Travel Video & Photos: Our Mini-trip to Tokyo

This is a travel video about a short trip to Tokyo during the summer of 2018. My daughter and I spent three days there before continuing on to Canada. As we live in the region and visit Japan relatively frequently, we didn’t feel the need to visit any of the city’s must-see attractions. Instead, we focused on some of the lesser known tourist spots. Unfortunately, during the three days we there, Tokyo was experience a record-setting heat wave, so we didn’t do as much as we would have liked. The photo gallery for this trip is here: Tokyo Trip: Google Photos & Tokyo Trip: Flickr.

Yuigahama Beach

Yuigahama Beach

Located in Sagami Bay near the town of Kamakura, this beach is about an hour by train from central Tokyo. It is not a spectacularly beautiful beach, but you can rent surfboards there and get away from the city for while.

Surfers at Yuigahama Beach

 The small green train pictured in the video is the local Eno-den line. While we there we had brunch at bills, a cafe near the Shichirigahama train station. The cafe is know for its fluffy pancakes. The restaurant has a nice sea view, but between the restaurant and the beach is a busy highway, so it is not especially tranquil. When we arrived at the beach, the weather was hazy, but by the time we finished eating the skies had cleared. The beach is much more picturesque with blue skies, so do check the weather forecast before heading out.

Near Yuigahama Beach

A few train stops away is Kamakurakōkōmae station.The crossing by the station is the setting for the final scene of the Slam Dunk anime, so it is a popular Instagram spot.

The crossing at Kamakurakōkōmae station

teamLab Planets Tokyo

teamLab Planets TOKYO: The Infinite Crystal Universe

This was one the highlights of the trip. TeamLab is a collective of artists, musicians, computer programmers and engineers who specialize in creating immersive and interactive light and sound shows. They now have a permanent museum in Tokyo, teamlab Borderless (, but we went to their recent exhibition at Toyosu: teamLab Planets ( Both exhibitions require advance booking. I have a longer video and more detailed description of teamLab Planets show on my art blog: teamLab: Planets Tokyo.

teamLab Planets TOKYO: Drawing on the Water Surface Created by the Dance of Koi and People – Infinity
teamLab Planets TOKYO: Expanding Three-dimensional Existence in Intentionally Transforming Space – Free Floating, 12 Colors
teamLab Planets TOKYO: Expanding Three-dimensional Existence in Intentionally Transforming Space – Free Floating, 12 Colors

I couple of years ago, I came across another of their installations in Kyoto. I have a photo gallery and article about that here: Kyoto: Light Festival at Tadasu no Mori and Shimogamo Jinja

The teamLab group does a great job of getting visitors through their exhibits while still allowing everyone plenty of time to enjoy the different environments.

You can see a longer video of our visit to the teamLab Planets Tokyo here:


At the Nekobukuro Cat Playground at Tokyu Hands
At the Nekobukuro Cat Playground at Tokyu Hands
At the Nekobukuro Cat Playground at Tokyu Hands

This is a like a cat cafe minus the cafe part. The Nekobukuro cat playground is located at the Tokyu Hands department store in Ikebukuro. We were at the store buying souvenirs when we noticed that the floor directory listed a cat playground, so we decided to check it out. I have uploaded a longer video here, so if you like cats you can check it out:

Ueno Park

This is a large public park next to Ueno Station in Tokyo. As it was sweltering when we there, we didn’t stay long.

Ueno Park
Lotus in the pond at Ueno Park

We went there on a Sunday as I had read that there would be a flea market and live music performances. I had been expecting a much more lively atmosphere, but the flea market was tiny and there were only a couple of street musicians in the large park.

Flea market at Ueno Park
Magazines and books for sale at the Ueno Park Flea Market
Food stall at Ueno Park

We visited one of the temples at the park—Shinobazunoike Bentendo—where we listened to Buddhist chants as my daughter bought a paper fortune (the prediction printed on the paper did come true a few months later).

Sumida Fireworks Festival and Sensō-ji in Asakusa

The Sumida River at Asakusa

After leaving the park we went to Asakusa. My daughter wanted to get a photo in front of Kaminarimon Gate, the entrance to the Sensō-ji temple complex (and a well-known Instagram checkpoint).

Crowd in front of Kaminarimon Gate before the summer fireworks festival

She was a bit tired out, so she stayed in a dessert shop overlooking the gate while I went people watching. Most cities and towns in Japan have a summer fireworks festival and this was the day of Tokyo’s main festival. During the fireworks (hanabi) festival (matsuri), quite a few people will get dressed in traditional Japanese robes known as yukata. 

People celebrating the summer fireworks festival at Sensō-ji

It was interesting to see the different kinds of styles on display and to see which people could pull off the look best. As we were heading to the river to to view the fireworks, we decided to go to dinner instead, so we just caught a few brief glimpses of the fireworks display on the way to the train station. We did catch another fireworks display in Ottawa a couple of weeks later.

Tokyo Tower and Sentai Kosodate Jizo

Tokyo Tower

Another Instagram checkpoint my daughter wanted visit was Tokyo Tower. That day the sky was overcast and there was light rain, so the views were less than ideal.

Tokyo Tower

On the way we stopped to see the small statues in Sentai Kosodate Jizo (Unborn Children Garden). The statues are dedicated to the protection of children in general, and more specifically to those that were stillborn or miscarried. The garden is part of a the Zoujou-ji temple. The statues are known as mizuko (‘water child’) and are decorated with read caps and bibs as well as windmills. They serve to give grieving parents a way to come to terms with their loss.

The mizuki (water children) statues at Sentai Kosodate Jizo
A mizuki (water child) statue at Sentai Kosodate Jizo

Art in Roppongi

After visiting Tokyo Tower, We walked around the nearby neighborhood of Roppongi for a while. I had read that one of Louise Bourgeois’s giant spider statues was there and having already written an article about those on my art blog (Giant Spider Sculptures by Louise Bourgeois), I thought we should check it out. When we got there I realized I had walked right past it a half hour earlier.

Maman: Sculpture by Louise Bourgeois (Roppongi Hills, Tokyo)
Maman: Sculpture by Louise Bourgeois (Roppongi Hills, Tokyo)

There was just so much going on—like a mini-exhibition of a dozen or so Doraemon statues—that one could be oblivious to a 30-foot metal spider.

Doraemon at Roppongi

We checked out three art galleries at Complex 665:

  • Shugoarts, featuring an exhibition of super-soft landscapes by Naofumi Maruyama
  • Taka Isshi Gallery, featuring the nature-inspired minimalist works of Yukinori Maeda
  • Tomio Koyama Gallery (featuring digitally altered photos by Cambodian artist Khvay Samnang and portraits by Malaysian artist Shoosie Suilaman
Painting: Muar; Artist: Shooshie Sulaiman
Exhbition at ShogoArts (Lascaux and Weather): Naofumi Maruyama

Visiting galleries is a good alternative to going to a museum—you can get a little dose of culture without having to trek your way through a huge building. Before heading back, we did stop by to take a quick look at the National Art Center, which is a gorgeous building (if you have time and like art, do check it out).

