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Frequently Asked Questions
about making Music Videos



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1. What are the general steps for making music videos?
2. If I want to make another kind of video. Will this FAQ help me?
3. What software do you use to make videos?
4. If I want to try my hand at making a music video, what is a good way to start?
5. How long does it take to make a music video?
6. Video clips generally come with their own audio. How do you get a song to play over them?
7. Is it hard to get the images synchronized to the music?
8. What type of songs make good videos?
9. Any other tips or suggestions you'd like to offer?
10. Let's move on to technical questions. Do you need a lot of disc space?
11. About how much space does each second of video take up?
12. Let's talk software. Tell me about Windows Photo Story 3.
13. Where would I get Windows Photo Story 3 if I wanted to try it?
14. Any tips on where I might learn more about it?
15. Cool! Now on to that next software you mentioned, Windows Movie Maker.
16. You say I have WMM on my computer? Where?
17. Ok. Now what about Sony Vegas?
18. Where do I get Sony Vegas?
19. Where can I learn more about it?
20. Do you have to rip a DVD in order to make a vid of it? Do you have to rip the whole thing?
21. Can DVD Decrypter do just a section too?
22. What about ImTooRipper?
23. Is it illegal to make music videos?












1. What are the general steps for making music videos?
There are four basic steps for creating a music video. Each step can be broken down even more.
1. Choosing a song. The song is the engine that drives your video.
2. Deciding if your video will be a slide show, a series of video clips or a combination of both.
3. Collecting the media to illustrate your song choice.
4. Putting the media to the music.


2. If I want to make another kind of video. Will this FAQ help me?
Up to a point, yes. It is our intent here to look at the basics for creating a music video: taking a song and choosing photos, screen captures, graphics, video clips or any other kind of visual media and putting them to the music. Some of the steps involved may apply to what you want to do. Use what you can; skip the rest. There are as many kinds and ways of making videos as can be imagined! We wholeheartedly encourage you to let your imagination run wild!


3. What software do you use to make videos?
You can use free software such as Windows Photo Story 3, or Windows Movie Maker, which is a free program from Microsoft, or a commercial software such as Sony Vegas. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.


4. If I want to try my hand at making a music video, what is a good way to start?
You could begin by making simple slideshows using Photo Story 3 and WMM. All you need is a song and some screen captures which are readily available on various BATB websites, such as CABB. Or if you have the BATB DVDs you might prefer the option of capturing your own screen shots. There is a little free program, MWSnap. http://www.download.com/MWSnap/3000-2347_4-10544482.html Works like a charm. After you have your screen captures, you can play around with the FX features and the transitions. Once you are familiar with the software, you can move on to using video clips.


5. How long does it take to make a music video?
There are many factors that determine how long it takes to make a video, including your experience level, how much natural affinity you have for the process, how long the vid is, how much of a perfectionist you are, how many times WMM crashes, and how much time you spend cursing WMM before you learn to save more often.


6. Video clips generally come with their own audio. How do you get a song to play over them?
In WMM, you can mute the audio track that comes with the video clip. Then you can just add the song you have chosen to the audio/music track. Sony Vegas allows you to simply delete the audio track.


7. Is it hard to get the images synchronized to the music?
Sometimes. Photo Story 3 does not have a visual audio track so after you get all the photos into the “filmstrip” and you have imported the song, you have to go back and adjust the timing of the pictures to the beat of the music. WMM and Sony Vegas both have visual audio tracks so you can “see” the music. When it comes to timing the photos and clips, that is a big advantage. Good timing definitely adds to the enjoyment of a video.


8. What type of songs make good videos?
There are songs that you hear and know they will make a good video. Many songs have an element of Beauty and the Beast to them. If the song has lyrics, you have to be able to illustrate the story, the idea or the feeling in some way.



Instrumentals are in some ways easier and in other ways more difficult. There is no story line to consider. You can just have fun using the melody for a slide show or capturing a feeling. They can be more difficult because there is no outline and it is up to you to create something from the ground up to be enjoyable and interesting.



9. Any other tips or suggestions you'd like to offer?
Yes. Include credits at the end of your vid: the song title and artist, an acknowledgment of your video or slide material, and your own name or pseudonym. You can even include the song lyrics if you like. You might want to mention it was made for entertainment purposes only or no copyright infringement intended.


