Preparing and working with images for video

This guide has been written to support the MA International Journalism at Cardiff School of Journalism, Cardiff University. Some of the text may be specific to our own setup but Im sure the guide will be of use to anyone working with Avid Newscutter.

This guide will explore how to create a graphic to be used within a piece for TV (i.e. your documentary). This example will use a range of different tools and techniques and you will learn skills which are transferable when creating and working with graphics.

Preparing images in Photoshop

Often images will need to be created or prepared in Photoshop before they can be used in a video editor. Before importing an image to Newscutter, there are a number of things to consider such as image dimension, layers and safe zones.

This example, shown below, will show you how to create a map graphic that changes over time.

Image Dimensions

All images used for widescreen TV must be sized to the 16:9 ratio. If the size is different from those below then the image could be displayed out of proportion or with black edges.                                                                       

16:9 ratio = 1024 pixels (width), 576 pixels (height), 72 pixels/inch (resolution)

Your options are to either crop the image to size or build an image on a correctly sized new document. Both options are described below.

Option One – Crop to size

Graphic crop toolbar

Graphic crop toolbar

The Crop Tool is the simplest method to resize an image.

  1. Before cropping an image you must make sure that your image is bigger than the 1024 x 576 pixels. To see the pixel dimensions of your image go to the Image – Image Size menu. Cropping smaller images may cause blurring and loss of quality.
  2. Select the Crop tool. Notice the Crop toolbar displays at the top of the screen
  3. Type the pixel dimensions and resolution into the boxes in the Crop toolbar
  4. Then click and drag the mouse over the image to create a selection.
  5. Adjust the selection by moving the corners. Notice the shape is always wider than taller. This is the 16:9 ratio.
  6. Click the Tick (or double click the selection) to apply the crop.
  7. Save the image as a TIFF file format with no compression (highest quality).

Option Two – Build a new image

Graphic new image

Graphic new image

A New Photoshop Document (File & Video) will display Safe Zone guidelines assisting in the placement of text or graphics.

  1. Open Photoshop, select File – New and select the following options
  • Preset – Film and Video
  • Size – PAL DV Widescreen Square Pixel
  • Width – 1024 pixels
  • Height – 576 pixels
  • Resolution – 72 (pixels/inch)
  • Colour Mode – RGB, 8bit
  • Pixel Aspect Ratio – Square Pixels

Safe Zone guidelines

Graphic safe zones

Graphic safe zones

The new document opens displaying guidelines near the edges. These lines are the Safe Title and Safe Action zones. To guarantee that text or a part of an image appears on the screen, they must be arranged within the relevant Safe Zone guides.


Using guides for safe zones

When adding text to an image you must be aware of the Safe Zones. Words and images might be cut off if placed outside the safe zones. To view the safe zone guides go to the View menu and select Show – Guides

Adding an image to another image – building up layers

  1. Open an image
  2. Select the Move tool
  3. Click and drag the image on to the new document
  4. Move the image to a suitable position
  5. To resize the image (if too large) click ON the Show Transform Controls button in the Move Toolbar
  6. Hold the SHIFT key and drag a corner of the image. The image changes size and stays in proportion.
  7. Click the Confirm button on the Move toolbar to accept the changes

Layers palette

Have a look at the Layers palette. When you dragged the image on to the new document a new layer was created. Layers keep the individual elements separate so they can be moved or adjusted without affecting other parts of the image.

Click a layer in the Layers palette to activate it. The image on that layer can now be altered in many ways such as moving to another position, decrease opacity, brought to the front or back, and much more.

Highlighting areas of an image

Graphic shape highlight

Graphic shape highlight

  1. Create a new layer. The highlighted shape will be added to this layer so make sure this layer is selected during the following steps.
  2. Select the Lasso Tool (Polygonal).
  3. Click and drag on the image to create a shape.
  4. Double click to complete the shape.
  5. Go to the Edit menu and select Fill
  6. Choose a colour and click OK
  7. The shape fills with the colour.

Repeat the steps creating a new layer and a different coloured shape.

When complete the image should have 4 layers; an empty background layer, the actual image, and two shape layers.

Saving each layer

Graphic layers

Graphic layers

  1. Each layer can be switched on or off to show or hide information. We will use this function to save specific layers which will then build over time in Newscutter.
  2. Switch OFF the shape layers to hide the shapes and show the image only
  3. Save the image as a TIFF (with no compression). Name the image as Image01
  4. Switch ON the first shape layer
  5. Save the image as Image02
  6. Switch ON the second shape layer
  7. Save the image as Image03
  8. Save these images to a USB device

Newscutter – Import and edit

Graphic import

Graphic import

  1. Connect the USB device to a Newscutter computer and open a bin
  2. Click on the bin window to activate the window
  3. Select File – Import
  4. Click the Options button and make sure the Image Size Adjustment section is set to Image Sized for Current Format
  5. Browse to the USB device and select the images
  6. Check that the Y: Drive is selected as the Video/Audio drive
  7. The images are imported into the bin and can be viewed and edited just like a video clip
  1. Edit the images in order onto a sequence

    Graphic edit to sequence

    Graphic edit to sequence

  2. Add dissolves with the Quick Transition tool
  3. Use the Trim Tool to adjust the position of the shots as required
  4. Text can be added using in Photoshop or with the Title Tool in Avid (more flexible option).

About shazmagill

I work as a Senior Technical Demonstrator and Lecturer in digital storytelling at Cardiff School of Journalism, Cardiff University. I teach and support any tools necessary for our students to function as journalists or media practitioners. This means anything from audio recording techniques, video editing, photography and print and mobile publishing. I have recently completed MA in Arts Practice (Fine Art) at the University of South Wales exploring the subjective and objective view and community storytelling through art of the Rhondda valley.
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