View Full Version : venturing into video; need advice

09-12-2003, 12:13 AM

I've been working with 3D stills, first with other progs, now with Lightwave (which I love), for some years, but planning
to move into animation. I'm looking for advice regarding what software I need for the following:

1. I'd like to edit and composite various LW animations together, along with stills (various sources) and video from a
Hi-8 camera. I have a card which will capture the Hi-8.

2. I would need good compositing options, including a chroma-key type composite, and some type of 'layering' with
transparency, dissolve, etc., and hopefully some direct manipulation of frame images at times.

3. I'm looking for ease of use, design of the program should offer good visual feedback and easy access to features,
learning curve not too laborious, stifling, etc. I'll need to produce some results reasonably promptly.
Bear in mind i'm new at this..but I need a professional result.

4. My output would be to super video cd, or dvd.

5. I need to keep the cost down below, say, $800.

I've heard about VT, but don't know if the components are available separately, the cost is too great otherwise. What are
my best choices here? Adobe Premiere? or what? I need it to work well with LW obviously.

I'd welcome any knowledgeable advice.

09-12-2003, 04:27 AM
I'm not quite sure, but I doubt you will be getting something for 800,- $ that will cover all your needs. This will be especially critical with compositing (which will always be extremely tricky if you only have that shabby Hi8), since most low price products do not support layering or other advanced techniques. My best guess would be going for Final Cut Express (Mac) or Avid DV-Express (PC/ Mac). Another option would be Premiere Pro (PC) which has some nifty features such as support for AfterFX plugins, (limited) layering and keying, a nice color correction etc. . These tools are from 299 bucks (FCE) and up and only make sense if you switch to DV.


09-12-2003, 05:16 AM
You can get After effects Standard at $699 from Adobe online Store, or you can get DFX+ with Lightwave 8 upgrade for $495 from Newtek.

09-12-2003, 10:22 AM
runs about 30-40 bucks. It's your typical avi editor + a really kick @ss cool sound editor all in one. Not as powerful as Premiere in some ways, but the price is right considering how much power you get! http://www.magix.com

09-12-2003, 04:59 PM
So what exactly IS DFX+ ?? Please excuse my ignorance, but i haven't been able to find any real information on this program, only light sales blurb. I'd definitely take the upgrade deal if it does what i need.

Also, what's wrong with using the hi-8 ?( i know it's old tech, but it's what i've got, and with the s-video input the quality is not bad.) Is it because of the relatively low-res capture options that you don't like the idea of it? DV would obviously be great, but for the moment i am limited to what my digital camera can do, which is only a 320 resolution with 'movies', (though the 30 seconds at a time would probably suit my purposes.) With the hi-8 capture at least i get 640.

most of the work will be done i LW, includin the composites, with the video and cam work secondary.

please inform!
BTW, I'm on a pC, P4 2 gig, 1g mem, Geforce 4 TI 4200

09-13-2003, 12:50 AM
For more about DFX+ you can go to the companies website that develops it at http://www.eyeonline.com/ It is a Compositing program that allows you to add post effects, remove unwanted stuff such as wires, buildings, [whatever else you can think of], if you shoot on a green or blue screen you can key yourself into something interesting [like standing on the edge of a soon to be erupting volcano...], you can also fix mistakes that happen when you shoot, plus whatever else pops into your head. It is not an video editing package like Avid Express, Final Cut Pro, Premiere, Microsoft Windows Movie Maker [had to put this one in, as it is simple to use and very powerful if all you need to do is 'Edit' your freshly digitized video]

There is nothing wrong in using Hi-8, it does have that slight look to it, I think what Mylenium was getting at is that simple MiniDV cameras are under $500 so why not switch. I see it as if you don't want to spend the money on a MiniDV camera use what you have.

Actually since Hi-8 is ment to go on a NTSC television it should be 720 x 540. NTSC is 480 lines of Resolution, no sampling and 8 bit color. The only advantage that you would get if you went MiniDV is that it would increase to 525 Lines of Resolution, 4:1:1 sampling, 8 bit, 25MBs Data Rate, and there is a 5:1 compression. MiniDV does have the ease of hooking up to your computer for easy editing. Of course the ultimate question 'So when is the right time to buy? Answer: When you need it.

And your computer is fine to run whatever.

09-13-2003, 05:59 PM
Thanks for the good information, Wiz and all, i looked up DFX+ and it seems to do a LOT of what I'm looking for (sounds really great actually, especially the 3d module), and i'll want to upgrade LW, so why not, right?

So, what would be needed in addition to DFX+, as a video editor -- seems like it would have to do editing in order to do compositing, so i'm a bit confused about this ...(newbie requests patience)

Please, can you say something about where DFX+ leaves off, and a video editor would take over...low cost one, hopefully!

thanks much,

09-14-2003, 12:17 AM
You would still need a capture card besides DFX, there is nothing better (quality wise and bang for the buck) thatn the VT3, but there are cheap solutions by pinnacle and others that let you capture and output analog video. Generally you get what you pay for tho.

09-14-2003, 09:51 AM
Yea...whats wrong with Hi-8 ???

Gee I remember when we would give Eye-teeth to get better than VHS.

I keep looking at all the DV cameras out there and all of them work on some kind of compression scheme.

Because 95% or more of the video from anyone on these threads won't be done in 3/4 beta tape or 72 mm film but either being put out to VHS or DVD (which is compressed), why would I want to START out compressed, work in an un-compressed video mode (VT2) and then compress again?

The more I look into it , the less and less I like DV cameras.
Especially when fast moves (pans, tilts) are done because of the great pixilation being caused as the video tries to keep up with the movement.

09-14-2003, 11:15 AM
Yeah... my little hi-8 camera USED to be small (about 12 years ago), and has awesome picture quality -- still rocks if you ask me!

I do have a capture card, an Aver, does quite well and will do the
720 by 540 resolution with s-video input. Was a lot cheaper than getting the GF4 TI 46009which has vid input), so i got the TI 4400.

I did order the DFX+, and it looks like I have the Microsoft Windows Movie Maker (on an XP laptop) that Wizcraker suggests.

Do i need anything more than this in the way of video-editing?
Still don't quite understand where DFX+ leaves off in that area.

thanks for the information,

09-14-2003, 02:34 PM
I was only using MS Movie Maker as an example, it is good for basic editing but if you want to do more there is a entire range of lowend to highend editing packages. I would suggest you check out http://www.avid.com/forms/info.asp?iTrackingID=7682 for the Avid Free DV editor which is a basic version of their $995 version of Avid Xpress DV, you can see a video of the Avid Xpress Pro $1695 at http://www.avid.com/products/xpresspro/index.asp which includes Avid Mojo. ScreenBlast Movie Studio from Sony [aka Sonic Foundry] http://www.sonicfoundry.com/Products/showproduct.asp?PID=856 $99. Also you can check out the entire line at http://www.sonicfoundry.com/products/vegasfamily.asp Vegas+DVD is one of the best deals for only $799. And of course there is Premiere http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere/main.html for only $699.

09-15-2003, 01:39 PM
Excellent! Many thanks for the leads...MVD looks good and user-friendly, and the price is right.

Jack, are you using DFX+ with this? Anybody?