All posts by Justin West

Lightworks-14-2018-Tutorial-Designed-for-Beginners Click “Places,” then navigate through to the folders where you’ve stored your media files

How to Use Lightworks 14 for Beginner Video Editors

Here’s how to use Lightworks 14, a fantastic free video editing program designed specifically for beginners. Lightworks 14 gives even inexperienced users a fresh, new way to create beautiful videos with ease. In this tutorial, I’ll show you:

  • How to import video and audio clips
  • Navigating and using essential tools, features, and workspaces
  • Basic editing and special effects
  • Exporting and sharing completed projects

Lightworks 14 is available for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux operating systems. For this tutorial, I’ll be focusing on Mac.

To get started, simply go to the Lightworks website and follow the instructions for downloading.

New Project

When you open Lightworks 14 on your computer, you’ll see the homepage. Up at the top-left corner, you’ll see “Create a new project.”

Click that button, and you’ll get a little panel where you can name your new project, make any notes you want to add, and select the frame rate.

The frame rate is an important setting to be aware of, because if you select a frame rate and then try to import video clips with a different rate, they may not be usable in your project.

Since 24fps (frames per second) is fairly standard, go ahead and choose that rate from the drop-down menu.

As soon as you click “Create” in the New Project Details panel, you’ll go straight to the Project window.

Look at the top of the window, and you’ll see four tabs: Log, Edit, VFX, and Audio.

The Log tab features a Project Contents bin on the left half of your window. This is where you import and store various media files, including video, audio, and still images.

Before you can start editing, you need to import some media. If you go to the menu that sits at the top of the Log, then click Local Files, it will show you all the various media files you have stored on your computer.

You can also click on “Places,” just under the Log menu.

This is handy if you have files stored in a certain folder on your desktop, and you’d rather go straight to that folder rather than comb through a list of every single file on your computer.

Click “Places,” then navigate through to the folders where you’ve stored your media files

Once you find a file you want to use in your video, simply double-click on the file thumbnail.

When you double-click, you’ll see that file appear in the viewing panel at the top right of the window, and you’ll also see the word “Imported” appear next to the thumbnail.

This tells you that your file has now been officially imported into your Log.

Now select a few more files to experiment with. Try importing a mixture of video, audio, and still image files so you can play around with the various tools and features Lightworks 14 has to offer.

Once you’ve double-clicked on several files, you can click the Edit tab at the top of the window, and you’ll see that all the files are listed in the Files panel at the top left.

Double-click on a file thumbnail to import the file into your Project Contents bin

Edit Window

The Edit window is the workspace where you’ll be able to blend imagery, sounds, and effects into a finished video.

If you look around the Edit window, you’ll see the three main sections of the page:

  • The Project Contents bin, at the top-left, which lists all of your imported media files
  • The Media Viewer, at the top-right, which lets you view the clips in your Timeline
  • The Timeline, along the bottom of the window

Now try double-clicking on one of the file thumbnails in your Project Contents bin, and you’ll see a second viewing panel open. This second panel is the Source Viewer and lets you view the files in your bin.

Double-click on a thumbnail in the Project Contents bin to open the Source Viewer

Timeline

Your Timeline is essentially a workspace. This is the space where you’ll be doing your editing and creating a sequence of video, images, and sounds that will eventually become a finished video.

To add files to your Timeline, all you need to do is find the files you want up in the Project Contents bin, then drag and drop them straight into the Timeline.

Try selecting a video file first, and I’ll show you some essential tools and tricks.

Now, if you click on the clip you just added to the Timeline, you’ll see that clip appear up in the Media Viewer panel at the top-right of the window.

You’ll also see a vertical red line running across your Timeline. If you drag that line back and forth across a video clip, you’ll see that clip’s image moving up in the Media Viewer.

One more thing you should know about the Timeline:

Once you drag a few clips into the Timeline, you’ll see that there are horizontal lines running across the workspace, sort of like ruled notebook paper.

Each space between two lines is a Track. Each clip has its own track, so the more clips you add, the more lines appear.

Keep in mind that when you place an image or video clip on the top line, that’s what will be visible in the video and up in your Media Viewer. It’s like the top line is the top layer.

If you just have a solid stack of image and video clips, one on top of another, only the one at the top will be visible. But don’t worry, I’ll explain how to work with that a little later on.

Creating Clips

Now let’s say you have a two-minute video of a beach scene, but you only want to use a 15-second segment from the middle of that scene. The Source Viewer panel lets you cut sections out of video and audio files with just a few easy steps.

First, double-click on the file thumbnail in your Project Contents bin so that it appears in the Source Viewer.

Now look along the bottom of the Viewer, and you’ll see a little red diamond. That’s the Frame Marker and shows you how far you’ve progressed into the video or audio track.

To create a segment, or clip, you’ll need to define the start point and end point. You can either click Play and then stop the video when it reaches the place you want the clip to start, or you can click and drag the red marker to the start point.

In your Viewer control panel, you’ll also see two blue diamond. These are the “In” control, on the left, and the “Out” control, on the right.

Once you have the red marker at the right starting point for your clip, click the “In” control. This tells the program that this specific point is the beginning of a clip.

Now click Play again, or drag the red diamond to the place where you want your clip to end, and click the “Out” control.

Finally, click the icon that looks like a down arrow inside a box. That’s the “Import” control, and as soon as you click, it will automatically import your new clip into your Timeline.

Use the Source Viewer and the “In” and “Out” controls to clip sections out of video or audio clips

Tracks

Once you have a few clips in the Timeline, look at the left side of the Timeline, and you’ll notice a vertical track list.

The video clip you imported will be listed as V1, and if it has any embedded audio, you’ll see those clips as well, in their own tracks, and they’ll be listed as A1, A2, etc.

If you’d prefer to give your tracks different labels, all you need to do it hover your cursor over the V1 in the track list, then right-click, then choose “Rename” from the menu.

Now you just type whatever label you prefer into the little box that appears.

You can also add additional blank tracks to your Timeline to make space for more clips.

Right-click, then select “Tracks” to add additional tracks to the Timeline

If you decide you want to move a clip to a different spot in the Timeline, like maybe you prefer to have a specific scene appear closer to the end of the video, you just need to click and drag that clip over to the desired spot in the Timeline.

You can also “Lock” a track, and lock all the clips in that track. Locking has two functions:

  1. It keeps you from accidentally moving a clip out of place
  2. It allows you to un-link clips

Un-linking can be quite handy when you’re editing. For example, when you import a video clip with embedded audio, the video and audio clips will be linked together in the Timeline, so that if you move the video clip around, the audio will get dragged along with it.

To Lock a video clip or track, just go over to the track list, click once on the label for that clip, at it will instantly become locked.

Now the audio clips have become un-linked from the video, and you can drag that audio to another place in the Timeline, or just delete the audio by right-clicking on the audio clip and selecting “Remove” from the menu.

Click a specific track label to lock that track

And remember: If you accidentally move or delete something you didn’t intend to, you can use Control > Z to undo the action.

You also have little Undo and Redo arrows down in the bottom-right corner of your Media Viewer, so you have a couple of options for fixing mistakes.

One final important thing you need to know about moving clips around the Timeline:

If you happen to drag one clip over another, it will delete information from the clip underneath.

For example, perhaps you wanted to add some sound to a video clip, but you accidentally dragged it onto the video clip itself rather than to the clip above.

If you drag the audio clip back off again, you’ll see that a chunk of the bottom video clip is now missing. Don’t worry, just hit Command > Z to go back and restore the data.

Dragging one clip onto another could result in information being deleted from the bottom clip

Timeline Clipping

Remember how you created a clip using the Source Viewer panel? Well, there’s a second way to cut sections out of video and audio clips right inside of the Timeline.

First, move the red vertical line across a clip until it gets to the beginning of the section you want to cut. You can do this by clicking Play on the Media Viewer, or by simply dragging the red line.

Once you have the red line at the beginning point, click the Blue “In” control, the blue diamond, at the bottom of the Media Viewer to mark that point, just like you did in the Source Viewer earlier.

Now click Play again or drag the red line to the end point of the section, and click the blue “Out” control to mark that point.

If you’d like to delete the section you just selected, you can click on the “Remove” tool in the Media Viewer controls. This tool looks like a red arrow pointing upward inside of a box.

When you click Remove, it will delete that section and leave a gap in your clip down in the Timeline.

If you don’t want a gap, and prefer to have the remaining segments of the clip joined together, simply click the “Delete” control in the Media Viewer controls. This tool looks like two red arrows pointing toward each other inside of a box.

Take a little time to play around with these different controls and tools so you can become familiar with how they work.

And any time you don’t like how something looks, you can just use Control > Z to undo it.

You can also right-click on the clip, and you’ll see a menu that offers these same controllers, so you can decide which method feels easier and more comfortable to you.

Right-click on the clip, then select “Remove” or “Delete” to cut sections out of clips in the Timeline

Trimming

If you move your cursor over the beginning or ending edge of a clip in the Timeline, you’ll see white brackets appear. Depending on where you move the cursor, you might see the brackets appear inside the clip, or outside.

To trim a clip, you’ll want to use the inside brackets.

Once you see the white brackets appear on the inside edge the clip, just double-click and then choose “Trim In” from the menu. Now you’ll see the brackets turn yellow.

The yellow brackets let you trim information away from either end of a clip. For example, maybe you only want to use a section in the middle of a clip for your video, and need to get rid of the extra bits on either end.

Once you’re done trimming, just click outside the clip and the yellow brackets will turn white again, or just disappear.

There’s a second way to make the trimming brackets appear, which might be easier for some users:

Simply hover the cursor until the white brackets appear, then click, and the white should turn yellow. Now just drag to trim.

Use the Trim command to trim away beginnings and ends of clips

There’s one more action you can perform with the trimmer brackets:

Hover and click to make the yellow brackets appear at the beginning of a clip, then hover and click to make the trimmer appear at the end.

Now both ends of the clip should be highlighted with yellow brackets.

Now, drag the clip itself back and forth, and you’ll see that the information you trimmed isn’t actually gone, it’s just hidden.

As you drag the clip back and forth, you’ll see the action moving back and forth in the Media Viewer.  

Making trimmer brackets at both ends of a clip is a simple way to select the precise section of a clip that you need.

Bracket both ends to select precise sections of clips

Duration

Perhaps you have a video clip that you’d love to use, but it’s much too long and takes up too much time on screen. Maybe it’s an opening sequence that’s 30 seconds long, but you only want it to last for 15 seconds.

To speed up or slow down a clip, simply right-click on that clip in the Timeline, then choose “Speed” from the menu.

Once the adjustment panel opens, you can adjust the percentage to alter the playing speed of the clip.

If you go above 100%, that makes the clip play faster, and below 100% slows it down.

Once you adjust the speed, you can click Play on the media Viewer and see how it looks.  

Right-click on a clip, then choose “Speed” to adjust the play speed

Special Effects in Lightworks

To add an effect to a clip, make sure the red line is over the clip in your Timeline, then go up and click the “VFX” tab at the top of your window.

When the VFX window opens, you’ll see your clip in the Media Viewer, as well as the Color Correction panel in the top-left corner, under the Settings tab.

Take a few minutes to play with the Color Correction sliders to see how they affect the look of the clip.

And if you don’t like how things look and want to start fresh, just click on the little gear icon at the top-right corner and select Reset from the menu, then select All.

Click the VFX tab and use the Color Correction controls to get the perfect look

Now look at the tabs in the Effects panel, and you’ll see a plus sign. If you click the plus sign, you’ll get a list of preset effects that you can add.

Look at the top-right corner of the effects list, and you’ll see a drop-down menu arrow.

Click that arrow, and then you can select the specific category of effects you’d like to browse through., like Color or Text.

Once you find a preset effect that looks nice, just double-click on that effect in the list, and it will instantly appear on your clip over in the Viewer.

You’ll also notice that when you double-click on an effect to select it, the Effects panel automatically switches to the Settings tab, and a control panel for the selected effect will appear.

If you decide you don’t like that effect, click the little gears at the top of the control panel, and choose “Remove.”

Now you can click the plus sign again to browse through other effects.

Click the plus sign to add new effects, and browse by category using the drop-down menu

You can also add specific effects to a Favorites list by clicking the little star at the left edge of each effect in the Effects list.

Text

To select some text effects, go up to the VFX tab, then open the drop-down menu at the top-right of the Effects list, and choose “Text” from the menu.

Maybe you’d like to add an opening title scene to the video. Simply find the “Titles” effect in the Text list, double-click, and the words “Sample Text” will appear over the clip in the Viewer.

Now you can type any words or symbols you like in the box over in the control panel.

Select “Text” from the drop-down menu in the Effects panel, and choose the effect called “Titles”

If you decide you don’t like that effect, just click the little gear icon and select “Remove.”

When you have a text effect selected, you’ll see all the usual controls under the Font tab, such as text size, font, bold, and italic.

If you click the Face tab, you can adjust the color of your text. You also have a Color Picker tool under the Face, which looks like a little eyedropper.

The Color Picker lets you select a specific color from anyplace on your screen simply by clicking on the color.

Use the Color Picker tool under the “Face” tab to select a text color

The Position tab lets you move the text around the screen, but you can also just click on the text over in the Viewer and drag it around the screen.

This is another excellent opportunity to take a little time to play with the various tabs, tools, and settings so you can get familiar with how they work.

Now, when you have a specific clip selected, the effects you choose are added directly to that clip and will stay connected.

You can tell that a clip has embedded effects because each effect will appear as a tiny square in the top-left corner of the clip in the Timeline.

Effects Track

If you prefer to have an effect, such as text, separated on onto its own track, like a separate layer, there’s a simple way to do that.

First, move the red vertical line to a blank space in your Timeline where there aren’t any clips. You should see nothing but a black screen up in the Viewer.

Now select a text effect from the Effects list. I’ll choose Titles for this example.

As soon as you double-click on Titles to add the effect, you’ll see the effect appear in the Timeline as its own clip.

Move the red line to a blank spot in the Timeline, then double-click on the effect thumbnail to give that effect its own track

Now you can trim and cut the Text clip to any size you like, using the yellow trimmer brackets.

You can use the yellow trimming brackets to trim the effects track like any other track

Transitions

Transitions are a common tool that editors use to blend scenes. For example, when one scene fades to black, and then the black fades into the next scene. That’s a Transition.

To create a Transition, select the VFX tab, click the “+” sign at the top of the Effects list, then click the drop-down menu at the top-right of the Effects panel, and select “Mix.”

