(Warning - image heavy.)
I use three different programs to make my vids.
The first step is to download this program, which you can get from a variety of different places online. The purpose of this program is to copy, or "rip" the footage from your DVD on to your computer. The program is very easy to use and works pretty fast.
The function of this program is to cut clips from your ripped DVD. This is always the longest process in making a vid. I'll expand on how to use this later in the tutorial.
3 .Windows Movie Maker.
This program is a twitchy bitch. But it is where all the magic happens and is pretty easy to use. This is where you put your clips together with music. There are, however, a lot of problems associated with WMM - freezing being one, and an unpredictable tendency to refuse to save your vids for another! But there are ways around this, which I will explain later.
So! Those are my programs. Now...how exactly do I use them?
For this tutorial, I'm going to make a vid from scratch. Please don't criticize my song choice or clip arrangement - this is purely for instructional purposes.
Download SmartRipper. I believe I got it from here, but if you put it in a search engine, other options are available.
Download DVD2AVI. There's a good possibility I got it from here, too - but again, it is available elsewhere.
Do you have WMM? There's a good chance you do, it comes on a lot of computers with Windows these days. If you don't, you can download it here. I already had it on my computer, so I can't recommend any download sites.
Groundwork. What kind of vid are you making? This is a very important step. If you don't figure out what you want you're going to waste your time cutting clips you don't need, not to mention that your vid might turn out a complete mess.
Find a suitable song, one that you can work with and are very familiar with. I recommend listening to the song on loop while you do all the steps below. Vids are usually best that use songs between 2-5 minutes. Any shorter and it might be rushed, any longer and your viewers may lose interest.
The best thing to do in my experience is copy the lyrics from your song (if it has lyrics) into a word processing program. Space out each line so you can write underneath it. Also note any music breaks, solos, bridges, etc. Print it out. Now, write beneath each line (and for the intro, etc) exactly what you want to be there. Keep it flexible - your clip might be too short, or too long, or just not fit properly.
Insert your chosen DVD into drive. If it starts playing, close the window. Open SmartRipper. You must have your DVD in the drive prior to opening SmartRipper. When you open it, a window may come up that says "No ASPI adaptor available" or some crap like that. Whatever. Just click OK. It doesn't affect your ripping at all.
For the sake of this tutorial, I'm using the movie The Two Towers, Disk 2.
Your screen should look like this:
a) See down the bottom where it says 'Target' ? In the green box, select where you want to save the movie to.
b) Check to make sure you have enough disc space free, which is shown next to this box. Mine looks very low, but that's because I already have all 3 Lord of the Rings movies saved to my computer for easy access!
c) Check title>program chain>angle. Angle 1 is probably highlighted, and if you scroll down, it probably has the biggest number next to it. See how The Two Tower's angle is [02:03:33]? That equates to the length of the footage you're ripping. It's the biggest one you want, that's your movie.
d) Hit Start. Your movie will start ripping!
SmartRipper has told you the rip is complete. Thank the SmartRipper Gods and close this program. Now, open DVD2AVI.
When you first open the program, it will be quite small. Go to file>open. Locate and open your ripped footage. There's going to be a few .vob files. Open the first one. It'll take you to another screen, which is the File List. Just click OK.
Now your screen should be much bigger! If you drag along the sliding scale at the bottom, you'll see your whole movie is there. Clever technology!! Now, to cutting your clips out.
a) Drag the slide along til you reach the point where you want to be. You can adjust this so it's perfect by using the little arrow-y things. (They look like these < > )
Your screen will look kind of like this. (This saved weird, though. You should be able to see a screenshot of Faramir with his rangers, but for some reason it didn't. Anyway, you can still see the important parts, which are the tools at the bottom.)
b) When you've got your starting point, you need to use what I'm going to call your termination tools. (They look like these [ ] ) Hit the first termination tool ( this one [ ) Notice how the blue line before your starting point has been wiped out? That's because that area is not going to be recorded now. Then, use the forward arrow-y thing to move to your finishing point. Hit the other termination tool ( ] ) and you'll see the blue line after it vanish. You've not pinpointed your clip! HINT: Keep your clip small to medium. Big clips take ages to save and even longer to manage in WMM.
