just as creative and time consuming as cooking the fried rice. And it needs a lot of skills and patience too.

Editing is all about how you tell the story. Basically, it's all about what to include or exclude and then compiling them all together into a cohesive and interesting video. You are the boss and creative director. Some of the things you might want to consider for your video include titles and credits, fades and transitions between shots and sequences, and narration. And don't forget to put in your music.

There are lots of good video editing soft wares available in the market. The better ones would cost you some money. Here are some popular ones: CyberLink PowerDirector, Corel VideoStudio Pro X4, Adobe Premiere Elements, MAGIX Movie Editor Pro, Video Pad, Pinnacle Studio HD, Roxio Creator, Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum, Roxio Video Lab, and ShowBiz DVD.

However, if you are starting out as a newbie, you might want to try out some of the freebies first. Windows Movie Maker usually comes bundled free with your Windows OS, and there is Windows Photostory specially for creating slideshows. Pinnacle's Videospin is another good option, so is Google's Picasa and NCH's PhotoStage. Check out my other hubs for more details on all these freebies.They may have basic features for editing but they do produce great looking videos.

Photos or pictures need to be edited too and there plenty of good and free programs from the Internet. I have written several hubs on them, so please check them out.

Share the Love...

6. It's Time To Share the Love

Hurray! You have just cooked yourself an authentic Chinese fried rice and your guests are waiting anxiously to enjoy this delicious meal. However, the final test is in the eating. If you have done all the things outlined in the recipe, then you have nothing to worry about. Your Chinese style fried rice would be a big success!

The same process applies to your completed video. You have put in a lot of time and effort in following all the steps of putting your video together in a meaningful and creative way. Now, you would want to share it with others, and there are many video hosting sites where you can upload your video to be shared and be seen by millions.

Wikipedia has a big list of video hosting services that includes the popular YouTube, and many others such as Blip.tv, Dailymotion, Hulu, Metacafe, Myspace, Photobucket, Viddler, etc.

Or you might want to burn it on DVD for posterity, and here is another free program that does the work beautifully and without any adware, spyware or limitations.

DVD Flick is a simple but powerful DVD Authoring tool. It can take a number of video files stored on your computer and turn them into a DVD that will play back on your DVD player, Media Center or Home Cinema Set. You can add additional custom audio tracks, subtitles as well as a menu for easier navigation.

Have fun making your next great video and don't forget to try out the Chinese style fried rice- it's simply delicious!

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