Go to the Effects panel, click the plus sign, then click the drop-down menu and select “Mix”

Now you have a list of Transition effects. I’m going to select “Dissolve” for this example.

Once you double-click to add the Dissolve effect to your clip, and little panel with a slider bar will appear in the Effects panel.

The default setting is around 50% opacity, but you can use the slider to adjust the opacity to your liking.

Now, at this point, the effect has been applied to the entire clip, and the effect is set to just 50%, so if you click Play over in the Viewer, the clip will start out looking normal, then very slowly fade to a sort of half-dark look.

But what you want is for the scene to start out black, and then fade into the action.

Fade

In the menu of tabs just above the Dissolve `slider bar, you’ll see a tab called “Graphs.” That’s the one you want to click.

Now you’ll see a box with a horizontal line starting at the bottom over on the left side, and slanting up to the top over on the right side.

The top of the box is 100% black, and the bottom is 0% black, so the default setting has your clip starting out at 0%, then slowly fading to black over the entire length of the clip.

What you want is to start at black. To do this, drag the left end of the line all the way to the top to make the clip open as a black screen.

Now drag the right end all the way to the bottom, so that the clip ends with no blackness at all.

Click on the diagonal line about 25% of the way to the right. When you click, you’ll leave a little mark on the line.

Next, click on that little point you just made, and drag it all the way down to the bottom of the box.

Now when you click Play in the Viewer, you’ll see the scene start out black, then quickly fade into the scene.

By adjusting and bending that diagonal line and its endpoints, you can adjust when, where, and how quickly the black dissolves in or out.

Click the “Graphs” tab, then adjust the endpoints and middle of the line to adjust the fade

If you want the scene to fade back to black at the end, just add the Dissolve effect to your clip again, and a new box will open with its own diagonal line.

Now just click the Graphs tab and adjust the line in the second graph so that the end of the clip fades into 100% black.

Add a second Dissolve effect to the end of the clip and adjust the graph to create the desired fade effect

Audio

To get started, click the Audio tab at the top of your window.

Now you’ll see all of your audio clips down in the Timeline, including the clips that are embedded in video clips.

Up at the top-right of the window, you’ll see a panel that shows sound levels. Click Play under the viewer, and you’ll see colored bars moving along with the audio.

Underneath the volume columns, you’ll see labels like A1 for audio clip 1, A2 for audio clip 2, and so on.

You’ll also see that one column is labeled LR. That’s the column that shows all of the audio together, so it gives you a visual representation of the overall audio levels of your video.

One basic adjustment you can make is the volume. If you look at an audio clip in your Timeline, you’ll see a faint white horizontal line running across the center of the clip.

Simply drag the line up to raise the volume, and drag it down to lower the volume.

Drag the white horizontal line in the audio track to adjust the volume

Audio Fade

You can also make audio clips fade in and out using just one simple action.

To make an audio clip fade in, hover your mouse over the very top left corner of the clip in your Timeline, and you’ll see a little triangle appear.

Drag that triangle to the right, and you’ll see a diagonal line moving along with your cursor.

Once you’ve moved the triangle to the right a bit, click Play on the Viewer and see how the fade sounds.

To make the clip fade out, just hover, drag the triangle to the left, and create that diagonal line. If you don’t quite like how it sounds, use Control > Z to undo.

Grab the little triangle at the top corner of the audio track, then drag to create a fade

Look up in the top-left corner of the Audio window, and you’ll see a list of effects.

If you don’t see a list, click the plus sign, and the list will appear. To add an effect to an audio clip, simply double-click the effect in the list, just like you did with the video effects.

Sequences

You may have noticed that the Media Viewer panel has the label “Sequence 1” at the top.

A sequence is basically a section of video that you’ve put together and edited into a completed segment. A sequence can be a single scene or a completed video of connected scenes.

By separating scenes into sequences, Lightworks 14 allows you to use scenes as separate units.

This means that you could have a finished, edited beach scene, for example, and move that scene around to any place you want it to appear in the final video, or even use different versions of it in multiple places in the video.

Click the Edit tab at the top of the window, go over to the Project Contents bin, and along the left side you’ll see a menu of options. Click on Sequences in the menu.

Now, the scene that you’ve been editing in your Timeline should appear in the Sequences list, and will be labeled “Sequence 1”.

To create a new sequence, simply right-click inside of that sequence list space, select “Make,” then select “Empty sequence,” and a new sequence thumbnail will appear.

Double-click on the new Sequence thumbnail and a fresh, empty Timeline will appear down below. Now you can add some new media files and start building a new scene.

Double-click in the Sequence panel, select “Make,” then select “Empty sequence”

By giving each sequence its own Timeline, Lightworks 14 allows users to keep various sequences separate from one another, so that they can work on just one piece at a time.

Some editing programs have you keep every single sound, video, and image file all in the same Timeline, and it can get messy and confusing really easily.

But by giving each sequence its own Timeline, this program helps you stay much more organized.

Now drag and drop your Sequence 1 into the new Sequence Timeline. When you do this, you’re essentially making a copy of Sequence 1.

Now you can edit that copy of Sequence 1 inside of the Sequence 2 Timeline, without altering the original Sequence 1 that’s stored in your Sequences bin.

Once you have all of your sequences completed, you can combine them into a single Timeline, and now you have a finished video!

Export

Once you’ve got a finished video, you need to know how to export and share it.

To begin exporting, click on the Sequence thumbnail in your Sequences bin to select it.

Now go down and right-click inside the Timeline space, in a spot where there are no clips.

When the menu appears, click on “Export.”

Since you’re using the free version of Lightworks, you’ll need to choose either YouTube or the Lightworks Archive. To keep things easy, go ahead and choose YouTube.

Right-click on a blank spot in the Timeline, then select “Export,” and choose a Target format

Now, you’ll see an Export panel open up in the Media Viewer space.

This panel lets you select options like Frame rate and the destination where you’d prefer to save the video, like your desktop or a specific folder on your computer.

As a side note: When you choose the Size in the Export panel, 720p is the highest you can go in Lightworks 14.

Once you’ve chosen the settings you prefer, click “Start.”  

Now a progress panel will open, and you’ll see a progress bar that tells you how much longer it will take to fully process and export your video.

In the Export panel, choose your settings, then click “Start”

And that’s it!

We’ve only just scraped the surface of all the wonderful things you can do with Lightworks 14, but now you know how to navigate through the windows, how to perform essential editing, how to add effects, and how to export finished projects.

Your Lightworks 14 download comes with a detailed User’s Guide, so you’ll have everything you need to start creating and sharing beautiful, creative, and eye-popping videos with the world!

That’s all you need to know about how to use Lightworks and get started. Please share this article and enter your email below to get a monthly update on the best new technology for teaching. I hope you enjoyed it!

How to Use Hitfilm Express 4 for Beginners

This article will walk you through how to use Hitfilm Express 4, a powerful and highly capable free editing suite that lets users create beautiful and professional-quality films and videos easily and quickly. I’ll show you:

  • How to begin and format a new project

  • How to use essential editing tools

  • How to add and customize special effects

  • How to save and share completed videos

To download Hitfilm Express 4, simply go to Hitfilm.com/Express and follow the instructions for downloading to Mac or Windows.

New Project

When you first open Hitfilm Express 4 on your computer, you’ll see the Home page with a range of video tutorials for various tools and features, a User Guide button, and a left-side menu that offers a range of optional Add-On Packs to enhance your editing capabilities.

First, I want to guide you through some of the basics of using this versatile program.

To get started with your new project, click on New in the top-left corner of the window, and the Project page will open up.

Click “New” to begin a new project in Hitfilm

The Project page is where you’ll choose the essential settings for your new project, including settings such as Template, which lets you optimize your video for various platforms.

For now, just leave all the default settings as they are and just click “Start Editing” to get going.

In the New Project window, you can adjust the settings, such as “Template” to fit the project you’d like to make

Keep in mind that it’s always wise to stop and “Save” every so often, just in case.

Edit Window

Once you click “Start Editing” you’ll be taken to the Edit window. If you look around you’ll see the Viewer panel at the top-right, the Trimmer panel at the top-left, a Library panel at the bottom-left, and then the Timeline along the bottom.

It may look a bit intimidating at first, but I’ll walk you through all the basic windows, lists, tools, and processes and you’ll be editing like a pro in no time!

One thing you should know before you get started is that you can adjust the look of your Edit window.

At the top-left of the Edit window, you’ll see a little icon that looks like a grid. When you click that icon, it opens a Workspaces panel where you can select the layout and features in your Edit window.

The Classic setting is the default setting, and that’s what I’ll be using for this tutorial, but you can play with the adjustments later on and figure out which configuration best meets your needs.

Click the Grid icon to adjust the layout of your Edit page

Media

First, you’ll need to import some media files with which to construct your new video project. All you need to do is go down to the Library panel at the bottom-left, click the Media tab, and click on Import.

This will open a finder window where you can click through the folders on your computer and select the video, audio, and still image files you want to use.

Another importing method is to click, drag, and drop files straight from your desktop into the Media Library.

Note: Once you import media files into Hitfilm Express 4, they’re referred to as “tracks,” and that’s the term I will be using from now on.

In the Library panel, click the Media tab, then Click Import to find media files on your computer

Once you’ve imported a few dozen files into your Library, it can be easy to get overwhelmed.

To help you stay organized, you can create folders inside of your Media Library. One easy way to do that is to move your cursor over the Library space, right-click, select New, and then select Folder from the menu.

Once the new folder appears in the list, you just need to give it a name and drag files into that folder to keep them together in one place. You could also click New Folder at the bottom of the Library.

Right-click inside the Library panel, then select New, then select Folder.

Track List

One thing to notice is the Track List at the left edge of the Timeline. You’ll see that video tracks have a little eye icon, and audio tracks have a speaker icon.

If you click on those icons, you can hide or mute that track. This allows you to play your video in the Preview window and focus on specific tracks. For example, maybe you want to hear how some background music audios all by itself, or if you want to view your current video without a certain scene in it, to help you decide if you want to keep that scene.

Creating Clips

Now, up at the top-left of the Edit window, you have a Trimmer screen. If you click on a video track in your Library, you’ll see a preview of that track appear in the Trimmer. This screen has the usual controls you see on any video player, such as Play, Fast Forward, etc.

You also have two little icons that look like an arrow coming out of a box. Those icons are what you use to select a section of a track.

Let’s say you have a 30-second video track of the Earth spinning, and you only want a 10-second section to use in your video. Here’s how to cut clips out of videos:

  1. Click Play at the bottom of the Trimmer screen and you’ll see a tiny vertical white line moving from left to right. That’s the progress bar.
  2. Click Stop at the point where you want the clip to begin.
  3. Click on the little arrow-box icon that’s pointing to the right. That’s the “In” command and tells the program that this point is your starting point.
  4. Click Play again, and then Stop when the progress bar reaches the place where you want the clip to end.
  5. Now click the other arrow-box, the one that’s pointing to the left. This is the “Out” command and marks the end of the clip.
  6. Finally, click the icon that looks like an arrow pointing down into a box with a black space in the middle. This button automatically adds you clip to your Timeline. You can also click and hold on the Trimmer screen, and just drag the clip into the Timeline.

Use the “In” and “Out” command buttons to select the beginning and end of a specific clip

When you add the clip to the Timeline, you may get a little pop-up window asking if you want to change the Editor Sequence’s Settings to match the current clip.

Just click Yes, and the program will adjust the editor to match the formatting of your clip and insert it into your Timeline. Now your clip is a new track!

Click the “Move to Timeline” button to import your new clipped scene straight from the Trimmer into the Timeline

Once you have a track your Timeline, click on the track to select it, and that track will appear up in the Preview panel. Any time you select a track in the Timeline, it will appear in the Preview panel.

Speed/Duration

Now I’d like to show you some of the editing tools you have available.

Let’s say you have a track that you’d like to use as the opening scene of the video, but the track moves too slowly and takes up too much time onscreen. Hitfilm Express 4 offers you a way to speed up or slow down your tracks to get just the right look and speed.

All you need to do is click on the track in the Timeline, right-click to open a menu, and then select Speed/Duration.

When the little window opens up, you can either adjust the speed percentage or adjust the Duration by typing in the number of seconds you want that track to appear on screen.

Right-click on a track in your Timeline, then select Speed/Duration to adjust the playing speed

Formatting Tracks

Now there’s one thing you may notice as you work: Remember earlier when you imported a media track and got a pop-up window asking if you wanted to change the formatting to match the Editor to your track’s format?

Well, when you drag a media file straight from your Library into the Timeline, that pop-up window may not appear, so you might end up with some mismatched tracks in your Timeline.

If you happen to drag a track into the Timeline and it’s in a format that doesn’t match your current settings, the track will appear as an odd size up in the Viewer panel. But never fear, there are two simple ways that you can solve that problem.

Method 1: When a non-matching track appears as an odd size in the Viewer, you’ll see a sizing box around the image. To make the track fill the frame, simply click on one of the corners, hold down the Shift key, and drag the corner out toward the edge of the Viewer.

As you adjust the size of the image to fit the Viewer frame, the program is adjusting the formatting, so that it matches your current settings.

Click and drag the corner of the Resizing box to make the track image fill the frame

Method 2: Right-click on the track inside the Timeline, then click “Transform” in the menu, and then select “Fit To Frame.”

Editing Tools

Now let’s check out some of the editing tools. At the left edge of the Timeline, you’ll see a vertical toolbar.

At the top of the toolbar is the Selection arrow. This tool lets you select and move tracks around.

Just below the Selection arrow is the Drag tool, which looks like a little hand with a pointing finger. This tool lets you grab and move the entire Timeline back and forth.

Use the Drag tool to move quickly through your Timeline

Below the Drag tool, you’ll see the Slice tool. This tool’s icon looks like a razor blade and lets you make cuts in your tracks. For example, maybe you want to cut a piece out of a longer track or add a scene right in the middle of a track.

Use the Slice tool to cut tracks into sections

Another great tool is the Snap tool. It looks like a little horseshoe or magnet and is located at the bottom of the Editor toolbar.

I like to leave this tool on almost all the time so that when I move tracks around the Timeline, they’ll automatically “snap” to the tracks nearby. This helps users avoid accidentally leaving gaps in their video.

Audio

Now let’s take a look at some audio editing options.

Maybe you have a video track with some embedded audio, like a street scene with background noises such as cars, honking horns, and foot traffic.

