August 30, 2006 4:00 AM PDT

YouTube directors ready for postproduction

Matt Harding had just finished recording himself dancing in front of some of the world's most recognizable places: the Golden Gate Bridge, the red dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia, and the great stone faces of Easter Island.

The creator of the video known as "Where the Hell is Matt?"--an inspirational montage that features Harding dancing a jig in 39 countries--was disappointed with the video's raw footage when he sat down to edit.

Images: Tools for YouTube directors

"It looked washed out," said Harding, 29. "But a friend told me about Sony's Vegas editing tool. It was great. I lowered the brightness and raised the contrast, and instead of a light orange, the dunes became burnt red, which is how they really look."

Consumer electronics and visual-effects creators are getting the message: The YouTube generation is clamoring for tools that can help polish and add a touch of Hollywood to their homemade videos. They're demanding ease of use, low prices and visual effects that wow audiences.

Most of the material found at Revver, Metacafe and YouTube typically doesn't include much in the way of production values. It's usually just some guy with a camera recording his dog, baby or girlfriend. But the numbers of people trying to infuse their work with a unique look and craftsmanship are growing, says YouTube videographer Stevie Ryan.

Ryan is an out-of-work actress living in Los Angeles whose videos are consistently among the most viewed and discussed on YouTube. She appears as different characters, such as the thickly accented Latina from East Los Angeles known as "Lil' Loca." She's also has appeared as Paris Hilton, a siren from Hollywood's silent-film era, and a rock-video glamour girl. She's able to pull this off in part because of the visual elements she's acquired.

"I go whole hog," the 22-year-old Ryan said.

She spends hours scouring the Web for video-effects software and has plunked down big money for digital fonts. She says she has to keep up with YouTube's growing list of serious video makers, who produce increasingly sophisticated clips.

The Bowiechick influence
One of the people Ryan singled out as one of YouTube's more artistic and technologically savvy videographers is Bowiechick.

Melody Oliveria, known as Bowiechick at YouTube, made at splash on the site last March when she uploaded "Breakup." As the self-described video blogger speaks to the camera about splitting with her ex, she simultaneously changes her on-screen appearance using computer graphics so that she looks like she's wearing Clark Kent glasses, or has strapped on a gas mask, or has transformed into a cat.

The visual effects she used, made by consumer products maker Logitech, caused a stir in the video-sharing community. The clip, viewed 1.4 million times since March 20, also appeared to briefly boost sales of Oliveria's Web camera, a Logitech Quickcam Orbit MP.

Known for making computer peripherals such as mice and keyboards, Logitech sees the rising popularity of video sharing as a potential boon, says Patrick Seybold, a company spokesman.

Last month, Logitech launched its most advanced Web cam yet, the $130 Quickcam Ultra Vision. In a statement, Logitech said that the camera offers twice the image clarity of other Web cams, "even our own."

The most expensive of Logitech's Web cams, the device is obviously targeting the video-sharing market. "The amazing growth of YouTube usage is driving the next wave of communication," Seybold said.

Jumpcut.com is also trying to tap into video sharing. The San Francisco-based company invites people to use its online editing tools for free. Users can cut their movie, add dissolves, sound effects, music, and in one of the coolest features, add clips from fellow video producers' libraries.

CONTINUED: Finding suitable editing tools…
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8 comments

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Would any videographer put up with terrible quality at YouTube?
Its true that its becoming easier and easier to get to grips with software that can add immense depth to the quality of your video and really start to generate something good to watch, but it is as soon as you start to do this that you realise that YouTube just is NOT the place to show them. The quality is diabolical, and most of the other sites you mention are no better.

There's no point adding jaw-dropping effects to you videos and then delivering pixelated rubbish. What we need is a quality service that really lets people enjoy what has been created, not dumb it down to a lowest common denominator flash skit. Anyone else feel this way?
Posted by LilyR (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
The way it goes.
So the tools are catching up to the medium, and now you're complaining that the medium doesn't live up to the results of the tools. Such is the nature of things. Continual progress, with the weak link moving from one step to the next as each improves.
Posted by skeptik (590 comments )
Link Flag
Vegas Video
I use Vegas as my video editor. I have tried several, most are buggy and crash a lot. I recommend that anyone who wants to edit should start with the Vegas and DVD production suite. You can by a limited home version for less than $90. The full up version costs over $600.
Posted by Vaasman (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
vegas
I love sony's Vegas, rock solid, intuitive to use, and more bells and whistles than you would ever use. I've used Avid, Media100, Final Cut Pro as a professional editor in TV+doc production for years, they offer nothing that you can't do with ease on Vegas. It's simply the next brilliant phase of digital image evolution. *two thumbs up*
Posted by garrywdm (44 comments )
Link Flag
GET Vegas Home PLATINUM for HD
The latest release of the Home version of sony vegas platinum is $129 List Price.

The platinum includes tools for importing HDV.

I have been using vegas to extract stills for my websites.

Prior to getting vegas, i struggled with Adobe Premire for 10 years and never really got the hang of it (its written in FILM editor terms.)

VEGAS, on the other hand is written around VIDEO editing procedures.

At first glance, they seem the same, but it was a world of difference for me!
Posted by disco-legend-zeke (448 comments )
Link Flag
Heads-up: Adorage Link Correction
Dude, it's adorage.DE, not .COM! Or prodad.de.
Posted by Deacon Blues (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
viva vegas
I love sony's Vegas, rock solid, intuitive to use, and more bells and whistles than you would ever use. I've used Avid, Media100, Final Cut Pro as a professional editor in TV+doc production for years, they offer nothing that you can't do with ease on Vegas. It's simply the next brilliant phase of digital image evolution. *two thumbs up*
Posted by garrywdm (44 comments )
Reply Link Flag
simple editing tools
i makes sense to use simple tools, just look at my.sportal.com
simple edit and mash up for free!
Posted by irfon (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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