10. Let's move on to technical questions. Do you need a lot of disc space?
Having enough space on your hard drive is important and so is having enough RAM. Speed is also a factor. Here are the system requirements for WMM 2.1: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/updates/moviemaker2.mspx


11. About how much space does each second of video take up?
It varies depending on what format you use. Using AoA DVD Ripper, a 10 second AVI file is just over 4MB. So you can see that you want to keep your selections as short and precise as possible. One suggestion is to render your clips and the final video to a WMV format which compresses them. So a 35 second avi file, which is 14.3 MB, becomes a 3.95 MB WMV file. There is one drawback to compressing your video clips. You do lose some clarity.


12. Let's talk software. Tell me about Windows Photo Story 3.
Photo Story 3 is a great software for making slide shows. It's simple and very easy to use. A little experimentation and you'll have it mastered - no, really!

Some advantages to this program:
1. Great panning and zooming of photos.
2. Timing is very flexible. You can change photos every .01 seconds!
3. Nice variety of transitions.
4. Simple to use.
5. Free.

Disadvantages:
1. Can't use video clips.
2. Limited effects and title variations.
3. No visual audio track



13. Where would I get Windows Photo Story 3 if I wanted to try it?
It's a free download from Microsoft! Get it here: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/digitalphotography/photostory/default.mspx


14. Any tips on where I might learn more about it?
This website has a very nice in-depth beginner's tutorial. http://www.windowsphotostory.com/


15. Cool! Now on to that next software you mentioned, Windows Movie Maker.
WMM is also a nice program. It can handle both photos and video clips. When working in WMM... Save early, safe often! For some reason, WMM likes to freeze up at the worst possible moments and you'll lose all your work since your last save. So that is the catch phrase for this software: SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!

Advantages of Windows Movie Maker
1. If you have Windows XP, you most likely have this software on your computer.
2. Fairly easy to use.
3. Handles both photos and video clips.
4. Can edit video clips after they are inserted in the timeline.
5. Visual audio track
6. Nice variety of effects and transitions
7. More title and credit options than Photo Story 3

Disadvantages
1. Program freezes up, although the new 2.1 version may have fixed that problem.
2. Limited panning and zooming feature.
3. Timing is not as flexible as Photo Story 3.


16. You say I have WMM on my computer? Where?
You can find it by clicking on "Programs" in the start up menu, then "Accessories" and then "Windows Movie Maker." If you don't find it, you can download it here: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/updates/moviemaker2.mspx
You can get an overview of the program here. http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/moviemaker/getstarted/default.mspx


17. Ok. Now what about Sony Vegas?
Among the many video editing software packages out there, Sony Vegas is highly recommended. It is not the most user friendly, but it has many editing options. Others are Adobe Premiere, Magix Movie Edit Pro and Roxio Easy Media Creator.


18. Where do I get Sony Vegas?
Start with various electronic stores such as Best Buy, Circuit City and others would carry some version. Otherwise here is the Sony online site: http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/products/vegasfamily.asp


19. Where can I learn more about it?
Here is a link with an overview and some features of the product: http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/products/product.asp?pid=446


20. Do you have to rip a DVD in order to make a vid of it? Do you have to rip the whole thing?
You have to rip a DVD unless you'd rather rip from VHS (in which case you need a capture device). Or unless you're making a slide show vid - no ripping necessary for that. With the right software, you can rip just the section you need from the DVD. There are a number of software programs that will allow you to rip video from a DVD.


21. Can DVD Decrypter do just a section too?
No, DVD Decrypter rips the whole DVD. But it's open source and free. Get it here, if you'd like to try it. http://www.mrbass.org/dvdrip/ You may also need Auto-GK to convert the .VOB files into .AVI. Get it here: http://www.autogk.me.uk/ Here's a nice tutorial about how to use DVD Decrypter and AutoGK. http://elliottback.com/wp/archives/2005/12/26/how-to-rip-a-dvd-a-tutorial/


22. What about ImTooRipper?
Its web site says it can rip just a section. It has a Buy Now link ($45) as well as a Free Download. It appears the free version can rip a 5-minute section. Not sure of the other differences. http://www.imtoo.com/


23. Is it illegal to make music videos?
There seems to be some disagreement about whether ripping DVDs is illegal. The MPAA thinks it's illegal, but the US laws known as "Fair Use" say that you can make copies for your own use of copyrighted works that you have purchased. Of course, usually when we make music videos, the whole point is to share them with others, so by doing that, yes, we enter illegal territory. The same considerations apply if you're using copyrighted music in your vid. Fannish violations such as music videos are widely ignored by the powers that be, but we can of course make no guarantees of that. Let your own personal code of ethics be your guide.