When you import a video track to your Timeline, the audio track will appear just underneath the video track. If you click on the audio track in the Timeline, the track will turn green, and you’ll see a thin horizontal line running across the bottom of the track.

When you drag that line up and down, and the audio volume will adjust up and down.

Click on an audio track and then drag the volume line up and down to adjust the volume

You’ll also see a Meter panel at the right edge of the Timeline, with moving colored bars. These bars represent the volume of your audio and can help you adjust the volume of specific tracks.

Keep in mind that when you add a video track to the Timeline, any audio in that track will appear as its own track and will be automatically linked to the video track.

If you want to get rid of the audio, maybe to replace it with some music, all you need to do is right-click on the audio track, and select “Unlink” from the menu.

This action separates the audio and video, and then you can move or delete the audio track without affecting the video track.

 Right-click on a track and select “Unlink” from the menu

Transitions

Adding Transitions is a great way to connect different scenes and audio tracks in a smooth, professional-looking style. For example, maybe you want your opening credits to slowly fade into the first scene, or have the last scene wipe into the closing credits.

All you need to do is go to your Library panel at the bottom-left and click on the Effects tab. This will open a new menu filled with all kinds of wonderful effects.

From the Effects menu, you’ll want to click on Transitions. Now, you simply click on a transition and drop it into the Timeline in between the two connected tracks where you want the fade to appear.

There’s also an audio Transition that lets you make audio tracks fade in and out. Simply find the Audio Transition in the Effects menu, then drag and drop Fade directly onto the end of a track that you want to fade out, from loud to soft. Or you can drag and drop it onto the beginning of an audio track that you’d like to fade in, from soft to loud.

Choose “Fade” from the Audio Effects menu, then drag and drop directly onto your audio track

Text

To get started, make sure the Media tab is selected in your Library panel, then click on New right next to the Import button. Then, choose Composite Shot.

Click New, then choose Composite Shot to open the Properties panel

A Composite Shot is essentially a scene made out of different layers. If you’ve worked with certain photo editing programs before, you’re probably familiar with layers.

The advantage of having text on a separate layer is that you can edit and move the text around without changing anything in the layers underneath.

Once you click New, and Then Composite Shot, a Properties panel will open. For this demonstration, I’ll type the name “Text” in the Name box at the top. Then click Ok at the bottom.

Once you click Ok, you’ll see the name “Text,” appear at the top-left corner of the Timeline, next to the word “Editor’. That shows you that your new Composite Shot is active.

Open the Composite Shot properties panel, enter a name, and click Ok.

Under the new Text tab at the top of the Timeline, you’ll see a search bar. Under that search bar is a blank space. Right-click inside that space, select New Layer, and then select Text.

Right-click in the space under the Text tab, then click New, then click Text

When the little Text Properties panel appears, just click Ok.

Next, you’ll see a box with a blue outline appear in your Viewer panel. Click inside that box, and now you can just start typing.

Open the Text properties panel, click Ok, then start typing in the blue box in the Preview panel.

Once you create your text, it will appear as a separate track over in your Media Library. All you need to do is click, drag, and drop the text into the Timeline above the video and media tracks.

Remember, you’re essentially working with layers here, so you need to place the text above the other tracks, so that it’s visible. If you placed it under the other tracks in the Timeline, you wouldn’t be able to see it.

If you need to move the text around the Timeline, so that it appears onscreen at just the right moment in the video, just use the Selector tool, that little arrow icon in the Timeline toolbar.

Click and drag the Text track over to the top of your Timeline, and the text will appear in the Preview panel

Editing Text

If you’d like to change the font, color, or size of the text, there’s a panel where you can find text controls, but it may not be immediately obvious where that panel is located.

To find the text controls, go down to your Library panel and look at the menu tabs across the top. You’ll see Media, Effects, Controls, etc. At the right side of that menu, you’ll see a tiny arrow.

Just click that arrow, and you’ll see a whole new set of additional menu tabs, including a Text tab. Click on Text, and the controls you’re after will appear below.

Click and drag the Text track over to the top of your Timeline, and the text will appear in the Preview panel

You can also adjust how long the text appears on the screen. Just move your cursor to the end of the text track the Timeline, click, and you’ll see the cursor turn into a bracket.

Now you can click and drag the end of the track back and forth to lengthen or shorten the amount of time the text appears on the screen.

Move your cursor to the end of the text track, then click and drag the brakes to lengthen or shorten the amount of time the text appears on the screen

You can also drag and drop the Text track directly ONTO a video track in the Timeline, and then the two tracks will be linked, but if you prefer to keep the text separate so that you can play with it and move it around independently, just leave it as a separate track.

Special Effects

To add an effect to a video track, select the Effects tab from the menu at the top of the Media Library panel.

Scroll down the Effects menu, and you’ll see Particles & Simulation. Under the Particles & Simulation heading is an option named Lightning & Electricity.

Click on a video track in your Timeline, then choose Lightning & Electricity from the Effects menu, and drag and drop it onto the selected track.

Since you selected the video track, it will appear up in the Viewer panel. As soon as you drop Lightning & Electricity onto the track, you’ll see a lightning bolt appear over the image in the Viewer.

At either end of the lightning bolt, you’ll notice a small dot, almost like a little glowing star. If you click and drag the dots, you can change the size, orientation, and shape of the lightning bolt.

Click and drag the small Resizing dots to adjust the size, shape, and orientation of the effect

You can make even more adjustments to the lightning bolt under the Controls tab in the Library panel.

Simply click the Controls tab, then scroll down until you see the Lightning & Electricity effect. Click on the effect, and it will open a set of controls that you can use to further customize the look of your effects.

Take some time to play around with the effects and effects controllers so you can get familiar with the tools and options. And remember, you can click Play at the bottom of the viewer panel to see how your effects will look in the completed video.

As you make adjustments, you can click Play under the Preview panel to see how your effects look.

Green Screen

Green screens have been a favorite tool of video and film editors for decades. It’s an easy way to insert characters into fantasy worlds, for example, and Hitfilm Express 4 offers this option to make your videos even more amazing and eye-catching than ever before.

The most common type of green screen effects typically features some characters or subjects performing in front of a flat green background. In this example, I’ll use a track featuring some chickens in front of a green screen.

First, you’ll need to import a green screen video file into your Media Library. You might have already filmed your own video, you can search around the internet for random green screen clips, or you can look for specific websites that offer free green screen clip downloads.

Next, select a background video track. You can choose any video track to experiment with. In this example, I have some footage of a street scene, with cars and pedestrians passing by. Move the background track into your Timeline above the other tracks.

Now, find your imported green screen track in the Media Library, click, and drag and drop it directly above the background track in the Timeline. I’ll use a track of some chickens for this example.

By placing the green screen track at the top of the Timeline, you’re essentially placing a green screen layer on top of all the other layers, including the street scene background.

Now click to select the green screen track in the Timeline, and you’ll see the image appear in the Preview panel.

Drag and drop the green screen track above the video tracks in your Timeline

With the green screen track selected, go over and click the Effects tab, and scroll down until you see a category named “Keying.”

Expand the Keying category, and choose Hue & RGB Key from the list. Click, drag, and drop Hue & RGB Key directly onto the green screen track in the Timeline.

Now, depending on how your default settings are configured, you might see something weird when you drop the Hue & RGB Key onto your track:

You may see that the green background stays as it is, and the foreground figures become “invisible” and show through to the background, which is NOT the effect you’re after. Don’t worry; it’s easy to correct this!

Go back to Hue & RGB Key in the Effects menu, click the little arrow to expand the list, and you’ll see a control panel. At the top of the panel is an eyedropper icon.

Click on the eyedropper, drag it up to the Preview panel, and click on the green background.

As soon as you click, you should see the green disappear, the figures reappear, and the street scene is now visible in the background.

[28:18 Use the eyedropper tool to select the green background in the Preview panel to reveal the background track

Resizing

You can also adjust the size of the foreground figures in your green screen scene.

If you look at the Preview window, you’ll see a blue sizing box around the screen. Click on a corner, hold down the shift key, and drag the corner to adjust the size.

Click on a corner of the Resizing box to adjust the size of the foreground figures

Once you have the figures where you want them, you can click Play at the bottom of the Viewer and check how everything looks.

Export

Now that you’ve learned how to import media, create text, add effects, and perform some essential editing functions, it’s time to learn how to save and export a finished project.

First, go to the vertical toolbar at the left edge of the Timeline, and find the icon near the bottom that looks like a film frame. That’s the Export Content tool.

Once you click, a panel will pop up telling you that “The Editor timeline has been added to the Export Queue.” Just click Go to Export.

A Queue panel will open with your selected project listed at the top. In this panel, you have some adjustments you can make.

For example, you can optimize your video for various platforms like YouTube or Vimeo, as well as for different devices such as iPad and iPhone, just by clicking the little arrow under the Preset tab.

You can also click on the file directly under the Output tab and choose where you want the video to be stored on your computer.

Once you’ve set everything the way you want it, go down to the bottom of the Queue panel and click Start Exporting. Once the export is complete, your finished project is ready to share with the world!!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s tutorial! When you’re ready to learn more, just click Home at the top of your window to return to the homepage where you can find a great selection of video tutorials, as well as the button that takes you to the User Manual.

Before you know it you’ll be producing professional-looking videos that will amaze and impress any audience.

Please share this article and enter your email below to get a monthly update on the best new technology for teaching. I hope you enjoyed it!

How to Use Davinci Resolve for Beginners

This article will show you how to use DaVinci Resolve 14, even if you’ve never used it or any other video editor before. Davinci Resolve is a free, professional-grade editing program from Blackmagic Design that allows users to create bold, unique, and attention-grabbing films and videos like a pro! In this article, I’ll show you:

  • How to find and use essential editing tools, menus, and windows

  • How to import and edit media files

  • How to add text and effects

  • How to save and share completed videos


DaVinci Resolve 14 is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems, but in this tutorial, I’ll be focusing on Mac.

To get started, you first need to download DaVinci Resolve 14 to your laptop or desktop.

Projects

When you’re ready to start creating, open DaVinci Resolve on your computer, and you’ll be greeted with a “Project” window.

To begin making a new video, simply click “New Project” at the bottom of the window, type your title in the pop-up window, then click “Create.”

The Project window is also where you can view your completed projects and projects-in-progress all in one convenient location.

Create New Project

Once you click “Create,” you’ll be taken to the Edit window. This window is filled with various buttons and sections and may look a bit intimidating and overwhelming to first-time users, but I’ll walk you through all the basic tools and steps you’ll need to start creating with ease.

First, let’s look at some of the tools and features you have to work with.



Down at the bottom-right of your editing window, you’ll see a tiny icon that looks like a house, that’s the “Home” button. When you click on Home, it takes you back to your Projects window.

You also have a Settings icon, shaped like a gear. The Settings lets you make all kinds of adjustments to things like color, image scaling, and playback.

For now, we’ll just stick with the default settings as we go through the basic tools and processes of the program

The Settings at the bottom-right allow users to customize and adjust DaVinci Resolve to suit their needs and work style

Media

Another essential tool in the menu along the bottom of the editing window is “Media.”

Click on Media, and you’ll get a new window with a range of options to explore. Before you can start editing, you’ll need to collect some media files with which to build your new video.  

First, look up at the top left of the Media window you’ll see your Media Library. The Media Library is where you can explore all the folders and files that you have saved on your computer.

Simply click through to the appropriate folders, find the video and audio files you want to use, and drag and drop them into the Media Pool at the bottom of your Media window.

As you add new media files, you may see a small pop-up window telling you that the frame rate of your selected file does not match the current project settings. All you need to do is click “Change” in the pop-up window, and DaVinci Resolve 14 will automatically adjust the frame rates of all your selected files so that they sync with one another.

It’s as easy as that!

Click on any media file on your computer, drag and drop it into the Media Pool, and click “Change” to automatically adjust the frame rate

Another way to import new media files is to hover your mouse inside the Media Pool space, then right-click to open a menu.

In the menu, you’ll see an “Import Media” option. Simply click through to the files you want to select, click “Open,” and the files will appear in your Media Pool.  

Right-click inside the Media Pool, click Import Media, and click through to find media files on your computer

Edit

Now, I’ll explore the Edit window, since this is where you’ll be doing most of the work.

Click “Edit” in the menu at the bottom of your window, and your Edit page will open. You’ll see that the imported media files you just added to the Media Pool are listed as thumbnails in the Library at the left of the window.

You can add even more media to your Library by right-clicking inside the Library box and choosing Import Media from the menu. Or you can drag and drop files from your desktop over to the Library, or drop them directly into the Timeline.

drag and drop right from any folder on your desktop into the Library or into the Timeline

The Timeline sits at the bottom of the Edit window and is the space where you collect and edit all the video clips and audio and images you’re going to use to create your video.

Now that you’ve learned how to add media to your Library and Timeline, you can also delete files in the Timeline if you decide you’re not going to use them. All you have to do is click on the file thumbnail in your Library, then right-click, and choose “Remove Selected Tracks” from the menu.

As a side note, once you drop a media file into the Timeline, it’s referred to as a “Track,” and I’ll be using that term as we move forward.

The Timeline offers users a range of tools to help organize and customize their editing experience.

Along the top of the Timeline, you’ll see an icon that looks like three connected squares with a line underneath. This is the Timeline View Options setting, and it lets you adjust what files look like in the Timeline to accommodate your tastes and viewing style.

Use the Viewing Options settings to adjust how the Timeline and tracks look



One great feature of the Edit window is the Viewer panels at the top.

The panel on the left previews the media files in your Library, while the panel on the right shows you the tracks in your Timeline.

Move your cursor over a video file in your Library, and you’ll see that clip appear in the left-side Viewer. Move your mouse back and forth from left to right across the thumbnail, and you will see the video running backward and forward along with the motion of your mouse.

Mouse over a video clip thumbnail in the Library to get a quick view in the left Viewer panel

You can also double-click on an audio or video file in the Library, and you’ll be able to play that clip like any other video in the Viewer. Once you double-click, you can use the control buttons at the bottom of the Viewer to listen to audio tracks, watch video clips, and find specific points in the track as you edit.

Now drag and drop some files into your Timeline in the Editing window.

You’ll notice that as soon as you drop a file into the Timeline, video files will appear as blue blocks, and audio files appear as green blocks. This is just a visual aid to help you keep track of which files are which. Still image files will appear as a slightly darker blue in the Timeline.

When you drag a track into the Timeline, video tracks appear blue, audio tracks appear green, and still image files are a slightly darker blue

Look to the left side of the Timeline, and you’ll see a small list. This is the Track List.

Video tracks in the list are labeled V1, V2, and so on. Audio files are labeled A1, A2, etc.

The track list labels and lists all the tracks inside of the Timeline

The right Viewer allows you to keep track of your edits in real-time, so you can check how everything looks as you work.

Look down and find the red vertical line in your Timeline, then click and drag that line left and right. The red line is essentially marking a specific moment in time.

As you move the line across the tracks in your Timeline, you’ll see the video playing backward and forward in the right Viewer.

You can also click the “Play” arrow in the control menu at the bottom of the Viewer, and you’ll notice the red vertical line moving steadily across the Timeline as your video plays.

The right Viewer window lets you see the clips in your Timeline, and the red vertical line serves as a progress bar

Now it’s time to try some basic editing.

Viewer Controls

Let’s say that you have a video file and you only want to use a ten-second clip from the middle of the video. All you need to do is click on that track in the Timeline so that it appears in the Viewer.

You’ll see that there’s a little progress bar along the bottom of the Viewer that shows how far into the video you’ve gone.

To select a specific section of the video, simply click on that progress bar at the moment where the clip you want to use begins, and a tiny white mark will appear.

Click on the right-pointing arrow on the right side of the Viewer controls. By clicking that arrow icon, you’re marking that specific spot as the beginning. Then select and click on the point on the video progress line where you want the clip to end, then click the arrow that points left, and this will mark that specific point as the ending.

Click on the progress bar under the Viewer to select the beginning of a clip, then click the “select” arrow in the Viewer controls menu

Once you’ve selected your clip, go to the control menu that runs along the top of the Timeline, and click on the icon that looks like three frames of film with a tiny “down” arrow beneath them. This is the “Insert Track” tool, and when you click, it takes the track you just created and moves it into your Timeline.

Click the “Insert” icon to add a clip from the Viewer into the Timeline

Selection Tool

Another tool in your Timeline toolbar is the “Selection” tool. This tool looks like a tiny arrow icon and sits at the left end of the toolbar.

Click the Selection tool, and you can then click on tracks and move them around anywhere you like in the Timeline.

Snap To

Now, one critical Timeline setting to know about is the “Snap” setting. This appears as a little U-shaped icon in the Timeline control menu.

The Snap To tool should be “On” and appear white. This setting helps you attach different tracks to one another and keep things in sync. It also prevents you from laying one track on top of another and accidentally erasing data, because if the setting is “Off,” this means you can effectively erase another track simple by moving your selected track over the top of it.

Make sure that the “Snap” setting is on. Otherwise you might accidentally delete information when you move tracks around the Timeline

Unlink

Another handy tool is the “Unlink” option in your right-click menu.

Let’s say you’ve dropped a video track of a beach scene into your Timeline, and that track has embedded background noise, like the sounds of waves crashing and children playing. When you drop this track into the Timeline, the video and audio tracks will automatically be linked and stay together as you edit and move things around the Timeline.

But if you’d like to get rid of that background noise, maybe to replace it with some soothing music, you just click on the track, right-click, and click to uncheck “Link Tracks” at the very bottom of the menu.

With Link Tracks unchecked, your video and audio become separate files that you can edit, move around, and delete individually. You can also use Link Tracks to add new audio to a video track and keep the audio and video joined as you edit and move the tracks around the Timeline.

Use the right-click menu to unlink audio and video tracks

Clipping

Clipping is another useful feature you can use in the Timeline.

First, click the “Trim Edit” tool in your Timeline toolbar. This icon is just to the right of the “Select” arrow and looks like a vertical bar with a box on each side of it.

Once you click this tool, it will appear highlighted in red, and then you can move your cursor to the edge of a track, click, and drag back and forth to shorten the track.

Keep in mind that when you use this tool to shorten a track, you’re permanently removing information from the track, so if you accidentally remove a section you didn’t mean to remove, you can simply use “Command-Z” or Edit>Undo to undo the mistake.

Use the “Trim Edit” tool to extend to clip the ends of video clips

Trim Edit & Speed Adjust

You can also use the Trim Edit tool to click and drag on the end of a still image file to adjust how long that image appears onscreen in your finished video. With image files, you’re not actually removing any information when you shorten the track, it merely adjusts the amount of time the image spends on the screen.

Now let’s say you want to speed up or slow down a piece of video.

To adjust the speed, just click on the track in your Timeline, then right-click, and select “Change Track Speed” from the menu. This will open a little pop-up window that allows you to change the speed by adjusting the percentage.

For example, moving the percentage down to 50% would mean the track would play in slow motion, and moving it up to 200% would mean the track is sped up.

Once you change the setting, you can see how the clip looks in the right Viewer, and then make any more adjustments you need to make.

Right-click on a track, then select “Change Track Speed” to speed up or slow down the track playing speed

Razor Edit Mode

Another tool in the Timeline toolbar is the “Razor Edit Mode,” which looks like a little razor blade icon. With the Razor tool activated, you can click on your tracks in the Timeline and cut them into sections.

This is a great way to break a track into separate pieces so that you can insert other tracks in between them or even delete sections of tracks that you don’t plan to use.

Remember, you can use the red vertical line to find specific points in a track, so you know that you’re cutting at just the right moment. The Razor tool also works with audio tracks and allows you to select and edit specific pieces of music and sound

Use the Razor tool to make cuts in video and audio tracks

Hide

There’s a handy setting that allows you to “Hide” specific video tracks by clicking the small right-side box in the track list on the left of the Timeline.

When you ”Hide” a track you aren’t deleting or removing any information; you’re merely making that track invisible.

You can “Hide” a track in the Timeline, click Play under the Viewer, and you can see how the video looks without that specific scene. Then you can unhide the track and see how you like the video with the scene included.

You can also “Mute” an audio track by clicking the tiny “M” in the track list so that you can isolate certain tracks and reduce the clutter as you watch and listen to your video as you edit.

You can Hide video tracks and Mute audio tracks using the controls in the track list]


Lock

You can also “Lock” a track to prevent accidental edits or clipping.

Over in the list, you can see that each track has a little lock icon. Simply click that lock, and the track will be protected from any accidental changes.

To edit or move the track around the Timeline, just click on the lock icon again to unlock the track.

Resize

One creative tool that you might enjoy using is the “Resize” tool. This allows you to have more than one video or image clip appear on the screen at the same time.

Perhaps you’d like to have a clip of crashing waves in the background, and add your beach scene clip over the top of it.

To do this, click on the beach track in the Timeline so that it appears in the Viewer, then go up to the Viewer toolbar and click on the icon that looks like an empty box with little dots at each of the four corners.

As soon as you click, you can see size adjustment handles appear around the Viewer image.

If you click and drag on one of the bottom or top corner handles around the Viewer, you can make the image smaller or larger.

Next, click on the crashing waves track in the Timeline, drag it under the beach track, and up in the Viewer, you’ll see the waves appear behind the beach scene.

Use the Resize tool to select an image or video and adjust the size as it appears onscreen

The “Resize” tool also has a small drop-down menu with options like Crop, which allows you to cut away certain areas of the beach scene clip, or whichever clip you’re working with, so that you can remove any parts of the scene that you don’t want, and focus in on the areas you do want.

Use the drop-down menu next to the Resize tool to select options like “Crop”

Inspector panel

Another way to crop and modify visual elements is to use the Inspector panel located at the top right of the Edit window, next to the Viewer.

This control panel lets you adjust things like the opacity of the clip, as well as crop, rotate, warp, and adjust scale, timing, and lens distortions.

This is another great tool to experiment with, so I recommend taking time to play around so you can become familiar with all the various options.

To do even more fine-tuning, click on “Inspector” at the top right of the window

Effects Library

Next, I’m going to go over the Effects Library, which you can find at the top-right of the Edit window. Click on Effects Library and a Toolbox of options will appear at the left edge of your Timeline.

Let’s explore Transitions first.

Transitions are a great way to move from one scene to the next, or one audio track to the next.

For example, maybe you’d like the opening credits to gently fade into the first scene of the video. All you need to do is click on a specific transition in the Video Transitions menu, then drag and drop it directly on top of the beginning of your opening scene track in the Timeline.

Open the Effects menu, then drag and drop Transitions and other effects onto clips in the Timeline

Once you’ve placed a Transition onto a clip, click on the Transition box, click Inspector at the top-right of the window, and it will open a panel that lets you adjust your effects and adjust things like duration, style, and color.

If you decide you don’t like a certain Transition, just click on it in your Timeline, right-click, and choose “Delete.”

The Effects Library also provides an extensive range of text options that you can add to your video.

First, click on “Titles” in the Effects Toolbox at the left side of the Timeline, choose an option, and click, drag, and drop it onto a video track in the Timeline, just like you did with the Transitions.

As soon as you drop a Title option onto a video clip, you’ll see text appear up in the Viewer.  

Click, drag, and drop “Title” effects into the Timeline to create titles, credits, and other custom text

To edit the text you’ve just added to your track, click on the little Text box in your Timeline to highlight it, then open the Inspector, if it’s not open already.

The text Inspector panel lets you choose between a range of fonts and adjust the size and color, as well as typing in whatever words and characters you like.

The Inspector panel also gives you the option to add simple effects to your text, such as a drop shadow and colored outlines.

Click on the Text box in your Timeline, then use the Inspector panel to edit and adjust the text

Another great option in your Effects Library is “OpenFX.”

All you need to do is click on OpenFX in the main Effects Library, select an effect from the menu, drag and drop it onto a clip in your Timeline, and the effect will be instantly visible up in the Viewer. Then you can go to the Inspector panel at the top-right of the window, click OpenFX at the top, and make a wide range of adjustments to that specific effect.

You can also add more than one effect to a clip and layer and blend multiple effects in a single scene.

OpenFX offers even more visual effects to play with. Simply drag and drop an effect from the OpenFX menu into the Timeline, and the effect will appear in the Viewer



OpenFX also has a range of options for audio files, and provides a control panel on the left side of the Edit window, in addition to the Inspector panel at the right, to give you a wealth of editing options.

Drag and drop Audio Effects into the Timeline, and you’ll see an audio control panel open at the top-left of the window

Now that you’ve learned how to import media files, add files to the Timeline, edit tracks, and add some effects, all you need to know is how to export and share a completed video.

Deliver

Down at the bottom of the Timeline is a button called “Deliver.”

When you click on Deliver, a panel will open at the top-left of your Edit window.

This panel provides some pre-set options that automatically format your video for specific platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo, a range of customization options where you can select from a list of video formats such as Quicktime, MP4, and DPX, and various audio and file formats.

To export a finished project, click “Deliver” at the bottom of the window, then choose your formatting options in the control panel at top-left

Let’s say you decide to choose the YouTube formatting option.

Once you choose the formatting, you need to click “Add to Render Queue” at the bottom-right of the control panel. This will make a Render Queue panel appear at the top-right of your window.   

Once you’ve selected the format or destination, you’ll need to add the video to the render Queue

Next, look at the top of your Timeline, and you’ll see the word “Render” next to a drop-down menu.

If you want to export the entire complete video, you just need to click the drop-down menu and click on “Entire Timeline” to export the entire video that you just created in your Timeline.

Then go up to the Render Queue panel at the top-right, click “Start Render,” and you’re done!  

Go to the Render drop-down menu and choose “Entire Project”

We’ve only just scraped the surface of this amazing program, but now you know how to get started and get on the path to creating fun, entertaining, custom-made videos.

Remember: the DaVinci Resolve 14 download includes a detailed, easy-to-read User’s Manual, so you can take all the time you need to learn about and experiment with all the versatile tools, features, and functions this amazing program has to offer.

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How to Use iMovie for Beginners

How to Use iMove for Beginners

iMovie for Mac is a fantastic free tool that allows people of all skill levels to create and share bold, beautiful, custom movies right from the comfort of their home, office, or anywhere they can use a laptop or desktop. In this article, going to show you how to to use iMovie for beginners. You’ll learn:

  • use the essential tools, features, and steps you’ll need to start making eye-catching movies of your very own
  • match colors across clips
  • use the built-in “green screen” feature
  • play, share, and view your finished projects on other devices

Add Media

First, find iMovie in the task bar, or your Applications folder, and open the app. Once the iMovie window opens, you can see three small tabs at the top of the window: “Media,” “Projects,” and “Theater.”

See three main tabs at the top of window



The “Media” tab allows users to upload, sort, and store various media files such as video clips, audio clips, and still images. Before you start making a new movie, you’ll need to collect some media. First, click on “iMovie Library” on the left side of the screen, then right-click and select “New Event” from the menu, and today’s date will appear in the Media Library. An “Event” is essentially a folder where you can store all the various media files you plan to use for a specific movie project. In this example, I’m going to name my new Event folder “Cities.”

Select Library, then New Event

Next, click on “Import Media,” just to the right of the Media Library, and this will show you all the various media files you have saved on your computer. Let’s say that I already have some videos, pictures, and sound files related to urban traffic, and I want to use all of these elements in my new movie. I can select one clip at a time, or I can select multiple clips by holding down the Shift key and clicking on each file I want to select. Once I’ve selected a file I click “Import” to add files to the Cities” folder, or simply click, drag, and drop them into the folder.

Click Import or drag and drop to move media files from computer to Media Library

Take a quick look at the “Theater” tab at the top of the iMovie window. “Theater” is where you can store and view your completed iMovie projects. Once a completed project is in the “Theater” folder you can play it, share it, and even view it with other devices that you have linked to your computer through iCloud. The final tab is “Projects.” This tab is where users go to create and edit movies. It’s essentially the “Work in progress” section of iMovie.



Now that I’ve covered the three main tabs, I‘m going to guide you through the steps of beginning a new movie project. To begin, click on the “Projects” tab, then click on “Create New,” and iMovie will offer two options: “Movie” and “Trailer.” Click on “Movie,” and a new window will open up where you can start making movies like a pro.

Click Projects, Create New, and Movie to begin new project

Add Clips to Timeline



In the new window, I have the “Project Media” list on the left, then a blank space with an “Import Media” icon in the middle, a “Preview” panel to the right, and finally the “Timeline” at the bottom. Over in the Project Media list, I can see “My Movie 1,” which is the default name that iMovie gives the new movie project I’ve just started. Below that, I can see the “Cities” folders where I’ve collected various sound clips, video clips, and image files.

