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Introducing the Video Editor - Capturing Clips
By default, Grand Theft Auto IV is always recording your actions in the background. This doesn't mean it actually saves anything, however. Saving a clip must be instigated by pressing F2 (or holding the BACK button on a 360 Controller). This will force the game to save the last 20-40 seconds of gameplay, which can then be found within the editor.
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Loading the Video Editor
Once you have a clip saved, you can find it in the editor by bringing up your in-game cell-phone and selecting Video Editor from the options. Please be aware that loading the Video Editor will lose any unsaved progress, so be mindful about your current situation. If you happen to be in the middle of a mission then you will lose your progress. If you don't want to reset your progress then simply continue on your merry way until you are able to save your game. Once saved, you can safely enter the Video Editor without hesitation.
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Video Editor Sections
There are four main elements to the Video Editor including Clips, Editor, Gallery and Upload.
Clips: This section is simply a library of all your saved clips. From here you can list your clips by Today, Favorites, This Week and Archives. This helps in organizing your clips, allowing you to more easily locate a particular sequence for editing.
Editor: This where you'll work your editing magic, setting up camera angles and special effects.
Gallery: After you've rendered your masterpiece you'll find the finished result listed here, along with any other short films you've rendered.
Upload: This is the final step in the process. From here you can upload your movie to the Rockstar Games Social Club where people from all over the world can view your work.
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Using the Editor
Now we're ready for the fun stuff, making a movie!
Locate the clip you want to edit and drag it into the Video Timeline. Once you have it placed, simply double-clip the clip in the timeline and it will load the editing interface.
First Things First
Before you get to work, you should first view the entire clip by hitting the play button. This is recommended to ensure the clip captured what you were hoping for. If it didn't, then you just saved yourself a lot of time. At this point, you might as well head back the game and try to recapture the magic.
The Magic Marker
The Marker is the backbone of the Video Editor. Think of it as a cue. When a marker is placed you are telling the editor that you want something to happen at this very instance, whether it be a camera-angle change, slow-motion, filter change, etc.
You can place a marker by pressing the "M" key or by mouse-clicking the appropriate button on the interface.
After you've placed a marker, a menu will appear that displays many options. All of the listed options will influence the selected marker, though a few options, like slow-motion, will carry to the next marker unless reset, so be mindful of what you have active from one marker to the next.
Ready to Save
You've placed a bunch of markers and now have a masterpiece ready to share with the world. All you need to do is click the Save Clip button, which saves all of your edits and effects, and you can safely return to the main Video Editor interface. Your edited clip will still be in the timeline, though now it has all of your directorial orders attached.
Name That Clip!
If you've visted the Rockstar Games Social Club with the intent of viewing video clips created by your fellow gamers, you've no doubt seen a lot of movies called "Video1". This is the default name GTA IV gives a clip unless it has been renamed. Rockstar didn't make the naming of a clip very intuitive and a lot of people are confused, so let me clear this up right now. From the Editor section that includes your video timeline, you'll see a yellow font next to a big "Play" icon (an arrow pointing right). Double-click on the letters and you'll see a cursor appear, which allows you to type in a title.
Warning! Name your clip before rendering the final output from the Gallery Section, or the default title "Video1" will be embedded in your video as the title.
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Upload Your Masterpiece
You've made your edits and titled your movie. Your next step is to click on on "Web" from the "Export to Gallery" section of the Editor interface. This will take your clip and create a rendered movie, which is saved as a standard WMV file. This process can take a bit of time, depending upon the length of your movie. For a typical 1-minute movie, you can expect this process to take 10-15 minutes, depending upon the power of your computer.
Once rendering is complete, you'll be returned to the Video Editor. Now you can click on the "Upload" section where you'll now find the finished product awaiting your orders. Watch your movie one final time and ensure it has rendered properly. If you approve, then simple hit the "Upload" button and your creation will then be sent to Rockstar's servers. This can take some time, depending upon the upload speed of your Internet connection.
Once your movie is safely uploaded, you can then add a description and tags so viewers can more easily located your clip based on search terms. The more descriptive you are, the better.
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The Next Level
Using the Video Editor at a basic level is pretty simple. All of the poer rests in your use of Markers, so the more proficient you become at mastering Markers, the better your movie will be.
However, the Video Editor wields a lot of power for crafty editors who want to put forth the effort to make something truly special. I'm talking tracking-shots, dolly shots, pans, zooms, special-effects, etc. These are topics for a more advanced guide, which you'll find on BrightHub shortly.