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Setting up a Video Project

Now that you have all your sources prepared, you need to set up a video project. Each program has a different set of options but many of the settings will be similar from program to program.

Before you dive into setting things up you need to make a note of the properties of your sources. We have gone through a lot of preparation stages to get here, so it's worth summarising what you have.

Video Format

This is the basic stuff. Firstly there are the standards NTSC, PAL and NTSC FILM. You should have an idea which one of these your footage is by now.

Then we have the file format standards. Most of you will be editing using Video for Windows. This is sometimes described as Microsoft AVI. DV users, however, will probably be using a special DV profile in their video editor unless they are editing using a Video for Windows DV codec with the DV footage contained in an avi file.

Video Properties

Hoipefully you should know the various properties of your video by now--the resolution, pixel aspect ratio, framerate, all that good stuff. You pretty much just make sure the project settings in your editing program line up with these. One important thing to note is that most editing software has a setting for field order. Since we have made our footage progressive, then you want to make sure that you set it to "no fields" or "progressive" in your application. Otherwise your software might introduce new interlacing into your footage when you insert special effects.

Audio Properties

This will depend on how you sourced your audio:
Wav files ripped from CD: These should always be 44,100Hz 16bit stereo uncompressed audio.

Wav files decoded from DVDs: These are likely to be (but are not always) 48,000Hz 16bit stereo uncompressed audio

Wav file converted or captured from an alternate source: These can have any properties. However, you should make sure that the wav file is uncompressed and make a note of the Sample Rate, Bit Depth and Stereo Channels of your audio. You can find simple info like this in any wave editor or winamp.

So those are the main things you will need to know for before editing your project. Because there is so much different editing software out there, and it keeps changing as new versions get released, it's not really worth going through the trouble of showing how to set things up for specific programs. It shouldn't be too difficult, but if you have trouble, feel free to ask about it on the forums.

I will specifically mention some tips for those of you using Windows Movie Maker though. It would be best if you make your footage 29.97fps and make it fit in a 640x480 frame. If you have widescreen footage then you will want to letterbox. This only applies to those using WMM.