Digital Video Movie Making Freedom is Here

I wanted to learn how to edit and do more than just join together short digital movie clips. I had found an mpeg joiner program on the internet, but that really wasn’t enough to get the job done. Many digital movie clips were not in mpeg format so that program didn’t work on them. Also mpeg joiner did not allow any alterations to sound quality, lighting or the color of the digital video. Something much better was needed.

One day I ran across the Virtual Dub program. It allows you to modify mpeg, avi, and divx digital video formats. That seemed like it might be what I was looking for. The thing is, to use Virtual Dub, it’s like learning a whole new program but once you learn the basics of working with video, it is really quite easy to use. Virtual Dub has one big limitation. It does not work on Windows media video files. For legal reasons access to those files has been blocked.

Usually the best thing to start with, is to find out the information about the digital video file. Sometimes this can be done by highlighting the file on your computer screen, right clicking the mouse and selecting properties. This works on Windows 98, but not so well on Windows XP which just indicates a video file. If Virtual Dub cannot load the video, it will indicate the reason why it can’t.

If Virtual Dub will load the file, selecting the file menu, and then file information, will tell you all about the digital video file. The information provided is the frame size of the video, the number of frames in the video, how many frames per second are shown, how much time the video takes to run, and the decompressor used to make the video.

Say you want to load an mpeg digital video file, edit out some scenes, enlarge the frame size, lighten up the picture a little, and increase the volume level so it plays louder. This is how it is done, and demonstrates how to use Virtual Dub. To load the file go to the main Virtual Dub menu and select file, then open video file. Select the folder your movie is located in and select the movie. Then click the open box. The movie will load and the first frame will show on your screen.

To edit out a scene you can either play the movie to the point you want to start the cut out area, or left click your cursor arrow on the track marker and drag it along running the movie quickly to the point where you want to start the cut out area. At that point click the button with the little hook pointing to the left, to mark the starting point of your cut area. Play the movie again to the end of the area you wish to cut out. Click the little box stop button. At that point click the button with the little hook pointing to right, to mark the end of the cut out area. Then push your delete key on your key board. That’s it that part of the movie will be deleted in the copy you make.

To enlarge the frame size to make the video picture larger, on the main menu, click video, then filters. In the filters menu click add, then scroll down and select resize, and click, ok. We are going to increase the size to 384 pixels by 288 pixels. So type in 384 in the top box and 288 in the box below it. In the filter mode box select precise bicubic (a=0.60) and click, ok. While still in the filters menu click add, select levels, then click, ok.

Click the show preview button so you can see the changes to the brightness you are going to make to the video. Play with the two top sliding arrows on the right hand side of the screen. They will lighten or darken the picture depending on the direction you move them. When you like the brightness of the picture you have selected click the OK button. You are again on the main filters menu, so click OK again.

To increase the volume of the movie, on the main Virtual Dub menu, click audio, click full processing mode, and click volume. A box will open. Click the little box beside adjust volume of audio channels. Now you can move the track pointer to the right to increase the volume a bit. Click ok. Then play the movie to test the volume level. To adjust the movie sound again go back to the volume area again.

To save the movie the video must be compressed to save disk space. On the main Virtual Dub menu click video, then compression. Select Microsoft mpeg-4 VKI codec V2. Click the configure box, type in 5 for seconds, move the compression control to 75, toward the crispness end of the scale. Move the data rate to the middle of the scale to 2960. Then press the OK button. Press the OK button again.

The audio of the video also must be compressed to save disk space. On the main Virtual Dub menu select audio, then conversion. We are going to change the audio frequency and make it stereo. Select custom and type in 24000. Select stereo and click the OK box. Go back to the main Virtual Dub menu click audio and compression. Select mpeg layer-3. Select the top category 56 kbits/s 24000 hz stereo. Click the OK button.

That’s it. Now you’re ready to save your edited video clip. On the main Virtual Dub menu select file, then save as avi. A box will open. Select the folder to save the video in. Type in a name for the video. Click the save box. Your edited digital movie is now being saved.

You have just learned how to edit digital video files using Virtual Dub.