The Friday Roundup – Corel VideoStudio 2019 Released and You Don’t Need More Stuff!

Humorous image of man in desert searching for more video transitions and effects.

Take your Sound Design to the Next Level

A very common set of questions I get on this site and I see on many video editing forums is, “Where can I get more… (insert appropriate asset here) for my projects.

This kind of request generally covers the entire range of just about anything you can add to a video.

More transitions, more sound effects, more music, more preset masks, more, more more!

This question also rears its ugly head when I get questions from people regarding what video editing software they should choose.

The problem is that in both cases the search for “more stuff” is really a distraction and is a direct result of our being subjected to endless marketing campaigns.

The best software must have the most stuff, the problem with my projects is that I need more stuff to make them better.

All of this is a lie.

The amount of stuff you get with an editing program is irrelevant because all of them have so much stuff you will most likely never use 90% of it.

Why do they have so much stuff?

Because everyone else has so much stuff!

Here’s an example of just how crazy this is.

I recommend Filmora (My Review Here) as a great choice for the absolute beginner or the person who really wants to keep things simple.

The person who is not interested in all the wizzbang stuff but just wants to edit some projects to make videos.

That program offers the smallest amount of “stuff” yet…. You get: 185 transitions, 149 filters, 87 overlays, 163 graphical elements, 20 split screen effects presets, 51 audio clips including 25 sound effects.

All the others have WAY MORE than that!

So if you are feeling the need for more stuff fight that urge and do this instead.

Go into your effects, transitions or whatever you think you need more of and experiment with the settings on offer in each of them.

What you will find is that the majority of them can actually be adjusted in many, many ways to create brand new stuff!

The video below just gives one example of doing this with audio files.

Introducing Corel VideoStudio 2019

This week Corel have released the 2019 version of VideoStudio.

In an act of pure creative genius they have named it, VideoStudio 2019!

They have retained the two tier levels of the software with the Pro version being the simpler one and the Ultimate version being more… ultimate!

New in this version is the addition to the Color module of Color Grading as well as added controls for finer adjustments.

They have also added custom transitions giving the ability to create your own transition from existing footage and mercifully lower your reliance on cheesy pre-packaged ones.

VideoStudio could always achieve a split screen effect but this year they have added keyframing to the operation as well as the ability to customize how the split screen appears.

There are a few other new features as well as some of the existing ones being upgraded or improved.

Overall this looks like a pretty good update and so far there has been no yelling, screaming or tears before bedtime over on their User to User forums!

Hopefully I will have a complete review up on the site by next week.

Corel VideoStudio Review

Other Updates This Week

In other update news users of PowerDirector 17 should be aware that a patch has been released this week addressing a few glitches so you may want to go and get that installed.

PowerDirector Review

Magix have released the 2019 version of Vegas Movie Studio taking that one to version 16.

Movie Studio review

Free Stuff!

The link below leads to a collection page with subsequent links to a whole range of site offering free LUTs.

If your editing software can make use of LUTs then grabbing a bunch of free ones and having a play with them is a great way to get started.

Be warned though that some of the sites being linked to require a sign-up to get the free LUTs whilst others do not.

And while we are at it, woohoo, more free stuff!

These are exactly as advertised being 35 texture overlays you can download for free and use in your editing software of choice.

Nothing much else to say about it really! No sign-up or emails addresses necessary.

PowerDirector – Creating a Dolly-zoom or Vertigo Effect

A dolly zoom or Vertigo effect is probably an effect you have seen before but never really knew what it was that you were looking at!

So directly beneath my blurb here there are two videos.

The top one is just a video showing the effect in a few well known movies so you can get the idea of what we are dealing with here.

Most notably the first clip is from an Alfred Hitchcock movie, Psycho.

Hitchcock was very fond of using the effect and the reason a dolly zoom is often referred to as the “Vertigo” effect is because it was first used by Hitchcock’s cameramen Irmin Roberts in the film Vertigo.

To correctly achieve the effect the camera has to be mounted on a dolly or similar arrangement and is slowly moved closer and closer to the subject as the shot unfolds.