National Art Center, Tokyo
Interior, National Arts Center, Tokyo

Temples in Yanaka

Train tracks near Nippori Station, Tokyo

When I went pick up the airport express tickets at Nippori station, I thought I would see what was around the station. Nearby is the quiet neighborhood of Yamanaka, where there are several small temples. These are not included in the video as I just took photos. I visited Hongyoji temple and Kyo-oji temple.

Kyo-oji temple in Yanaka, Tokyo
Kyo-oji temple in Yanaka, Tokyo
Hongyoji Temple in Yanaka, Tokyo
At Hongyoji Temple in Yanaka, Tokyo

Behind the main building at Hongyoji is a kind of cemetery in which the death names of people are inscribed onto wooden posts known as sotoba.

Sotoba in the cemetery behind Hongyoji Temple
Sotoba in the cemetery behind Hongyoji Temple

You can read more about this district here:


Of course we stopped by Shibuya to see its famed intersection and to go shopping.

Jade at Shibuya


As our hotel was in Shin-Otsuka, we often ate at restaurants one train station away in Ikebukuro.

Red Rock Ikebukuro

My daughter chose the restaurants, so I should thank her for the delicious choices. The restaurants featured in the video are:

  • bills Shichirigahama: Fluffy pancakes! I was originally going to let my daughter order those and I would get something like an omelette. However, the pancakes were irresistable.
  • Red Rock Ikebukuro: This is a popular chain of restaurants specializing in beef. I have heard the restaurant usually has very long queues, but we went a bit later than normal and were in an relatively unfashionable neighborhood, so we could just walk in (after ordering at the vending machine outside).
  • Jojoen Ueno Shinobazuguchi: Jojoen is a Yakiniku (barbecued meat) restaurant chain.
  • Katsumidori: This sushi restaurant was in the Ikebukuro branch of the Seibu department store. A lot of the big department stores in Japan have a restaurant floor and the food is always of good quality (I think). This was the one restaurant we had to queue up for. We hadn’t had sushi yet and we were about to leave Japan, so we queued up before the lunchtime opening.  We also had a meal at the Ikebukuro branch of the Parco department store—at the roast eel restaurant Hitsumabushi bincho.
  • Ichiran Ramen Roppongi: This is a famous chain of restaurants that specialize in tonkatsu pork-bone soup (and by specialize I mean ‘only serve)’. It is an odd dining experience as you sit in a one person booth with a little curtain blocking your view of the kitchen. You pass the paper with your order on it under the curtain and your food comes back the same way. You can learn about the whole ordering and dining process here:

About the Video

The video footage and photos were shot using a Fujifilm X100T camera, a Sony Nex-7 camera and an iPhone.

The background music is Chillvolution and is the 23rd song in my free background music series. Like other songs in this royalty-free music series, you can use it for free for non-commercial purposes (as well as in monetized YouTube videos that are otherwise non-commercial in nature). You can download the song at my website Chillvolution: New Song in Background Music Series).

The girl in the video, my daughter, is ‘Jadie Jade’ and she has her own lifestyle and travel channel (her videos are in Cantonese):


Whenever I visit Japan, I will stop by an record store and pick up some CDs. Here are some videos of the artists whose CDs I got on this trip:

Lucie, Too (cheerful indie rock)

Hitsujibungaku (dreamy indie pop, the band’s name means ‘sheep literature’)

Nulbarich (funky jazzy pop, like Jamiroquai):

Suchmos (funky jazzy pop, but with a bit of rock mixed in)

Photo Albums

The photo galleries for this trip (around 100 images) are here:

~by longzijun


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Video: Live Music at Freespace Happening

Here are two videos of Freespace Happening music events in Hong Kong. These are mostly free events held on the second Sunday of each month from Autumn to Spring at the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong. The Freespace events typically include live music and dance performances a handicrafts markets and workshops. These two videos focus on the music performances. You can visit the Freespace Happening website here:

Freespace Happening October 2018

Several artists performed on the day, but the four artists featured in this video are

  1. Emmy the Great: She grew up in Hong Kong, established a music career in England and has recently returned to the territory, This was her first performance since returning to Hong Kong. (
  2. Mocking Bullet: They are a local rock band. In Hong Kong, pop singers reign supreme, but there is also a well-established indie rock scene.  (
  3. Eugene Pao X Ted Lo: Eugene Pao (guitar) and Ted Lo (piano) are legends of the local jazz scene. Besides having their own group, they have performed with many of the world’s more renowned jazz musicians. (
  4. Gonne Choi (최고은): She is a South Korean singer-songwriter and was the headliner for this event. (

I shot the video and photos with a Fuji X100T and recorded the audio with a Roland R-05. I like the Fuji camera as it is small and has nice color tones. However, it is not a great camera for recording outdoor concerts as it is a fixed-lens camera (i.e., there is no zoom function.

Freespace Happening November 2019

  • Noa Drezner Flamenco Quartet: Noa is a flamenco guitarist from Israel and Spain (
  • Tommi Chan: Tomii is a local musician. He also played some lovely original compositions that I thought I had recorded, but it seems that I didn’t press the record button all the way down. You can check out his original work at
  • The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra feat. Hubert Laws: This band is the orchestra-in-residence at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American ( The ensemble is dedicated to promoting jazz, arguably one of America’s biggest contributions to world culture.
  • The Hong Hong Ballet performing the Great Gatsby. (최고은. a South Korea singer-songwriter (

I shot the video and photos with a Sony NEX-7 and recorded the audio with a Roland R-05. I like the Fuji camera as it is small and has nice color tones. However, it is not a great camera for recording outdoor concerts as it is a fixed-lens camera (i.e., there is no zoom function).

About the Video

Photos and video by longzijun:  Most of my video work has been on my free background music series, but I have also started shooting video more frequently while travelling or going out on the weekend.

To try to avoid copyright problems with the video, I have only included short excerpts of their songs, but do check out the artists to listen to more of their work.

~by longzijun


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Video Recording: Improving Sound Quality – Recording Techniques

This is part of a series of three articles on improving audio quality during video production while using consumer-grade equipment and software. This article focuses on what to do during the actual recording process; the other two articles are on:

  • Audio Equipment (An introduction to five different audio-recording set-ups that can be used with camcorders to improve sound quality—this would be a good place to start.)
  • Noise removal during editing (an introduction to the software and techniques you can use to reduce or eliminate unwanted noise that’s already been recorded)

There several things to consider when recording audio:

1. Work towards a high signal to noise ratio

You should try to get more of the sound you want to hear (e.g., dialogue) and less of the sounds you don’t want to hear (e.g., camera hiss, wind sounds etc.). It is hard to get rid of background noise once it is recorded.

