One of the most exciting recent advances in D-SLRs is the addition of HD video capture, allowing us to switch from multimegapixel stills to full-motion video on the fly.
Several SLRs now offer HD movie modes, including the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Nikon D90, Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Nikon D5000 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1. We expect this will be an increasingly common feature.
Popular consumer-level video editing applications like Adobe Premiere Elements and Apple iMovie are perfect choices for importing, editing and outputting movies from the files these cameras create.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark II captures video as a .MOV/MPEG-4, and the Nikon D90 records to the .AVI/MPEG-4 format.
These are standard video formats, and both Premiere Elements 7 and iMovie ‘09 support them.
To import an HD video in iMovie ’09, click on the video camera icon and choose between two resolution options: 960×540 or full-res 1920×1080. Premiere Elements 7 also makes it easy to import HD video—it automatically detects the device from which you’re importing, so all you have to do is click “Get Media.”
Once you’ve imported your video files, you can start by arranging and organizing your different clips to get the editing process started.
With iMovie ’09, you simply drag and drop clips into the Project Library where you then can start to edit them and assemble your final video.
With Premiere Elements 7, use the Organizer tab to find and sort clips. Once you have them organized, switch to the Sceneline, where you can drag and drop clips into order.
Both iMovie and Premiere Elements allow you to “trim” or edit your clips, eliminate footage and add sound. iMovie ’09 has a new tool called the Precision Editor that makes exacting trims easy. Remove unwanted segments, edit sound and video independently, and add transitions between clips.
Another excellent feature of iMovie ‘09 is Video Stabilization, which analyzes your video for shaky frames and does a pretty good job of steadying the footage.
With a click of the mouse, you can use the Precision Editor to manipulate audio,
split frames, and add titles and transitions to your project.
Premiere Elements 7 lets you trim clips by setting In and Out points, which helps isolate portions of video you want in your project while trimming out excess frames you don’t want.
Once you make these cuts, you can further refine your edits, change playback speed or split clips to add effects. You can add effects by selecting the clip to which you want to add an effect and dragging the effect into the clip, or by clicking the Apply button.
Once you’ve explored iMovie ’09 or Premiere Elements 7, you’ll realize there are thousands of different edits you can make to your video, and you might get hooked.
If you decide video is something you want to pursue more seriously, there are more advanced applications you’ll want to consider, but these entry-level options are definitely impressive in what they can do.
Both applications have great output options. Apple iMovie ’09 allows you to publish to YouTube, create and burn a DVD via the iDVD program or save files on your desktop.
Adobe Premiere Elements 7 lets you share videos on YouTube, save files to your computer, or burn to DVDs or even to Blu-ray discs. Adobe Premiere Elements is available for Windows and Mac at a street price of $95. Apple iMovie ’09 comes packaged in the iLife ’09 suite, with a price tag of $79.