Getting Started 2013

Submission Deadline is August 31st 2013. Final video, pictures, registration and all required information must be received by this date.

So you have a long hot summer ahead of you and nothing fun to do? Why not go get your parents’ or a friend’s video camera and start working on an inspiring Sikh film that will bring more awareness and respect to your faith as well as inspiring others. It will be lots of fun…. and… we’d love to feature YOUR video on SikhNet!

You don’t need to have any film or TV experience to do this. Most of the popular Sikh videos on YouTube, were more than likely made with a very simple set of hardware and software tools. With the use of a video camera, some simple video editing software, and whole lot of creativity, you too can make awesome videos that the whole world can see on the Internet through SikhNet!

Just like a professional athlete, actor, or singer, you will have to have some determination and patience to complete this task. But don’t worry; here is a quick list of things to help you get started in making your own amateur movie. Follow this short tutorial to discover the tools you will need to create your own video short subject.

Video is easy and fun! Now go out there and build your movie masterpiece!

Video Camera – Recording Video start of page

Filming is with a video camera is easy and fun! Your first step is to get yourself a video camera to use. If you don’t have access to a camcorder (maybe you, your family, or friends don’t have one), check with either your local library or at a nearby college library. In some cases, they may allow individuals to check one out temporarily for a project. Make an announcement in your Gurdwara or community to see if someone can lend you one. You can also check on websites like to buy a used camera at your location.

We recommend that you use a Digital Camcorder, but other cameras can be used too. Digital Camcorders are cheap and are pretty much the video recording staple of every household. Most Digital video cameras take advantage of FireWire data transfer technology to copy the video from the camera to your computer. If you are not sure if the camera is a digital video camera then check what kind of tapes it uses. Most Digital video cameras use “MiniDV” tapes which will be apparent on the packaging when you look at the tape it uses.

Computer Hardware start of page
In order to get the video off your video camera so you can edit it you will need to have a computer. Most of the software used for video editing would work best on a newer computer (because they have faster processors, more memory and big hard drives). If you have an older computer you might want to check the computer system requirements for the video editing software you decide to use. You’ll probably need to have at least 4GB of free hard disk storage space on your computer.

Video Capture Hardware
Ok, now that the computer part is out of the way you will need to transfer the video from your camera to the software in your computer. This process is generally called “Capturing”. Video Capture is done in the video editing software either digitally using a Firewire Port on your computer or via another interface for analog capture.

Below are some pictures to show you what a firewire cable and connectors look like. If you have a digital video camera then this is probably the way that you will be transferring the video to your computer.

Firewire cable which is used to connect your camera to the computer.
The small side goes to the camera and the large side to the computer.

Connecting the firewire cable to the video camera. Other end goes to the computer.

An example of what a firewire port might look like on your computer (if you have one)
Another picture of a video camera and the firewire cable connection to the camera.

Take a look on the front and back of your computer to determine if you already have a firewire (iee 1394) port. It may be labled “DV” (digital video.) If you do…then all you need is to install the video editing software and start capturing the video for editing.

If you don’t have this port than you have a few options. You can purchase a firewire/1394 card and install it in your computer. Then install your preferred video editing software. There are two options we have featured for software that come bundled with a video capture card devices. Pinnacle Studio 500 PCI ($79.99) – This is the video editing software you need, plus hardware which is installed inside your computer for capturing either analog or digital video. Or if you are not very techy and are not sure how to install the card in your computer you can get the Pinnacle Studio 500 USB ($99.99) which connects via a standard USB port on your computer.

Video Editing Softwarestart of page
There are many options for video editing software and you are welcome to use whatever programs you like. We are providing these suggestions to help you get started. These are programs that we recommend, have a lot of features, and are designed for beginners and amateurs alike. Below are links to the software websites where you can read more information and purchase online. The programs are also available at most large computer/electronics retailers in your local city or online.

Windows Operating System

  • Pinnacle Studio ($70) – This is one choice if you already have a Firewire port/card in your computer.

If you don’t have a capture card or firewire port in your computer you can order the software with the necessary hardware together.

  • Pinnacle Studio 500 PCI ($80) – This is the software you need, plus hardware which is installed inside your computer for capturing either analog or digital video.
  • Pinnacle Studio 500 USB ($100) – Software, plus portable hardware for capturing either analog or digital video. No need to install hardware inside your computer.
  • Adobe Premier Elements($55 – $85) This is another good program for video editing. The “Premier Elements” version is meant for beginners so we don’t suggest that you get the “Pro” version unless you are experienced with video editing or have a lot of time on your hands to learn. We use Adobe Premier Elements and do quite well with it.
    • Purchase adobe premier software – You can purchase it at most computer software retailers.
    • Download a free 30 day trial – Try it out before you buy it. Either download it (fast internet needed) or order a trial DVD.
    • Purchase a Tutorial DVD – If you are having trouble figuring it out you can get this tutorial, but it is not necessary.
  • Windows Movie Maker – (free) If you absolutely can’t purchase one of the above software programs and you are running Windows XP, then you probably already have a program installed on your computer called “Windows Movie Maker”. This is a very basic video editing program and can be used to capture and edit video. It’s not the most featured program but It’s free. To see if you have it take a look at your Start Menu in Windows XP. It should be under the main “Programs” menu.
    Resources on Getting Started with Windows Movie Maker
  • Microsoft Photo Story– (free) This isn’t really a video editing program, but it allows you to compile pictures, audio, video and text into a animated video. Very easy and simple to use. With just digital photos and some music you can create a cool slide show video.

Macintosh Operating System

Sending us your Finished Video start of page

Once you have finished editing your video and are ready to submit the video to the SikhNet Youth Film  Festival for review and featuring on you will need to output the video in a specific format for  us. Most video editing software have various video format options to output your finished video

Register for the Film Festival

Video Format

  • MPEG-4 / H.264 (.mp4 )
  • MPEG-2 Video File (.mpg)
  • Apple Quicktime (.mov )
  • Windows Media  (.wmv)
  • AVI (.avi) – The file size of this will normally be very large so better to only use this format if you have no other option.

Video Dimensions Size

Please output your video at whatever original size you recorded it in, with a minimum size of around 720×480. High Definition quality preferred (720p or 1080p).

English Subtitles

If your video contains Punjabi dialog (or non English language) please make sure that you create sub-titles so that those that don’t understand the language can enjoy it as well. Read these details on how you can create a subtitles file to go with your video. When you upload your video, upload the finished sub-titles file with the same file name as your video. We currently support a simple caption format that is compatible with the formats known as SubViewer (*.SUB) and SubRip (*.SRT).

Video File Name

IMPORTANT: Change the file name of your video file to include the name and email address that you registered with. We need to know WHO made the video, so that can match it to your registration. (example file name: “Video Title – Harjinder Singh – [email protected]″)


General Tips and Suggestions start of page

  • Add background music to the video which can help set a mood and create more energy for the video.
  • Get some of your friends involved with you so that this is a group project. It might be easier and more fun if you do it together with others.
  • When recording video it is best to have a good amount of light.
  • See detailed suggestions and Judging criteria

Tips and information on Recording Video
Ten Tips to Better Video
Great Tutorial on how to get started with video
Good Video Tips
Shooting techinques for editing
Shooting Web video: How to put your readers at the scene


Judging Criteria