It’s obvious the film industry has changed significantly in the past decade. Recent innovations like the trend to shoot Digital Video instead of film and the progression of CGI has opened new worlds of possibility for the independent filmmaker. Very few individuals could afford to make high quality films 10 – 15 years ago, but that’s all changed. Creative auteurs can now produce quality movies and videos from the convenience of their very own homes using equipment that’s affordable. And now, with vehicles to show the world their work like YouTube and other similar sites, everything from pre-production to distribution can be done from the filmmaker’s bedroom. Here’s what you need to set up your own multimedia editing bay in a spare room: First, you’ll be buying equipment, so you’ll need something to put that equipment on. We found excellent, high quality multimedia tables at Versa Products, Inc. The tables are customizable for the specific equipment you plan to buy, ship for free, and carry a lifetime warranty. Okay, now for the equipment. You’ll first need a camcorder to record the images you plan to edit together. We found mini DV camcorders on ebay starting as low as $55.00. Pawn shops are also a great place to find affordable electronic equipment, or you can go for one with a guarantee and buy brand new from retailers like Best Buy. Next, you’ll need a computer that’s capable of NLE (Non-Linear Editing). Many home PCs are already adequate, but if you’re in the market to buy a new one, take some time to check out reviews in magazines like PC World to get a feel for the system you want to purchase. The faster the system, the easier your life will be once you begin to edit footage. In addition to being fast, you need a computer with a considerable amount of memory. We suggest at least 256MB of RAM, and more is most likely better. Along with the computer itself, you’ll need a decent monitor (the bigger, the better) for clear editing. Remember, once the video is produced, it may be watched on a television screen that could be 50 inches or more. Imperfections are much easier to see when magnified that big, so it’s important that you edit on a clear, large screen monitor so there won’t be any surprises once it hits the “big screen” in your living room. You’ll also need to download the software that allows you to edit. Media Studio Pro 6.5 is accepted as industry standard, although there are others that do the same thing. In addition to the software, you’ll need a FireWire card which allows you to transfer the shot footage from your camcorder to the PC. The software will then allow you to manipulate the footage and begin editing. Once you have all of this, you’ll be able to create your masterpiece. But then what? While it’s possible to upload the completed video online, you should consider in advance if you’re going to want to put it on DVD and make multiple copies of those DVDs. If so, you’ll need one last piece of equipment: a DVD burner or a CD burner if you plan to make CD-Roms. Setting up a home video editing bay isn’t the simplest thing in the world, and learning from your mistakes can be expected. But it’s also not such a daunting task that it shouldn’t be taken on by the amateur. At each step of the way, research the best equipment and software for your own specific purposes and upgrade when you have the time and money to do so. And most of all, enjoy what you’re doing. Be creative and have fun.
Post Production Studios: On Their Way Out