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The two things I would recommend are the two things you specifically state you're not willing to do - hire a professional, or take the time to learn video and become a professional yourself.
As a professional whose spent a lot of money on an education, and whose spent time getting experience, I can't in good conscience recommend any other solution just because the hardware and software have become somewhat affordable to the non-professional.
Not everyone agrees, but my philosophy is "Do it right, or don't do it at all."
You sound like the kind of guy who just wants the basics, but if you can handle Dreamweaver, you are the kind of person who doesn't want limits when you want to attempt something either.
Premiere Elements is fine for most tasks. But as soon as you want to do something complicated in one sequence and then nest it into another sequence, you need Premiere Pro.
Start with Premiere Elements. You can open those projects in Premiere Pro if you need to later. And just about everything you learn in Premiere Elements carries over to Premiere Pro.
Steve, I really appreciate your guidance. Your "Profile" says it all. (If I ask too many questions, let me know and I'll pay for private consulting. I may end up suggesting that on my own soon.)
As to my proficiency with Dreamweaver, my site is not that complex: http://www.silver100.com. I'm not that advanced of a user, trust me.
It seems Premiere Elements is a LOT more practical for a novice who is doing pretty simple things. (It also seems more "modern" and flexible than Sony Movie Studio.) It would be nice if I could get good at this and produce "impressive" videos, but I think "content" is going to matter a lot more than dissolves and color correction for the business-oriented videos I'm going to be producing near-term. I will probably need to spend my time on content and not on learning.
I'd like to please ask you a few more questions (no promises that I won't have more later on, too... in fact, you can count on it :-) ):
Premiere Elements apparently doesn't support "green-screen" backgrounds. I had a local media guy sell me a "blue" portable background. For my purposes, though, I'm thinking a plain white wall in the background would do just as well, and look more "real" too. Do you think simple business presentations warrant a blue/green screen background?
I'm thinking about putting still images and simple screens with large type (like you see in a lot of these Flash presentations on YouTube these days) together with video. In fact, that Flash type of web presentation seems like a high priority for what I want to do. I'm not sure if those images and text will come from PowerPoint, or as PDFs or GIFs I'll create, or what.
So, it seems I'm about to delve into that area of creating those Flash (and/or QuickTime) "movies" for web (and DVD) presentations.
How much of that can be done with Premiere Elements? (I have PowerPoint, InDesign, and Photoshop Elements 2 -- will probably get Photoshop Elements 5 when I buy Premiere Elements 3.)
I've glanced at Swish Video 2 and Swish Presenter and wonder if I'll want to get one or both of those as well, or maybe something else.
Green screen work goes a LOT faster if you use Keylight, which comes with After Effects Pro. Since you use Photoshop Elements, and you want Flash as well, you might be happiest going the whole route and getting the Master Collection which includes every great program from Adobe. Or go with Production Premium to get After Effects Pro and Flash.
The time you will save having the right tools at your fingertips will more than cover the bank loan you might need to buy the products.
Lemme play devil's advocate for a second... just to feel this out...
I have a feeling you've been at this so long you may be losing sight of how enormous your experience level is and how long it took you to get to that level. My concern is minimally with the bank loan (though it is a consideration) and is primarily with the learning curve. I need to ask you to please step back and consider if all this is realistic for an entrepreneur who is overwhelmed and is teetering on the decision between doing it himself versus letting a pro do it (the latter obviously sometimes being a big compromise in efficiency but the right way to go "eventually" as my company grows).
For what it's worth, the Visual Communicator 3 beta has come to my attention and, while I'm NOT into beta-testing anything (I like my software to "work" once I get into using it... which means I'll by an Adobe product as soon as it's officially released but NEVER a Microsoft operating system or browser until a few major updates), the final release of VC3 is said to be due by the end of August and it seems it "may" be just the ticket for what I'm trying to do... or maybe that and Premiere Elements together? (Or maybe that plus a Swish product or two also?)
So, really, the sixty-four-dollar question is the learning curve in all of what you suggests. It seems massive. Some people say Premiere Pro alone takes quite a bit of time for a beginner to even get the basics. Is it going to be more than worth it once I do get it down?
I REALLY APPRECIATE your advice, man, and am very happy to know you'll be there for a specific issue or two once I actually HAVE one or more Adobe products for doing all this. I hope you don't mind my pressing with these questions with you in such a candid manner first.
Well, I look forward to your comments on the above.
OK, fair questions.
In my opinion, the learning curve for the most commonly used 95% of the programs is exactly the same between Premiere Pro and Premiere Elements. It really is. Capture video, figure out what you want on the timeline, put it on the timeline, add transitions, add music, export to something a DVD program can use, all of that. It is darn near identical.
However... then you decide you want to do something interesting. You come online and we tell you that is it very simple. Just use Premiere Pro to do... oh, wait, you don't have Pro? Just Elements? Too bad.
OK. Then you say "How do they make those great motion titles?". We say "It's easy, just use one of the text animation presets in After Effects". What? No After Effects? Too bad.
So let's say you like using After Effects for titles and you decide you want to expand your knowledge. Simple. Get some projects from Dean Velez and modify them to suit you. Do you need to learn it all at one time? No. Just what you need when you need it.