Click on the “Cities” folder to open it, then drag and drop the media files into the movie Timeline at the bottom of the Projects window. You’ll notice that when you add files to the Timeline, sound files are colored green, and video and image files have a blue line along the bottom. These colors are a handy visual aid that iMovie uses to help you keep track of which files are which.

Drag and drop media files into Timeline



Once there are three or four files in the Timeline, things might start looking a bit crowded, and some of the files will extend way right off the right side of the screen where you can’t even see them. But don’t worry, there’s a tool to help with that! Just look at the top right corner of the Timeline, and there’s a small slider labeled “Settings.” The slider allows you to zoom in and out on the media files in the Timeline window. If you zoom out, you get a wide angle view of all the files. If you zoom in, you get a more detailed, close-up view, which is great for choosing specific moments in a video clip or sound file, like a space in the video where you want to make a cut or fade to a new scene.


Settings slider to zoom in and out

The Timeline has a wonderful range of tools, features, and actions you can use to make your movie something special. First, go up to your Project Media list and click on “My Movie 1.” Now you will see the thumbnails of all the media files that are currently in the Timeline. Just click on one of the thumbnails–let’s say one of the video clip files–and the thumbnail will appear highlighted with a yellow border. Hold down the “R” key and click and drag across that highlighted thumbnail, and that will make the video run back and forth, so you can see the whole video moving and quickly or slowly as you move your mouse. You can also click “Play” on the Preview panel to the right side of the thumbnails, and watch video clips in a larger format. The Preview panel is a great way to find specific moments in a sound or video clip without changing anything in the Timeline.

Play Thumbnail in Preview panel

Editing Clips

Now I’m going to take you through some of the editing options in iMovie. First, Move your cursor back and forth across the Timeline, and you’ll see that there’s a white vertical line that moves along with it. Think of this white line as a marker–a moment in time. As you move the line back and forth, you’re also moving back and forth in the clip. For example, let’s say that I want my movie to show a specific moment when a white car drives by. I can move that white line across that relevant video clip in my Timeline, watch the video in the Preview panel, and–when I find the precise moment that the white car drives by–I click and I see that there’s now a gray vertical line marking that precise moment in the clip. That gray line means “Start.” Now just hit the space bar on your keyboard to begin playing the clip from that exact moment marked by the gray line, and hit the spacebar again to stop playing.

Click white line to mark moment in clip

iMovie also provides several ways for users to edit and adjust the sound within clips. Let’s say there’s a video clip of traffic driving by on a busy city street, and you’d like to remove the background traffic noise and replace it with some dramatic music. If you look at the video clip in the Timeline, you’ll see that there’s a blue line running horizontally across the bottom of the clip. That blue line is the audio data within that clip. Now simply right-click on that clip, then choose “Detach Audio” from the menu, and the audio will instantly get taken out of the video clip and appear as a separate file, down below with the green audio files in the Timeline, as well as up above as a thumbnail in the Media files. Now you can delete that removed sound file, or save to use later in another project.



Detach Audio to remove sound from video clip

You can also adjust the audio directly inside of each video clip. For example, perhaps you love the ambient background noise in your city traffic clip, but you’d like to add a voiceover, and the ambient sound is just a bit too loud. To adjust the volume, just click on that clip in the Timeline, then click on and drag the little horizontal white line inside of the blue strip running along the bottom of the clip. That line is actually the volume adjustment for that specific clip. The green audio clips also have that same horizontal adjustment line for making the volume exactly as loud or soft as you want.

slide horizontal line to adjust volume

Another feature to be aware of in the Timeline is the small “connector” line between clips. Click on an audio clip in the Timeline, drag it just under a video clip, and when the audio clip gets close enough to the video clip, a small green line will appear at the top left corner of the audio clip. As soon as that little green line touches the video clip above it, those clips are now connected. Now when you click and drag the video clip around the Timeline, the audio clip will get dragged along with it. You can do the same thing with any of the clips in the Timeline. Just drag a clip next to the main clip, move it until that tiny line appears at the top or bottom corner, and then drop that clip and it will stay connected to the main clip. If you decide that you want to change the exact location where the sound clip connects to the video clip, just click and drag the sound clip to the new location, and move it until the green line appears and connects it to the video clip again.

connector bar connects clips together

iMovie also allows users to change the length, or duration, of a clip. Let’s say I have an image file in my Timeline. Click on that image file’s thumbnail, and it will display a number. This number is the number of seconds that this image will appear onscreen when the movie plays. In this case, I can see that my chosen image will appear on the screen for 2.7 seconds, but I want that image to stay on the screen for 5.5 seconds. All I need to do is hold down the “R” key, then click and drag the right edge of the image, and I can see the number of seconds increasing and decreasing as I drag back and forth, left to right. It’s important to remember that when you make a clip shorter, you’re actually removing, or deleting, information from that clip. But no worries! If you make a mistake and remove information you didn’t mean to remove, just click “Edit” from the main menu at the top of the screen, then click “Undo,” or hold down “Command” and hit the “Z” key to undo that last action.

hold "R" and drag to adjust clip length

Another fun tool allows users to adjust how quickly or slowly a clip plays in the movie. For example, perhaps your movie needs a dramatic slow-motion scene. Just click on that video clip in the Timeline, right-click, and choose “Show Speed Editor” from the menu. Now a black horizontal line will appear at the top of that clip. Click and drag that black line to the left to speed up the action, and a little icon of a rabbit appears to let you know that you’re in “faster” mode. Drag to the right to slow down the action, and a little icon of a turtle appears, indicating “slower.” This way you can easily create slow-motion and fast-motion clips or scenes in the Timeline with just a simple click and drag. And if you don’t like the look, just use Cmd + Z to undo.



Speed Editor and drag for faster and slower

Cutting and editing scenes and clips has always been an essential part of making movies. The “Split Clip” tool allows users to split a clip into sections so that they can delete, move, and rearrange sections of video and sound as much as they like. For example, I’d like to add a still image in the middle of a clip of urban traffic, and I need to make a space for that image to fit into. All I do is go to the Timeline, move that white vertical line to the correct moment in my traffic clip, right-click, and choose “Split Clip” from the menu. Splitting clips doesn’t remove any information from the clip, it simply breaks the clip into separate pieces. Now just click and drag the still image around the timeline and center it over the split in the video.

Split Clip to cut sections from clips

Transitions

Sometimes you’d love to add just a bit more interest and complexity to a movie to make it really pop, so now I’d like to introduce you to the “Transitions” options in iMovie. A transition is like that moment in a film when one scene fades to another scene, or when the soundtrack fades from exciting music to spooky music to match the action. There are two main ways to perform a Transition in iMovie, and I’ll start with the method you perform inside of the Timeline itself. 

Let’s say that I have an urban traffic video clip that I want to fade into an image of the Statue of Liberty, and then fade into a new scene in the video. I simply find the statue image file in the Timeline, then drag and place it right above the split between the two scenes that I just created with the “Split Clip” tool. When the image file is highlighted, I can see that there’s a little circle in the top right and top left corners of that thumbnail. Just hold down the “R” key, then use the mouse to click and drag the circles toward the middle. As you drag, you can look at the Preview panel above and see that the main video clip fades to the image, and then the image fades back to the next video clip. You can also use these exact same steps to fade sound clips in and out.

R key and drag for clip transition

The second method is to use the “Transitions” tool. At the top of the window, above the thumbnails of all the media files, there’s a horizontal menu that shows options like “My Media,” “Audio,” “Titles,” “Backgrounds,” and “Transitions.” Just click the “Transitions” tab to open a menu of various preset transition effects such as “Fade to Black,” “Slide Left,” and “Ripple.” Now select a Transition from the menu, whichever looks the most interesting, and drag and drop it in between two video clips, or at the beginning or end of a clip, to add it to your movie.

Transitions tool, drag and drop

At this point, you should have a good selection of video clips, sound clips, and images in your Media Library and in your Timeline. I’ve gone over the basics of cutting and editing, as well as how to use Transitions, so now I’ll demonstrate how to add some extra little touches to make the movie look even more professional and unique.

Enhancements

First, click on a clip in the Timeline, and that clip will appear in the Preview panel. Above the Preview, a menu of tool icons will appear.

Visual Edit Menu

One great tool is the “Match Color” tool, which allows users to create a harmonious look throughout the entire movie. For example, my main video clip of urban traffic is filled with rich, natural sunlight and colors, but I also have a clip of streetcars that I’d like to use, and that clip looks just faded and dull. The first step is to click on the streetcars clip in my Timeline so that the clip appears in the Preview panel. Next, I click on the black and white circle icon at the left side of the tools, then select “Match Color” from the menu. Now I move down to the Timeline, click on the urban traffic clip that has the sunny, natural colors that I want, and that clip will appear next to the streetcar clip in the Preview panel, and iMovie will make a subtle adjustment to the colors and tones in the streetcar clip so that it more closely matches the colors and tones in the main clip. If the results look good, I simply click the checkmark at the top right corner.

Match color between scenes

There are several more tools in the visual editing menu that allow users to adjust the look of clips in the Preview panel, like the Crop tool that lets you zoom in and get a closer shot, and the “Shaky camera” icon that lets you stabilize a shaky handheld video. You can even add filters to video clips to create a certain mood, turn a color movie into a black and white film, or make the movie look like it was filmed on a spooky, alien planet. I recommend taking time to play around, experiment with each tool, and explore all the wonderful ways iMovie helps users tailor and customize their movies.

 iMovie also offers a “green screen” effect, much like the effect professionals use to insert backgrounds into various film scenes. For example, let’s say there’s a little 10-second clip of a street view looking up at two skyscrapers in the foreground, with a bright, clear blue sky in the background. Now just click on that clip in the Timeline, it appears in the Preview panel, and up above a new icon appears in the editing tools menu. This icon looks like a little double box, or a square with a shadow. That little icon is the “Cutaway” tool. It’s important to remember that when you’re editing the main video, the clip that all these other sound and video and images get added to make a finished movie, you will not see the “Cutaway” icon. This particular icon only appears when you’re working on the other clips, the extra pieces of video that you plan to add to the main video.

 Now, click on the Cutaway icon and a drop-down menu option, named “Cutaway,” appears. Just click on the Cutaway menu to reveal all the options, then select “Green/Blue Screen.” This tool essentially takes all the parts of the video that are colored solid blue or solid green and makes them invisible. So now, once you click “Green/Blue Screen,” you can still see those two skyscrapers in the foreground, but instead of a blue sky in the background, you now see the main video clip in the background.

Green/Blue Screen tool for extra clips

One more feature I want to talk about is the “Titles” tab. “Titles” give users a whole range of extras like opening and closing credits, movie titles, and even subtitles. Simply click the Titles tab, located above the media thumbnails, and a full menu of various preset effects will appear. Now click on a thumbnail, and it will show up over in the Preview panel so you can get a closer look. Some of the titles even incorporate motion. For example, click the thumbnail named “Scrolling Credits,” then move the cursor back and forth across the thumbnail, and you can see credits moving up and down on the screen in the Preview panel. When you find a Title you like, just click, drag, and drop it where you want it in the Timeline.

Preview titles

Once the Title thumbnail is in the correct spot in the Timeline, that title will appear in the Preview panel, neatly laid over the video clip. Now you can start playing with the editing tools to add new text, select from a range of fonts, and change the text color and size.

 At last, you’ve completed your very first movie, and you’re dying to share it with friends! Just a few simple steps are all you need! Just go up to the top-right corner of the iMovie window and click the “Upload” icon. This will open a menu of options, such as Facebook, Vimeo, and Youtube. Let’s say I have a YouTube account, and I want to upload my movie so I can share the link. Just Select “YouTube” from the menu, and a window will open where I can choose whether to upload my movie in HD or not, whether or not I want this movie to be Private, and add any tags that might make it easier for people to find my movie with a keyword search. I also want to make sure to click the “Add To Theater” checkbox at the bottom of the upload window to add the new movie to the “Theater” tab for easy access. iMovie also offers options like “File” in the upload menu, which saves the movie directly to my computer.



Save and share

Now that I’ve gone over some of the essential tools and features that iMovie has to offer, you have an almost endless range of options to help you make fun, amazing, fully customized movies for any event or occasion, from weddings and birthdays to work presentations and school projects. Have fun, and don’t be afraid to explore your own creative potential!

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Microsoft OneNote – Detailed Tutorial

Microsoft OneNote is a free note taking and organization tool that helps you and your students organize your notes and life quickly and easily. In this article, I’ll show you:

  • How to create and customize notebooks
  • How to insert audio, video, photos, and drawings
  • How to organize your notes with sections and tags
  • How to invite collaborators to your notes

This software is compatible with both Mac and Windows systems and serves as a versatile and easy-to-use tool to help busy students, individuals, and families stay on track, create customized files, and collect important information. The free version offers five gigabytes of data storage, or you can choose a paid subscription and get even more storage and benefits.

To get started, you’ll need to create an account on the Microsoft OneNote website if you don’t already have a Microsoft account. Then you can either use the online version or click “Download” to install the software on your desktop or laptop. Once you’ve you’ve logged in to the online account or you’ve installed OneNote, open it and you’ll get a window with “My Notebooks” at the top of the page.

Log in with your Microsoft account, download software, then click to open a new OneNote window

Notebooks

Now you can create your first notebook. Click the icon that looks like a tiny open notebook on the left side of the toolbar, then click the little “+” sign, and a menu will open.

Click small notebook icon at the top left, then click plus sign to open a “New Notebook” menu

The menu gives you a range of colors to choose from, which can be a handy visual tool to help keep your information organized. For example, you could have all of your office meeting notes in the blue notebook, and personal info like birthdays in the yellow notebook. Once you choose notebook color you can give the notebook a name or title, then hit “Enter,” and the program will save a copy of your new notebook in OneDrive. You can check out my video tutorial on OneDrive here.

Inside of your new notebook, you’ll see that a new Section appears by default, and on the right side of the window, you’ll see an “Add Page” option.

Inside the new notebook you’ll see a blank Section and an “Add Page” option

Each time you create a new notebook you can find it by clicking the open notebook in the top left corner to open a list of all of your notebooks and select which one you’d like to work on. You can also rearrange the order of the notebooks in the list by clicking and dragging. You can close notebooks from this view as well, which only removes them from the menu and does not delete them. If you ever want to reopen a closed notebook, click the folder at the top left of the screen.

Click the notebook icon at top left to open menu of notebooks, then click and drag to rearrange order of notebooks

In OneNote, you have Notebooks, which are divided into Sections, which are divided into Pages, all of which can be titled and customized for easy reference and organization.

