What To Try Next
Hopefully if you have made it to this page, you have completed your first video. Good job!
What then should you do next?
The best advice for moving forward is to make a few more videos.
During the process you likely encountered some snags or some parts you were disappointed with. In your next video try to address those issues.
With the videos I have made, I have noticed a few key items that could use improvement and focused efforts to improve them. You probably have the same issues. I continue to have problems, but like playing a musical instrument, practice is key.
Here are some things to try next:
- Improve your next storyboard. Now that you have completed the process, try to make the storyboard in your next project better match your anticipated result.
- Look for lighting issues. Review your clips for the quality of the lighting. Are they over or under exposed? Was the color off? Learning to use the adjustment tools in Premiere Elements will allow you to correct minor issues, but take the opportunity to correct lighting during filming. Try adding lights or using a reflector. The Lighting Tips page has more information.
- Upgrade audio equipment. The basic tools covered in this site are more than sufficient, but if you want to add interviews or record more subtle sounds and better sounding voiceover (narration) tracks you might consider adding a dedicated audio recorder or a mixer so that you can use multiple lav mics at once.
- Go wireless. Wireless mics add more places for accidents to happen, but greatly increase your flexibility. If you are comfortable with the recording process with wired mics, consider experimenting with wireless. There are numerous review videos on YouTube that look at equipment.
- Add music. Silence can be awkward, and budget equipment can create some odd background noises. If you haven't tried it yet, consider adding a subtle soundtrack to your video. It can increase the emotional connection with your viewers.
- Try using a green screen. You can have anything in the background if you film your subject with a green screen. This effect is called Chroma Key. See this page for more information.
These are just some ideas for next steps, but your main goal should be to expand your skills so that you have more options for future projects.
Most importantly: keep making videos. Practice makes perfect!
Tips for Common Problems
Now that you have made your first video, I am sure that you have watched it several times. No doubt there are some things that happened that you weren't happy about.
No one expects perfect videos, but there are some common problems that crop up often. You will probably want to address them in future videos.
Here are some tips to deal with a few common problems.
Background Noises / Noisy Location
Consider these solutions to noisy video clips.
- Use a lapel mic, closer to the mouth will be better as the recorder, probably a smartphone, will apply less gain (amplification) to the signal. Hopefully your voice will overpower the background noise. If it is windy try placing the mic inside a layer of clothing. During edit you can reduce the volume during quiet pauses, if present. The "Smart Mix" tool (Tool button > Audio) does a good job at adjusting sound during pauses so a music track can come through. I prefer manually editing it, but the Smart Mix isn't too bad. If you use Smart Mix, do it before manually editing quiet parts out, then you can see how you like the results. You will probably need some additional tweaks.
- Consider using a voiceover/narration track as the main audio source instead of an interview or direct recording of the person.
- Premiere Elements has tools to automatically remove noises like hum or wind. They are not a substitute for good quality input, but can work in a pinch. I find they add an unnatural quality to voice and presence, but if you add a music soundtrack, this becomes less obvious.
- High hissing sounds can be removed with a lowpass filter effect applied to the clip. This effect only allows sounds below a set frequency through. Sometimes helps with wind or equipment in background. There are other filters (band- and high-pass) that can select specific ranges to remove. This just takes experimentation.
- Premiere Elements has a tool that automatically removes hum sounds. On my version this effect is called NewBlue Hum Remover. It works well for this problem. Fluorescent lights, power lines, and cheap recording equipment on PCs can introduce hum.
- There is also an effect called NewBlue Noise Reducer. It does remove noise, but it also tends to remove most of the interesting timbre of your voice. Try it. You may get some success. If the noise is so bad you're considering this tool, you may need to re-record the clip.
- If your narration sounds different in an annoying way, re-record it with the same setup you used to record the live shots. I am usually happier with the results when done this way.
- For challenging audio tracks or good quality normalization or adjustments, consider editing the track in a dedicated audio editor. The free tool Audacity has more capabilities than you will ever need. The basic tools are not difficult to use. (Audacity's Documentation) Staying within Premiere Elements will be a much easier workflow.
It's not always easy to figure out how to accurately trim clips. Here is my workflow to do these edits.
- Expand the audio track so you can see the waveform image.
- Zoom in the workspace so it is big.
- If your clip is surrounded by other clips, it can be easier to move your clip to another track that's mostly empty.
- Move play head to the beginning of the clip. Start and stop the playhead until you see the point you want to clip
- Easy way: move the cursor to the edge until it looks somewhat like a bracket: [ or ]. Drag the edge until it aligns with the playhead line. Harder way: Click on the clip and use the scissors icon on the playhead line to split the clip and delete the unwanted part.
- Zoom out a little and move the clip back if you moved it to another track.
Rendering Output is Too Long or Too Short
Sometimes the final video output is either too long and there is blank space at the end (common) or somehow the end is cut short. This is easy to fix.
There are 2 markers that control what area is rendered: one at the beginning and one at the end. The end marker has a tendency to be too long as it expands to accommodate new clips that are then trimmed on the timeline.
To fix this, slide the end marker (a gray, elongated hexagon) to it aligns with the end of the final clip. The picture below shows where it goes.
Fixing a video that is too short is essentially the same process.
If your goal is just to make sure your closing is 20 seconds (for adding links to other videos on YouTube at the end) then stretching the length of the closing clip to the right will cause the end marker to move. If you cannot lengthen your final clip, manually moving the marker will also add tail end time, but it may be black if there is no image or clip below it. The branded closing asset should be long enough, however.
Fixing Color/Lighting in Clips
Sometimes a clip was filmed in light with an unusual tint or color temperature. For example, the subject was in the shade but the camera thought it was in full sun.
It will never look as good as if the color were set right, but you can try selecting the clip, opening the editing tab and using the Color adjustment. The Auto Color button works better for me than manual adjustment.
The same process can be used with lighting. Again, try the Auto Levels instead of manually adjusting.
If the final output of the clip still isn't quite right, experiment with the Gamma adjustment. If those don't help, notice there is a "reset" button you can use to eliminate gamma adjustments.
I have tried the Smart Fix button, but really haven't seen much improvement compared with just selecting the problem click. Likewise there is an Auto Smart Tone button. This is good for clips with minor lighting issues, but I find using Color, Lighting, and Gamma in that order gives superior results.
Video editing and recording is fraught with peril. Something will go wrong.
If you need help, the first place to look is the help file. For Adobe products the Help menu is on the menu bar on top of the screen. It opens their help website. Premiere Elements' help page is https://helpx.adobe.com/support/premiere-elements.html
Adobe's tutorials are quick and to the point. If you want to learn a single skill better, start with those. I have found that their website is fairly poor at answering specific questions, especially if you don't know how to ask it. I have had better luck using Google to find answers.
When using Google, be aware that Premiere Elements has been around a long time. Some YouTube videos are out-of-date, but there is some excellent content there.
YouTube is probably the best source of information on techniques and equipment you can use.
Note: You can filter Google's results by date, which helps. I usually seek out an answer that is on Adobe's site, if there is one.
There actually is a manual for Premiere Elements. It isn't always easy to find. You can download it here. It is mostly the same content on Adobe's web page, minus the tutorial videos.
LinkedIn Learning (which all UC ANR employees have access to) has many classes on video creation and editing. These will be useful if you choose to use another editor such as Camtasia or the pro version of Premiere. There are subject covering audio recording and more advanced equipment available.
If you are stumped, feel free to send me an email with your question, and I will try to help out or direct you to someone who may know.