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Multimedia Projects

This guide is to help students who need or want to work on multimedia projects for non-multimedia classes and majors as well as for students who are new to multimedia production.

CMS Resources

Multimedia Equipment Checkout

green screen, cameras, lighting

Equipment such as cameras, tripods, audio recorders, microphones, green screens, lighting, and much more are available for checkout through the CMS. For a full list of equipment visit our equipment page. 

Audio Recording Studio

computer with microphones and a headset

Located inside of the Creative Maker Studio, the on-site reservable audio recording room is the perfect place for those needing a space to record and produce podcasts, voiceovers, music, and more! Reserve your spot now!

West Wing Computers/Software

computer on a desk with headphones

High-end HP and iMac computers adjacent to the CMS loaded with industry standard media editing/digital design software are available to CSUN students during CSUN University Library hours. For more information on computer specs and software available visit our computer/software information page.

What to do!

Video creation is a powerful medium that combines video, visuals effects, audio, music, and graphics to create a cohesive piece that conveys information in a concise, entertaining way.

While video production can be daunting, you can still create professional looking content with simple tools and equipment described in this guide. If done right, this visual medium can be very rewarding when complete!. So what will you need to start filming?

  • A camera that has a video mode
  • Equipment for lighting, audio, and stabilization
  • Fast/large SD cards 
  • A hard drive/flash drive to store video footage and project files
  • A computer with enough memory to handle video editing
  • Video editing software

Keep reading and learn about guidelines to consider to create simple, compelling, professional looking video content at an introductory level.

Helpful Links and Tutorials

WeTransfer - Free file sharing website for files 2GB or less. Premium plans available.

TransferNow - Free file sharing website for files 5GB or less. Premium plans available.

Recording and Coverage (Production) - Step 2

Photo Of People Filming On Set


Video capture can be done on many different devices. Popular camera types include:

  • DSLR cameras
  • Mirrorless cameras
  • Sport/action cameras (GoPro)
  • Camcorders
  • Point-and-shoot
  • Cell phones

Picking which camera to use can depend on style desired, budget, and overall familiarity with the device. 

Cheerful young African American female blogger in stylish sweater smiling while setting up camera of smartphone attached to tripod with ring light before recording vlog

Yes, you can film with your cell phone! In fact, most modern smartphones have really good video quality that can be comparable if not better than camcorders and point-and-shoot cameras. 

Avoid filming in vertical video. Always orient your phone horizontally unless you want to achieve the look of a TikTok or Reels video for your project. Landscape shooting promotes a more aesthetically pleasing viewing experience when watched on a widescreen.

Video Quality

The type of video quality you want directly links to how your video will be distributed and seen. Below are the most popular video resolutions and their uses:

  • 360p - (low-resolution best for mobile devices) 480x360 px
  • 480p - (standard resolution best for DVDs) 720x480 px
  • 720p - (HD resolution best for TV) 1280x720 px
  • 1080p (Full HD used for most platforms) 1920x1080 px
  • Ultra HD 4K (16:9 resolution for 4K broadcast) 3840x2160 px

What 4K means for photographers

The higher in quality you go, the more SD card memory and speed you will need to capture your footage. Keep this in mind when filming! 

Video Frame Rate

Frame rate is the speed at which images are shown usually expressed as frames per second (FPS). Frame rates greatly impact the style and viewing experience of a video. Higher frame rates will also increase file size and export times. Common frame rates and uses:

  • 24 FPS - Standard for movies and TV shows, minimum speed to capture video. May see motion blur in high speed scenes.
  • 30 FPS - Standard for older TV and videos with a lot of motion, such as sports. Also has a "soap opera effect."
  • 60+ FPS - Used to create slow-motion video or to record video game footage


 Man Holding Camera and Woman Playing Violin

Audio makes up around 50% of your videos and is often overlooked. Crisp, high-quality audio can elevate your videos from amateur to professional with these important concepts.

While most video cameras have a built-in microphone, using it to record is highly discourage. Built-in microphone quality is very low so you will not get the best results. