Equipping a Let’s Play: Editing Software

Another short post this week, because where I splurged on a microphone and all its fixings, I did not spend one red cent on editing software.

Well, technically.

A few semesters ago, I had to get a video camera for school in order to record myself working with clients for my clinical supervision. After purchasing a $46 camcorder (or whatever the term for the digital version is), I was delighted/frightened to find that it came with a video editing software. I needed to edit some of my videos for presentations I had to give for my supervision and didn’t want to drop another $70 on Sony Movie Studio Any Version at the time, and so, bracing for impact, installed Corel VideoStudio Pro X8 on my poor unsuspecting laptop.

Imagine my surprise to find out it’s quite the little video-editing-software-that-could!

It’s a very simple software, and it’s hard to mess up. I’ve used it to edit every single one of my videos, and it does everything I need it to do. I can add and delete video clips, add pictures, overlay music or other recordings, and layer them with ease. The software has an option for adding text to your video, which, if you’ve been keeping up with the later videos of the let’s play you know I’ve been using to add little color commentary to my already-colorful commentary. Of course, you can also split clips and delete sections easily. Even though it didn’t come with a manual (what is with these things not coming with manuals??), I’ve been able to either figure out what I wanted to do by clicking around or with a quick internet search on the rare occasion I was really stumped.

corel5

In addition to video editing, Corel also has a “share” feature, in which you can format your video for use on the web, a DVD, mobile device, etc etc. I’ve only used the web option, but the program allows you to choose where you want to send the file, and renders pretty quickly, in my opinion, although I don’t have enough experience to compare its time to another program’s time. The finished videos can obviously be uploaded to YouTube with little trouble. I use the mp4 format, because that’s the format YouTube prefers, and I haven’t had any trouble with it.

corel6

The final “tab” in this program is the “capture” tab, which as the name implies lets you record whatever is going on on your computer screen, which is pretty cool. So you’re able to see whatever is happening on the screen! Hi guys! πŸ˜€ (Author’s note: This makes sense later).

corel3

I really put this thing through its paces for an upcoming video about Reaper indoctrination (which will be linked here once it goes live), but for your viewing pleasure, here’s a little video I threw together that has two video clips, a transition, some text, and an added soundtrack (aka, the one in the first picture above). It took me about 5-10 minutes from start to finish, and that included some fumbling around as I remembered to take screenshots.

Ta da!

And just so you guys know, to take the screen captures I’ve just been using the Snipping Tool that comes with Microsoft (yes, I do all of this on a PC).

Thumbnails

For the personalized thumbnails I’ve been using, I use GIMP, at the suggestion of Greg LeightonΒ and One Depressed Gamer. It’s great and I highly recommend it! It’s a free software available on the internet, and their site is hereΒ is you’re interested in finding out more. Very basically, it’s like a poor man’s Photoshop. I used Photoshop a lot in my various computer art classes in high school, and was able to pick up the basics again pretty easily, although GIMP has very nice online tutorials/manual for the uninitiated. Yes, “manual” is apparently the word of the day. At any rate, the program is simple to use and understand, and clicking around appears to be my preferred method of figuring things out, but save yourself some time and check out the tutorials if you’re not sure! πŸ™‚

Within the program, images can be layered to create unique images. For instance, in the thumbnail below, I took one of my screen captures from the game, edited out the planet that Shepard is actually looking at, and layered the AmbiGaming globe underneath. I also layered in the “Mass Effect” logo, and of course the text boxes also got their own layers. I have a “master copy” to edit, so all I have to do is change the number as episodes continue, and exporting (remember to export!) to a file like .png or .jpg takes seconds.

Mass Effect.png

Highly recommended!

I know I’m keeping you on pins and needles about my set-up, and I guess there’s not anything else I can procrastinate with… I’ll see if I can get some pictures (or maybe a drawing) of how it’s all put together for next week. Fair warning, I’m really swamped with my thesis and didn’t front-load these LP posts like I did for every other article going up this month (except this one), but I’ll do my best!

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon!
~ Athena


Is your subscription to our blog not enough? Do you want more AmbiGaming? Of course you do! So you should definitely subscribe to our Let’s Play adventures on YouTube and follow usΒ on Twitter @TheAmbiGamer!