This is one reason that if you buy the Production Premium, one of the choices for extra goodies is a one month subscription to Lynda.com to watch their tutorials.
Spend the time watching the tutorials. If something catches you eye, write down where you saw it so you can go back and really learn it.
Just because you own a hammer and a saw and other hand tools doesn't mean you need to learn to be a carpenter. It just means that when your wife asks you to do something, you will have the required tools so you can go on the web and learn how to do that task, without having to run to Home Depot - which may be closed at the time you need it.
I originally bought Premiere 6.0 and when I went to an Adobe demo at DVExpo in NYC back in 2002 I saw an After Effects demo. I called from the Adobe booth to order After Effects. Why? When I saw that the learning curve was only hard if you tried to tackle the whole thing, and I realized I could just use the part I needed, my whole opinion changed.
If you only used After Effects for text in motion and for Stills in motion (Ken Burns and much more), you would get your money out of it. And that stuff can be learned in 15 minutes. Add in the real need for you, the chroma key, and the time savings is HUGE. You really need to know less to use Keylight than you do to use Premiere Pro to attempt the same thing.
Having the full version of Photoshop is nothing more than you have now. Until you need more. Then you have it.
The ability to use all of the Adobe products together outweighs any Vegas or Avid (consumer) advantages.
Besides, we are much more helpful on this forum than those other guys! ;)
Well, thank you again for being so attentive and thorough.
In the meanwhile... between budget and learning curve, is VC3 worth my attention for getting some things out quickly and starting to feel out what the overall concepts are? Is there any chance it will actually be my best bet all around if I really don't see that I'll ever care about things like rolling credits or other embellishments, at least not for a while? And, is the "beta" version realistic for me to get involved with if I need it to "work" reliably? For that matter, am I going to be pretty helpless regarding forum support if I try to get into VC3, do you know? (There's the Adobe Lab forum, with a few posts, and the official new forum, with pretty much "none" on it yet.) Would getting into VC3's beta for now be a good use of my time for getting familiar with concepts and for getting a few simple projects going for now, or is it totally a waste of time if I expect to end up with all the stuff you're suggesting? Is it even fair to ask you about VC3 given that it's a beta and odds are you don't have the experience with it that would be needed to give me well-informed opinions? A post I made on the Adobe Lab forum for VC3 got a reply saying that it seemed my type of usage is precisely what the program was designed for -- though of course I'm not planning to do "newscast" type stuff per se and have little use for "live" video broadcasts since I can use my Adobe Connect for select groups when I want to do meetings and trainings. I assume VC3 will output to Flash, DVD, etc, (and podcast?) just as well as Premiere Elements or Premiere Pro.
I really appreciate your bearing with me on this level of inquiry. I'm sure you can imagine how much it can save me time in the long-run by making well-informed choices of what to get into at this stage... and I'm sure you can imagine how much I really appreciate your help in my feeling my way here!
(And, believe me, I am with you on the support Adobe forums provide! Plus, since I'm using Flash, etc, well, Adobe is the only way to go. The only question is whether there's any usefulness in Swish for me.)
Thank you again!
I have never played with Visual Communicator. You might read through the forum and see if it sounds like the features would do the job for you.
Good to see you were able to find a solution that will work for you Jay.
Yo, KingLeonard, DUDE...!!! :-)
I don't KNOW if I found a solution that will work for me yet, at all!
I haven't opened the program yet or looked at a demo or anything.
So... uh, are you suggesting/implying/saying that in your opinion VC3 probably IS the solution that will work for me???
I don't think anyone can say which is the best solution for you, except for you. Download the trials and play around with it. Look at the tutorials. Really, it's the only way.When you go buy a car you go out and test drive it. However, you usually already know how to drive before hand.(hopefully).This is pretty much the same. Until you get your feet wet, you really aren't going to be able to decide on anything. It's all a learning curve for anything. And like it's been said here earlier, you learn the parts that you need at first, then as you go you get into the more detailed stuff.
I notice in the promo specs that VC3 doesnt actually "output" to Flash (FLV), per se. It only supports Flash with Acrobat Connect Pro and Presenter.
On the other hand, the promo specs on Premiere Elements 3 say it will output for viewing your videos on the web (as well as DVD, iPod, etc, etc) but it doesn't say anything about the format it offers for web viewing. My goal is those little videos all over the web. I am assuming they're mostly Flash.
Anyone have a suggestion on what I need to make those web videos happen and on what Flash format means to me compared to what Premiere Elements 3 offers for "web" video?
>So... uh, are you suggesting/implying/saying that in your opinion VC3 probably IS the solution that will work for me???
Well that seems to be what Mark is saying to you in his message. Try it out and let us know how you go with it.
By now I'm seriously wondering if I should forget outputting video to DVD for business presentations and if I should think only in terms of Flash on the web for distribution. That has me thinking I should do my video (and some still images and some text) in Premiere Elements or Visual Communicator and then use something like WildPresenter Pro (http://www.wildform.com) to add more still images and text and do the Flash encoding (I need something like that for the Flash encoding anyway, unless I get Flash CS3, which I feel is way out of my league since I only have time or need for keeping it simple).
Does that seem like I might be on the right track?