To get a good signal to noise ratio, you may need to record in a controllable environment and move the camera closer to the source.

If you have a visual display of audio input levels on your camcorder, you should make sure the the level never hits zero, which in digital recording is the point at which the signal distorts or clips. If you don’t have a visual display, then you just have to listen for the distortion.

In old analogue recording, it was important to record the audio at as high a level as possible (but without being so high as to get distortion). With digital recording, however, if you are going to edit it later, there is no need to push the envelope. It is quite common to record at -12 to -18 db and increase the audio levels later.

However, if you plan on NOT doing any editing afterward, you should record the audio the old-style way and try to get as much ‘signal’ as possible, getting as little noise as possible and all the while avoiding distortion.

2. Record in a controllable environment

You can avoid a unwanted sounds by doing your recording indoors with the windows closed and the air-conditioning off (a lot of footage in studio movies is shot on sound stages, which are specially constructed sound-proofed buildings). If you are outdoors, try to find as quiet a spot as possible. If you are working on a low budget video and don’t have extra audio recording equipment (e.g. microphones, digital audio recorders), you would want to avoid recording conversations in a noisy environment, so you may need to rewrite the script to reflect the limitations of the equipment.

3. Control the environment

If you are working in a room that is all hard surfaces, there will be a lot of sound bouncing around. You consider limiting that by hanging fabric from a walls or two so, so there is less reflection. Other times, you may want more reverb and a place with hard surfaces is best for that (which is some people like to sing in the shower).

4. Get close

No matter whether you are indoors or outdoors, the audio recording equipment should be close to the main sound source unless the sources is so loud that the audio would become distorted or unless you want to capture a lot of ambient sound. If you want to move the camera further away, this is where a microphone can come in handy; you can position the mic closer (and just off camera) or use a hidden clip-on mic, while positioning the camera further away.

One problem with moving the camera closer is that due to the distortion of camera lenses, people tend look better when the camera is zoomed in (e.g., 70-100 mm). Therefore, if you want to do that AND have good sound quality, you probably need to invest in some microphones.

5. Get your actors to control and project their voices

This doesn’t mean that the actors use booming, stagey voices. Rather,  the voice comes more from the chest (with support from the diaphragm) rather than from the throat and is directed more in the direction of the microphone. TheVoiceLady, Nancy Daniels,  has a commercial website ( and series of YouTube videos on this topic.

6. Record ambient background sound

Just leave your camera running for a few minutes to capture the ambient sound of the environment in which you are recording. If you are later editing a scene in a short film in which two actors are speaking, you will likely have several edits. At each edit point, there is a danger that the background sound will noticeably change, bringing unwanted attention to the edit. To cover this up or give you the chance to cut away from the visual depiction of the scene while still leaving the audio associated with the scene, you can add an additional track of ambient sound in the background when editing the video.

7. Make independent recordings of important audio events

Two people are talking angrily and one of them slams a door in the middle of a sentence. During the editing process, you want the slam to sound louder, but doing so would also affect the dialogue levels. You can solve this problem by re-recording important audio events. For example, after recording the scene, get another recording of just the sound of the slamming door. You can then add it to the scene while editing. Similarly, if someone walks into a room, you may want to get a separate recording of the footsteps. In studio-made movies, this job would be done after the video is shot by foley artists working in a foley studio ( As you probably don’t have the resources they have, you better re-record some of the audio events on the spot.

8. Know your camcorder

To make best use of your camcoder, you need to understand what it can (and in most cases) cannot do.

  • Does you camcorder allow you to adjust the audio input gain of your camcorder so that you control the strength of the audio signal?
  • Can you switch audio gain levels from automatic (which is good for situations in which the volume of the sounds being recorded is unpredictable) to manual (in which case, you would set an optimal level for recording)?
  • Does your camera have a visual display of audio gain levels (this is a helpful feature that lets you know if you are audio recording levels are too low or high)?
  • Where are your camcorder’s on-board microphones located (on the side or at the front) and how much sound do they pick up from the sides and back? You can do a simple test of rotating the camera in front of a someone talking at a steady volume.

9. Know your audio equipment

Once you decide to start investing in equipment, you need to be aware of the functions, strengths and limitations so that can get the most out of your gear.  If you use a microphone, for example, you need to point it in the right direction: This may sound obvious, but it is still easy to get wrong. For example, if you are using a shotgun-style mic and point it straight-on at someone talking, you will not only pick up the actor’s voice, but you will also get any sound coming from behind the actor (even sounds from quite far away). Instead, the mic should be held high in the air and pointed at the actor at a downwards angle.

With different kinds of equipment you can get more flexibility. For example, instead of recording a concert with the camera’s onboard mic, you could use an XLR mic-to-camcorder audio adapter to connect your camcorder directly to the mixing panel at the venue.


To sum up, as long as you consider the limitations of the equipment you are working with, there is a lot that you can do to improve the audio quality of your video recordings. If you any questions or have some more suggestions, please leave a reply below.

Further Reading

  • Audio Equipment (An introduction to five different audio-recording set-ups that can be used with camcorders to improve sound quality—this would be a good place to start.)
  • Noise removal during editing (an introduction to the software and techniques you can use to reduce or eliminate unwanted noise that’s already been recorded)

~ by longzijun


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Video Recording: Improving Sound Quality – Basic Noise Reduction

This is part of a series of three articles on improving audio quality during video production while using consumer-grade equipment and software. This article focuses on how to reduce noise in video that has already been recorded; the other two articles are on:

(I’ve noticed that some people have arrived at this page by searching for information that isn’t included here, but that I may be able to provide. If the information you are looking for is not here, leave a question in a reply/comment and I’ll do my best to answer it).

The first thing to consider is whether it is practical to even try reducing the noise. If is quite easy to clean up constant, steady noises like hums and hisses with freeware programmes such as Goldwave and Audacity. However, If you want to get rid of sounds like someone talking during a piano recital, a baby crying during a wedding ceremony or a plane passing overhead, you will need to get more specialized audio spectrum editing software like Spectralayers Pro, which is not particularly easy to use.

Rather than try to reduce sound later, it’s always better to try to tackle noise during the recording process. Sometimes, however, that’s not an option; we just have to work with what we have.

Why is it Difficult to Remove Noise?