c) Now you need to save your clip. It's going to transform the clip from .vob to .avi, which you can use in WMM. Go to file>save .avi. Give it a descriptive name so you know what it is. For this clip, I would call it something like; ttt_faramirblue, or ttt_youmustletmego, or ttt_overosgiliath. This makes them easy to find when you put your vid together. Hit save.
d) Now you must choose your video compression. Use VP1 Advanced Profile. This is compatible with WMM. An imformation screen will come up on one side as your clip saves, letting you know how long it's going to take and how big the file will be. It also tells you when the process which is complete.
e) Okay! That's saved and it's your first clip. Now you're going to need more. Repeat steps a-e.
By now, you should have a collection of clips, all at a manageable size and easy to locate! Whew! How time-consuming is this! Clip creation can take literally hours, but now you're up to the fun part! About time, too! ;)
Open Windows Movie Maker. Most of the buttons will be familiar to you - it is a Microsoft product, after all. But I've pointed out some of the most important ones that you'll be using that may not be recognizable.
Now, let's make a vid!
a) Import your music. WMM does not recognize mp4!!! It must be mp3. Go to file>import into collections and find your music. When it appears on your screen, drag the file on to the Audio/Music timeline. You can hit play if you want and listen to it.
b) You've got a choice here. Do you want titles before your movie? Go to tools>titles and credits and follow the prompts from there. It will automatically add the titles when you're finished, and you can shorten or lengthen them by selecting the clip on the Video timeline and using the red arrows that appear. Not all people use titles. It's all up to you.
c) Let's import some of those clips you made earlier! You do this the same way you added music in step a. The clip will appear like the music did, and you drag that on to your Video Timeline.
d) Press play and listen to your clip with the music. Does it flow with it? Listening to the beat is of the most crucial importants. Vids with overlong clips that don't flow with the music are terrible to watch. The music is the guide and you must work your clips to it.
e) Fiddle with your clip. Use the red arrows to cut it shorter if you need to. Does it need to be longer? Then you can slow the clip down by half - but be careful with this tool. If used incorrectly, it slows down the momentum of the vid and if used overmuch, makes a slow, boring vid. You can access this option and lots of others by right clicking on your clip and selecting video effects. Follow the options there. Note that here you can also fade clips in and out, which is a really nice trick.
Sometimes, you may not know exactly what work needs to be done to a clip until you have imported a few others. Have a play around. Import clips, even if they don't work together, and practice shortening and inserting effects and fades. Work on marrying the clips to the music. You can even add transitions between your clips, by going to clip>video transitions. Fade is very good.
f) When at last I'm happy with my vid, I save it through file>save movie file. Save it to your computer, hit next, and then name it and give it a save location. Hit next. Save it as 'Best Quality for Playback on my Computer.' If you want a smaller file to send to people, I recommend 'high quality video small.'
And that's the guidelines of how I make a vid using WMM. That's pretty much it, really. Here are some last pointers and notes.
- Constantly save your vid in WMM. As I said earlier, it's a funny program. It can freeze, crash and raid your refridgerator. SAVE. If it consistently crashes, there are a few things you can do, like close all other programs and windows down. The best troubleshooting site for WMM is at Papa John's.
- NEVER, EVER steal clips from someone else's edited vid. It is a shitty thing to do, especially now you know how much work goes into it. It is looked down upon and thieves often are caught. And to prove I'm not making clip theft up: check out this site.
- Don't go nuts with video transitions. Fade is awesome, as are wipes, but constant use of checkerboards, bowties, hearts, etc are distracting. Or at least I think so, anyway. ;)
- Remember to keep your clips at a reasonable size. Working with large clips in WMM is tedious and frustrating, plus they take ages to import into the program.
I hope this has been helpful. Ask questions if you're not sure about something, I'm only too glad to help. I couldn't find any tutorials when I started vidding, so I know fumbling about in the dark is difficult.
Keep on truckin' vidders!