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DSLR Video Magic: An introduction to shooting, editing and producing your own videos In Recess
Instructor: Robin Nichols                                                                             Duration: 8 Weeks            Cost: US$169         


Ever wondered how to shoot movies with your digital camera? Nearly every digital camera now features high quality HD video as a standard feature. However, the process of actually making the video is always considered too hard and time consuming. After all, video editing used to be complex, right? Wrong!

In this class ROBIN NICHOLS shows you how to plan and shoot simple videos using your own camera and then how to put the clips together with relatively easy-to-use software.

This eight-week class is carefully structured for both PC and Mac users. It really doesn't matter what camera you own, or what computer you use. You'll be surprised at how relatively easy it is to make videos from your own footage…

What the Course Covers

Firstly Robin provides students with a broad overview of the medium. What is video and how it differs from still picture making. He covers what you can do using HD video and discusses the impact that the adoption of DSLR video has had on the professional market, with journalists under pressure to bring home video footage, as well as stills.

Each lesson has its own movie assignment. Once complete this is uploaded to Robin's teaching site at, a high-quality, free video sharing website, for tutor assessment (Note: you do not need to have your own account). Starting with a basic set of exercises, students are encouraged to shoot their first 'mini movie' at home. You won't need any special equipment other than a camera that shoots HD video and one of the two recommended (and free) software applications to follow up and make a simple edited sequence.

Important shooting and editing terminology is explained thoroughly, as is the complexity of file formats and codecs (the tricky compression settings that control how good, or bad, your video looks once edited).

Robin demonstrates in detail how the two video editing tools work (Live Movie Maker and iMovie) so you can learn a great deal while making your own video. He demonstrates how to import, display, sort, edit, trim and output footage your first video project. He also highlights the best video editing applications in the business so, once you have mastered the basics, you know what to look for when upgrading.

Lesson Two incorporates a range of different shooting techniques. Essentially techniques for getting the smoothest, nicest-looking video footage possible so that when you come back, say, from a big trip, you'll really appreciate the quality of the results you end up working with. In this session we discuss the gear you can make, or buy, to help make your video shooting results appear classier and far more professional.

Lesson Three gives you a practical overview on how to add special effects like transitions, graphics, titles, captions and more, to your video show, how to source and use music as a soundtrack, and how to find and use sound effects to add a totally different dimension to the production. He also looks at how to combine still images into the video project to make a stunning video of your family, friends, travel or special occasion.

Lesson Four, the last part of the class, involves a more detailed movie-making assignment incorporating some of the shooting and editing techniques learned in this, and the previous lessons. You'll also be encouraged to move up in terms of using more advanced editing software if you have the time, and interest (though this is by no means compulsory). We also look at how to output your video creations to DVD and Blue-ray media so they can be shared by all the family, as well as discussing the best output settings for sending video to YouTube, Vimeo, and other social networking outlets.

Course Requirement:
  • HD Video-enabled DSLR, or compact camera with an HD feature. This means any camera that can shoot at a resolution of 1080p, 720p or 720i.
  • A video tripod/head would be a huge asset. A really good entry-level model I’d recommend is the Benro S4 (
  • PC or MAC, preferably with a fast processor, and at least 8Gb RAM (if you don't have a reasonably 'fast' computer, your editing experience will be frustrating). Adding extra RAM is inexpensive and makes a big difference to computer performance in most cases.
  • Plenty of spare hard drive space (i.e. 100+ Gb).
  • Either Windows Live Movie Maker (PC) or iMovie for MAC software (both are free)

Instructor: Robin Nichols

Robin NicholsLike a few others involved in the industry, I’m in the envious position of being able to combine my life’s passion, photography, with my job.

Born in the UK, I’ve spent the past 28 years in Sydney. I began work in Australia as a cameraman in the audio-visual business, then as a freelance photographer. In the nineties I worked as a contributing freelance writer for several photo publications, then as a full-time magazine editor for more than eight years. In 2000 I started my own publishing business producing Australia’s best-selling specialist digital photo techniques publication: Better Digital Camera magazine.

With this I aggressively pursued the goal of producing clear, well-illustrated information written in simple English and continued to develop this plain-speaking style in another specialist magazine, Better Photoshop Techniques.

Nowadays I mostly teach and run specialist photo tours to photo-centric locations such as Africa, Japan, Bali, Iceland and Cuba. When not travelling I run photo workshops in which I teach digital photography, video and post-production classes online, and in face-to-face classes locally, through Sydney University.

My work can be seen online at:
and on my blog:
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