It is helpful to understand a little acoustic theory before trying to reduce noise. If we play Concert A on any musical instrument, the frequency of the sound waves of the fundamental tone of that note is around 440 hz (or 440 vibrations per second). Concert A on a piano and concert A on the violin have the same fundamental frequency, but the two instruments sound different. This is because the sound being produced is  made up of the fundamental tone and a large number of overtones. The frequencies, amplitudes (i.e., strength) and shapes of these overtones give a piano, violin or your own voice its characteristic sound (or timbre).  This is why when you try to reduce background hisses by reducing the level of high frequencies, for example, you affect almost everything else in your audio clip—you are also altering the overtones of things like the human voice, which is why you can sometimes end up with a heard-over-the-telephone voice or a robotic sound instead of natural human voices.

Removing Hums and Hisses

Fortunately, a very steady noise in the background—like the sound of an air-conditioner or fan—can be reduced significantly. For that kind of noise, you can try using the noise filter in your video editing programme, but you will probably get much better results if you use audio editing software such as Audacity (freeware) and Goldwave (shareware) or software specifically designed for noise removal  such as Magix Audio Cleaning Lab (commercial software).  Use your video editing programme to export the audio file or to render the audio part as a separate file. You can also open some video formats in audio editing software like Goldwave and save the file as a WAV file.

Once you have opened the audio file in your audio editing programme, locate the noise reduction function (In Goldwave select Effects → Filter →  Noise Reduction; In Audacity, select Effect  → Noise Removal). Once there, you will see various presets that might prove useful (e.g., Reduce hum, Remove hiss) . However, I would recommend trying the Use Clipboard function in Goldwave or its equivalent in Audacity—Profile Noise Print. To do this, you need to a short segment that contains only the noise you want to get rid of (i.e., you can just hear the hiss or hum; no one is speaking, no music is playing)—a little less than one second will be enough, though in general, the longer the selection of consistent and continuous noise the better. Select that part (just hold down your left mouse button and drag).

What the Use Clipboard / Profile Noise Print does is digitally remove from your recording the part of the audio signal that matches the selected noise sample. To me this function is like magic; I learned about audio recording using analogue equipment (like reel-to-reel tape decks), and to be able to remove noise this easily digitally never fails to amaze me. It still isn’t perfect—if you don’t have strong enough reduction settings, you will get chirping noises in the background, and if the settings are too strong, you will affect the original timbre of the voice of musical instrument—but it is still an amazingly effective way to eliminate noise.

In Goldwave, you need to copy the segment you selected (Ctrl-C or Edit Copy) to the clipboard. After copying, select your entire file.  Then, open the noise reduction dialogue box and select the  function Use Clipboard. Adjust the various settings to find the ideal amount of noise reduction  (Click on the play icon in the noise reduction dialogue box to hear the effect. Unfortunately, you need to re-click the play icon whenever you change one of the settings). Select OK when you are done. The whole process is shown here:

In Audacity, the process is similar, but you don’t need to copy the selection. Just select the sample then go to Effect Noise Reduction Noise Profile Get Noise Profile.   After getting the profile, select your whole file then return to the Noise Reduction dialogue box to adjust the settings and apply the effect.The whole process is shown here: Audacity:

You can also use this noise-print removal function with Magix Audio Cleaning Lab, which is very effective at reducing noise and enhancing audio quality. I recently used it to remove noise and enhance the quality of some music I had recovered from twenty-year-old cassette tapes and thought it did a great job. The software offers finer levels of control than Goldwave and Audacity, making it easier for you to avoid the chirping effect mentioned earlier. Also, when using this software, you can hear the results of any changes in setting on the fly’ (i.e., in real time), whereas in Goldwave or Audacity, after you change a setting, you need to audition (i.e., preview) the sound.

If you are using Premiere Pro for video editing and have Adobe Soundbooth installed, you can also the noise print removal function of this software. In Premiere Pro, just right-click on the audio clip in the timeline, select Edit in Soundbooth and then Render and Replace and your audio file will open in Soundbooth. Select a short clip of the sample noise and then select Processes and Capture Noise Print. Select the whole clip and then select Processes and Reduce Noise. Soundbooth, however, doesn’t give you as much control over settings as in the other software programmes.

Some noises bring their own problems. For example, the noise of a passing traffic may seem like a steady sound, but if you remember you high school lessons on the doppler effect, you’ll also remember that the frequency of objects moving towards and away from a listener will change as the soundwaves are compressed and stretched out. The sound may not be as constant enough to allow you to use a noise-print noise reduction method.

Reducing a Sudden Click

If the sound is really short like a click, I will usually use Goldwave, zoom in on the click so that I can see on the waveform exactly where it begins, select that part and reduce the volume of that by about 70%. The click will still be there but it will be less noticeable. If you reduce it by 100%, you will get a short burst of complete silence, which might be as noticeable as the short click. Magix Audio Cleaning lab also has a de-click function specifically designed for this purpose. You can control how aggressively the software seeks out and eliminates clicks.

Reducing Isolated Sounds

What if you want to reduce the volume of something like a baby suddenly crying during a piano concert? You will probably need to get specialized software for this (and this kind of noise removal is not at all easy).

Using Purchased Software

You can use audio spectrum editing software; these are programs in which you work with visual representations of the audio waveform. For example, you can use Sony’s Spectralayers Pro’s Extract Harmonics tool or Extract Shape tool to visually identify and extract an isolated sound. In their review of the software, MusicRadar writes: “success is entirely dependent on your ability to select the offending frequencies, and that can take time. Once that’s done, though, the results are often excellent.”

Using Freeware

The quick and dirty method is to simply reduce the audio level (fading out and fading back in) and making the part where the baby screams quieter.

Another method would be to apply a form of equalization. You can try (with try being the key word here) using what is called a spectrum filter to identify and decrease the levels  of the frequencies associated with the baby’s scream. You are not just looking for at a fundamental tone (i.e., the ‘musical’ pitch) of the baby’s scream, but you are also looking for the overtones that make the baby’s voice sound different from that sound of a piano. You would visually compare the frequency spectrum of the piano before the scream with the spectrum of the combination of piano/scream. You might be able identify which frequencies are associated with the baby and apply notch filters to those frequencies (a notch filter decreases a very narrow range of frequencies). The following shows an example of a spectrum filter (from Goldwave) with the frequencies around 550 hz and 2kz being sharply reduced (using two notch filters).

The chances for success (i.e., piano unaffected and screaming diminished) using freeware programmmes, however, are minimal.

Other Ideas

There are other things you can do to handle background noise in your video besides removing it. For example, you can cover it up with something else like music to make it less noticeable. In some situations, you can even add more noise to make it seem like the noise belongs there. For example, let’s say you are editing a street interview and you have to re-record the interviewer’s part later at home on in the studio. If you cut between the interviewer (with almost no background noise) and the interviewee (with lots of street sounds in the background), the contrast will be very noticeable. You can mix some ambient street noise into the edit to make the background sounds more consistent and therefore less jarring (this is  why its a good idea to record some ambient sound whenever you are doing video recording).