Sections

Now choose one of your notebooks and click on the “+” next to the “Sections” tab. This lets you add as many sections as you want to your notebook and name each section according to your needs. For example, you could have a section of vegetarian recipes, a section for steak recipes, and a section for dessert recipes.

Choose a notebook and click plus sign to add sections

You can also right-click on each Section tab to open a menu of options such as Copy, Section Color to help color code your files, or Password Protection to give that section extra security.

Right-click on Section tab to open a menu of options

Pages

You can add pages to each section by clicking “Add Page” on the right side of your section window. Each time you add a page, it will appear in a list on the right side of the window. If at any point you want to rename a page, all you need to do is right-click on the page in your list and choose “Rename,” and just like in your Notebooks menu you can click and drag to change the order of your pages.

Click “Add Page” to create new pages within each section, and use list on right side of window to keep pages organized

Adding Content

When you open a new page, the default setting is a plain white background, but you can change this if you prefer a different color. Up in your toolbar, you can find a “Paper Color” option that opens a menu of colors, as well as a “Paper Style” option that lets you choose between blank, ruled, or grid paper.

Click “Paper Color” in the toolbar to choose the color of the page, or click “Paper Style” to choose blank, ruled, or grid paper

Now you can double click anywhere on your new page and start typing. If you click the “Home” tab, you’ll see the toolbar full of text options where you can choose your font, size, text color, and other options like Bold and Underline.

Click “Home” tab to get a toolbar of text control options

One unique feature of OneNote is that you can double click, start writing text, then double click again on another part of the page and start writing a new line without affecting the first line. You can even click and drag each text box to move them around the page.

A helpful tool for keeping things organized is Tags, which you can add to your page from the menu in the toolbar. For example, you can click on the “To-Do” tag and a new window will open on your page where you can add your list of appointments or reminders for the week, or you could choose “Address” to enter the address of the birthday party you have coming up. Tags are just an easy way to add a visual marker, in the form of an icon, to your text or lists to help you quickly organize and find the information you need on each page.

Choose from the menu of Tags in the top toolbar to add extra information to your page

Another useful tool is “Tables,” which you can also find in your top toolbar under the “Insert” tab. Tables let you create a customized chart where you can keep track of information like your daily workouts, your kids’ homework schedules, or even weekly or monthly meal plans. Each time you open a new Table, you can click on it to select it, and you’ll see a range of options appear at the top of your window, like a color selector if you want to color-code your tables to make them easier to find at a glance.

Click “Tables” under the “Insert” tab to create customizable charts on your page

Back in the “Insert” menu, you also have options like “Picture” to add images to your page, and just like the text and the lists you can click and drag to move the new images anywhere on the page.

Click “Picture” under the “Insert” tab to add images to the page, then click and drag to move image

Other “Insert” options include “PDF Printout” to create a PDF version of your page, “File Attachment” to add files, “Link” to enter a web address and insert a hyperlink into your page, or click “Equation” to add math functions into the page. For example, when the “Equation” window pops up on your page you can enter a simple formula like “55+7=” and then hit Enter, and the answer will appear. This tool also works with more complex equations, and if you get lost, you can find tips and hints about using the tool at https://support.office.com.

Click on “Equation” under the “Insert” tab to open a window where you can type mathematical equations and get the answer by hitting the Enter key

If you want to customize your page even more, you can choose from a range of arrows and shapes in your “Insert” tab, and then use the various “Shapes Formatting” options like color and thickness to make the shapes fit your needs.

Choose from the “Shapes” menu under the “Insert” tab to add customizable shapes and arrows to the page

The final “Insert” option is “Audio Recording.” Simply click the Audio Recording icon, and the program will immediately begin recording sound through your connected or built-in microphone. The recorded sound will appear on your page as an icon that you can click to listen to the sound. This is a useful tool for people who like to make quick audio notes about things like shopping lists, appointment reminders, or spur-of-the-moment creative ideas. A useful feature with the Windows version of OneNote is that the program can search through the words in the audio files in your notes.

Inserting a video into your page is easy! Simply find the video that you want to select, like a Teacher’s Tech video on YouTube, copy the URL, then go back to your page and right-click to open the options menu. Select “Paste,” and the video has now been added to your page and you can click and drag it to move it wherever you want.

You can even play the video right on your page. This can be a fun way to make a list of your favorite crafting tutorials, organize videos of the kids’ dance recitals, or create a page full of favorite recipes by keeping video tutorials, written instructions, and charts of the nutritional information all in one place.

Drawing

Next to the “Insert” tab, you’ll see the “Draw” tab. This tab opens up a menu with options like Pen, Marker, Highlighter, and Eraser, as well as color choices and a line thickness selector. This tool lets you doodle, draw, jot down notes, and circle important images or text. Since OneNote notebooks are shareable, you can also allow collaborators to draw on or add content to your sections and pages. Just click on the “Share” icon at the top of your window, and you can add as many people as you like and choose to let them edit your notebook or just give them permission to view it without the ability to edit.

Click “Share” icon at top right to invite people to view or edit your notebook

Web Clipper

The OneNote Web Clipper is an extension that can really enhance your experience. You can find it in the Google Chrome Web Store or search for whatever browser you prefer. Follow the instructions for downloading the extension to your preferred system, click to get the OneNote Web Clicker button, and add it to your browser toolbar.

When when you go to a page on a website, all you need to do is click on the Web Clipper icon in your toolbar and a new window will open showing the content of the page and an options menu. The menu lets you choose “Article,” which takes the information from the page and puts it into an easy-to-read article format, or select  “Full Page” to take a screenshot of the entire page. You can also choose “Region” to take a screenshot of a section of the page if you only want a single paragraph or photo.

Now you need to select where you want the clipped information to go. If you click “Location” in the Clipper menu, you’ll see a list of your notebooks, and you can choose which one you want the clip to go to. Now you just click “Clip” and the clip you’ve created will be added to the notebook and will appear in the list on the right of your notebook screen. Keep in mind that it may take a few seconds for the clipper to sync with your notebook, so don’t panic if the clip doesn’t show up instantly.

Click the Web Clicker icon to select a specific web page and use the menu to choose how the selection is formatted and choose location

Searching

Once you start creating more and more notebooks, sections, and pages, it’s going to be impossible to remember where everything is, and that’s where the Search feature comes in. Simply go to the search bar at the top of your OneNote page and enter your keywords. Let’s say you clipped and saved a veggie burger recipe and now you can’t remember where you put it. Just start typing “Burger” in the search window, and it will show you the recipe and exactly which notebook and section it’s in. One of the coolest features of OneNote is its Optical Character Recognition capability, which can search for words within pictures and scanned documents you’ve uploaded.

Use the Search tool at the top of the OneNote page and enter names or keywords to find files

Now you’re ready to let OneNote help make your life more streamlined at home, at work, and at play. As you get more comfortable with this tool, you can choose from a range of apps and extensions to make OneNote even more versatile. For people on the go, there’s a OneNote app that you can download to your mobile device to help you stay organized no matter where you are.

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Self-grading Quizzes with Google Forms and Google Classroom

You can create self-grading quizzes with Google Forms and share them with your class using Google Classroom! In this article, I’ll show you:

  • How to create self-grading quizzes
  • How to see the results of your quiz and give feedback
  • How to share your quiz with the class on Google Classroom

Create a self-grading quiz

Open a new Form from your Google Drive screen, if you haven’t seen the Google Forms Tutorial, check that out first and then come back here. Click the gear icon to open the “Settings” menu, and choose “Quizzes” at the top.

Open a new form, open the Settings menu, then choose “Quizzes”

Click on “Make this a quiz” and a range of new options will appear. You can choose when the quiz grade is released so that students can see their grade immediately after they submit the quiz, or you can delay the release in case you want time to review the results. You can also decide whether or not students can see their missed questions, the correct answers, and the point values of questions simply by clicking on the appropriate checkboxes.

Click make this a quiz then click the checkboxes to customize your quiz in the quiz Settings window

Return to your practice form and enter a test question. Set the answer format to “Multiple choice” and enter three or four possible answers, then note at the bottom of the window you now see the words “Answer key.” Click on “Answer key” and you’ll be able to mark the correct answer for this specific question.

Enter a test question with four multiple choice answers on the quiz, then click on “Answer key” to mark the correct answer for the question

It’s important to note that the “Self-grading quizzes” option only works with the Multiple choice, Checkboxes, and Drop-down answer options, but since these are such popular and versatile options I think you’ll get a lot of use out of this new feature.

At the top right of the “Answer Key” window you can assign how many points this question is worth using the up and down arrows. You can also click on “Add feedback” on your Answer key, which allows you to write a message that will pop up after students select each answer. This could be something as simple as “Good job!” for correct answers, or a brief sentence or paragraph explaining why their answer was incorrect.  

Click “Add feedback” to create informative or supportive messages that will appear when students answer questions

You can also click the “Link” icon to add a link to the “Add feedback” option in case, for example, you want to send the student to a page or video with more information about the question or topic to help refresh their memory.

link to feedback for more in depth information after questions in Google Forms

You can add more questions and set the correct answer or answers for each, as well as any feedback you may want to leave.

You can always click “Preview” to see how your practice quiz looks and test out the self-grading option. This is a good practice before sending the quiz to your class. Click “Preview” in the top right, then pretend you’re a student and select a “correct” answer for each question, then click “Submit.” If you have selected the quiz option to let the students see their correct and incorrect answers, when you click “Submit” you will see a pop-up window and can click on “View your score” to see which questions you got right and which you missed, as well as the total points you’ve earned. The image below shows what results of a quiz will look like with all the settings selected on the left.

preview example side by side with settings

In the Editing view, you can click on “Responses” at the top and see all of the quizzes that have been submitted so far. You can view the data as as summary, or check how each student did individually by clicking either “Summary” or “Individual”. And now, instead of having to grade each quiz by hand, you have all of the information in a neat visual presentation already prepared for you!

responses from Google forms self-grading quizzes

If you want to load this data into a spreadsheet all you need to do is click the green icon on the “Responses” form, create a new spreadsheet, and the data will be automatically loaded into the sheet so you can easily see individual answers, scores, and other important information.

Click the green icon in the quiz “Responses” window to create a new spreadsheet with the quiz data already loaded and organized

Share your quiz with your class in Google Classroom

Now that you’re familiar with the basics of using Google Forms and creating Quizzes, I’ll show you how easy it is to share with your class and add a new Form to your Google Classroom. If you haven’t used Google Classroom yet, check out this tutorial to set up your Google Classroom.

Once you have your practice quiz completed, click send at the top right corner.

click send on your completed quiz in Google forms

This will open a “Send“ form with a range of options for ways you can send or attach the form. I could send this out to individual emails or a group. For example, I have all my 5th and 6th graders in an email group. You can learn how to set up groups in Google here.

You can also embed your quiz form in a website. To share with Google Classroom, choose “Link” first by clicking the chain link icon. You can check the “Shorten URL” box to automatically shorten the URL to your quiz for easier sharing, and then click “Copy” to copy the link to your clipboard and later paste it into your Google Classroom.

Click “Send” on the Responses page to open a Send window, then choose “Link” as the sending method, shorten link, copy

You can also load the form directly into your Google Classroom with just a few simple steps. Go to your Classroom, create a New Assignment with the plus sign at the bottom right, and then click the Google Drive icon at the bottom and select the Google Form that is your quiz.

Open a New Assignment, select the form in your Drive, and click “Add” to attach it to the new assignment

Click “Assign” and your new assignment will appear in your Classroom with the quiz form attached. All your students need to do is click on the assignment and it will open the quiz. When students have finished and submitted their tests you’ll be able to click “View responses in Sheets” and the answers will already be loaded into the appropriate columns for you.

click “View responses in Sheets” to see the submitted answers on your new spreadsheet

Now you’re ready to make and send self-grading quizzes to your class using Google Forms and Classroom!

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The New Google Forms – Detailed Tutorial

Google Forms is an online form builder that lets you create versatile questionnaires, quizzes, and forms quickly and easily. In this article, I’ll show you:

  • How to create a custom Google Form from scratch
  • How to preview and test your forms
  • How to add images or videos to your forms
  • How to view and use the responses to your forms

Opening a new form

First, go into your Google Drive and click on the red “New” button at the top-left of the window, then click “More”, and then click on “Google Forms”. This will open a window with a new Google Form labeled “Untitled Form” at the top.

Click New in the top left corner, then More, then Google Forms

There’s another way you can open a new Google Form that may feel more comfortable or convenient. Go to your Google Drive Window, then click on the square icon in the top right corner that is made out of small black squares. Clicking on this icon will open a list of Google apps.

Click square icon at the top left side of the Drive screen to pull up the Apps menu, or click more to find Forms

You should see a purple icon named “Forms.” If the icon doesn’t show up at first, scroll down and click on “More” at the bottom of the apps list.

When you find the purple “Forms” icon, click on it and you will get a message that says “Do you want to add this as a shortcut?” Select “Yes” to add the Forms icon on your main apps window, so it will be easy to find next time. You can also click, hold, and drag to arrange each icon in the shortcuts menu and place them in the order you like.

When you enter Google Forms from the app shortcut panel, it will take you to the “Template” section of Forms and you should see a template named “Blank” on the right side of the Template window. Click on the “Blank” template, and you will now have a new form just like the one you got in the first example where you clicked “New”, then “More”, then “Google Forms”.

When you click the purple Forms icon it will open the Forms Template window, select Blank form

Give your form a name by clicking “Untitled Form” in the top left corner and adding your title. I always do this right away to help keep track of it.

Click on the top left of the form to write a new name for the form, then hit Enter to save

Customizing Your Form

If you don’t like the default colors on your form’s header bar and background, go up to the top-right of your screen and click on the palette icon. This lets you change the color scheme of your Form. You can also click on the icon in the bottom right corner of the color options and select from a list of photos and designs, including some animated options. These look nicer than plain colors and work great if you’re using Forms to make a birthday party invitation or a brunch menu.

Click the palette icon at top of page to open a color selector or click bottom right of color selector to open a menu of images

You can also upload your own photos to make each form a unique work of art. Click on the “Upload Photo” at the bottom of the images menu, then follow the instructions for uploading. Your photo needs to be at least 800 pixels wide to fit into the header bar on the form, and after you load the image you’ll see a crop window to choose what part of the image you want to show.

Click Upload Photo and follow prompts to add your own images

Creating Questions

The form starts with a default multiple choice question that you can easily delete or edit. Click on the trash can icon at the bottom of the question to get rid of it.

