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DESIDOC Bulletin of Information Technology , Vol. 22, No. 4 & 5, July & September 2002, pp.

© 2002, DESIDOC

Video Digitization and Editing: An Overview
of the Process
Vinod Kumari Sharma, RK Bhatnagar & Dipti Arora

Digitizing video is a complex process. Many factors affect the quality of the
resulting digital video, including: quality of source video (recording equipment,
video formats, lighting, etc.), equipment used for digitization, and application(s)
used for editing and compressing digital movies. In this article, an attempt is
made to outline the various steps taken for video digitization followed by the
basic infrastructure required to create such facility in-house.

Technology never stops from moving A digital video movie consists of a number
forward and improving. The future of media is of still pictures ordered sequentially one after
constantly moving towards the digital world. another (like analogue video). The quality and
Digital environment is becoming an integral playback of a digital video are influenced by a
part of our life. Media archival; analogue number of factors, including the number of
audio/video recordings, print media, pictures (or frames per second) contained in
photography, microphotography, etc. are the video, the degree of change between
slowly but steadily transforming into digital video frames, and the size of the video frame,
formats and available in the form of audio etc. The digitization process, at various
CDs, VCDs, DVDs, etc. Besides the stages, generally provides a number of
numerous advantages of digital over parameters that allow one to manipulate
analogue form, the main advantage is that various aspects of the video in order to gain
digital media is user friendly in handling and the highest quality possible.
manipulation of data using minimum man and Digital video has several advantages over
machine (system) time. With the evolution of analogue video:
digital technology, time required on editing of
t Flex i ble interactivity
one hour cine-film in analogue form has
reduced from weeks to few hours. Moreover, t Easy to edit
the creativity can be extended to any limit t Mul ti ple cop ies with out qual ity loss
within no time for better and better output t Easy to ma nip u late
which may not be possible while working with t Ease of use in additional features (titling,
analogue media. Latest video editing software visual mixing, sound in ser tion, editing,
packages and systems have made the spe cial ef fects, tran si tion, etc.)
complex and complicated video editing simple t Trans mis sion through e-mail
and easy. t Video conferencing

DESIDOC Bulletin of Inf Technol, 2002, 22(4 & 5) 3
t Can be used as an im pressive way of The analog video signal is normally
in for ma tion dis sem i na tion ef fec tively on web transferred through an S-Video (or composite
sites/multimedia programmes. video) cable to the input of a digitizer board or
Quality of digital video output de pends to an AV machine with a built-in digitizer. The
upon var i ous fac tors such as the source video hard disk speed, whether the hard disk is
as Betacam, U-matic, Hi–8. These can give internal or external (an internal hard disk
better quality than VHS recording. Some time generally has a faster connection to the rest
must be in vested to find the best set tings for a of the computer), and the speed of the
par tic u lar video source. Fur ther more, the best machine and the digitizer board inside the
settings for one particular video source may machine will determine the possible number
not necessarily pro duce the best re sults for a of frames per second and picture size of the
dif fer ent video source. movie.
Before starting digitization, the hard disk
3. VIDEO DIGITIZATION PROCESS should preferably be defragmented and the
Steps of video digitization are as follows machine should be booted in a minimal
(Fig.1& 2): system configuration (in particular, network
(a) Capturing the source video software should be off). There are software
utilities, called disk optimizers or
(b) Editing the captured video
defragmenters that defragment a disk. For
(c) Assembling of edited video best system performance, one should
(d) Special effects like titling, transition, etc. defragment the hard disks periodically.
(e) Sound effects, narration, speech, The video capturing software chosen
commentary, music insertion, etc.
should provide at least few features, like start
(f) Compression and final output. and stop recording during editing, style titling,
sound effects, transitions, audio insertion,

Sou rce V ide o
An alo g Video

Video Capt ur e

Computer (Editin g So ftw are)

Test Run

If, No
Sati sfie d ?