Further Reading

~by longzijun


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Video Recording: Improving Sound Quality – Audio Equipment

Beachtek DXA-2t

This is part of a series of three articles on improving audio quality during video production while using consumer-grade equipment and software. The article was first published several years ago, so some of the actual models show are outdated, but the principles still apply.

This article focuses on the equipment you can use to get good sound quality while doing video recording with consumer-grade camcorders; the other two articles are on:

If you are satisfied with the audio recorded with your camcorder, you don’t need to waste money on purchasing audio equipment. In general, however, most consumer-grade camcorders don’t record audio very well. There are several reasons for this:

  • The internal (or on-board) microphone may not be of  the best quality to begin with.
  • You may not be able to control the audio input level or easily change this level while recording. The recording levels may end up being too low (leading to a poor signal-to-noise ratio) or too high (causing distortion).
  • You may not be able  monitor the audio effectively as it is being recorded. You will need to use headphones, but some camcorders do not have an earphone jack and with many other camcorders, the audio signal sent through the headphones during recording is not as clear as it should be. Also, in audio recording, it is helpful to have a visual display of the audio input so that you can see if the levels are too low or high. Many consumer-grade camcorders don’t have this visual display function.
  • There is not much flexibility when it comes to  choosing the sound you want to record. Whatever is loudest and closest to your camera, that is the sound you get. A related problem is that some internal mics, because of their placement, are especially good at picking up the sound of wind.
  • Because on-board mics are housed in the body of the camera and are next to moving parts (especially in camcorders recording on mini-dv or tape) and electrical components, they may also pick-up mechanical sounds and humming noises.

Having a a professional-grade camcorder would solve almost all of these problems, but there are various equipment set-ups you can apply to consumer grade cameras that can help you deal with at least some of them. The approach you choose would depend on your budget, recording needs and technical expertise, as well as the equipment you already have. Seven approaches are discussed in this article:

  1. Dedicated external mic mounted on a hot shoe
  2. External mic → camcorder mic port
  3. External mic → XLR audio adaptor → camcorder mic port
  4. External mic → mixer → XLR audio adaptor → camcorder mic port
  5. External mic→digital audio recorder
  6. Digital audio recorder
  7. Digital audio recorder → XLR audio adaptor → camcorder mic port

This article is just a brief introduction to the kinds of equipment that you can use. Once you decide on the audio recording approach that’s best for you, you will need to search for more information about what equipment is available (online or at your local audio equipment store) and would work best with the video recording equipment you already have.

1. Dedicated external mic mounted on a hot shoe

Most consumer-grade cameras have a hot shoe on the top—a kind of slot for attaching accessories like microphones and flashes.  For some camcorders, there is a dedicated microphone specifically designed for that model of camera. If you use a Canon HG10 camcorder, for example, the corresponding microphone is the Canon  DM50 mic (pictured below). You just fit the mic onto the hot shoe and you would not need to connect it to the microphone port.

Canon DM-50

Pros: With this kind of mic, you will get better sound quality. The mic will also be much more ‘directional’, that is, it will pick up more of the sound it is pointed at. With some microphones, you can choose whether you want the mic to focus on the the subject in front of you or to pick up more of the ambient sound from all around. This is a useful feature, so you might want to make sure that your mic has it. Another advantage is that you can easily manage both audio and video recording at the same time without having to worry about cables, mic stands or power supplies.

Cons: The problems related to being unable to control levels and properly monitor sound still exist. Also, you may want to get more control over directionality and proximity (i.e., to choose where the microphone is pointing, what polarity is being used and how far away the mic is from the subject being recorded). One additional problem is that if you upgrade your camcorder, the microphone will probably be rendered obsolete as well.

2. External mic → camcorder mic port

Many camcorders have a mini-jack port for external microphones. If you use this set-up, you will have greater flexibility in choosing a mic that meets your needs and budget. The problem I have encountered with this set-up, however, is that the audio will be affected (e.g., distortion, missing audio channel, audio suddenly cutting out) if the connection between the mic and the camcorder isn’t secure. This is especially problematic if your camcorder doesn’t have a headphone jack; you won’t be able to monitor the input to check that everything sounds OK.

When choosing a microphone, there are several things to consider:

2.1 Polarity

  • Hyper-cardioid or shotgun mics focus on picking up sounds within a narrow angle in front of the microphone. They are good for recording interviews and sporting events (to pick up sounds on the field). For interviews or drama productions, your mic would still need to be quite close to the subject.
  • Cardioid: These focus on sounds at the front, pick up a little from the side and are good for interviews or for reporters using a hand-held mic.
  • Bi-directional (or Figure 8): These record sounds from the front and back and reject sounds from the side.
  • Omni-directional: These record sounds from all around and are useful for recording ambient sound and discussions (where everyone is seated around the table).
  • Multi-directional: These allow you to choose from a selection of different polarities.
Rode NTG-2 Shotgun Mic

2.2 Lavalier vs. handheld vs. shotgun

Lavalier microphones are the small mics you attach to a person’s shirt collar. They are great for interviews and other types of video recordings where the voice is the most important thing.  Lavalier mics are normally omni-directional, but because they are placed on the actor or announcer, they don’t pick up a lot of ambient sound. I find that even inexpensive ones can give you a very clear sound. If you are doing a man-on-the-street style interview, you would might want a handheld mic. Shotgun mics are the long-bodied microphones used for isolating distant sounds (or they be held overhead actors performing a dramatic scene and pointed downwards to pick up their dialogue).

2.3 Wired vs. wireless

You can  also use wireless mics. Wireless lavalier mics, for example, are a good choice if you are shooting a video and you want some long shots (where you can see the actor’s entire body). For wireless mics you need to get a system—including the clip-on mic, batteries, a transmitter which the actor wears, a receiver which is mounted on top of the camera and a cable that connects the receiver to the camcorder’s mic port. The system you buy should ideally be produced for use with a camcorder (Bill Myers has an excellent video explaining this set-up:

The receiver for most lavalier mics normally goes directly into the mic port of the camcorder. However, I have a couple of lavalier mics, but they are not made for camcorders, so I have to run the output from the wireless receiver through an adapter or mixer. or:

Azden WMP-Pro Wireless Lavalier
Sony ECM_AW3 wireless microphone: mic (left) and receiver (right)

(Update: May 2012) In the last couple of years the bigger manufacturers have started producing different kinds of camcorder microphones. For example, I have been using the Sony ECM-AW3 wireless microphone. With this model the transmitter is built into the mic (so you don’t need the on-screen talent to wear a separate transmitter. It has a range of around 50 meters and the signal can pass through walls. The silver capsule-shaped mic/transmitter is around 7.5 cm in length has a diameter of around 2.5 cm, so it is small enough to wear comfortably, but not small enough to be inconspicuous. It is very useful in situations where you don’t mind the viewer seeing the mic. A capsule of the same size and shape acts as the receiver and plugs directly into the camcorder’s mic port.

