Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lessons learned from filming Labyrinth of Flame's Kickstarter video (one day until launch!)

T minus one day and counting…The Labyrinth of Flame's Kickstarter goes live tomorrow, Tues Feb 17!
Since I spent the last few days editing and preparing the project video – my first time video editing! – I thought I’d share some of the lessons I learned. 

Screencap from my video - filming made a great excuse to spend a day in the mountains!

1)      Mountains make for impressive background scenery, but it’s really damn hard to talk loud enough to be heard over howling wind.  My husband and I shot a bunch of video up at the ice-covered lake pictured above…and had to throw out half of the footage because of wind noise that couldn’t be filtered out.  I could’ve tried to overdub the audio, but that’s startlingly hard to get right – our brains are excellent at detecting a mismatch between lip movement and audio.

2)      If you ARE filming outdoors and need to have your speech clear, stand CLOSE to the camera.  Way closer than you think necessary or feel comfortable with!   

3)      Shoot LOTS of footage.  Thank God, in the mountains we did at least 3 takes of everything.  That meant I was able to use some of the footage, since the wind wasn’t constant.  We should have shot more, but we were limited on time - we had to get back to Boulder before my son got out of school for the day!

4)      Find video editing software that’s a) not so simple you can’t properly stitch clips together and record voiceover audio, and b) not so complex it’ll take you weeks to learn how to do anything with it.  After a few frustrating attempts with Windows Live Movie Maker, which I found too simple to allow proper editing, and an aborted attempt with Camtasia (which is powerful but designed more for business applications),  I settled on Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum, which worked great.   Not so complex that a newbie to video editing like me couldn’t jump in and use it, yet powerful enough to do what I wanted. 

5)      Trial versions of software are your friend.  (Sony Vegas Movie Studio allows a free 30-day trial. YAY.)

6)    Youtube tutorials on how to do specific tasks with software are even more your friend. (I found a great set of tutorials on youtube about how to use Movie Studio, and it was SO helpful.  Bless the tutorial makers, for they shall save you hours of time.)

7)    Check your format!  Your camera probably records in 16:9 aspect ratio.  Kickstarter requires 4:3.  Don’t be like me and edit up an entire draft of the video and ONLY THEN realize that it needs to be in 4:3.  (Changing the aspect ratio itself is no sweat in a video editor, but if you’ve overlaid text or used pan/zoom effects, they’re likely to look different than you wanted after the change.  Which means you’ll have to go back and re-do them all, arrrgh.)         

8)    Don't forget to have some fun!  If you’re a newbie to film editing like me, doesn't matter how good your editing software is, you’re not likely to produce some super-slick video that could’ve been made by a Hollywood pro.  Instead I did my best to show my very real enthusiasm for the Shattered Sigil series and have a good time filming.  That way, regardless of what happens with the Kickstarter, at least my husband and I can look back on an awesome day we spent in the mountains and giggle over the film outtakes.  Ha, and when the kickstarter goes live tomorrow, you can judge for yourself how well I did with my first-ever movie.


  1. What a view!

    Thanks for the tip on Sony Vegas, and yes, tutorial makers are the blessings of the web. From Photoshop to fitted sheets, they've helped me many times.

    Looking forward to the finished video!

    1. Fitted sheets, huh? That is a use I had not considered. :)

  2. - filming made a great excuse to spend a day in the mountains!

    That IS such a view. Looking forward to the video, and putting my money down and supporting your kickstarter

  3. Rooting for you, Courtney! I'll send as much traffic your way as I can.

    1. Thanks, Evie! The help will be much appreciated. :)