If , Ye s

Burn th e CD

Figure 1. Flow chart rep re sent ing the video ed it ing pro cess

4 DESIDOC Bulletin of Inf Technol, 2002, 2 2(4 & 5)
Sh oot in g/Re cor ding Capturing Har dw are Editing O utput

Figure 2. Video editing setup

compression and output in required file further video editing. Image quality of the
formats. captured video can be improved by changing
the following parameters:
3.1 Capturing Source Video
t Video bit rate
The process of creating a movie starts with t In put fil ter/sharp ness
capturing source video clips. Before
t Using S-video output.
capturing, spend some time to decide which
part of the video is to be digitized, better note 3.2 Editing of Video
down the approximate counter reading of the
There are two types of video editing:
source player. Connect the source to the
digitization machine, and establish the t Linear editing
digitization parameters within the appropriate t Non-linear editing
program. We can set the desired frame rate In linear editing, the editing is performed
and picture size according to the desired directly from one tape to another. In this case,
output quality. If audio components are not
PC only controls the source and recorder. In
required, one can turn off the audio non-linear editing, sequences to be edited are
component, so that any audio contained in transferred back to tape. Here the video
the source video will not be digitized. To capture card transfers the video to the PC’s
digitize the video, one starts recording in the hard disk and the editing is then performed
capturing software program (for example, entirely within the PC.
Pinnacle Studio MP10 (fig 3), Adobe
Premiere, etc.). Once the source video Normally, editing involves few or all of the
frames are captured, these are ready for following steps:
t Working with video scene
t Open ing the cap tured video
t Re viewing video scenes in the al bum
t Trimming scenes
t Split ting clips
t Com bining and sub di vid ing scenes
t Re-detecting scenes.