I was recently asked a question about wireless handheld microphones. These transmit a signal to a receiver, which you would then connect to the mic port on your camcorder. They would be good for conducting news-style interviews. Most models are designed for use on stage and come with relatively large receivers. There are not that many wireless handheld microphone systems for camcorders and it seems that the cheaper mics don’t work very well, so you should consider getting one of the well-known brands (Sennheiser, Shure, AKG and Audio-technica all have good reputations for their microphones). You can consider trying the Audio-Technica Professional VHF Wireless Hand-held Camcorder Microphone System or Sony’s Wireless Handheld Mic Camera Pack (model UWPV2/4244).

2.4 Dynamic vs. condenser

There are two main kinds of microphone: dynamic and condenser. Dynamic mics tend to be more durable. Condenser mics tend to be more sensitive to a wider range of frequencies, but they are more fragile and  may be too sensitive if recording really loud sounds. Condenser mics also need a power supply, either a 48v phantom power supply or batteries (48 volt phantom power usually comes from studio mixing panels, but is also a feature of some digital audio recorders and some audio adapters. A portable phantom power supply can also be bought separately).

2.5 Windshields/windscreens

These can be bought separately and are attached to the microphone or placed in front of it. They help cut down on wind noise and p-popping (the distortion caused by the sudden rush of air if you say plosive consonants like p, b and g directly into a mic).

Pros: The advantages are similar to those listed for the custom-built mics— you will get better sound  quality and even better control over directionality. You will also have greater flexibility to record in a variety of different situations and environments.

XLR to mini-jack cable

Cons: There is still no way to adequately monitor and control audio input levels. Also, the set-up is becoming more complicated. You now have cables to handle and you might have to deal with batteries, power supplies and receivers. You may need to get a mic stand to hold the microphone in place while you are filming or you may need to get someone to hold the microphone. The mini-jack port on the camera may also pose a problem. Most higher-quality microphones use XLR jacks and some lower-quality ones use 1/4 inch audio jacks (too large for the mic port of your camera), so if you are using a higher quality external microphone you can either use an XLR to mini-jack cable or use an audio adapter (see Set-up 3). You will get better sound quality with  the adapter.

Also, as mentioned earlier, the mini-jack ports on camcorders sometimes have connectivity problems; unless your jack is inserted in just the right way, the sound may not be recorded properly (e.g., no sound, one missing channel, distorted signal, etc.). This can cause problems especially when you are moving the mic around.

3. External mic → XLR audio adapter → camcorder mic port

This set-up solves a few of the problems mentioned in the preceding paragraph. In this set-up, you  use higher-quality XLR microphones (with three-pin XLR connections) to an XLR adapter (which can be mounted on the base of the camera), and you can also convert line outputs (like from a mixer) to mic inputs (for the mic jack in your camcorder. These adapters—produced by companies like BeachTek and juicedLink 9Azden has now come out with a model as well)—also come equipped with audio level controls (now you can finally control audio input levels while recording). They cost from around 250 to 400 USD. They are very useful, so if you are doing a lot or recording where the audio is important, I would recommend you get one.

Depending on the brand and model you buy, you may also get the following features:

  • Phantom power (a 48v power supply for use with condenser microphones, but only the top-of-the-line adapters will have this feature )
  • Two inputs (you can record from two microphones at once)
  • Line/input switches (you can also choose input from line signals like line outs from a mixing panel)
  • Stereo/mono outputs (you can choose to combine the two input channels as a mono signal or assign them to left and right tracks).
  • A visual display for audio input levels (to warn you when your incoming signal is too strong—but this is only available on the top-of-the line adapters).
JuicedLink DT454 XLR Audio Converter

Pros: You can control and monitor audio input levels and you have greater flexibility when it comes to arranging mic set-ups. You can use different microphones for different purposes.

Cons: You will need to spend some time setting up the equipment and testing levels before you are ready to start recording. Also, you will probably need different mics for different purposes.

4. External microphone→audio mixer→audio adapter→camcorder mic port

The audio adapter is required  in order to turn the line output of the mixer into a mic input for the camcorder. I would recommend against using this set-up as it seems to be getting unnecessarily complicated and would require setting a lot of different levels before recording.

5. External mic → digital audio recorder

With this approach, you are recording the main audio separately using a digital audio recorder. When you edit your video you will have the video/audio recorded from the camera and a separate audio file from the digital audio recorder. You combine the video and audio during the editing process.

Handy H4 digital audio recorder

Pros: Basically this set up takes care of all the problems mentioned at the beginning of the article. You can easily control and monitor the audio input levels and can get input from a greater variety of sources, including internal mics, external mics, wireless clip-on mics and line outputs. For example, when recording a musical performance, you can use the digital audio recorder to record directly from the mixing panel. This can provide the main audio source for the video. In the editing process, you can mix it with the audio recorded using the camcorder (at a  much reduced level), which will have picked up the audience noise and the audio that was bouncing around the performance venue.

Similarly, if you are recording a dramatic scene, the mic and digital audio recorder can be positioned closer to the actors (while still staying out of the frame) while the camera can be positioned further away. If you were recording a discussion, you could use the digital audio recorder on its own (using the recorder’s internal mics) or set it it up to be used with an omni-directional mic. In short, you get a lot more flexibility now that the audio and video are handled separately.

Tascam DP008 digital audio recorder and mixer

Cons: This set-up is complicated, especially if you are using things like wireless microphones. It would take some time to set everything up and test levels. If you are using a handheld shotgun mic, for example, you are starting to look at having a three-person crew: one person to operate the camera, a second to handle the mic and a third to monitor and record the audio (of course, you can use tripods and mic stands, but if you are doing everything yourself, you will have a lot to take care of at once).

Note: In professional film-making, audio and video are often recorded separately. This is one of the reasons why film clappers (also known as clapperboards or slates) are used at the beginning of a shot. The editor can synch up the video and audio by matching the sound of the clapper to visual image of the closing clapstick.

6. Digital audio recorder

In this set up, you are just recording the audio using the internal microphones of the digital audio recorder (during the editing process, you add the sound file to the video). There are three main advantages to this set up:

  • Digital audio recorders usually have two internal mics, so you will be able to get a decent stereo recording (this can be helpful when recording concerts).
  • They are small and are portable (you won’t need any cables or mic stands).
  • The smaller recorders are discreet (if you are holding one, you won’t stand out as much as you would if you were holding a shotgun mic with a a long cable attached to it).

