Tips from CyberLink on how to capture, edit and share your holiday memories in photos and video

Tips from CyberLink on how to capture, edit and share your holiday memories in photos and video

It’s that time of year were we take a ton photos and videos of friends and family and you want to get the best shots you can. Cyberlink’s Louis Chen, Senior Product Marketing Manager has put together the top 10 ways to best capture and edit your photos and videos.

PICTURES

Tip 1: Turn Off the Flash

If you are shooting indoors and there’s enough light, try turning OFF the flash to get more natural lighting and color.  Shoot photos near the windows to take advantage of available natural light!

Tip 2: Take Lots of Photos

Work quickly. Take plenty of shots. That will help to ensure you get just the right shot when everyone is in the best spirits – and have their eyes open.

Tip 3: Compose Great Shots

When taking holiday photos, try using the Rule of Thirds to position your subjects in your shots.  This technique dates back to ancient Greece and is a great way to make photos feel more dynamic.  When composing a scene, imagine two horizontal lines and two vertical lines dividing the frame into nine equal parts. Place your subject at any of the intersections where the lines meet.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Tip 4: Make Your Friends and Family Look Their “Holiday” Best

They say the camera doesn’t lie, but it’s nice to be able to show someone’s best side in a photo.  Using editing software tools can go a long way to brightening a smile, smoothing skin or shedding a few pounds.

Tip 5: Send Them Home with a Picture

Holiday entertaining is a big part of the season and it’s always nice to reward your guests with a memento of your time together.  Be sure to take plenty of shots when your friends are over and then spend a few moments picking out the best ones and fixing them up after the visit.  Then share over email or social mediums like Facebook.

Tip 6: Share the Year’s Highlights in a Slideshow

Slideshows are a wonderful way to share with friends during the holiday season.  And with the popularity of smartphones and tablets, you can take slideshows with you anywhere. Adding pan-and-zoom to slideshows makes them feel dynamic, as does adding music.  Most slideshows are about as long as a pop song so creating a soundtrack from something on your current playlist adds to the fun.  Include a title slide at the beginning of the slideshow to let everybody know the people or event that you are sharing.

Tip 7: Don’t Delete that Photo! 

Yes, it may be very dark and more than a little crooked, but there’s often a way to improve a poor shot. Almost every photo captures some special moment or memory, even the worst of your shots. Today’s software tools are  easy to use and are great for repairing basic photo problems like lighting and color balance.  Fixing up portraits by brightening smiles, smoothing out wrinkles and healing blemishes can be done with the click of a mouse.  Many modern image editors are also non-destructive so you don’t have to worry about ruining your original photos.  The Undo key is also good for experimenting with different looks.

Tip 8: Get Creative

Every once and in a while, it’s great to spend some time exploring the creative side of image editing.  Take ordinary photos and turn them into eye catching works of art with filters, special effects, compositing tools, frames, titles and bling highlights –  just to name a few.  Whether your artistic eye tends toward Andy Warhol-style pop art, Trey Ratcliff-type HDR wizardry or beyond, give yourself the chance to try something new and have some fun.

Tip 9: Banish Unseasonal Background Images from Photos

Sometimes you wind up with things in your photos that you just don’t want there:  power lines, objects or even people you’d rather not see.  Fortunately, there are simple and easy ways to remove unwanted objects from photos – which can now be found in a number of consumer editing packages.  You’ll be amazed what you can do in less than 5 minutes.  When removing objects from the foreground, be mindful of the background to ensure that you don’t stretch anything out of place.

Tip 10: Upgrade your Camera’s Lens – with Software

Lens correction helps make up for flaws found in nearly every photo. Imperfections include vignettes or dark areas near the corners of the frame, straight lines appearing curved and color fringes around edge detail as a result of chromatic distortion. Even though these problems don’t always jump out of the original photo, you can almost always see the difference when the corrections are made.

“According to National Geographic, there were approximately 3.5 trillion photos taken last year. The sophistication of today’s consumer digital cameras is creating an expectation for higher quality, professional-looking photos,” said Alice Chang, CEO of CyberLink. “Our Top 10 list was compiled based on the common questions and challenges we see among the more than two million consumers using our DirectorZone social community. The combination of these tips and intuitive photo editing software provides consumers with an exciting and effective way to make their holiday photos dazzle without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars.”

VIDEO

Whether you are looking at how to best capture and share a video of baby’s first Christmas or the excitement of a marriage proposal this holiday season, CyberLink, a provider of innovative media creation solutions, is making it easier to tell a compelling visual story with a new list of “Top 10 Tips and Tricks for Editing Your Holiday Videos,” released today. Designed to help consumers create highly captivating stories by using basic editing and finishing techniques, the tips are based on frequently asked questions from the more than two million consumers on the company’s DirectorZone social media site.

