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There are lots of editing software packages to choose from and it`s important to research them on the internet or in-store before deciding which one is right for you. Some sites (e.g. Amazon) include customer reviews which show how other users have rated each product. Be sure to choose a package that`s compatible with your computer`s operating system, check prices – and make sure the system isn`t too advanced for you.

How Editing Works

Having imported the footage to your P.C. from the camcorder, most packages allow you to drop shots into a timeline. You can then trim them to length, assemble them in the right order and add commentary, music, sound effects and captions. You can also make artistic transitions from one shot (or scene) to the next. When you become more advanced in your editing, some systems enable you to separate the sound from the picture. This allows sections of interview to be used as `voice-over` to illustrative pictures or sequences.

Top Tips

It helps if you have good footage to work with. Think carefully about the story you want to tell and plan how you're going to put it across in pictures and sound. Make sure you get shots and sequences that bring the subject to life and also illustrate what your contributors are talking about. Film is a visual medium: don`t just tell us – SHOW US! A good way to plan a news story is to write a rough script before you shoot. Put the things you want your interviewees and/or commentary to say in the left hand column and make a 'shopping list' of illustrative shots on the right. Then you`ll be sure of coming back with a movie that tells a good, clear story.

Be critical of your footage. Only use the best shots in your edited movie – and try to arrange them into an order that sustains the viewer`s interest. Even your best friends won`t sit through hours and hours of random images. The worst sound a film-maker can hear is snoring…..coming from the front row of his or her audience!

It`s best not to make your first films too complicated. You could start by cutting shots to music, adding simple captions or perhaps some commentary – and don`t forget those cool transitions from one shot to the next (starbursts, fades, dissolves, wipes etc.) Once you get a feel for what the kit can do, you`ll gain confidence and become more adventurous in your editing and storytelling.

The Finished Product

You can do all kinds of things with your completed films. They can be exported to DVD, e-mail or the web;  it`s even possible to send them to friends via mobile phone (provided you have the right technology). Please remember to check the capabilities of any editing software (and your P.C.) before buying. It`s also important to let your parents know that you`re interested - and a smart idea to take advice from a teacher or someone who`s used the software before.

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