We use these programs not because they are the best, but because they are what we have!
To start with, we didn’t have any filming or video editing lessons, in fact, “Step 1” was the first video I had ever done. We did, however, teach ourselves many complex computer programs over the years such as Photoshop, Revit, Sketchup, AutoCAD, and Archicad —giving us the confidence to pick up new program skills quickly. I do believe that having a design background from architecture helps with editing because Dan and I can both visualize the final scene before actually shooting it.
In a nutshell, we use Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and some good old fashion hand drawings for the logos and whiteboard illustrations before animating them in Final Cut Pro X.
We were about halfway done with the editing of step 1 on iMovie when my brother gave us Final Cut pro X, so I jumped right in… When it comes to simple edits such as cuts and transitions between clips, the basics of Final Cut is not too different from any other program out there (iMovie, Widows Movie Maker, even the phone apps…) However, the benefits of having FCPX goes beyond just adding cool effects. The more comfortable I got with the program the more I could focus on the finer details of each clip (creating clipping masks, add keyframes, adjusting specific tones and shadows…)
Let’s talk Audio
We quickly learned that my laptop’s built-in microphone isn’t the best to narrate the videos. After I spent a couple of months in Haiti using my brother’s recording studio, I realized that some things needed to be upgraded. With his advice, we recently got ourselves a “blue snowball” which is making a big difference with the sound clarity.
As for camera gear
Believe it or not, but the majority of our filming is done with either our GoPro silver 3+, or our Samsung S5. From time to time we throw in my Nikon D5100 for a better imagery. We would of course love to upgrade our gear. Get some portable mics for the Nikon, but all that will come with time and support from all our Uma Angels.
The main lesson here is
Use what you have now. If all you have is iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, or a free app for iPhone and Android that allows you to do the same, us them! If you can get your hands on better software, that’s also great. All programs and gear have their own limitations, and advantages but remember that it’s not all about the program you use, but about how creative you can get with them.
For now, the programs and equipment we have work just fine. However, I do want to start learning After Effects and Logic Pro, and invest in a wireless microphone so that we can start getting even better with the editing and sound tracks.
Hope that helps clarify a few things for you. Let us know if you have any other great questions for us. We love hearing from you, so leave your comments below.