At the same time the camera is being zoomed out so you end up with an effect where the subject seems to stay the same while the background seems to be zooming in or out.

It is quite an unnerving effect but pretty effective.

You can replicate the effect in software but bear in mind it really can only be done with a shot taken specifically for that purpose.

VEGAS Pro Creating L and J Cuts

This is a simple tutorial using Vegas Pro on how to execute J-cuts and L-cuts.

The reason I am including it is because it is one of the most straightforward ones I have seen that shows the technique, why it is used and why they are called that.

Strategy for Launching a New YouTube Channel

So this is a pretty specific video for anyone wanting to start a channel on YouTube or has already started one and is looking to some traction.

The video itself is around an hour long and pretty much covers everything you need to know to get started towards being successful on that platform.

If this really is something you want to do then I would urge you to watch the entire video start to finish.

You simply cannot load up a few videos on YouTube anymore and expect anything at all to happen.

The platform does not work that way these days and actually has not worked that way for a long, long time.

Success on YouTube depends on a number of very specific factors and until you get all those ducks lined up in a row you will struggle.

Lyric Videos with Motion Graphics – Filmora9 & FilmoraPro Tutorial

OK so before you check out this video on creating motion graphics I think a couple of warnings are in order!

The first and most important is that the guy doing the demo is going really, really fast!

I mean he is just ripping through the steps at a frightening pace!

So if you are interested in learning the techniques shown be prepared to stop, rewind and re-watch as each part unfolds.

The second point is that the tutorial is being done using Filmora9 as well as Filmora Pro and these are very different programs in their feature set and layout.

It is a good example of the fact that most video editors have very similar features but slightly different layouts.

The thing to learn here is that the important part is the technique or effect being achieved.

Differences in user interface layouts are not that important.

How to Make a Boomerang Video without Instagram | Filmora9 Tutorial

Hey! All the cool kids are doing it on Instagram so it must be good right?

Anyway if you are wanting to jump on to the trend of making Boomerang videos but don’t really want to deal with the social pressure of Instagram here’s a tutorial on how to make them!

Yes! You too can making boomerang videos of your lunch to amaze your friends and make them envious of your awesome yet utterly fake lifestyle!

Original Image:

Exhausted Wanderer
By lassedesignen/Shutterstock

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What Covering Sundance Is Like

The Sundance Film Festival. It’s not what you’re thinking. It’s not small-town royalty. It’ not the luxurious exclusivity of Telluride (or what I hear of it, at least). There are beautiful houses, friendly people careening down snowy mountainsides, and restaurants with $10 beers. Otherwise, it’s just a small town. Primarily, it’s just a small town. Intimate is a good word for it. You see a lot of the same people. Different theaters become sociable characters in your brief, but seemingly eternal life there. A week or ten days, it doesn’t matter. You belong for a minute.

You develop routine—where you eat, what you prioritize (parties, films, writing, socializing, exploring,), how you exist. The frosty air is a constant, and thus, a non-factor. It reminded me a lot of summer camp. Film summer camp for adults. There is a palpable sense of community, which is typically an indicator of growth. Growth through conversation with people who aren’t like you and unknown films that fill you.

Before I continue, you should know that 2019 marked the year in which I both attended and covered my first Sundance. Someone who has attended Sundance for years has much more to offer as far as a holistic look at the festival goes. Go to them for questions and advice. I’m not writing about that. This isn’t a Sundance guide. It would be downright ignorant for me to believe that my lack of experience in any way competes with others’ wealth of experience. But there’s a certain potential for transparency in the account of a first-timer that couldn’t be achieved through the lens of a Sundance veteran. I have no history to draw on—no good years and bad years, conscious predispositions, festival wisdom, etc. I can speak to the experience of those of you have never been because three weeks ago, I hadn’t either.