The title of your form will be the same as the file title you entered in the top-left corner earlier, but you can change it and add a description to explain what your form is about.

Type a preferred title or name at the top of the form

Now it’s time to add some questions. On the right side of your form you’ll see a vertical toolbar. At the top of the toolbar is a “+” inside a circle. Click on it and a new question will appear on your form. This question will automatically be multiple choice, but you can change that by clicking the dropdown titled “Multiple Choice” and choosing a different style of question.

Click on the plus sign to add a question to your Google Form and click “Multiple choice” to open a menu of answer format options

I usually start a quiz or questionnaire with getting a student’s name, so I’ll choose “Short Answer” as the first question format. This lets people type words or symbols instead of just clicking a checkbox. Type in your question in the “Question” blank, and choose required at the bottom right of the question if you want to force someone to answer that question to complete the form.

Click Required to make filling out a question or line mandatory in google forms

You can add the next question by clicking on the “+” icon on the right again. Type your question, choose the type of question, and set it as “Required” if you want to make an answer mandatory.

You can add several different kinds of questions to your form. To add a multiple choice question, click on the “+” again leave it as a multiple choice question. In this example I’ve asked “What is the largest planet?” and I can add the answer choices by first filling in “Option 1” and then clicking “Add option” below that and filling it in. You can choose “Add other” if you want to allow the option for someone to write in their own answer.

Click Option 1 to type in an answer, Add option to add another option

Previewing a Form

You can preview your form any time by clicking the little eye icon at the top of the screen. That will open a new window that shows you how the form will look, complete with the color scheme and question formatting that you chose.

Click Preview icon at top of page to view the form as you edit

The Preview page works exactly like the form will work when you send it out, so if you just click “Submit” at the bottom you’ll see that any of the questions you marked as “Required” will show an error in red. I usually don’t set questions as required until the last step of making my form, because I like to test how the answers will look in Preview mode as I’m building the form.

Required sections are highlighted in red if the answer is not filled out before submitting

Adding a Section

Now let’s say you have a list of 20 or 30 questions but you don’t want to force people to scroll and scroll forever to get to the end, because not only can that be annoying but it can look somewhat unprofessional in some situations. To fix this, you can add a Section by clicking on the bottom icon in your vertical toolbar. This will bring up a new Section titled “Section 2 of 2”, and now your survey, test, or invitation is broken up into smaller sections or pages that are easier to handle and appear more organized to the reader.

Click the bottom icon in the vertical toolbar to add a new section

Now you can give the new section a name, we’re choosing “Earth” in the video example, and then continue adding and writing questions. Preview your form again and you’ll see that the form now has a “Next” button at the bottom, which indicates that there’s another section coming up, but since you marked some of the lines as “Required”, people will still need to fill out all of the information before they can move on to the next page.

If you want to turn off the “Required” setting all you need to do is go back to your form, click on the question or line, and click on the little dot next to “Required” to switch it off. Now you will have an easier time previewing all of your pages or sections as you work.

If you decide that you want people to fill in an email first on the form instead of their name, you don’t have to delete the lines and start over, just move your mouse to the top of the question area until you see it turn into a little “Move” icon. Then you can click and drag each question into whatever order you like.

Click and hold at the top of each question to reposition question on the form

Also, If you decide to delete a section entirely you can click on the tiny row of dots in the top corner of that section, and that will show you a small menu of options. Click “Delete” and it’s gone.

To delete a question, click row of dots at top right of screen to open tools menu, then click Delete

Now let’s try another type of answer formatting. Click on the plus sign to add another question, then click on “Multiple choice” to open the answer options menu, and choose “Checkboxes.”

This option might be handy if you’re creating a survey, or maybe planning a party and asking friends about menu preferences or specific days that work for their schedules.

You can also create “Dropdown” questions that open a dropdown menu with the answer options you enter.

Select the Dropdown answer option and Preview to see dropdown menu next to the question

Other answer format options include:

  • Linear Scale: this gives people a scale where they can choose from one to five, or from one to ten, which can be handy if you need people to rate a service or to tell you how much they enjoy a particular flavor of beverage.
  • Multiple Choice grid: this option allows you to build rows and columns with multiple answer choices.
  • Paragraph: this option creates lines where people can type or write their answers out. You might want an essay-style answer, or you could possibly use this option at the end of your form if you plan to ask people if they have additional thoughts, opinions, or answers they’d like to share.

other format options

Adding Images and Videos

First, you can add a new title to your form by clicking on the “TT” icon in your vertical toolbar. This doesn’t create a new section, it merely lets you add a new title in case you want to add more information as people progress through the form, or use it to introduce an image or a video that’s coming up next.

add a title to your form

To insert an image into your form, click the center icon on your vertical toolbar. It looks like a small landscape image. This will open a window where you can use keywords to find specific subjects. You can also upload your own images from your personal albums or your Drive, or enter a URL to insert an image from a website or page. Once you select the image you want you’ll see it appear on your form. If the image is too large, you can resize it by clicking and dragging the corner.

Add an image to the form and click on the corner of the image to resize

You can also center or align the image by clicking the alignment icons below the image, and add a title at the top of the image if you like. Remember that you can click on the “Preview” icon at the top of the screen as many times as you want to make sure you like how the form looks.

To add a video to your form, click the “Video” arrow icon on your vertical toolbar and it’ll bring up a window where you can search YouTube using keywords, or enter a URL if you have a specific website or page in mind. You can resize videos just like images, and add a title at the top if you like.

Click Video icon in vertical toolbar to open a YouTube search window

 

Settings

At the top of your forms widow you’ll see a small gear icon. This takes you to “Settings” and gives you even more options for customizing your form. For example, the “Shuffle questions order” option will show each person a different version of the form with the questions in a different order on each copy of the form. This could be really helpful if you want to make it harder for students to share answers during tests. However, if you have images or videos that are related to a specific question then this option will mess up the order, so use your best judgement when using the “Shuffle” option.

Click gear icon in top right corner to open the Settings menu

Other tools in the Settings menu include a progress bar that you can activate to let people see how far along in the test or survey they are, and an option to limit who can access and fill out the form. You may want to make it available only to students at your school, or only close friends and family. You also have an additional Actions menu in the top right corner of your screen.

This menu has options for copying and printing your form, or you can let other people help create and edit the form by clicking “Add collaborators” to make it a group project. You can also choose “Add-ons” from the Actions menu, which opens a new window where you can select from a wide range of apps and extras to enhance your forms.

Click row of dots in top right corner of the screen to open Actions menu

 

Additional question modifications

If you click on one of your questions and then click the row of dots in the bottom right corner you’ll see two more options for customizing your questions: “Hint text”, which lets people ask for a hint to the answer or can provide some extra clarification to the question, and “Data Validation”, which makes people answer questions the way you want them to. For example, if you ask people to enter their name and instead they try to enter an email address, they will get a notification that their answer is not correct.

Click dots in bottom corner of question field to see additional options

 

Responses

Once you’ve got your questions and answers formatted and you think your form is ready to go, click Preview one more time and then try filling out all of the lines and questions you just created, as if you were someone taking a test or survey. Once you get to the end, click “Submit” on the Preview form. Now go back to your working form that you’ve been editing. At the top of the form you will now see a number next to “Responses”. This tells you that someone has successfully filled out your form. If you click on “Responses” you’ll get a new window where you can see all of the answers that have been submitted and choose to see either individual responses from each person, or a summary of all of the submitted answers in the form of a pie chart.

Fill out form in Preview view, then click Responses on working copy to see the response data

If you need or want to have the response data on a spreadsheet you can click on the small green icon at the top of the Responses window. This will allow you to either create a new spreadsheet or import the data to an existing spreadsheet.

click green icon to open a spreadsheet creation menu

You can also open a menu in the top right corner of the Responses window that gives you more options such as “Download responses,” “Delete responses,” or “Get email notifications” so you can see when new responses are submitted. Now you can see how easy it is to get instant data and evaluate the responses, whether your form is a school test, a product survey, or an opinion poll on the best day to throw a surprise party!

click three dots in responses to see more options for your Google Form

If you want to start a new form, but perhaps aren’t quite done editing the first one, you can click the back arrow at the top left of your Forms screen and that will take you back to the Forms Templates page, and your current form will already be saved under “Recent forms.”

Click back arrow at top left of Form screen to return to Templates menu

Thank for reading! You’re now ready to create a brand new test, survey, menu, invitation, or any number of other kinds of forms, and if you ever run into trouble you can open the Actions menu on your Forms page and click on “Help Center” to get assistance.

Now check out the Self-grading Quizzes with Google Forms plus Google Classroom to get the ultimate automated quiz setup for your class!

How to make a YouTube Channel

How To Make a YouTube Channel and Screen Recording

Making a YouTube channel gives you a powerful platform to upload and share knowledge. You can also use YouTube to record your screen for free. In this article, I’ll show you:

  • How to make a YouTube channel
  • How to customize your YouTube channel
  • How to optimize your channel for search
  • How to record your screen for tutorials or classes for free with YouTube

Start your YouTube channel by signing into your Google account or creating an account here: https://accounts.google.com/SignUp

Once you’ve confirmed everything and logged in, you’ll see the account screen, as shown below. Click the grid of small squares in the top-right corner and this will open the app launcher. Then click YouTube from the selection of Google Apps.

01 Google account page and click grid squares at top right

Make sure you’re logged in to the correct Google account by checking the icon in the top-right corner. If you have multiple Google accounts, YouTube may default to a different account than the one you want for your new YouTube channel. Once you’ve confirmed you’re on the right account, click “Creator Studio” below the account name.

02 check the top right account icon in YouTube, click creator studio

If you’ve never created a YouTube channel with this account, you should be taken to a mostly empty page that says “You must create a channel to upload videos.” Click “Create a channel.” Then you will be prompted to enter the name you would like to use for your channel. Think about this carefully, because there are limits on how many changes you can make to your channel name within a certain period of time. Once you’ve decided on a workable name, click “Create channel.”

This will open your YouTube channel video manager, which of course won’t have any videos in it yet. At the top of the left-side navigation you’ll see “Dashboard.” The dashboard shows you a snapshot of what is happening in your YouTube channel, including some analytics. I’ll go more in detail on more analytics tools later in this article. For now, click on “VIEW CHANNEL” below your name near the top of the page.

03 dashboard and view channel from video manager

At the start, every YouTube channel looks boring, so it’s best to add a channel icon and a background image. If you don’t already have graphics for these, Canva is a great, free tool you can use to create custom graphics that are already the right size to work with your YouTube channel. You can see how to do that here.

When you click the small pencil on your channel icon you’ll receive a notice that it may take a few minutes or longer for your changes to take effect. Click “Edit” and you will be taken to your Google profile page where you can upload a channel icon, which is the same as your Google profile image. This is the place you can also use to change your channel name if necessary. Once you’ve added a photo to your Google profile image/YouTube channel icon, close the tab and you should see your YouTube channel again.

Click on the blue button in the top middle of the screen that reads “Add channel art.” Here you can upload a photo you have saved on your computer, use a photo that’s previously been uploaded to your Google account, or select from stock images in the gallery. If you’re uploading your own image, make sure it is at least 2048 by 1152 pixels. The optimal size image for YouTube channel art is 2560 by 1440 pixels.

04 click the pencil to edit your YouTube channel icon, view channel and customize photo and background image

Channel art shows differently across devices, and once you’ve chosen an image, you will see how it will be displayed on a desktop, TV, and mobile device. Click “Adjust the crop” in the bottom left corner to make changes to your image if needed to make it appear better across devices.

adjust the crop of YouTube channel art

If you’re making a custom graphic, you should experiment with the custom crop tool first and understand that only the middle strip will be shown on computers and mobile devices, so that is where you want any text or highlights to be shown.

YouTube image crop only shows the middle

Now, click “Video Manager” just above and to the left of your channel art. It is very easy to upload videos from here. You simply click the up arrow in the top-right corner and then click the large arrow in the middle of the screen you are taken to. From a dropdown menu below the large arrow on the Upload Screen, you can choose whether you want your video to be public, private, or unlisted. You can change this setting later if you like. If you set the video as public, anyone can view it. If unlisted, someone needs your link to view the video, and private means only you can view your video. You can either drag and drop video files into the big arrow, or you can click the big arrow and upload files from your computer.

YouTube upload button

While your video is uploading and processing, you can add details about the video like the title, description, and tags. You want to make especially sure that your title matches what you expect people to be searching for. For example, if you’re making a tutorial on baking a cake, you should title it “Tutorial for Cake Baking” or “How To Bake a Cake.” Write a lot of information in the description and make sure to use the keywords that you want to be found with. Add links in your description for your social media, website, and anywhere else you want viewers to go. Tags are also important to being found. You can enter up to 500 characters in the tags box, so make them count. Enter tags separated by a comma, and get as detailed as possible with as many tag combinations as you can come up with. I use a tool called TubeBuddy to help find tags that are relevant and see how well I’m ranking for tags I’m using. From the Upload Screen, you can also set it as Public, Private, or Unlisted. I usually start with my videos as Private from the upload, and make them Public once I’ve checked everything and made sure it’s right. You can also add your newly uploaded video to a playlist or multiple playlists directly from the Upload Screen. You can then choose one of the default thumbnails, which is just a screenshot from your video, or you can add a custom thumbnail later, which I’ve explained here. Finally, you can choose to Tweet your video directly from the Upload Screen, and you can then add another video by clicking the “+ Add more videos” button on the bottom right.

add details to your YouTube video and make sure it aligns with what someone is searching for

From the Video Manager, you can always edit any video you have and return to the Upload Screen. Just make sure to save any changes you make by clicking the blue “Save changes” button at the top or bottom of the screen.

It’s a good idea to verify your channel. You can start this process by going to “Channel” in the left-side navigation and selecting “Status and features.” You can view the detailed instructions for verifying your YouTube channel here. If your channel is verified, you can add custom thumbnails to your videos, and you can set up monetization through Adsense, offer paid content, or live stream on YouTube.

YouTube channel verification shows all the things you can do if verified

If you click the gear just below the channel art at the right of your Channel Overview, you can change your Channel Settings. You may want to change the privacy settings of your channel here, otherwise people will be able to see all the videos you have liked on YouTube, as well as your subscriptions and saved playlists. From the Channel Settings screen, you can also allow customization of your channel, which will let you do things like add a trailer and suggest content to your visitors.

