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  1. #1
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    A complete guide to producing webclips. (Read Before Posting!)

    So you want to produce a video of your magic, huh? Well, it’s not nearly as difficult as you’d think. This article will help you get started, and help you avoid the pitfalls that many avid directors fall in to. If you feel there is something I have left out of this article, please let me know with a PM, and I will add to the ariticle, giving credit to the tipster.

    Alright. Let’s get started.

    Step 1. Cameras: Webcams, Digital Cameras with a movie function, and, of course, Video Cameras. Your choice will no doubt reflect your budget. However, you do not, under any circumstances need a $5,000 camera to produce a sweet video. A $50 webcam will do just fine.

    In terms of purchasing a "proper" video camera, you should look for one that uses Mini DV media. Be sure that your computer has firewire ports, or can support a firewire PCI expansion card. Speak to a knowledgeable salesman at a camera store for more information.

    Step 2. Angles: The viewing audience likes a static shot, with no jitters. If you happen to use a video camera, a tripod would be great. The same goes for digital camera. Don’t get anybody to hold the camera for you, unless they have an arm of steel, or are braced against something solid. If you’re using a webcam, an angle slightly above, and looking down, or directly at your hands, is perfect. Check your composition before you hit record. If there’s anything that the audience can’t see that we need to see (like the cards, for example), recompose.

    Step 3. Takes: The way I produce my videos is to take numerous takes of the same routine, sometimes as many as 10. This way, you’ll have plenty of choices when it comes to picking the best one.

    Step 4. Choosing: Go through your takes, and immediately discard any of them that flash or expose ANYTHING, even if it’s just a little. Remember, your audience is comprised of seasoned magicians, who will watch things over and over. Don’t take any chances. Finally, take the remaining ones, and pick the smoothest performance.

    Step 5. Importing: Depending on the camera you use, importing video to your computer will be different. Please follow the documentation included with your camera. Webcam footage is already saved to the hard drive once you stop recording, so don’t worry.

    Step 6. Editing: This is the THE most important step. Please pay attention. My #1 pet peeve is a webclip that has no editing whatsoever. A little part of me dies every time I see someone reach for the mouse to stop recording in a “finished” webclip.

    Tip: After you finish your effect, place your props onto the table and be still for three seconds. This will give you plenty of room to trim down the end of your clip, providing the concluding motions to the piece, while avoiding an abrupt cut. I recommend doing the same for the beginning of your clips as well.

    In order for a webclip to be finished, it must:
    1) Have the beginnings and ends clipped so there is no reaching for the mouse. This bugs me.
    2) Include a text introduction to the effect, giving its name.
    3) Conclude with credits, containing the name of the performer, credit to the creator of the effect demonstrated, and credit to the artist for the music played, if any.

    The webclip must also contain music, fairly consistent talking, or both. Music not only makes the webclip more interesting, but also heightens what is happening on screen. A webclip without music is like going to the theatre and covering your ears. It sucks.

    You do not need expensive editing software to edit a webclip. Windows Movie Maker, as limited as it is from a filmmaking standpoint, works just fine for turning webclips into works of art.

    Step Seven. Saving and uploading: Save your movie file, so you have a .wmv file, or a .mpg file (for Apple users).

    Tip: To do this in windows movie maker, follow these steps: Go to file, then "save movie file", or the hotkey ctrl+p. Select "my computer", then hit next. Enter a file name for your movie, and choose where you want to save it. I always choose my desktop, so it's easier to find and file away later. Hit next. Now, make sure the little check box is checked, hit next, and your file will save as a wmv. It may take several minutes, depending on the size of the file. Be patient.

    Then, visit one of the popular uploading sites, such as www.putfile.com, or www.yousendit.com, and upload your videos, following their instructions. With yousendit, in order for forum members to view your file, enter your own e-mail address in “recipient e-mail address”, and include the link that is e-mailed to you in your post on Ellusionist.

    Step 8. Post: All videos should be posted in this forum. However, certain performances should be kept in their respective protected forums. If you are uncertain about where something should go, PM an Elite or Moderator, and they’ll help you out.

    Finally, be creative, and have fun! The members will offer their critical views on your performances, so you can improve yourself in the future. If a comment sounds harsh, please remember that they're not trying to hurt your feelings, but rather trying help you become a better performer. Good luck.

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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluehalls
    I also am wondering if 30 fps is good enough for magic/card manipulation
    For the record, most webcams do not *actually* give you a full 30 fps. However, that doesn't matter. Film and television generally shoot in the 24-30 fps range, and the human eye itself has trouble detecting any difference if the fps goes any further than 30.

    To answer your question in one word, yes. : )

    - Sivor
    Climb the mountain because it's there.<br><br<a href="http://esupport.ellusionist.com/index.php?_m=tickets&_a=submit">Click Here</a> to submit an eSupport Ticket.
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  3. #3
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    Yes, you will never find any video equipment, particualrly a webcam, that records higher than 30 fps. Some will shoot much lower, like 15 fps, but I recommend shooting in 30 if your equipment is capable. It will produce a clearer, smoother video.
    Metallic Red and Blue Porper Clips
    http://www.newyorkmagicproject.com/products/porperclip.htm

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the tips. However, I'm still deciding whether I should purchase a webcam or buy a USB cable for my video camera. Anyone have any suggestions?