I started off wide-eyed like anyone in my position probably would, and almost immediately fell into the groove. Through my eyes, the festival went through a lightning-quick transition from extra-terrestrial to mundane in the sense that three days in, I’d already seen twelve films and written about two of them. But that transition would’ve been infinitely less smooth if not for the host of experienced critics I stayed with, some of whom were in their 20th year of coverage.

A day in the life of a critic covering the festival for the first time looks something like this. You wake up after a late night doing anything movie-related—watching midnight thriller/horrors at “The Library” (a literal library jam-packed with genre junkies that is by far the least theatrical of all venues), drinking local beer and talking about actors’ careers, sipping whiskey and riffing your way through movie geek games, rush-writing a review of a film you can’t get off your mind, going to a premiere after party, etc.

You wake up with little sleep under your belt and probably a cold. You’re always up early to cash in on the futile concept that you might possibly “get ahead.” But it’s a necessary futility because if you don’t chase it, you’ll always be that much more behind. So you groggily get out of bed with five hours of rest to finish writing, to see an 8:30am movie, or to make sure you get some food in your system before you’re stuck in a three-in-a-row rut that doesn’t allow time for food until dinner.

Then, to put it most simply, you watch a shit ton of movies. I watched a minimum of three a day and did four on most days. You make a schedule before you go, but it’s always changing. You’re constantly solving the puzzle that is your own filmgoing schedule. Each person has a batch of movies they consider must-sees, the kind they wouldn’t miss even if Riley Keough asked them out to lunch on her dime (to be clear, that sort of thing doesn’t happen, but you get the gist). And everyone has an equally small pool of films that are of absolutely zero interest to them. But the overwhelming majority fall into a middling realm of intrigue. Maybe you’re drawn to the personnel or the style or just the still, but other aspects seem questionable. Or maybe you just don’t have enough information to know at all. So you start knocking out which ones are most interesting to you and in the meantime the buzz begins to grow.

The Sundance “buzz” you hear about is real, but underwhelmingly named. It needs a new moniker. It’s an incessant earthquake, a way of being, the pounding heart of the social structure that makes up the event. It invades every crack of the entire town, thick enough to warrant a viscosity measurement. You can’t take a shit without hearing what people thought about Netflix’s newest purchase or some dissenting opinion on the hottest film or the name of a breakout writer-director.

Writing reviews in anything but total isolation can drive you crazy at times. You’re 50 words into the plot summary only to realize you’ve blended eight movies: “Adam Driver plays his own father—a ‘house tuner’ robot who raised him as the only child on Earth after a mass extinction—in this rape-revenge tale that takes place in the high art scene of Los Angeles that’s about falling in love with a heroin addict and saying goodbye to your Chinese grandmother.”

But you’re at Sundance, so it’s hard to stay frustrated for too long. If you’re like me, you’re there because you’re magnetized to the world of film and everything it has to offer. So, you keep watching movies. And the buzz ends up being formative information for your ever-evolving schedule. Surprise greats develop a reputation and suddenly top your must-see list. Some with high expectations are universally maligned or just shrugged off and you decide you’ll wait for those to stream.

Others escape your grasp, and you become determined to work them into your schedule, eventually coming to terms with the fact that plenty won’t make it. Inevitably, you’ll see films that no one around you sees, everyone around you sees, you wish you didn’t see, and you wish you could see a second time. There will be films that you don’t get that everyone else loves and vice versa. By the end, you’ll have forgotten about certain films that premiered in the first couple days, as if they’re from a past festival. But as long as you stay warm, it’ll all be okay.

If you’re lucky like I gather I was, the sun shines strongly in the mornings and afternoons, and the icy cold is suddenly a frosty warmth. In sunlight, everything feels fresh. You have short conversations about what you’ve seen and what you’re seeing as you pass familiar faces in and around the theatres and more crowded parts of the city. I found a coffee shop up against some ski lifts closer to the center of town (Main Street, they call it) and made a habit of good coffee and efficient writing most mornings, followed by films interspersed with more writing and socializing.

