Over the last couple of years I’ve managed to learn quite a bit about making videos and how to do a considerable variety of special visual effects.  I think that all things considered (most notable of which is my almost eternally empty wallet), I have been able to make considerable progress from where I started.

My very first effort with Windows Movie maker was little more than a slide-show with a music track playing in the background.  Later I managed to create some very primitive pseudo animations by using CamStudio to do a screen capture of me dragging some pictures across the recording area and then importing that into windows movie maker and putting it between a couple of brief slide shows.  It was better but to be honest, it still sucked out loud.

Then I got something that made things a little better, a webcam. though since it could only do 320 by 200 at 15 frames per second it wasn’t much better.  Later the equipment improved again with another camera that didn’t have a problem going 30 frames per second and even had over twice the resolution at 640 by 480.

Things got better in the software department with the addition of Wax 2.0, a freeware video editor that was light years ahead of Windows Movie maker in a lot of ways and also made it possible to not only do chroma key effects, but a lot more as well.  I still use wax today for some parts of effects that are too much of a pain in the backside to do otherwise and because while it’s no “particle illusion”, it does have a particle generator that is capable of quite a bit if you spend enough time tweaking it and I have occasionally used it to create a “particle effect” layer or three to use in videos.

Then along came Sony Vegas which was spelled the end of my use of Windows Movie maker almost entirely.  Chroma key became super easy as long as I had decent lighting, It didn’t take too long before I learned how to make basic use of the color corrector which made things look better overall.  And of course there’s dozens of effects tutorials on YouTube from which I’ve learned how to do all sorts of cool tricks from lightsabers and teleporting to masking and track motion.

adobe after effects cs3 professionalHowever, as good as Vegas is, it still has some limitations and that’s where my next entry for the wish list comes in: After Effects CS3 Professional.  Based on the program’s capabilities and what I’ve seen in dozens of tutorials and demo reels, this program (and a computer capable of running it!!!) is definitely moving to the top of my “gotta have it” section at the top of the Christmas, birthday or any other gift giving occasion wish list of things I want because from what I’ve seen on net about it, even if it were on sale for seventy five percent off the regular price it would be a while before I could get it myself and then there’s the matter of having a computer that could run it.  I downloaded a demo version once and it refused to install because my computer didn’t meet it’s requirements.

For capabilities this program can, by itself, do probably 95% or more of what most video editing projects will need with the possible exception of certain effects that you would use particle illusion to create.  After Effects is high end software used by a lot of professionals and though I suppose I have to wait, I’m still itching to be able to put together a copy of After Effects, a computer that can *comfortably* run it, and about two thousand hours of time to learn it and make a few videos with it using every trick I can think of.

Technorati Tags: wish list, i want this, video software, adobe after effects, professional editing software, video editing software

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