Getting Started

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 camcorder and start working on an inspiring Sikh film that will bring more awareness and respect to your faith as well as inspiring others (Can't get a video camera? Read Here). 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 the Internet, whether on MrSikhNet, Google Video or YouTube, were more than likely made with a very simple set of hardware and software tools. With the use of a camcorder, 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 tutorialto 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!

Ideas for a Video
Ok, so you want to make a video? Well, the key is starting with an idea for the content of your video. The video is a way of sharing, telling a story or message, and creating a feeling in someone who watches it. Be creative and think of something that might be interesting and fun for you. The topic doesn't have to be serious or overly religious, It can be fun too. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking. You don't have to do this alone. You can get a few friends and do this project together! Learn and have fun with it! If you are ambitious you can even create a few different videos! Here are a few suggestions to get you thinking. Use your imagination!

    • Tell an inspirational story about yourself or someone you know.
    • Interview your friends and/or family on some topic or issue related to Sikhi.
    • Sharing a story or personal experience related to Sikhi.
    • A "video portrait" of a friend or family member showing their life as a Sikh.
    • How my parents (or other family) came to America and kept their Sikhi in spite of the challenges they faced.
    • How it's cool to be a Sikh (Sikhs hanging out with Non Sikhs or vice versa).
    • How Sikh children can combat bullying or teasing.
    • A comedy that teaches a lesson.
    • Create a Sikh related music video - use bhangra or other dance.
    • A drama on why we need to keep our identity.
    • Your experience leading up to taking Amrit and how the experience has changed you.
    • This year is the 400th Anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev Ji's Myrtrdom. Create a video about the meaning of personal sacrifice or a similar theme.
    • A message for the next generation Sikh youth of the world.
    • A video that shows the unity of the Sikhs.
    • Future job professions featuring Sikhs (athlete, solider, congressional leader, actor, etc.)
    • Musical performance that highlights Sikhism (rock band, rap).
    • A video that confronts Sikh social issues (keeping both hair and beard).

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.

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.

Digital Still Picture Camera - Using a digital video camera is ideal. It's the most flexible and will give you the highest quality results. However, if you can't get a video camera you also have the option to use other digital capture devices to create a video. You could use a portable digital camera. Most of the digital still cameras (for taking pictures) these days also record video. The quality of audio and video is not very good, but we don't want that limit your creativity. If you choose to use your still camera try to set the video quality settings to as high as possible. Once you record some short videos in your camera and copy them to your computer you can edit them and put them together in one of the Video Editing programs.

Web Camera (WebCam) - If you have a webcam (webcamera) for your computer you could also use that, but would be limited to what you can record near the computer. Some Web cameras have a built in microphone, while others do not. If your Web camera does not have a built–in microphone, you will need a separate microphone to capture sound. Plug it into the jack (often labeled Mic) on your computer or sound card. If you do not have a microphone and your Web camera does not have one built in, you will not be able to record sound without another audio recording device, such as a camcorder. Many WebCams connect to the computer with a standard USB cable so no special video capture card is needed. All you need is the software to capture and edit the video.

Still Pictures With Music - Ok, so you can't get any of the above for recording video? Make a video with pictures! You can make a video with just pictures, captions/words, and music. Most of the video editing programs can compile something into a video with just pictures. You will have the most flexibility and options with video editing software, however, If you use Microsoft Windows XP you can download a free program called "Photo Story" which is pretty basic and simple to use. It allows you to make a slideshow video with background music, narration and titles. Download It Here

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 Software start 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.

The following formats are suggested formats for sending us your video:
For each format they have different quality settings which you can set. Any of the following will be fine for sending your video.

WindowsMedia (Cable, DSL, LAN)
RealMedia (Cable, DSL, LAN)
QuickTime (Cable, DSL, LAN)

Before sending your video you must submit a registration form with your information and about the video.
You can do this by registering online. After the you submit the registration information you will be given information on how to send us your video online. You'll probably need a fast internet connection to do this. Alternatively you can burn the finished video file onto a DVD or CD-ROM disk and mail to us after you register online. To mail your video send to the following address. Please be sure to include your full name and email address that you used when registering online so that we can match your video to your registration information.

SikhNet Youth Film Festival
1A Ram Das Guru Pl.
Espanola, NM. 87532

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.

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

Let us know if you are creating a video start of page
If you are planning to create a video for the film festival let us know by subscribing to the SikhNet Youth Film Festival Email list using the below form. We will use this to keep you informed about the event.

Email address:

(optional) Your name:

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