You do a decent amount of waiting, but it’s not too bad. All the waiting takes place in big white “warming tents” crawling with volunteers, who are mostly friendly. Of course, there’s the occasional volunteer power trip, but what do you expect out of a group of over 2,000? I typically showed up 30 minutes before a film, but if I were especially concerned with what seat I got, I’d make it an hour. If I was especially careless, 15 minutes did the trick.

I saw more celebrities per capita than could possibly exist anywhere else, given how small the town is. It’s bizarre how casual something like sitting across the aisle from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, or in the seat directly behind Hilary Swank becomes. In context, it’s not noteworthy beyond a single mention. We wouldn’t have room to talk about anything else if we got stuck on celebrity sightings. On one day, in particular, I walked past or sat in the vicinity of Tessa Thompson no less than five times at HQ, the cozy lodge-like Park City Marriott that is briefly converted into the most A-list and press-trafficked hotel commons on the planet.

When I was writing this piece on cyclical violence in Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale, I was feverishly curious about Kent’s intentions. I sat on the second level of the HQ lobby, which overlooks the lobby’s main entrance, hacking my interpretations onto the page and wondering if Kent would approve only to look up in the middle and see Kent walk right inside. I was tempted to go down and barrage her with questions, but in better judgment, decided against it. While I was writing the first part of my review of The Farewell in the same place, different day, I nearly ran into Lulu Wang on my way to the bathroom. It was surreal. Even when the press started fleeing a week in and parts of the city developed creepy ghost town vibes, it was surreal. Theaters were still packed, and I was still passing Tessa Thompson in the halls.

It’s hard to know what the actual significance of a “first Sundance” is without knowing how I’ll feel in 3, 5, 10, or 20 years about the coveted festival. But I know Park City during Sundance is a wonderful little fairytale world of film that I want to return to. I was fortunate enough to stay in a terrific mid-century modern lodge-condo with deep red carpeting and 90-degree angles to-boot, an aesthetic I absolutely loved. But even if you end up in a motel outside of town, you should go. You won’t find another place with all of its particular quirks and nuances, where the popular world of film interest and indie filmmaking collide. I binged vitamin C gummies, drank more water than I ever have in ten days, lost four pounds in meals missed, watched 30 films, wrote over 12,000 words, and had an absolute blast. I highly recommend it.

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тerlin, I Love YouҠReview: Thereҳ Nothing to Love About the Latest уitiesҠAnthology Film

Why do good actors do bad movies? There are numerous possible answers to this question including financial necessity, returning a long-standing favor, and sheer boredom. But rarely (except in the case of Nicolas Cage) can a talented performer’s presence in an awful film be neatly and fully explained. Occasionally, their performance can improve a sub-par script, but rarely does a mediocre movie bring out the best in a skilled actor. Berlin, I Love You boasts a roster of talents that includes Helen Mirren, Diego LunaKeira Knightley, and more. Why would such competent performers participate in such an incompetent film?

The film provokes something unfamiliar and unsettling within, and by the film’s end viewers may find themselves gripped by an overwhelming jadedness, somehow exhausted and agitated at once. Somehow, Berlin, I Love You is almost enough to make you hate love. Thankfully, it only last through its hour-fifty-minute run-time.

But first, let’s acknowledge the good.

Berlin, I Love You is the latest installment of the Cities of Love franchise, preceded by Paris, je t’aime (2006), New York, I Love You (2008), and Rio, I Love You (2014). Each installment is an anthology film, comprised of multiple vignettes each helmed by a different director. The ensemble casts the Cities of Love films have recruited are often impressive, as are some of the directors (Alfonso Cuarón and the Coen Brothers, for example, participated in Paris, je t’aime). The intention of the Cities of Love franchise is genuinely admirable. It’s an artistic celebration of multiculturalism and a wholehearted endorsement of cultural exchange. Women and people of color helm many of the vignettes, some of them first-time directors. And the overall thematic thread of the franchiselove in all its forms across the world’s urban epicentersis delightful.

Berlin, I Love You does make one truly wise decision: it has only one director of photography, Kolja Brandt, overseeing the cinematography of every vignette. Where the first three Cities of Love films had multiple cinematographers, Berlin, I Love You maintains an impressively unified and rather lovely visual style thanks to Brandt. If anything, the film is undeniably well shot.

