A/V Start-Up & Software Advice Needed

I'm the sole person in the training department and need some advice for audio/video equipment and editing software.  First, I'll admit I've found some good starting tips from looking around in the forum, and am hoping to receive some additional information. 

Here's the video equipment I'm looking at (from tubetape.net):

One 7x9x7 Flex Backdrop - Green

One set Backdrop Support Stands

One kit Cool Flo 600 Watt EZ Softbox Dual Light Kit (and two replacement bulbs)

Undecided still on which of the following camcorders to get: (from bhphotovideo.com)

Sony HDR-CX360V

Canon VIXIA HF S30 Flash Memory

Canon VIXIA HF M32 Dual Flash Memory

Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory

Undecided on editing software for PC (XP SP3), need something for audio/video from the camcorder, as well as still picture graphics taken with the camcorder, that will work with the green screen.  Need the ability to trim and splice at various points in the video, not just at beginning and end of file.  I've seen a few recommendations on here for Sony Vegas Movie software.

I'm fairly tech savvy, new software doesn't intimidate me.  In the past I've used Flash, Fireworks, Dreamweaver for some basic web design, but it's been a few years.   There is, however, pressure to quickly get production going and have courses ready ASAP.  So it would be nice to find software that will allow a quick start-up/short learning curve for basic editing with the option for bells and whistles at a later date.

Any tips or advice are appreciated.  Thank you!

5 Replies
David Steffek

As far as video editing software, I have been using Pinnacle/AVID Studio since version 8 (or earlier; I'm on v14 and they are now up to v15, I think).

I had never chroma-keyed (green screened) before, but after watching Pinnacle's online training videos, I was able to do it quickly and easily. I also created a Ken Burns-style slide show where it pans and zooms on each static photo (which is much more visually appealing than static pictures).

It also does everything else you're looking for - multiple video and audio layers, full editing of clips, title and soundtrack creation, and lots more.

At $70-$100 USD, it's worth a look.

Steve Flowers

I just picked up a Sony Nex-5n and I love it. The camera features are excellent and the video quality is top notch. It's a compact camera - small enough that I can drop it into my inside jacket pocket. The Panasonic Lumix GH2 have a bit better low light quality, but I opted for the smaller body and higher framerate 1080-60p. So far I'm completely loving this camera. Here's the second picture I took with it:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/68642554@N04/6242320236/

I'm no professional photographer, but I think the results are pretty good

You might also consider picking up an external microphone. A lapel microphone is a nice addition, but you'll get a better microphone for the price with a shotgun microphone. You can probably record your audio track directly to your PC and edit together when finished. On camera microphones are notoriously terrible. With the greenscreen, make sure you have a large room. The most painful mistakes to fix are lighting and reflected lighting. Too close to your greenscreen and you're going to pick up splash that makes your key harder to pull and quality harder to attain.

Steve Flowers

As software goes, different strokes for different folks. I really like Adobe Premiere, but I think most software offers similar features and quality potential. Sony Vegas has served me well in the past and I've used the Pinnacle / AVID stuff as well as Final Cut on the Mac. My choice depends on the type of work I'm doing and the target output but they are all capable tools.