Feature Stories

An Asian Adventure and PowerDirector

Here’s a story that combines fun, learning and an Asian excursion! Cesar Morales is the winner of CyberLink’s 2015 I Love travel contest, which encouraged contestants from around the world to use PowerDirector to create a short video about their most memorable travel experience. When the judging was over, it was clear Cesar’s video, a fun fusion of dance and exotic travel, was something special.

Cesar got his start in video editing by making simple music compilation videos with Windows Movie Maker. While on a trip to Europe, he got the idea to create a more complex dance and travel video that would reflect the experience. He was inspired by the many fun dance videos made by travelers around the world, many of which went viral. After reading positive online reviews, he chose PowerDirector as his video editor. His resulting Europe dance video received a heartening response from friends and family members.

The Story Crosses the Pacific Ocean

Cesar then decided to make a new travel/dance video in conjunction with his upcoming trip around Asia. He chose to use Mark Ronson’s popular song “Uptown Funk,” and set out to create a more cohesive and fluid feel than his first video had. With an itinerary that spanned eight countries in two months, Cesar filmed scenes of himself dancing in many interesting and exotic locations. The trip included many wonderful experiences, like walking on the Great Wall of China and in the ruins of the Angkor Wat.

For the filming, Cesar planned a basic choreography in advance. His idea was to have lip syncing shots interspersed with the dance clips. Cesar says: “I am a terrible singer and I am glad no one had to hear me singing for this travel video! I am also not so good at remembering lyrics, so I played the song with my mobile phone while lip syncing. The only lyrics I knew from memory were ‘uptown funk you up, say what?’ These parts and the dancing were shot without the song being played.”

With the right background and some sweet dance moves, it’s not hard to get some epic shots!

Recording Help from Newfound Friends

Cesar says it was not difficult to find people to help him with recording video: “I met people almost everywhere I traveled. I stayed in hotels and hostels, and it was always easy to meet new people to chat and explore the city with. The new travel companions I met were happy to help me with filming. Sometimes, I just asked complete strangers to record. Travelers are often very happy to take pictures and video of each other at tourist destinations. Other times, I used a portable camera tripod. That’s why some parts of the video are steady and others a little shaky. I admit, it got to be a bit tiresome setting up the tripod so many times.”

Cesar’s motto is: Travel, explore, learn, live, love, be happy!

Cesar says that while he is happy with the video, there are things that he will do differently next time. For one, he will record more shots. He found that when it came to arranging the video to match the 4:44 length of the song, he needed more footage than he actually had. So he was forced to reuse some scenes, which he did not like doing. Also, some of the video shot without a tripod came out shakier than he had hoped, and was somewhat hard to work with. Moreover, he regretted not positioning himself at the same distance in relation to the camera while filming. Cesar feels that the change in distance from the camera between different scenes leads to a loss of continuity.

They say that laughter and fun are contagious. Here Cesar shows us that dancing to Uptown Funk is even more so.

When he returned home and started editing, Cesar found synchronizing the audio with the video during the editing phase to be a very difficult task. With even a second or less of difference between the audio and video track, it would become obvious to the viewer that his lips were not in sync with the music. In Cesar’s words: “It was a lot of trial and error, and in the end there are still some scenes that are not 100% synchronized.” Cesar adds that the sync process would have been even harder if he did not have PowerDirector as his editing software.

Cesar loves how easy it is to make videos using PowerDirector. The first time he used it, he hadn’t read the manual or developed a clear idea of the tools he would need. But the intuitive interface let him quickly learn how to use the basic functions. Soon he was able to trim clips and place them in the right order in the timeline workflow. Also, he found that he could enhance the video with tools to fix shakiness and color problems, and that the effect templates were easy to work with.

Tips for those New to Video Editing

When asked if he had any advice for others who are new to video editing, Cesar was quite clear: “Practice, practice and more practice! When I started, I had no clue about video editing. The learning process for me has involved many mistakes, but I gained experience from each one.” Cesar recommends that new editors use the many resources available in online video tutorials and forums. There you can learn about video editing tools, how to make better videos, and how to reduce editing time. For videos shot on the road, Cesar reminds everyone to have a spare camera and battery handy when filming, and he says he cannot over-emphasize the importance of backups. When choosing a subject or theme, he suggests starting with short videos about subjects where you have the most passion.

Cesar ended our interview on an incredibly upbeat note: “I want to inspire people to travel, and to tell their own unique stories in video, just as I have been inspired by people from all around the world.”

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