How to make great sports video: File Size v Quality (compression/conversion software)
As the Northern Hemisphere winter sports season is about to get underway, I thought it would be useful to share some tips on how to optimise both video quality and file size.
Following on from my post on editing software I wanted to write about another good program that I have found very useful over the years when trying to produce quality sports video.
MPEG Streamclip is a great tool to convert video files into other formats that you may require. After editing footage for several years I have often come across problems to do with incompatible video files and MPEG Streamclip has frequently solved this problem by allowing me to convert files into other formats.
As you know from my previous posts I am a Mac user but where possible I will try to include Windows/PC alternatives when I talk about software, etc. Apologies though if I tend to talk from more of a Mac perspective!
The good news is that the program is free to download and is available for both Mac and Windows. (click appropriate link to start downloading)
Once you have opened the program you will see a basic window as shown in the screenshot below;
You can simply drag a video file into the square or chose File>Open Files to open your footage. From there, select ‘File’ again and you can export to a selection of user friendly presets, such as: Quicktime, DV, AVI & Mpeg4. If you are not familiar with file formats don’t worry the presets will automatically adjust to the best settings depending on your footage and you can tinker with the settings as shown in the screenshot below;
Generally, you will want to slide the quality to 100%, and you can adjust the video size on the left but overall the default settings will take care of things for you and you can click ‘Make Movie/MP4’ in the bottom right corner.
You can also choose to create just an audio file by choosing Export>Audio and export to ‘Other Formats’ is also an option to enable further format changes.
If you are looking to rip a game from a DVD then you can simply:
- Load up MPEG Streamclip and insert your DVD.
- Drag the DVD Disk icon on your desktop into the square
- Once loaded skim through the footage.
- Chose either an ‘in’ and ‘out’ point by adjusting the slider and pressing the ‘I’ or ‘O’ keys or you can just leave it and export the whole DVD as a file.
Often, choosing Export to Quicktime or MPEG4 will be fine, but you may want to play about with settings depending on the size of the movie file you create.
I have used MPEG Streamclip for several years now, quite often to deal with the Mac/PC compatibility crossover which can sometimes be a pain! It has also allowed me to rip footage from Match DVDs and put together packages for players who are after a highlight reel. It is also an option to store full games, that you may have on DVD, digitally on to your computer and upload them to the Coach Logic website.
[Extra Advice] Using Still Images in Video
As well as video and audio, you may want to include Still Images that you can annotate in a program such as Photoshop and then insert them into a video so you can emphasise a point better to your team.
The process is simple and most editing software will support multiple image formats, but .jpeg files are the best way to go.
If you are filming a game from high up you will have a better view to analyse and breakdown footage. If your club has the facilities to pause video and annotate on a digital whiteboard then great, but if not you can easily edit and insert annotated images.
Firstly, if you are reviewing a game on your computer you can pause the video and take a screenshot on your computer by holding:
cmd, shift and 3 (takes complete screenshot)
or you can use;
cmd, shift and 4 (allows you to select part of the screen to capture).
Windows (Win) and Print Screen (PrtScr) Button (takes a complete screenshot)
or you can use;
The ‘snipping tool’ which is found via: Start – All Programs – Accessories (allows you to select part of the screen to capture)
After successfully taking and saving your screenshot you can open it up in a program such as Photoshop or any image editing software, allowing you to annotate with arrows, etc to then export as a .jpeg image file.
NB – Another great ‘free’ tool for image editing is PowerPoint
The screenshot above shows how you can capture your video footage and save as .jpeg files and highlight coaching points. You can insert a passage of play and once the video clip has finished you can then insert screenshots to highlight specific moments, such as the two on one overlap in the image above.
Because they are still images you can insert them into your video editing timeline and adjust their length as much as you want, usually it will be fine to make them 3-5 seconds in length so you can pause and get your point across and then move on to the next point.
By combining both video and still images and with the features available on the Coach Logic website, allowing you to set markers and leave notes you can really help to get your coaching points across to your team and make improvements.
Jonathan Fowke. JPF Sports Media