  5. #5
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    If you already have a video camera, I'd stick with that. The image and sound quality will be much better, and you'll have a choice of where you shoot. You can go outside, perform for spec, etc. So I'd say spend the money on a usb (or firewire) cable. You'll also need to make sure you have the proper capture card and software for it.
    Metallic Red and Blue Porper Clips
    http://www.newyorkmagicproject.com/products/porperclip.htm

  6. #6
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    If anyone actually has problems to where the webcam is capable of recording at 30fps, but when you record, your fps is dropping dramatically - try reducing the video resolution from 640x480 to 320x240, that usually does the trick.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightshade
    Thanks for the tips. However, I'm still deciding whether I should purchase a webcam or buy a USB cable for my video camera. Anyone have any suggestions?
    I'd actually say, over time, go with both. A video camera is a great device when you want to perform for a spectator. However, if you're just making a "practice" clip for the net, you'll then need a tripod in order to record correctly with your video camera. I'm also sure you'd want to hook it up to a TV or a monitor, this way you can watch yourself as you record, and to me, thats just to much equipment and time needed to set-up a simple 1 minute clip for the web. This is where the webcam comes in handy.

    I bought myself an expensive webcam ($80) and have a VHS-C camcorder with a tripod and capture cards etc. Therefore, no matter the situation, I'm able to record in the most convenient fashion. Sure it gets a little pricey, but if you just spread out the equipment over time, it's not to bad.

    John
    Last edited by Jnick1; 08-07-2005 at 04:25 PM.
    "Time is on your side...use it wisely."
    -Engali

  7. #7
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    When I installed my software for my new webcam and went to test it it came out pretty bad so I used the Windows Movie Maker and it came out a lot better. So use Windows Movie Maker instead if your clips come out sort of bad. Also if you don't by one with a built in microphone (like me) because you have one already with the computer (like me) WMM will let you use both of them at the same time even if the softwarwe that came with the webcam doesn't. Just some tips there.
    One last thing, if you have another editing system and you wish to import files off your webcam, use WMM as the editing system will more than likely regonise WMVs.

    *WMM - Windows Movie Maker
    *WMVs - The format WMM saves
    Formerly Mr.Magic2001
    "Tricks are for kids, and effects are for artists." :- Zach Smith

  8. #8
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    Heres a thread that I created some time ago that has 13 web pages to host your videos.

    Click here

    Korbin
    Formerly known as big k. Did you pm me? Please wait I'm not on every day.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mercury52
    Yes, you will never find any video equipment, particualrly a webcam, that records higher than 30 fps. Some will shoot much lower, like 15 fps, but I recommend shooting in 30 if your equipment is capable. It will produce a clearer, smoother video.
    Sorry, that isn't correct. Webcams are capable of running 34fps...And there are MANY camaras than run much faster than that.

    The camara I currently use is a Digital Mini DV. It runs on the average of 230fps. It runs around $500.

    Now, if you are using a Spielberg Hollywood Camara, you are talking up to 500fps for certain effects. Those camara's run around $200,000-$900,000 ....

    Just letting you know.

    ~Damian~
    Gypsymoonband.com *D. Ross aka DangerD* Drummer for Gypsy Moon Band 2009

  10. #10
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    Yes, there are exceptions to the rule. And some cameras can be over or undercranked to a different frame rate if desired. This is not a common feature, however.

    As for your statement that your MiniDV camera runs an average of 230 fps, that is just incorrect. the frame rate for digital video is 29.97 fps, which gets avweraged to 30 fps. That's why higher-end cameras have options for "drop frame" and "non drop frame" mode, because of that .03 fps difference.

    As for most affordable, commonplace video equipment though, most of what people are going to find at Best Buy and the like are going to be 30 fps or smaller, which is why I referenced it. Most are not in the market for high-end equipment.
    Metallic Red and Blue Porper Clips
    http://www.newyorkmagicproject.com/products/porperclip.htm

  11. #11
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    Just a question, what other editing programs are there for editing clips?(Besides Windows Movie Maker).

    And how much are USB ports for video cameras? Thanks.

    (you can pm me with the answers too),[/



    -Ace
    new username :Colin Thompson

  12. #12
    SoulGrind's Avatar Elite Member
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    Software & USB Ports

    Quote Originally Posted by -Ace of Fire-
    Just a question, what other editing programs are there for editing clips?(Besides Windows Movie Maker).

    And how much are USB ports for video cameras? Thanks.

    (you can pm me with the answers too),[/



    -Ace
    There's several products on the market for video editing.

    If you're a Windows user, there's Windows Movie Maker which comes with Windows XP. If you're looking for something more elaborate, there's Adobe Premiere - This is one of the better editors and it works with Adobe "After Affects". There's some other stuff out there too - check out your local CompUSA or Best buy.

