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Making Videos on your Mac. The Essential Resources and more. PDF Print E-mail
Video
Written by Turtleknife   
Friday, 28 January 2011 16:40

These are the resources I use to create videos on my Mac. For the record I have an iMac, a MacBook Pro, and an iPhone which I also use sometimes for video recording. Most of my work is screencasting, or what I call ComboCasting because I like to combine a lot of real video footage with screen recordings. It just makes for more interesting productions.

So these are the products which I could be using on any given day, depending on the project.

 

Screenflow

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This is the best $99 you will spend on your Mac. This is the premiere screencast production software and can also double as a movie editor. It records your entire screen actions and then sends it directly to a project ready for editing. The layout is extremely simple, almost deceivingly so, but make no mistakes this is the most full featured screencast editor on the market and handles lengthy recording with ease.

Keynote

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You may already have this software as it is part of the iWorks bundle from Apple itself. Often referred to as PowerPoint for the Mac, Keynote offers an easier interface with more powerful features. It's actually kind of FUN to learn and use. Once familiar with this software you could even use it to create standard intros for a video series perhaps. Something like I did in the BlockheadPoker.com series.

GarageBand

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This is included on your Mac, so you already have it. But guess what? You don't have to be a musician to use this software, although that is its primary purpose. I use this software to record my audio tracks and then edit out my mistakes, correct the spacing, and choose the best version of sentences I have repeated.

There is also another use for non-musicians, and that is to create intros, outros and background music for your videos. I repeat that you do NOT have to be a musician to create some really fantastic sound tracks combining different beats, instruments and even sound effects. I created my own intros for these youtube videos for example > http://goo.gl/F0nFR http://goo.gl/AuFXp http://goo.gl/xjZB3 and http://goo.gl/7QVe0

Skitch

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This is going to surprise a lot of video producers but having a go-to image grabbing program while producing videos can save a lot of time. I particularly LOVE Skitch.com because I can grab a desktop image using the software, add annotations to it, and then drag it directly into screenflow. Its fast in a crazy way, and I rather much end up using it on every video project.

One of the best uses for adding images to your videos is to cover up for minor errors made in your original recording, or adding some content you forgot to record in the first place. Trust me when I tell you this comes up often in productions.

Headset

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Most of your audio recordings will be done with a microphone and headset. Unless you have a sound booth at home, this is your best and most convenient option. Logitec is a good bet for quality recording but expect to pay at least $75 for the quality you will need. Don't go cheap on these because you will just end up going to a higher quality at a later date anyway. Audio quality does not get the attention it deserves from new screencasters.

Not essential, but more stuff for later.

After you get some experience in screencasting, your productions are naturally going to start to improve and your awareness of what other screencasters are doing will as well. You will start to take ideas from others and and even come up with some of your own, leading to a more professional and recognizable style of work. So as the products above are essential to getting started, these others may be products you will invest in later on.

Photoshop

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The professionals choice and industry standard for graphic and image creation and editing. Yes it is expensive but you can try and find an older version on eBay or another old computer. I still use CS3 and for video image editing purposes, it does just fine for me. One of the reasons using Photoshop is the thing to do, is because your videos for yourself, or even a client (when you get really good) will require the use of logos and color themes for consistent branding. In fact, when someone send you a graphic file, they will often just assume you have photoshop and send a .psd formatted graphic.

At the very least you will have to pick up a free image editing program for the Mac... like Gimp perhaps.

Adobe SoundBooth

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This software allows for a second stage of editing for me, and I have come to rely on it for professional sounding audio tracks. One of it's best features is a graphical representation of the audio file that allows you to select sounds or noises from the original recording to create crisp, clear audio tracks. You do this by using a lasso tool similar to that of graphic editing programs to visually remove sounds that are often easily identifiable.

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For example, you do not have to be an audio expert to identify these unflattering mouth noises in the recording. This may seem tedious at first, but you get really quick at identifying unwanted sounds using this visual approach.

In fact, most of your recordings done on screenflow or Garage Band will be just fine and will not require further editing. However, once you start making professional videos for other clients and getting paid for it, I feel SoundBooth is a requirement. I think it's about $200 bucks, but I am using and old CS3 version I bought as a suite in an old Mac on Craiglslist. Works just fine for me.

iSkySoft

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This is a video converter for the Mac that brings in ANY type of video file and compresses it to a common frame rate, dimension and format. This is REALLY important to do if you have multiple sources of video footage working in the same project. For example if you have let's say a Sanyo video camera and some iPhone footage to combine in your screencast recording, well let me tell you that headaches due to crashing are virtually guaranteed.

That's because your video editor and computer are both trying to scrub through video formats that are completely different and largely incompatible. This software will also negate any concerns you have about buying a new camera that you think is not compatible with your software. Just extract the files from your video camera and drop them into iSkySoft, then convert. I usually convert all of my videos to HD .264 .mov with an aspect ratio of 1280X720. This is perfect for HD uploading to youtube.

Adobe After Effects

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This professional software is where many of those awesome effects you see in movie/video trailers come from. Also if you search Youtube for Kinetic Typography, you will see Adobe After Effects in action. This software requires training to be sure, and Ok, admittedly Adobe After Effects is over-the-top for your basic screencasting skill set, but just hear me out. You don't have to be an After Effects Master to use it the way I do.

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You see I purchase After Effects intros from professional designers and just customize them for the particular video I may be working on. If you go to VideoHive.net you will see all kinds of After Effects intros for sale there for like the price of a Big Mac Combo.

Lynda.com

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I LOVE this woman... err.. website. Video training website that is just bursting with training on virtually any kind of production software you can think of. The instructors are outrageously professional and well chosen for their particular skills. A lot of content on this site is FREE, so you can get a good feel as to if the course or lesson can help you. Just think about how may reference books you buy during the year and think nothing of it. Well stop that, because if you want know anything about the internet and your computer pay the annual subscription and just explore the mass of resources this site has to offer.

From HTML basics to advanced CSS to anything ADOBE and screencasting skills, this is a must for people wanting to advance their skills. This is also an excellent resource if you have kids in high school or college that need to crash course a certian piece of software. Not a week goes by without me logging in to this site to find out how to something new in a certain piece of software.

In Summary

Well the second part of this list is more of personal tatse and experience and as well many software updates happen that make for industry standards to change rather quickly. These are basically what I use now in my business. I mostly make videos for my own poker training series, but I do take on work by request through my website ComboCasting.com. Now I am not saying that here now for additional work, but more so to let you know that by using some of these tools above, it is easy to find video work online.

Just start putting some projects together for yourself, even if small, and improve on every video you make by adding a new technique or effect. What I do is keep my eyes open for other videos and screencasters work and I make a note of what I liked about it, and ask myself how can I do the same thing, or even better. Somewhat like i did in this screenflow video tutorial here .

Also, don't feel bad about poor quality productions. At least you are trying because most people feel they are not qualified to be making videos. Trust me, I have had my share of horrid videos too. You just gotta get over it and get better each video.