Channel settings can let you add customization and control what people see

Channel settings can let you add customization and control what people see

With “Customize the layout of your channel” enabled, you will see a navigation menu at the top of your channel, much like you would see on a typical website.

channel overview with navigation menu

Now, you can access an “About” page for your channel using the navigation menu. Here, you can edit your channel description and add links that will show up overlaid on your channel art. These links can be to your website, landing page, social media, or any other link you want to send people to. You can choose from the dropdown how many of the links you would like to be overlaid on your channel art. If you choose “5,” then the first five links you add will be overlaid on your channel art, as shown below, with the first one being the largest and most prominent.

add links to your YouTube channel from the About page

what YouTube links look like overlaid on channel art

I use playlists with my channel, and I arrange them with a horizontal layout. From the Home section of your channel, click “Add section.” Then you can choose what you want this section to show, such as a playlist or your most popular videos. You can choose whether you want that selection of videos displayed in a horizontal row or vertical row. As you create more videos that match whatever selection you’ve added to a section–such as a specific playlist–they will automatically populate that section.

add sections dropdowns

what sections look like on my YouTube channel page

You can even select what you want new visitors to see on your page versus returning subscribers. You may want to have a channel trailer or short explainer video shown whenever a new visitor sees your page. From your page overview, at the top you can choose to view your channel as yourself, a subscriber, or as a new visitor. This can help you get a feel for how your channel will look depending upon who is visiting it.

new visitor trailer upload area

“It’s important to play with the look of your channel and give it a feel using custom channel art, custom thumbnails, having your picture on the profile–all these things can give it an interesting look to set it apart from other people.”

Your dashboard shows you a snapshot of important information, and you can customize it by dragging sections to where you want them. You can also change the settings for each section, or widget, by clicking the gear icon, and you can add new widgets by clicking the “Add widget” button in the top right corner.

dashboard drag button, gear icon, and add widget

In the Video Manager, we can add and edit videos and create playlists. You can also edit playlists and add a description to each playlist. The descriptions on your playlists are another searchable thing that can help Google find your videos, so it is very important to fill those out using keywords that you think people will search whenever they are looking for your videos. You can also add videos directly into a playlist from the Playlist section of the Video Manager.

playlist section of the video manager

add description to edit playlist or add video to playlist

Livestreaming is very important for YouTube channel growth, and you can create events in the Livestream section on the left-side navigation of your YouTube channel admin page. I have a full video tutorial on how to do that here. We’ll use this to make the screen recording in the last section of this article.

Live Streaming

The Community section shows your messages and comments from viewers. You can directly engage with your audience in this section.

community section

Under the Channel section, you should consider your Upload Defaults. I set my videos to automatically be private when I upload them, so that I can check everything out before the public sees it. I also set my default category to Education, since all my videos involve education in some way. We’ve already discussed why you should verify your channel under the Status and Features area of the Channel section, and I’ll cover the Featured Content, Branding, and additional Advanced options in another article. You won’t need to worry about these when you’re starting your channel, but they can be useful for encouraging action from your audience later on.

upload defaults

YouTube has a powerful and useful Analytics section that gives you insight into what’s working in your videos and channel as a whole.

The Create section has an Audio Library of music that you can use in your videos, just make sure you follow the instructions on certain songs that require attribution. There is also a Video Editor in the Create section that is built right into YouTube. It is not the best, but it can be used to line up video clips with audio backgrounds, apply effects, and create good looking videos. You can see my tutorial on using the YouTube video editor here.

create section with audio library

TubeBuddy is a powerful add on that I use to optimize my channel. It will show what tags I’m ranking for and suggest tags for me. I go back and change my titles, descriptions, and tags from time to time to help them rank better and get more search hits.

TubeBuddy tag ranking area

Once your channel is verified, you can set up monetization and choose the type of ads you want to be shown on each video. If your video is over 10 minutes long, you can choose more types of ads and place ads to show multiple times in each video.

set up ads on YouTube channel

How to use YouTube as a free screen recorder

Screen recording is a powerful teaching tool for showing people how to do something on a computer. Most people don’t realize that you can record your screen quickly, easily, and for free with YouTube. First, click on your account icon in the top-right corner and select “Creator Studio.”

select creator studio

Select “Live Streaming” from the left-side navigation and click on “Events.” Then click “New live event” in the top-right corner.

Livestreaming and events

new live event

For screen recording purposes, it’s best to set your live event to private. Otherwise, people can and probably will see it live. Select “Private” from the dropdown on the right side when you set up your event. Also, make sure that “Type” is set to “Quick (using Google Hangouts on Air)” because Google Hangouts has the screen sharing function we’ll be using. Then click “Go Live Now” at the bottom right to get started.

set your live event to private and type to Quick with Google hangouts on air

When Google Hangouts opens, choose the “Screenshare” icon on the left side. A window will open that lets you choose what you want to screenshare from the open programs on your computer.

Screenshare icon

Once you’ve chosen the program you want to share, go back to Google Hangouts and select “Start broadcast.” This starts the recording of the program you selected to screenshare in the last step. Now, record your screen and voiceover, and when you’re done click “Stop broadcast” on Google Hangouts.

start broadcast from google hangouts

After stopping your broadcast, you can close Google Hangouts and refresh your Video Manager in YouTube. Your video will be automatically uploading, and once it has finished processing, you can download it from YouTube or share it.

Now you’re ready to share videos and record your screen using YouTube!

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How to Create Free Graphic Designs With Canva

How to Create Free Graphic Designs With Canva

Canva is an online graphic design program with free and paid versions that lets you create professional graphics in almost any format quickly and easily. In this article, I’ll show you:

  • How to start from scratch with a blank graphic
  • How to quickly create graphics from one of Canva’s templates
  • How to enhance and alter images in Canva
  • How to share your images right from the source

Visit Canva.com and sign up with email, Facebook, or Google. The first screen you see will be the storage space for any designs you’ve worked on and saved, and it will show templates you can use to get started. If you don’t want to use a template, then click “Use custom dimensions” in the top right corner. Enter your desired dimensions in pixels, millimeters, or inches, and then you get a blank design to work with.

opening Canva screen and templates

I like working with the templates, because there’s already so many to choose from and they are labeled with a recommended potential use such as “Facebook ad” or “eBook cover.” They even have templates for modern and professional-looking resumés, certificates, infographics, and more. I create my YouTube thumbnails and channel art directly from Canva templates–it’s easy and looks great!

In this example, we’ll create a book cover. Once you know how to bring in pictures and change fonts, you’ll realize just how easy it is to make professional graphics with Canva. Some of the templates are paid, but I tend to get by just fine with the free ones. Once you select the template, in this case a book cover, you can click on the text to change it. You can select different fonts and change the size and color of the text.

choosing fonts and templates in Canva

You can also delete whole text boxes from the text toolbar, or choose from a selection of other options to alter transparency, style, alignment and more using the dropdown arrow on the right side of the toolbar. This dropdown menu also lets you move the layer of text forward or backward to organize overlapping layers.

completely customize text for your graphic design

You can also easily copy a whole page by clicking the two overlapping squares outside the right side of your graphic. You can use this to work on two graphics at the same time with minor adjustments between them for testing what looks best.

copy to work on duplicate versions of a project

It’s really easy to work with text in Canva. You can click the Text section on the left-hand menu and choose to add header, subheader, or body text. Or, you can choose from a selection of text designs complete with stylized fonts that look good together and even complementing borders and background shapes.

premade text layers

You can also add elements from the left-hand menu. These include icons, shapes, charts, grids, and photos. The elements menu also holds over 1,000,000 illustrations of everything from hot dogs to rocket ships, and you can search the descriptions to find the illustration you want.  Elements include free and paid selections, but once you add any of them you can change the size, color, and opacity to make it work for your design. You can also move, resize, and rotate any layer using typical click and drag points on the frame of each layer.

elements in Canva

You can totally edit illustrations

If you double click on the background, you can see the whole background image, which is often larger than the design itself. You can that image around. When you’ve selected the background image, an image editing toolbar will appear below the image. You can use this to add a filter to the image and adjust how intensely you want that filter to enhance and alter it. You can also choose “Advanced options” and edit the levels of saturation, contrast, vignette, and more on the image. You can also crop images from this menu.

complete image enhancement and editing

If you want to change the image on a template completely, just delete it and select Uploads on the left-hand menu. From here you can upload an image that is stored on your computer, or choose an image you’ve uploaded to Canva previously. You can also connect to your Facebook account and add images directly from Facebook. Another option is to navigate to the Elements section and choose from over 1,000,000 free and paid photos that are supplied by Canva. Just choose the one you want and drag it into your creation. With all images, you can edit the image levels like contrast, tint, and blurriness from right inside Canva, or you can add a filter.

upload photos to Canva

Once you like what you have, you can share it immediately–directly from Canva. You can Tweet your image, post it to Facebook, email it, or copy a link to your image. You can also download the image in a variety of formats, such as JPG for web, high-quality PNG, standard PDF, or high-quality PDF for print material. You can also simply make your image public on Canva for other people to see on the website.

share and download images

The free version of Canva is packed with useful tools, but if you’re creating a lot of graphics and purchasing a lot of items that aren’t free, it might save money to get a subscription for unlimited use of paid items. The subscription starts with a 30-day, free trial and costs $12.95 per month for the monthly subscription or $9.95 per month for an annual subscription.

what you get with subscription page

Now you’re ready to create and share amazing designs using Canva!

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How To Get Started With Google Classroom

How to Get Started With Google Classroom

Google Classroom is an online graphic design program with free and paid versions that lets you create professional graphics in almost any format quickly and easily. In this article, I’ll show you:

  • How to create a class in Google Classroom
  • How to add students to your class
  • How to quickly add assignments and start discussions
  • How to control the abilities of your students to post
  • How to manage your stream and archived classes

Google Classroom is most easily accessed by simply searching “google classroom” and clicking the link, as shown below. It will not show up in your usual menu of Google apps, but you can add a shortcut to Google Classroom to Chrome by going to the Chrome web store here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/google%20classroom.

Google Classroom link

You have to have a Google account that uses Google Apps for Education (now G Suite for Education). A regular Google account won’t work, so you’ll have to set one up using an email address associated with your school. If your school does not have a G Suite for Education account, you can request one here: https://support.google.com/a/answer/2856827?hl=en.

Once you’ve logged in with your G Suite for Education account, select Teacher at the bottom right, and you’ll be taken to the introduction screen. From the intro screen, you can click the plus sign at the top right to create a class.

Google Classroom intro screen

Create a class in Google Classroom

After clicking Create a class, fill in the class name and section that you want and click Create. The course will be generated with a random theme, but you can click Select theme on the right side of the background image to select a new one. You can choose from a gallery of image-based themes or select a simple pattern theme. All the border, button, and background colors will update depending upon the theme you choose.

change classroom theme

If you click the About button on the classroom menu, you can add extra information like a class title, description, the room or meeting place for the class, or even invite another teacher to collaborate on the class. The About area also shows where your class is stored. The default location is a folder in your Google Drive that was made when you created the class.

About your Google classroom

When you create your first class, a folder called Classroom will be added to your Google Drive, and a subfolder with the name and section of your new class is created. As you create more classes, they will each generate a subfolder in the Classroom folder.

Classroom folder

If you click the three horizontal lines icon in the top left corner you will access a navigation menu. This menu lets you jump to see all the classes you have, your calendar, and any open assignments. From here you can click Classes and see all the classes you’ve created within Google Classroom. After choosing Classes, you can click the three dots to the right of each class name and either rename or archive the class from there.

Top left corner navigation for classroom

Within each Google classroom class, you can see a classroom code at the bottom left that you can share with students. When your student visits Google Classroom, they will click the plus sign at the top of the intro screen, but they will choose Join class instead of Create class. This is where they will enter the code associated with your class.

Classroom code

You can also click Students in the classroom menu and select Invite from the Students area. This will open the contacts associated with your G Suite for Education enabled account, and you can select from theses contacts to invite students to your class by checking the box by their names.

Invite students

select contacts to add

A valuable tip is to go ahead and set your posting and commenting permissions for students. I recommend you set permissions to “Only teacher can post and comment” at the start. If you have younger students, you’ll usually end up with a lot of silly or potentially disruptive posts in the class at the start if you don’t do this. Sometimes, it can be best to restrict the posting and commenting permissions of students until you have an actual discussion or question ready to be considered.

set posting permissions of students

All the action inside one of your Google classes occurs in the “stream.” In the bottom right hand corner of the classroom, you’ll see a circle with a plus sign in it. When you click on it, you’ll see your options for adding to the classroom stream. You can create an announcement, create an assignment, ask a question, or reuse a post.

Stream options

If you choose to add an announcement, you simply type what you want to say to the class and then choose any attachments you want to share. You can attach files, videos, Google Drive files, or links.

Add an announcement to your stream

You can edit anything in the class stream by clicking the three vertical dots on the right side of each item in the stream.

Edit classroom stream items

Assignments are the most common thing I post to my stream. Simply click Assignment from the stream menu (accessed by the plus sign in the circle at the bottom right of the classroom). Then, enter a name for the assignment and a description or instructions. Using the attachment options, you could attach a PDF or video with information to study, and include a link to a Google Form (check out this article on self-grading quizzes) where the homework or quiz questions are handled for you. You can set the due date and post it to the entire class.

Add assignments to your classroom stream

Once the assignment is posted, you can see which students have completed it and which ones haven’t.

See which students have completed work

If you want to quickly assess students in your class, get feedback, or start a discussion, simply add a question to the classroom stream and set a due date. You’ll be given the options to let students edit their answers and post replies to other students answers. If you allow students to reply to other students’ answers, it can help facilitate a discussion.

Set student interaction permissions for questions

As you add new items to the stream, they will be posted at the top of the stream and push other items down. The nearest upcoming deadline for assignments or questions is shown in a box on the left. If you want to move an older post to the top, simply click the three dots on the right side and click Move to top.

Move a post to the top of the class stream

There aren’t too many settings to worry about inside Google Classroom. One very important setting to consider is the permissions of students to post and comment on items in the stream, which we already discussed. The other setting to consider is the email notifications setting. You can access this by clicking the three horizontal lines in the top-left corner and selecting Settings at the bottom of the navigation menu. Here, you’ll see a checkbox that lets you turn email notifications on or off. I tend to leave them off because I don’t want to get an email every time someone does something in my Google classes.

Classroom settings in G Suite

From the top-left corner navigation menu, you can also access archived classes and restore them if you like.

Now you’re ready to efficiently run your classes with Google Classroom!

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