17 comments

  1. Ok – so you’ve now inspired/guilt-ed me to start looking at “doing the videos and whatnot” myself, given you’ve shown that it’s not quite as impossibly opaque as I assumed it would be.

    Obviously I’ve still got to figure out a way around my unappealing Northern accent and hilariously nasal speaking voice, but still….baby steps and all that!

    On a *totes* unrelated note, do you think there’s a market for a guy doing Gaming commentary solely using a second-rate Sean Connery impression?

    Asking for a friend……πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to have inspired you! πŸ™‚ It’s definitely an attainable goal.

      Well, if a woman with a New Jersey accent and a nasally voice can do it, so can you!!

      As to your friend…. I definitely saw a muppet have a successful gaming channel, so anything is possible! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In conjunction with GIMP, I’ve used a website called Cooltext for titles and such things. There are loads of font and style options on there to play with. There are even a few game-related fonts, although I’m yet to find one similar to Mass Effect’s. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah finding a matching text was interesting. I’m still not 100% happy with this one, but it’s militarist and I’m already 21 videos in so… next time haha. I will definitely be checking out Cooltext for the next thumbnail I have to create! Thanks πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You certainly sound like a professional! I’m looking forward to seeing this awesome setup you keep mentioning πŸ™‚

    Good luck with that thesis!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you so much for these videos about how to do let’s plays! It’s very informative to a noob like me hehe. I was planning on giving the editing a whirl Windows Movie Maker, but this software looks really promising. I have other video editing I need to do besides future let’s plays, and I like things that are versatile.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome! I’m glad you’re finding them so helpful! I’m a noob, too, so I’m glad my bumbles are helping a fellow noob navigate through haha. I’ve surprisingly never used Windows Movie Maker, and it didn’t come installed on my laptop, and by the time I started this venture I already had Corel installed. So I unfortunately can’t compare the two… If you use Movie Maker, let me know if you like it! But yes, Corel is pretty versatile. I’m not any sort of big-shot video editor, but I’m impressed with everything I’ve been able to do with the program!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well you’ve convinced THIS noob that you’re not a noob lol. You’ve got videos out there that are good quality, so I think you’re maybe more of a noob plus :p

        WMM is very simple, but even still I’ve done a lot of googling and YouTube searching for how to do things. I can make slideshows pretty well, though I’m wish (and am sure) there’s a better way then me physically writing down the times. I also have Sony Vega that my sister in law’s husband gave me, but I haven’t even really looked at that yet. I’d need to REALLY google how to do anything with that.

        I think with video editing you learn by necessity and experience like anything else. I’m going to be taking a crash course soon since one of my next projects is editing the nearly 200 videos on my iPhone :O

        I did throw Corel on my Amazon wish list, since it’s only around $40. That’s when my husband pointed out I have Sony Vega :p

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, it’s like we’re walking down the same road — I also use Corel X8 AND GiMP! (With the very occasional dash of Movie Maker.) Corel has so much functionality and it’s easy to use. It’s perfect enough for putting together videos, simple and complex. The only problem I have with it is that it occasionally crashes, so I’m super paranoid about saving my work.

    One commenter mentioned a website for fonts. I’ll throw out dafont.com as a great one for finding typography that mimics well many famous fonts. It’s a little intimidating to search through, since there are soooooo many fonts available, but it’s a lot of fun scrolling through its categories to see what’s there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha nice! Great minds and all that… πŸ™‚

      It’s definitely the little program that could! I didn’t think a program I got for “free” would do so much. But yes, it does tend to crash sometimes, particularly if I click on too many things too quickly, so saving often is a must. Should have mentioned that… πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for the font recommendation! I’ll have to check that one out, too! I’m always amazed by just *how many* fonts there are, so this sounds like an adventure!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Corel is pretty decent, I got it in an Amazon sale for Β£50 less than Sony Vegas and it does the job. I use Photoshop Elements for image/graphic creation and currently, map design for fantasy gaming, using the layers. All fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great! I’m always wary of software that is unexpectedly included with things, but I definitely love Corel! Of course Photoshop is fantastic and that’s really cool that you use it to create game maps!

      Like

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