And, bless their hearts, Mirren and Knightley and Luna give it their all. The latter two have each other to play off of, and theirs is the best acted vignette of film’s ten in total. The reliably capable Iwan Rheon and Jim Sturgess also do their best with what they have while German actress Sibel Kekilli shines particularly brightly in her brief appearance.

We’ve now exhausted all there is to say about Berlin, I Love You that is relatively good. It’s time to get real.

Berlin, I Love You feels like a collection of student films slapped together haphazardly into a single movie. Each independent narrative, we’re assured, is sort-of connected: characters sometimes pass each other unknowingly on the street or in a bar, and half of the cast unites at the end of the film at a strange outdoor karaoke session. But beyond these tenuous links, the ten vignettes of Berlin, I Love You share nothing except a common setting and exceptionally bad, cliche-ridden writing.

Of all the sins Berlin, I Love You commits, perhaps the most egregious is its betrayal of its own namesake. (For a fun drinking game, try taking a shot every time someone says “Berlin.” You’ll be properly besoffen by minute thirty-two.) David Bowie once called Berlin “the greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine,” but you’d never know the depth of the city’s vibrant creative spirit from watching it sulk, dull and lifeless, in the background of Berlin, I Love You.

Across the board, the film underutilizes its setting. For all lip service the characters give Berlin, and the purportedly significant role it plays in many of their arcs (Sturgess’ character “came to Berlin to die,” Dianna Agron‘s “came to Berlin for a bit of a rebirth,” and so on), Berlin, I Love You might as well have been set anywhere. Characters sometimes vaguely refer to the city’s expansive history—there’s a weird Berlin Wall joke flung into one scene, a heavy-handed comment that Berlin “knows something about rebirth,” and a hazy Holocaust reference tucked into an exchange—but, overall, the film disrespects its titular backdrop by not bothering to mine it deeply enough for story and significance.

The fundamental project of the Cities of Love series is not only admirable but also rich with creative possibility. The anthology format can afford artistic and narrative freedom to filmmakers that a feature may not. But instead of taking advantage of this possibility, Berlin, I Love You squanders it by indulging in all the ways the format can be deficient.

Each vignette is too brief to feature any meaningful characterization or emotional arc; characters try to get our attention, earn our empathy, and then undergo some kind of meaningful change all in a matter of minutes. It just doesn’t work. When Sturgess finally finds his first post-heartbreak romance or Knightley finally reconciles with her mother, it’s impossible for us to care, as we’ve only just dropped into these people’s (deeply uninteresting) lives. There’s an odd and artless nature to the film with the painfully unsubtle and shockingly puerile “Me Three” segment illustrating that problem best. The vignette is perhaps the clumsiest cultural comment on the #MeToo movement you’re likely to see—it truly has to be seen to be believed.

There is so much more awfulness to mine here from the forced emotional beats and the hackneyed musical cues to the inconsistent voice-overs and the jarring distraction that is Mickey Rourke. There’s the feeling that most of the vignettes were penned by someone with a tenuous grasp of the English language and the realization that almost all the female love interests are stale manic pixie dream girls. The magnitude of Berlin, I Love You’s troubles can be best summarized by a single phrase scribbled in my notes: “holy fuck so bad.”

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The Friday Roundup – Stories, Audio Tips and Fades

Little girl annoyed at father trying to get the shot.

How To Tell A Story

One of the most difficult concepts to explain to new editors or video makers is the concept of story.

Go to just about any website or video channel on the subject of creating videos and inevitably there will be someone (like me) banging on about the importance of story.

Click here to see me banging on about story!

Now that’s all very well but to the newcomer who had just shot hours of footage on their family holiday the concept of story seems a little far fetched.

For me one way to look at it is the getting the idea that you are not “documenting” whatever it is that you are shooting.

What you are doing is shooting enough video footage so that when you get into the editing stage you are able to “represent” the event that you just shot.