These microphones are usually not very directional, however; they pick up sounds from the side and front and only slightly block sounds coming from the rear. Therefore, they tend to pick up a lot of ambient sound.

I have been using two digital audio recorders (pictured below) to record discussions and live acoustic music performances: The Sony PCM-10 and the Roland R-05. They are a little pricey, but the sound quality is very good.

Sony PCM M10 Digital Audio Recorder
Sony PCM M10 Digital Audio Recorder

7. Digital audio recorder → XLR audio adaptor → camcorder mic port

This is a variation of Set-up 3, but you would use the digital audio recorder as microphone.

Roland R-05 Digital Audio Recorder

The headphone or line output of the digital audio recorder is fed into the XLR adaptor. The only advantage this has over Set-up 5 is that the audio is now recorded on the camcorder. I use this set-up sometimes for oral discussions (using a Roland R-05 recorder) when I don’t plan on doing any editing afterwards.


Good quality audio recording doesn’t really work with a one size fits all approach. Different recording contexts may require different kinds of equipment and different set-ups. In the end, your choice of equipment and set-up depends on your needs and budget.

~by longzijun

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~by longzijun


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Choosing Premiere Pro Sequence Settings for HD Video


The main principle behind sequence project and export settings is to limit the number of times you will need to change video formats (and things like resolution and pixel aspect ratio) during the whole video production process. Therefore, you should be aiming to get your project settings to closely match the format of your original video clips.

Even if you plan on reducing the resolution of the video when exporting it, you would still want the sequence settings to match the format of the original video clips. You would then reduce the resolution when you export the video after editing.

1. Automatic Method: CC and CS6

This method is very convenient, and is especially suitable if all your video clips are in the same format. If you are using Premiere Pro CC (or even CS6), you can have the program automatically select a project setting to match your original video.

When Premiere Pro opens, select ‘New Project’, choose ‘HD Video’, give the file a name, select the location and click ‘OK’.

In Premiere Pro CC, the program will open, and the next step is to import your videos into the project (e.g., select ‘File’ – ‘Import’). Once you have imported the files, they should appear in the Project panel. Choose one of the clips and then drag (hold the left mouse button down) that clip from the Project panel into the Timeline panel (as shown below).

Drag the video from the Project Panel into the timeline panel

The sequence is created and you will then see three things: (A) The newly created sequence appears in the Project panel, (B) the sequence name appears in the Timeline panel and (C) the video clip appears in the timeline panel.

The sequence appears

The settings are done automatically. You can check them by selecting ‘Sequence’ – ‘Settings’.

Let’s check the settings

This is what that setting panel shows after I added dragged one of my videos from the project panel into the timeline panel.

The settings window (Note: You can select Maximum Bit Depth and Maximum Render quality in the Export panel when you are exporting your video)

You can change the name of the sequence by double clicking on the existing name in the project panel and typing in the new name.

Change the name of the sequence


If your original video clips come in different formats, when you are choosing which clip to drag into the Timeline, you should choose a clip that is in the format that will make up the majority of your video (unless you have a lot of low resolution clips and a few higher resolution ones, but want the final video to be in higher resolution. If this is the case, you would choose one of the the higher resolution clips.)

2. Manual Method

I highly recommend the automatic method, but if you are using the manual method, the main principle is that your sequence settings should closely match the format of your original video clips in terms of three main aspects:

  • Resolution (frame width and height as measured in pixels—this is also called frame dimensions) and pixel aspect ratio
  • TV system (PAL or NTSC) and frame rate (these two things go together)
  • Scanning method (interlaced or progressive)

I think the information here is already quite complicated, so I won’t bother trying to explain things like scanning method and pixel aspect ratio in detail.

Hopefully, you know the necessary information (resolution, pixel aspect ratio, TV system and scanning method) about your video files already. You can find these details in your camera’s specifications. If necessary, you can download a free multi-media analyzer like Media Info ( AVIcodec (

In Premiere Pro CC, after selecting the project name and destination, select OK and the program will open. You would then select ‘File’ and then ‘New Sequence’. In CS4 to C66, there is a two-step process before the program opens: project settings followed by sequence settings).

CS4 to CS6: Step 1: Select Project Settings
Step 1. Select Project Settings
sequence settings
Step 2. Select Sequence Settings (this preset would be suitable for 1920×1080 AVCHD files from most PAL camcorders recording at 25 frames per second)

2.1 Resolution (frame width and height) and pixel aspect ratio

There are five main HD resolutions:

  • 3096 x 2160 (4K)*
  • 2560 x 1440 (2K)*
  • 1920 x 1080 (1080p): This is the most common one at the moment.
  • 1440 x 1080: This is called anamorphic video. The pixels are rectangular with a pixel aspect ratio (width : height) of 1.33 : 1. When exporting the video, you may downscale it to 1280 x 820 with a pixel aspect ration of 1:1 (square pixels)
  • 1280 x 720

*Premiere Pro CC can handle all of them but for the two highest resolutions 2K and 4K, you will need a powerful computer. If your computer or software are struggling and the programme cannot handle such high resolution video, you can convert the files to a standard 1080p format before editing (this is not ideal, though).

2.1.1 Default Selection

When selecting settings, there is a wide range of presets suitable for HD. You can go through the main categories like AVCHD (for mts video from camcorders) and HDV. There are also presents for DSLR cameras (In CS6, these sequence settings presets sometimes do not show up when the programme opens. If you cannot find them, simply close the programme and reopen it and they should appear).

If there is no suitable default selection, select a preset that is similar to the format you are using then click on the Settings tab and change the settings to match your format.

2.1.2 Exporting Lower Resolution Video

You might want to reduce the resolution (i.e., the frame dimensions) when exporting. For example, if you are recording in 4K, you might still want to export the video at 1920 x 1080. While editing you would be able to pan and zoom. This is especially useful if there are a lot of problems with the way the shots are framed (weird angles, too much headroom, the subject is too small, etc.)

To do this, the best option is to create a sequence that, as mentioned above, matches the original footage and scale it during the export stage.

If you are using 4K video at 3096 x 2160 as the original and exporting to 1920 x 1080 for the final video, you can zoom in while editing by adjusting the scale anywhere from 100% to 161.25%. Just remember that if you use this method, you should avoid adjusting the scale by more than 161.25% or your exported video will start to look pixelated. If you are going from 2560 x 1440 to 1920 x 1080 the maximum you should zoom in (i.e., increase the size) is 133.33%

2.2 Interlaced (i) or progressive (p) scanning

You should choose the scanning method (interlaced or progressive) of your video clips as the project setting. Nowadays most consumer camcorders use progressive scanning, but a lot of older camcorders will record with interlaced scanning.

