Digital Video: An Overview

Even with today's peppy desktop computers with fast processors, large hard drives, and substantial memory reserves, creating a video is often as much a matter of patience as it is a matter of skill. Simply put, a well-crafted video takes time in the stages of planning, filming, digitizing, editing, titling, and finally rendering to its end destination on tape, CD, DVD, web.

As with all computer activities, you'll find that the more you work with video and video tools, the quicker you'll be able to get a finished product completed, but you should still expect that polished results will require an investment in time. It doesn't hurt to consider that the simplest of video projects will take about three times the length of the video to produce as you pass through the stages of shooting the video, digitizing it, and then, assuming that no substantial editing is required, converting it to a format that will be useful to your purposes: a compressed streaming format or VideoCD for CD playback or distribution, a DVD format for DVD playback or distribution, or a streaming format for playback via the web or streaming video server. And that doesn't even begin to take in the time that you might spend preparing to shoot the video, scripting, collecting images, titling and editing the clip, cleaning up the sound, creating a web page to host the clip, adding closed captioning (as is strongly recommended for delivery via the internet), or securing copyright permissions for video clips or audio pieces that you might have assembled from disparate sources.

Nobody is likely to make a fabulous video in a hurry, but the technology has made it possible for almost anyone to get the job done. The value of video, in its ability to render movements, document processes, and create a dynamic impression, is quite possibly worth the investment of time that a good video will require.

The documents that make up the Digital Video section of the Instructional Technology web site will take you through the most important technical aspects of creating and working with digital video, from the initial video shooting through digitizing, editing, and conversion to a final product.