Dec 072011
 

Entering the web video arena feels like throwing your wallet into the center of the Roman Coliseum to be plundered by lion and gladiator alike.  Every web guru and video ninja known to man seems to be lining up to take a crack at plundering your bank account, and many, if not most, of them do their plundering in large chunks.  It is not unusual to see software that you absolutely MUST have to create good videos that costs several hundred dollars that is not just good, it is indispensable…at least until the guru pushing it finds other software that does even better.  Of course the “newer, better” software costs even more…and pays the guru a higher commission.

If you REALLY feel like your wallet is too fat and you MUST spend as much as possible on your video projects  there are plenty of places to exercise your Pay Pal account.

Once you have the hardware…cameras, microphones, lights, and such (which will be covered in another post)…let’s take a look at the software to put that camcorder to use:

  • Recording – Most folks will choose to use a camcorder to record their videos, and the recording software is built into the camera.  In that case you don’t need recording software, right?  Well, the answer is kind of a yes and kind of a no.  Recording a quality video with a camcorder alone IS possible, with a few caveats.First, you need to know your way around the camcorder exceptionally well, able to maximize the potential quality of the recorded video file.  The poorer the quality of the file, the harder…and more expensive…the editing process becomes.Second, many people want to create videos that the expense of a camcorder would be extra and a waste.  Many styles of video, a video news blog for example, can be done with an inexpensive webcam, but then you bring on the need for recording software.
    Also, other than for simple, straightforward, plain Jane shots, recording software beyond the free software included with most operating systems is a necessity.Web videos are often screen capture videos as well, and you must include screen capture software costs when budgeting for recording software.

    So…what does recording software cost?  Quality recording software, including screen capture, can run as high as $799.00 for Adobe Captivate 5.5 for screen capture PLUS $1699.00 for Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 for video recording (CS 5.5 includes much more than On Location, the video recording software, but On Location cannot be bought separately).  Adobe is as good…and expensive…as it gets.  You can spend far, far less for quality software.

    I use video capture and screen capture software from an Australian company called NCH Software.  Their Debut Video Capture software, combined with the screen capture feature in Video Pad Video Editor, is a huge step up from the software included in your operating system for a LOT less money, under $120.00, and it will be all you need for most video projects (greenscreen and live streaming need more horsepower, but still a LOT less expensive than Adobe), with the added benefit of a good video editor as a bonus.

  • Video editing – Once you have video recorded, unless you script it perfectly and record it with no mistakes and don’t need transitions or file encoding or meta tagging to make flash files pseudostream, you will need a good video editor.Again, the ultimate video editor is an Adobe product named Premier, and like On Location, Premire cannot be bought separately.  Also like On Location it is included in CS 5.5, a $1699.00 package.  I find the video editing tools in NCH Software’s Video Pad Video Editor do a good job for 90% of all video editing needs.  While I have the entire Adobe Creative Suite Master’s Collection, I find that Video Pad is my go-to video editor…and it costs a small country’s annual budget less than Adobe.
  • Audio recording and editing – For the ultimate in audio recording and editing…ultimate as in good enough for a music recording studio with every possible dubbing and mixing tool imaginable…Avid Pro Tools 10 is as good as it gets, and the price reflects that at somewhere north of $2500.00.  Again, if you aren’t planning on recording Elton John’s next CD, NCH Software comes through with a software package for far less.  Record Pad Audio Recorder and Wave Pad Sound Editor do a great job for a total of less than $100.00.I use the NCH software above with one exception.  While Record Pad and Wave Pad do a great job dealing with audio, if I find myself needing more audio capabilities than are built into Debut or Video Pad, or if I am doing audio recording or editing alone with no video, I use a free utility available for download online.  The program is called Audacity, it does a great job customizing audio tracks, and it is 100% totally, completely free.  It requires a small…very small…amount of geekiness to install and get up and running, but is a really great utility.Did I mention the Great Price?  I did say FREE, didn’t I?

Full disclosure: The software providers mentioned in this article are advertisers on HayleStorm Interactive, advertising on this site, and are paying a nominal commission on each sale.  With that said, EVERY software (or other item) reviewed and promoted on HayleStorm is actually used by the webmaster of the website.  FIRST a product must impress the site owner enough for him to buy it with his own personal money (no free review copies endorsed here), and then, and ONLY THEN will he endorse the product and allow it to be sold through HayleStorm Interactive.

Bob Hayles

A Luddite at heart, Bob has adapted to being in a tech world adequately. The King of Cheap, he enjoys sharing his WordPress and inexpensive web video production skills with others. He abhors Geek-lish, but translates it into normal human language quite well. He avoids code as much as possible, and breaks out in hives at the mere sight of php, but he will make minor adjustments to HTML. He also reverts to being a Luddite at JuicyMaters.com and is something of a political junkie/blowhard at Common-Sense-Conversation.com.

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