If you are working with interlaced video, choose the presets marked with an ‘i’. If you are using HD video, you shouldn’t have to worry about choosing the Field Order. For HD video, PAL and NTSC both use an upper-field first order.

If the original videos you will be editing are already ‘progressive’ (i.e., non-interlaced), then choose a ‘p’ setting in your project settings.

2.3  TV system and frame rate

a) If you are working with PAL video clips, you should choose from settings marked PAL or settings where the frame rate is 25 fps (25p) or 50 fps (50p) ; for interlaced formats, you will select 25 fps (50i).

b) If you are working with NTSC you should choose from settings marked NTSC or settings where the frame rate is 30 fps (29.97 actually). For progressive formats, this is shown as 30 fps (30p) or 60 fps (60p); for interlaced formats, it is shown as 30 fps (60i).

c) If your camera records video at 24 frames per second, that is the rate you are looking for.

2.4 Examples

I used to work with video shot with an old Canon HG10 camcorder (PAL system, 25 fps, intelaced, 1440 x 1080 anamorphic AVCHD video), so I would choose the preset ‘AVCHD →  1080i → AVCHD1080i25 (50i) anamorphic‘ in Premiere Pro CC.

CS4 sequence settings for PAL (1440 x 1080)

Here are the settings for a newer camera. The pixel aspect ration is ‘Square Pixels’ and the frame rate is 50 frames per second and the scanning method (under ‘Fields’) is ‘No Fields: Progressive Scan’.

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~by longzijun


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Exporting HD Video for YouTube (Premiere Pro)

Page Updated: February 2019
Versions: Premiere Pro CS4, CS6 and CC
if you are using other versions, you may still find the information on this page useful.

Summary of Settings

Here is a summary of the main settings:

  • Format & Container: H.264 & MPEG-4
  • Resolution (Frame Dimensions): 1920 x 1080 or 1280 x 720. If you are working with 4K video that would be 4096 x 2160 pixels, while 2K video would be 2560 x 1440. This article focuses on the most common resolution HD resolution on YouTube: 1920 x 1080.
  • Pixel Aspect Ratio: Square pixels (1:1)
  • Field Order: None, non-interlaced, progressive (different terms for the same thing)
  • TV Standard: NTSC or PAL (depends on your original footage and/or settings in your video editing program)
  • Frame rate: 29.97 (for NTSC) or 25 for (PAL) or 24 (depends on your original footage and/or settings in your video editing program). You can also choose the higher frame rate options of 60, 50 or 48. These are especially useful if you want to have very smooth action (e.g., in a gameplay video) and your original footage was filmed at that frame rate.
  • Bitrate Encoding: (Updated October 2014) YouTube and Vimeo now recommend Variable Bit Rate (2 pass)
  • Video Bitrate: At least 6,500 kbps for 1280 x 720 , 10,000 kbps for 1920 x 1080 video. . These are the recommended settings for what YouTube calls ‘normal quality’.  For higher frame rates, you can multiply the figures by 1.5.  You can see YouTube’s recommendations here:  Advanced encoding settings.
  • Profile: High
  • Audio Code and Channels: AAC, Channels: Stereo
  • Audio Frequency: 48 khz
  • Audio Bitrate = 320 kbps or 384 kbps

Select Render at Maximum Quality and consider selecting Render at Maximum Depth and Frame Blending.

For exporting high-definition video (HD video) using Adobe Media Encoder. In Premiere Pro, this is accessed by selecting File – Export – Media or Media Encoder. However, make sure you have clicked on the timeline first. For earlier versions of Premiere Pro make sure that you have selected all the clips that you want to export (as shown in the following image).

Main Workflow Principles

There are two main principles. One is to try to minimize the number of times the format of the original video is altered.  Therefore, the  project settings you choose when you open a new Premiere Pro file and your export settings for creating the final video for uploading are based on the format of your original video.

The second principle is to export your video in a format YouTube handles particularly well; that is, in a format that doesn’t need to be changed very much when being converted.

Three Main Choices

a) Resolution
For HD video on YouTube, there are two main choices: 1280 x 720 or 1920 x 1080 (not counting the 2K and 4K resolutions).

  • If you are working with 1440 x 1080 anamorphic* HD video, it is best to downscale the resolution slightly to 1280 x 720 and change the pixel aspect ratio to 1:1. (*anamorphic pixels are rectangular).
  • If you are working with 1920 x 1080 video, you can keep these larger dimensions for your output or downscale to 1280 x 720 if you want smaller file sizes.
  • If you are working with 1280 x 720 video, just export the video at this resolution.

b) TV Standard
There are two main standards: PAL and NTSC. If you are creating a video for YouTube, just maintain the same video standard through your whole workflow. For example, if your camera produces PAL video, use PAL project settings and export to a PAL video. In HD video meant to be played on computers, the main difference between the two formats is frame rate. The frame rate of PAL video is 25 or 50 frames per second. The frame rate of NTSC video is 30 (29.97) or 60 frames per second.

c) Use of Render at Maximum Quality, (CS4 and CS6), Render at Maximum Depth (CS6) and Frame Blending
CS4 and CS6 feature a maximum render quality setting. This is useful when exporting video with lots of movement, but it will  increase the video rendering time. You can see the difference in the following still images taken from the same timeline.

Still image showing video without (top) and with (bottom) Maximum Render Quality selected

The top image is from a video exported without this function enabled. The image on the bottom is with the Use Maximum Render Quality setting enabled.

These three settings are disabled by default

The Render at Maximum Depth setting involves the ability to differentiate between different colours. Enabling this function MAY increase the quality of the video slightly, but it might not be very noticeable once your video is uploaded and transcoded in YouTube.

The Frame Blending function comes into play if you have changed the speed of your video in the timeline (e.g., slow motion) or if there is any different in the frame rate between the project settings, original video clip and export settings. It tries to create smoother movement by blurring some of the frames together. Some people like this effect; others dislike it. If your video has any changes in frame rate, I recommend doing trial exports of a small portion of the video with Frame Blending enabled and disabled and see which one you prefer.

You can enable frame blending while exporting or you can enable it on individual video clips in the project (Right click on the clip then select ‘Clip’ in the toolbar at the top of the screen. Select ‘Video Options’ and then ‘Frame Blending’).

The WMV Option

If you are using PAL settings, you can also create a HD WMV video for YouTube very easily.  Just select ‘Format: Windows Media’ and select the most appropriate preset (the one that most closely matches your video footage) . The video quality will be almost as good as the MP4 file and can play more easily on different versions of Windows Media Player. You don’t need to change any values (but if you are still using CS3, make sure the deinterlace option is checked).

If you have any more information about exporting for YouTube, please let me know. This page is intended for newbies. If there is anything that isn’t clear, let me know so I can improve the page.

My Other Articles on Video Editing

~by longzijun


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