What sort of video have you got. I am looking at making a DVD of camp cooking and cannot decide on the right equipment. I also need a cameraman/woman to assist.
I just have the run of the mill Sony Handycam, about 4 years old. Its digital video using the miniDV tapes. Bought it to film the kids growing up, holidaying, camping as well as the mundane stuff. It has worked well, the only negative is motor noise from tape which leaves a slight hum, and can be a real problem when there is little background noise. The newer model now use DVD and hard drives, so donâ€™t know if motor noise is still a problem. On the camera I would be looking for an accessory shoe, mic socket (I use an external mic to reduce the motor noise), AV in/out, has a good feel when using it, a good optical zoom (x10).
The key to putting together a reasonably good video is the editing. A mundane long stretch of video of the kids just walking around can be sped up to a Benny Hill style piece which can be quite entertaining, though using different music!
I use a program called Pinnacle Studio (got it for about $100 when the next version came out) and I have to say is quite a simple program to use. Some programs such as Adobe Premiere requires a bit more skill. You import your video and it appears as clips on your screen. Just drag and drop the video onto the timeline in what order you want. You can trim the video to get rid of all the bad bits, add effects such as old film look etc. You then do the same for titles (adding your word), transitions (the fade in and out), music etc. DVD menus are fairly straight forward as well. Then go to the next screen and select the video format you want to produce (ie DVD or a windows media file for webpage, email etc).
The only drawback with editing it can at times be tedious and time consuming. Its surprising what you can create though. If you donâ€™t have video you can also use the program to create a montage of stills, again you can add music titles etc. If you have done the big trip and have lots of photos, what better way than to watch them on your dvd player.
On your computer you will need at least 1GB RAM, 2GB preferable and at least Windows XP or later (earlier versions you cannot create files greater than 2GB) and a minimum 40GB hard drive space. A 1hr video tape is equivalent to 13GB and you will another 10 to 20GB to produce your work. I just bought a 300GB external drive (connects vis USB) at Officeworks for $179 so they are getting pretty cheaper.
Your best cameraman/woman is a reasonably good tripod Most camcorders these days come with a remote and the viewing screen can be twisted to face front (it flips the image so its not upside down). The remote will start/stop, zoom etc. Tripods will not backchat, are reliable, patient, never late and will not drink all your beer.
The tripod will give you the flexibility of doing filming at anytime. Though people might look at you funny if you are talking to yourself.
If you are going to sell your DVD you might want to check the legal side of things. For example Qld National Parks require permits and charge fees for commercial filming in National Parks, and there is the permission to record someoneâ€™s image etc.
The DVD cases are about 25 for $10, I use a thin photgraphic paper (100 sheets for $15) and I bought a printer that will print direct to DVD disc (you can buy printable ones). The stick on DVD labels can interfere sometimes reading the disc.
I am pretty much an amateur at this but happy to help out with ideas suggestions, critiqing etc.