How to make and edit video reviews

Have you ever wondered how AVGN, Nostalgia Critic or Nostalgia Komrade do their awesome video reviews? What software do they use?
Here’s a full tutorial on how to make your own video reviews.

In this video I will show you the very basics of creating video reviews.
Most software in this tutorial is free, so check out the link below
to see where you can grab it.

The first step is obviously selecting the object to review. I’ll take a
movie as an example, but you may use any video material you have:
gameplay recordings, you own recordings, music videos and so on.

Then, create a folder on your computer to store everything related to the
project. I called mine !Project. The exclamation mark makes sure the folder
is topmost in the folder list.

Now, create a text file in that folder using any text editor you like.
I called mine script.txt . Sit and watch your material, and write down
all time codes of the event you want to show in your review. I usually
add up a small description so that I could memorize the scene without
having to watch it over.
For viewing purposes, I use VLC Player. It’s a great player with many video
codecs built in. It also has a nice screenshot feature, so its easy to capture
frames for stills in the review.
If you’re doing a tutorial or a training video that requires screen capture,
use CAMStudio. That’s a great free application to record desktop videos.
If you need screenshots, just hit the PrintScreen button on your keyboard
and paste it to a graphic editor. I personally use XNView, which is free
and has a great screenshot making option, that can also grab mouse pointer.
Save all your files to the project folder.

After watching the material, use your notes to write a script. I normally
use the same file. Make sure your phrases are easy to read and don’t sound
over the top.

After your script is ready, the next step is voiceover. Yes, your commentary
is the backbone of your future review. All the video and stills must be cut
according to the length of your commentary.
To record audio, I use Audacity. Start Audacity and press the red button
to start recording, then read your script into your microphone. Try to sound
natural, there’s nothing worse than clearly read commentaries, without any
voice acting. You may stop the recording at any time. To continue from the
spot, hold shift and click the record button. Without shift, Audacity records
a new track. After you done, eliminate all long pauses, clicks and other
artifacts by selecting and deleting them. Now, open Noise removal tool,
click on Get noise profile, select and copy a few seconds of silence, then
start the Noise removal tool again and click OK. That will reduce hissing
and other equipment-generated noises from your soundtrack. Having that done,
select Compressor tool and compress the dynamic range of your audio. That
will even out the volume of your voice so it will sound more solid.
Export the audio as a .wav.

Now we have to cut chunks of video according to the scenes you selected.
One way to do it is VirtualDub. That’s a popular free video editing software.
I transformed my DVD into a single video file for convenience. You may
use read it straight from the disc if you want.
Open your video in VirtualDub, browse to a few seconds before starting point,
hit Set Selection start. Browse to the end of the scene, hit Set selection
end. Now crop to selection and save as .avi . Name the file so you know what is
in it. After export is completed, Undo crop to selection and proceed to the new
step. In the end, you have a bunch of video clips to work with.

If you need YouTube video clips, install Flash video downloader
for Firefox and use it do download video.

If you want recordings of yourself in your video, save the clips from
your camera to the Project folder. I will also refer to them as video
clips, since from editing point of view, they are just another source
of video material.

Now comes the last step – creating your video. You need a video processing
software for this. I’m afraid, you have to purchase one. I personally
recommend Vegas Video by Sony as one of the most user-friendly video
editors. I’ll show version 11 in this tutorial, but you may purchase any
version you like. For instance, version 6 runs perfectly on modern Windows 7
machines, and the price is very low compared to newer versions.
In fact, this software can do most of the functions described above, but
personally I prefer dedicated software over large media combines.

Once you start Sony Vegas, browse to the Project folder. If you got
your video clips in Virtual Dub, just drag them to the Timeline. You may
may also cut video pieces in Sony Vegas. Browse to the point where your
scene begins, place the divider, now press S. This cuts the video in this spot.
Select and delete all the video prior to the moment. Go to the ending point of
the scene and press S. Now go to the next scene, press S and remove the video
between ending point of last selection and the beginning on new one.
Repeat until you get all your video cut. Now get the cut video back in one piece.
If your video has several audio tracks, first listen to them in Solo mode
and delete any unwanted languages by selecting the whole track and
deleting it.
Now, get your audio commentary and drag it to a separate track on the
timeline. Play it along with the video and fine-cut the video to match
your words with the same splitting technique. You may also cut your commentary
and drag it along the timeline, if you want to show some video without
your voiceover. If you need to show a picture, cut the video, move it to the
right and insert the picture. Drag it along the timeline. Video pauses is
done in the same fashion – create a screenshot of the frame you want to
still. You may use VLC player or the Vegas built-in player to create the
screenshot, just make sure the Vegas player is set to best possible video
quality. Now cut the video in the right place and insert this still frame.
Another way to do it is inserting a Speed envelope and setting the speed to
zero, but it’s more tricky.
But you have to master Audio envelope. Insert an audio envelope to the
original soundtrack, and drag it low. Now, Add points to the line in the
moments when you need the original soundtrack for your review.
Raise the start and ending points to get volume up in this segment.
Repeat this to get muffled original soundtrack while you are commenting
and loud original soundtrack while you are silent.

We’re almost done. It’s time to export your video. Select everything
and drag it to the right, so there is some space to insert title screen.
Insert the title picture and sound, if you have one. Now, go to Render
and making sure Loop is not selected and save the video to the needed
format. For online players like YouTube, 3mbps Windows Media Video is enough.
Wait till the process and finished and upload your video online!

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Be creative and have fun!

Links to the software mentioned
VLC Media Player
Flash Video Downloader
Sony Vegas

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