Straight to Video

Straight to Video

Posted by on May 24, 2017 in Software

As if I needed to add another log to the pile of “stuff Chris is interested in trying”.

I watch the Last Week Tonight clips on YouTube every Monday, and aside from watching the actual content of the video, one thing that caught my eye was the design of the video. Look at this still:

I think we’re pretty used to a full-screen video when we watching them online. But the LWT video — the parts we pay attention to — don’t fill the screen. Look at the left side. Notice that sidebar that’s lying beneath the image of the pug. If I’d embedded the video, you’d see that the words “Last Week Tonight” are scrolling from right to left on several lines, in several shades, at different speeds.

I want to be able to make something like that. I don’t stream much, and I don’t record and produce video, but I thought that being able to make video intros, outros, and motion backgrounds would be a cool skill to have that could allow me to make stuff for people who do stream much and who do record and produce videos.

The problem is that for all of the stuff on the Internet, getting a straight answer on certain things is fraught with roadblocks. I haven’t been able to find anything that would help me learn how to do this. Scratch that: I haven’t found anything that doesn’t lead to Adobe After Effects or Premiere Pro that would help me learn how to do this.

Le sigh.

I sub to the “photographer” level of Adobe Creative Cloud because it includes access to Photoshop for only $9.99 per month. Unfortunately for hobbyists, renting a single app from Adobe costs $19.99 a month. Paying for two — Premiere and After Effects — would be $40 (yay math!), and since I’d have to switch off my current plan in order to get Photoshop as well, it’s now up to $60 per month. That’s kind of expensive, although still cheaper than the days when we had two options for acquiring Adobe products: pay massive sums or pirate them.

That’s why I’m thinking that the $49.99 per month buffet for all Adobe products on offer isn’t such a bad deal for someone who wants at least three Adobe CC products. Yes, I know, Outraged Internet Citizen: $50 a month is still a lot for renting software. It’s people like me who enable companies to keep doing this. No way in hell you’d even consider this. Etc. To be honest, this is partly why I haven’t actually done it (yet). $50 is a lot to pay per month for access to this software. This professional grade, battle-tested, industry standard software.

What’s really stopping me is that I have absolutely no idea how the hell to use the video editing and production software. I know I need it because repeated hits on Google for “how to make an animated text scrolling background for video” brings up so many mentions of After Effects and Premiere Pro that you’d swear Adobe bought the rights to the entire first page of results. The downside is that there’s nothing approaching formal instruction in those results. If I were paying $50 a month for this software, I’d want to learn to use it properly…not through some random dude’s YouTube video on how to do one specific thing.

I have a purchased a lot of videos on the instructional site Udemy for Unity and a few other tools. Their video series are usually pretty good, and I’ve got their site open on another tab so I might buy the course (for $10), watch it, and see exactly what I could do with the software. If I feel comfortable enough at the end that I could accomplish the kinds of things I’d want to accomplish, then $50 a month would be an investment. Considering there have been plenty of times when I’ve bought games at full price that I’ve never played long enough to get my money’s wort, I don’t think I can really turn my nose up at a sub price like that.