Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Beginners' Guide for Creating an Audio Visual Presentation II

This serves as an example or elaboration of part 1.

For this tutorial, we’ll be using Windows Movie Maker.  It’s the most basic video editing software for me that’s why I chose this software to demonstrate the tips I discussed from my previous post.  Another thing that I want to point out; whenever it comes to creativity, we shouldn’t be limited by the tools we use.  For editing sounds; I chose Audacity because it’s free and so far, it’s the only audio editing tool I know.  Cheers!

Creating a Sound Track

Why start with the soundtrack? It’s easier to sync transitions and animations to the soundtrack rather than the other way around.  Good timing will give your presentation more impact especially if the soundtrack is fast.  For slow soundtracks, I think timing won’t be much of a deal but your choice of transitions and presentation flow should depend on your choice of music.

Audacity 2.0.2: For features, tutorials, and tips; you can view their wiki here

Your soundtrack could either be from a single song or from a set of songs.  It all depends on you; just be sure to mix them properly and keep them inline with your AVP’s theme.  Also, be mindful of their copyright.  I think avoiding commercial use and providing proper citations should suffice.

When editing sounds, I believe it’s better to keep the vocals out of the soundtrack.  That’s why I usually choose a song based on their intros or instrumental solos.  If including vocals are inevitable, I try to treat them as part of the sound effects.  I’m not sure if that’s the right term for it but what I usually do is choose a part with minimum vocals and put it at transition points or at the end of the soundtrack.

For real sound effects; you can use them to boost your soundtrack’s upbeats.  You can plan transitions and animations now and add adequate sound effects.  Alternately, you can just mix the main soundtrack now; add basic sound effects; synchronize transitions and animations; then add the rest of the sound effects.  I usually do the latter but I think with windows movie maker, it would be easier to finalize everything regarding the soundtrack right now.

Listen to your soundtrack.  You may close your eyes.  Imagine the flow of your presentation.  Feel the music.  Imagine where a transition should occur.  Imagine what kind of transition and animation is best for this.  Imagine how the images should move.  Imagine how the texts should fly.  It’s okay not to get it the first time.  I usually listen to my soundtrack repeatedly until I get to feel the music.  After synchronizing, I try not to lose that feeling but when I do, I just listen to it again and again until I recover that feel.

To synchronize, I use simple texts to mark where I should put the transitions.  As I listen to the music, I position my mouse pointer at the pause button and when the right time comes, I click pause.  Insert a text and type anything related to what should be done at that time in the soundtrack.  Then watch the preview and check whether the text appears in sync with the soundtrack.

Below is my sample.  Notice that the texts appear to accented beats.  It's usually at the beginning of a measure or the point where chords or tones start to repeat.  Change of phase and drum beats are also good triggers.

After finalizing synchronization, I saved the marked time or the moment a text appears.  You can put these in any text editor; I used notepad.  This is an important step because Windows Movie Maker supports one layer of videos and images only.  We can not overlay the timing with the final presentation.  But if you’re using an editor that supports multi-layering, this step is unnecessary.  Here’s a sample of my note

00.00.63 >> video editing seminar [enter] by brian g. tria
00.05.60 >> Former Publicity Committee Head [enter] Game Programmer [enter] Blogger
00.10.13 >> july 20, 2013 [enter] 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm [enter] cahbriba, los baños, laguna

Now you can play with transitions and animations.  Just remember to control yourself from being too excited.  Bombarding your presentation with different transitions and animations may result to an unprofessional looking avp.

To use the timing you saved before: align the peak action of the transition or animation with the marked time.  These actions could be the sudden appearance of a text or the time when an animation reached its final position. You can use the slider in the preview video from your editor and check if the time of the peak action is the same or near your marked time.  It would be better if you can check each frame of the video.

To wrap everything up, below is my sample AVP.  Notice the animation of the captions.  They should arrive at their final position at the same time as I let the simple texts appear in the sample above.  As for the background, I chose the slow panning animation because of a relatively slow music.  Transitions are not that important except for the two drum hits during phase change; where I used 'bars' transition.

For questions, just comment below.  Enjoy!


soundtrack: "Time Machine" by Teeth

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