3.3 Assembling
After opening the captured video, we may
review the scenes and make adjustments
before placing them on the video track. we
can decide to combine, split or detect new
Figure 3. Editing screen of studio scenes within specific scenes.
MP 10
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One can select and/or combine the best background music, recording voice-overs,
video frames or can drop unwanted frames. and inserting audio effects such as applause,
bells, seawaves, etc. Such sound effects can
3.4 Special Effects be picked up from clip art gallery supplied
Videos can be made more impressive by with editing software. A huge number of
using features like transitions, titles, sound pre-recorded or created sound effects are
effects, etc. available as sound files in clip art CDs.
Similarly the music audio files stored in hard
3.4.1 Titling
disk in sound file format can be inserted along
‘Titling’ is an integrated title editor program with the videos or we can import audio
of the editing software that allows quick and directly from an audio CDs. In addition, the
easy creation of professional quality titles and audio track of all video clips is captured along
graphics. Titles can contain words, shapes, with the video, and is always available which
background colors, and photos or graphics can be manipulated according to the visual
imported from other programs. This feature demand.
offers a preset, professionally developed
Voice-overs and other audio can be
styles for quickly making titles, along with
recorded into the movie directly from
virtually endless custom styling. Titles can be
computer, (any length and type of background
modified by adding transitions for a wide music can be inserted).
variety of effects, such as, fading in sliding,
and adjusting duration of the title appearing in Audio clips are selected and placed on
the movie. Overall the title should be their tracks in the same way as video clips.
informative, describing the contents of the Once an audio clip is placed on its track, it
movie and awaken interest. can be edited in the same way as a video clip
like play duration, volume adjustment,
3.4.2 Adding Transitions trimming, beginning or end, dissolve, fade-in,
Transitions are used according to the fade-out, etc.
content of the video. Properly used transitions
subtly reinforce the meaning of the movie and 3.6 Video Compression
how it plays without the audience becoming Video compression is the process of
aware that a transition is used. In reducing the file size of digitized video by
professionally produced video on television, removing the redundancy. To reduce the
one can see many ways to improve tapes. amount of space needed to record or transmit
Generally, it is advisable to refrain from the information, compression is a must.
overusing transitions that tend to cause Uncompressed video and audio data take a
abrupt changes or otherwise draw attention to lot of memory. PAL (Phase Alteration by Line)
themselves. There is a big difference between has a resolution of 768X576 pixels and is
a subtle dissolve from one clip to the next, transmitted at 25 (full) screens per second.
and employing a heart-shaped wipe. Thus one second of PAL video requires
768X576X25X2 bytes, that is approximately
3.5 Working with Audio 22MB. This means that 30 seconds of
While appropriate music can add touch to uncompressed video will fill up a CD (650
a movie, a professional finishing and can do a MB). 30 seconds of CD-quality audio would
lot to reinforce the message of a video. The amount to 176 KB. Reducing the video
music selected, however, should always be resolution to one-fourth (SIF) or even
appropriate to the massage of the film. This is one-sixteenth of full resolution would still
sometimes a time consuming matter and a result in a data stream of more the 1 MB.
challenge, but it is worth the effort, since well The technology by which video
chosen music is usually greatly appreciated compression is achieved is known as a
by the viewer. A great deal of polishing and ‘Codec’ an abbreviation of compression/
depth can be generated by adding
decompression. ‘Codecs’ can be
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implemented in hardware and software or a TV cards and graphic boards with a video
combination of both. Hardware codecs are input also use AVI format. These are able to
generally more powerful. They are used to grab video clips at lower resolution (mostly
compress multimedia files for transfer and 320X240 pixels). The compressed video files
storage and then to reverse the process for are ready for playing, saving on CD, sending
playback. Codecs are constantly being via e-mail, using on web, inserting in
upgraded for higher compression without multimedia presentations, etc.
loosing quality during playback. In plain terms
codec is just another module of the 4. TIPS FOR VIDEO EDITING
multimedia control interface (MCI) and the t Do not string to gether scenes in which
MCI makes it available to other software. cam era is mov ing.
There are number of audio compression t Di a logue should al ways be shot al ter nately
codecs and video compression codecs. from vary ing an gles of view.
For compression, streams of symbols are t Make cuts when per sons are in mo tion.
transferred into codes. If the compression is t Make har mo ni ous cuts, avoid vi sual
effective, the resulting stream of codes will be disjunction.
smaller than the original symbols. Video is t Shots with less movement should be of
compressed using a process called variable shorter du ra tion and shots with fast
bit rates encoding which allots a changing move ment can be lon ger.
number of dots to enhance resolution in a t Long shots have more content, so they
given scene. Scenes with lots of light or little should be shown lon ger.
action require less bits than dark scene or t Do not edit a video file after compressing it
those with lots of action. The case where as the editing process may cause
information is relayed more efficiently and degradation of the video data.
recovered exactly as it was before
compression with no loss of fidelity is called
‘lossless compression’, as opposed to lossy 5. BASIC SET UP FOR VIDEO
compression, in which same information is EDITING
irretrievably lost during encoding, decoding Minimum System Configuration:
process. Lossless compression discard only
m Intel Pentium 133 MHz or equivalent
redundant information. The higher the processor
compression ratio, the worse the resulting
m Windows 95 or Windows 98 OS
m VGA card, DirectX 5.0-compatible; 256
Some compression formats are; AVI, colour minimum
MPEG, CINEPAK, IVI, INDEO and RLE. m At least 32 MB of RAM
Different compressors are capable to
m Hard disk with sufficient free space for
compress the data from 2:1 to 200:1. studio software and MPEG files (30 MB to
Commonly used formats are AVI and MPEG. install software, and 100 to 300 MB for
The MPEG file format is supported on all every 10 minutes of captured
Windows 95, 98, NT. In some instances, one audio/video)
may wish to output the movie in AVI file m CD-RW drive
format. Generally AVI files are larger and not m Parallel interface support for ECP or
of as high quality as MPEG files. There may EPP-mode
be two reasons for using AVI format because m Sound card, DirectX 5.0-compatible
one may require importing the video into the
m Speakers
application that doesn’t support MPEG files or
m Microphone to record voice-overs
some viewers will be running Windows 3.1.
m Video capturing card (internal or external)
Despite its age and numerous problems, with latest video editing software.
the AVI format is still used in
semi-professional video editing cards. Many
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Video Equipment: depends on the application where the final
m Any source with a composite or S-video edited video files are to be used. Commonly
output (e.g. camcorder, VCR, laser disc, used formats are ‘AVI’ and ‘MPEG’. But, now
or TV tuner) a days ‘dat’ format is widely used.
Video is a very important part of
multimedia presentation as it gives
In digital media, the creativity can be effectiveness to the show. A lot of video
extended to any limit within no time for better editing software are available in the market.
output. However, few factors certainly effect Let us hope, in future, we will have more and
the final outcome, like availability of free more video editing software which will give
space on hard disk, defragmentation, and more flexibility in editing to make our video
RAM, etc. There should be sufficient space in more impressive.
the hard disk, it should be defragmented
It is hoped that the topic discussed in this
frequently, and minimum RAM should be 128
article will be well received and critically
examined by other experts in the profession.
Adding effects like transition, titling, etc., Possibly some useful comments will be
give realistic beauty to the video. The file forthcoming, so that in due course of time
format chosen is very important, but it also good amount of literature is available to us for

Contributors: Smt Vinod Kumari Sharma is Scientist D at Defence Scientific Information
and Documentation Centre (DESIDOC), Delhi - 110 054.
Shri R K Bhatnagar is Tech Officer ‘B’ at DESIDOC, Delhi - 110 054.
Smt Dipti Arora is STA at DESIDOC, Delhi - 110 054.

following new and up-to-date methods for
video digitization and editing.

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