    If you're a Mac user and you're running OS X, then you most likely already have iMovie. This is a fairly decent program for making videos - it's a lot like a trimmed down version of Premiere. For the hard-core editors, there's Final Cut Pro.

    As for USB Ports - I presume you're running some Windows Box that either A.) Doesn't have USB ports built in, or B.) You don't know what a USB port is.

    If you don't have a USB port - you can purchase add-on cards from various computer supply stores (CompuUSA, Best Buy, Fry's, etc.) all for around $30.00 give or take a few pennies. Also, make sure you get USB 2.0 - it's faster than the older USB technology and your camera and video editor will thank you for it.

    If you don't know what a USB port is, or are not sure if you have one, go into your Windows Hardware Manager and look to see if it's listed. If it is, then you're most likely good to go. If not, then the add-on card is your best bet.

    However, when dealing with video, Firewire is a much better way to go. It's faster thatn USB and most cameras support it. If you're only supports USB, that's fine - just make sure you know what you're getting first - USB or Firewire - the cables are not interchangable.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    Last edited by SoulGrind; 08-14-2006 at 12:39 AM.
    Caine Hörr
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  13. #13
    SoulGrind's Avatar Elite Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emil View Post
    Hi.I have un urgent question.How can i insert a beep in my video?or how can i make the sound not to be heard in some portions of the video?please tell me what program to use.it's very important
    The more elaborate programs for editing video seperate the audio and video into separate tracks. When you have audio isolated into its own track, you now have the option of adjusting the volume for the entire track or a portion of the track. Furthermore, most A/V (audio/video) packages support 2 video tracks and 2 audio tracks. You would use the second audio track to add in, or "layer" sound effects on top of the pre-existing audio track.

    WINDOWS
    Adobe Premiere - If you are running Microsoft Windows, Adobe Premiere is a good way to go. It's a bit expensive however. You can find more information about Adobe Premiere at http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere/

    Microsoft Movie Maker - Windows also comes with Microsoft Movie Maker - However, I have never used Movie Maker, so I am not familliar with the controls and do not know for a fact whether it seperates audio and video into separate tracks. More information on Microsoft Movie Maker can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/d...viemaker2.mspx

    For those Windows users working with Microsoft Movie Maker, there is a WEALTH of information on the http://www.microsoft.com/WindowsXP/e...ies/movie.mspx website. Just thought I'd share the wealth.

    MACINTOSH
    Final Cut Pro - If you are running on an Apple Macintosh with OS X, you have a few options as well. For the high-end A/V production, there is Final Cut Pro - VERY EXPENSIVE indeed and difficult to learn if you are unfamilliar with video editing - but VERY POWERFUL - as it should be considering it's an industry standard A/V package. More information on Final Cut Pro can be found at http://www.apple.com/finalcutstudio/finalcutpro/

    iMovie - Most Mac's come with iLife pre-installed. iLife contains and application called iMovie. iMovie, for being an "amateur" A/V application supports many professional quality features of it's professional Final Cut Pro cousin. iMovie support separate A/V tracks which will allow you to do what you want. It also support A/V plugins which is typically something only supported by higher-end apps such as Premiere of Final Cut Pro. The latest version of iMovie also has HD support. More information on iMovie can be found at http://www.apple.com/ilife/imovie/

    UNIX/LINUX
    For the hard-core computer geek running UNIX/Linux, there are a slew of apps available. Apps such as MainActor and Broadcast 2000. Broadcast 2000 has been superceeded by Cinelerra. For a more indepth study of video editing on UNIX/Linux, visit http://www.linux.com/article.pl?sid=06/11/13/2129256

    Hope this helps point you in the right direction for your particular platform.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by SoulGrind; 12-30-2006 at 02:13 PM.
    Caine Hörr
    The Amazing Caine
    http://www.amazingcaine.com

  14. #14
    SoulGrind's Avatar Elite Member
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    Audio Editing With Audacity

    Also - for those of you who like to add sound/music to your videos, a great FREE audio editing package is Audacity.

    Audacity is cross-platform (meaning it works on Windows, Mac, and most flavors of Linux).

    It can import and export most major audio formats (the MP3 format is supported through the LAME encoder).

    You can find Audacity at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ as well links to various plugins (such as LAME).

    Cheers,
    Caine Hörr
    The Amazing Caine
    http://www.amazingcaine.com

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by EddieMagic View Post
    I just bought a Logitech Quick Cam Communicate STX for $50.
    I tried it,but it seems every movement I make it gets too blury,is this normal?
    If not,How can I fix this?
    It sounds like it could be a ram issue. I would try freeing up some hard drive space, defragging etc. I had the same problem with mine and found it ran alot smoother with on a computer with a 1gb of ram but it should ran nicely on 512mb. The other thing that slows it down is the program you're using to record the movie. To find the right program is just trial and error and I can't think of a good one as i abandoned my web cam for the isight in my mac book. They are sweet.
    Cam
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