Tip 1: Tell a Story: In pictures or dialog, a good story makes all the difference

Whether you’re producing a blockbuster feature film or a home video to share with family and friends, a great story is the basis for any well-constructed video. Take the time to plan ahead, brainstorm, get inspired, discuss with others, share ideas, write out your thoughts and watch as it all comes together during the editing process.  Having a strong idea of the story you want to tell ahead of time makes the editing process a lot easier.

Tip 2: Get Organized: Keep your files and folders sorted on your hard drive

Don’t get caught up spending hours of your time looking for a misplaced file or a specific scene by digging through 30 hours of raw footage. Take the time at the beginning to create a folder structure that is easy for you to understand. Keep your files named for easy recognition.  For instance, a clip named “arrival-at-canyon.avi” is easier to recognize that “clip01.avi”. Keep a notebook to record time points in your footage to locate the specific scenes you’d like to use later.

Tip 3: Set the Pace: A video is like a song, it needs a rhythm

Editing isn’t just about cutting whenever you feel like it. It’s about creating a tempo that matches the tone and mood of your video project. Most editing software has beat markers, which automatically ensure that your cuts are timed with a rhythm and that there is a flow of picture and sound together.

Tip 4: Save Your Progress: Save, save, save and save again

This is perhaps one of the most overlooked and most under-practiced unwritten rules of video editing. Nothing is worse than losing your last two hours of work because of a power outage or system crash. Make sure to get in the habit of saving your project every five minutes or so. Another good idea is to save alternate versions from time to time as you progress through your project, just in case you change your mind and want to revert to a previous save point.  Then you don’t have to go back and make duplicate edits or cuts.

Tip 5: Be Precise: Make professional edits with precise keyframe controls and the trim tool

You want your project to be perfect. To achieve the desired result, take the time to get familiar with the keyframe control and the trim tool – they help to make very precise edits.  Keyframing helps to create visual effects and synchronizes them along the timeline, such as a fade from full color to black and white, or movement of an object along a path. It helps to make a scene more complete. Trim tools allow you to select the exact sections of your clip on a frame-by-frame basis for precise accuracy throughout the entire editing process.  It helps to eliminate the amateur look that many first time editors struggle with in the video creation process.

Tip 6: Don’t Be Afraid to Cut: A good idea in principle might not fit the final mold

Sometimes a scene might look great on paper, but could end up detracting from the final result if it doesn’t fit the tone or story. Even if it happens to be your favorite scene, don’t hesitate to cut it if you feel that it doesn’t fit with the rest of the video. You can always keep the clip to use as a “Director’s Cut Bonus” on the DVD, either as an outtake or worked into the extended version.

Tip 7: Keep It Simple: Don’t overdo it with effects

“Less is more” is always a good rule of thumb.  Everything you use – effects, titles, dissolves – needs to have a purpose that compliments your production. Going overboard with effects rarely ends in art. In most instances, a simple cut or dissolve will do the trick and will add quality to the appearance of your video.

Tip 8: Spend Time on Your Soundtrack: Complement your production with music and sound effects

Have you ever watched a movie or section of a movie with the sound turned off? In many cases, you can quickly determine the quality of the video editing by doing so. But even in the case of Hollywood productions, a simple sound effect or music cue can get you through an awkward edit. Try cutting on the sound of a door slamming, a dog barking, a car zooming by. Mask background noise in your scene with light music. Determine the right microphone setup for recording your own sound effects, or download and share sound effects.

Tip 9: Be Creative: Apply the final touches with creative Blu-ray and DVD menus

Once you’ve cut together the perfect project that you plan to burn to disc to save as a memory or share around for others to watch, make it really stand out by adding a creative DVD menu. The first impression is important, and the menu will be the first thing people see when they fire up your DVD.

Tip 10: Get Social: Upload your videos to social video websites including YouTube

With all the social sharing options available, and the billions of videos being watched daily, upload your video productions to YouTube, Vimeo or other popular video sharing websites. First, you’ll get some exposure. Second, you’ll get feedback from the comments which may have some good insight on ways to improve your future projects.

“You only get one chance to capture a pivotal moment on video and it’s not always perfect.  However, video editing software is more accessible and affordable for consumers, making it easier than ever to get that flawed shot as close to perfect as possible,” said Alice Chang, CEO of CyberLink.  “Whether it is removing background noise, stabilizing the camera bounce or just adding a bit of color to spice up a shot, we’re happy to be able to offer consumers 10 easy tips and tricks to create a more compelling story and video.”

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