So in that way you not documenting the kids party, you are piecing together footage that represents the kids party and the way to do that is to tell the story of the kids party.

The same goes for just about any video project you can think of.

Again, the problem is trying to help people “see” this concept with reality so, watch the video below for an almost perfect explanation of story.

How To Make Multicam Video In Powerdirector 17

Most fully loaded video editing software these days will come with a feature that first appeared a few years back called “multi-cam” editing.

The name may vary from product to product but the basic function is the same and it is a solution to a very real modern problem.

It is more than likely that when it comes time to editing together footage of an event you will have at your disposal assets from a number of different sources.

Put simply, everyone at the party has a smart phone and they are all probably going to be shooting something at some point!

Incorporating all that footage into one project can be a seriously slow and time consuming practice if you have to view every clip, load them all on to the timeline and start cutting it all together.

Enter the multi-cam editor!

These modules work in almost the exact same way that the switching desk works whenever you see a live production being broadcast.

In that situation all the cameras available are always on and shooting but what goes to air is determined by the director who is calling to switch from camera to camera.

Multi-cam editing mimics that so that all the footage is loaded into tracks within the module’s timeline and as they play through you can switch from clip to clip and it is a real time saver.

To check one out in real time watch the video below as it is done in CyberLink PowerDirector 17.

PowerDirector Review here.

Quick Tip: Music Editing for Film

This is an excellent excerpt from a larger editing course on working with audio in your video projects.

The reason I added it was that I have never seen this trick before and it is an awesome way to very simply create interest in an audio track.

Make Your Voice Sound Better

This is a good walk through of adjusting a voice track to make it sound a bit better.

I have a similar tutorial on this site called Cleaning A Voice Track With Audacity and you can check that out HERE.

However this tutorial in another software goes through the effect a few others enhancers and filters have on an audio track and is worth taking a look at.

The tutorial itself is done in Premiere Pro but don’t be thrown by that.

If your video editing software has advanced audio capabilities you will most likely have the same effects to choose from and if not, the free program Audacity definitely will have you covered.

Don’t focus too much on the actual adjustments or the names of the effects being used because they can vary from software to software.

Just concentrate on the sequence of adjustment and most importantly follow the advice of having a play around with the effects in question to get a good result rather than rely on presets or copying the settings used in the video.

Bear in mind that the changes and results you get by applying effects in audio editing software can vary wildly depending on the software and the source audio files you are working with.

PowerDirector – Multiple Techniques for Fade Transitions – Part 1

I have added a couple of videos below from Sharper Turtle covering the subject of fade transitions.

Now on the surface of it you may think all fades were created equal so you add a fade transition and life goes on!

Well the truth of the matter is that you don’t necessarily need to use a preset fade transition to achieve a fade transition in the first place but more importantly the nature or feel of that transition can result in surprisingly different effects.

PowerDirector – Multiple Techniques for Fade Transitions – Part 2

Smooth “Rapid Zoom Sequence” Tutorial

The rapid zoom effect is a technique that has begun to appear more frequently especially on YouTube videos.

Simply put it is a sequence of clips that are individually only a few seconds long making an overall clip that acts like a sort of extended transition.

Each individual clip is set to zoom in as it plays and to really get the idea it is probably best to just check the sequence in the video below.

Like most wizz bang sequences of this nature the concept of less is more really has to be applied!

You can use a zoom sequence occasionally for impact and it works very well… just don’t go using it all the time as it gets very old, very fast!

Advanced Color Grading & Color Correction – FilmoraPro

Although I am sure the people at Filmora intended the video below to be a great promotion for their new Pro version and an excellent resource for their existing users… turns out it is so much more than that!

In going through the color correction and color grading modules of the software the tutorial actually offers an excellent insight into what all the settings are and how they all work together and not just in Filmora.

The information in this video applies to any color correction or color grading software module and even gives an awesome explanation of scopes which really are the keys to this activity.

Original Image: Little Girl Playing On Beach By Poznyakov/Shutterstock

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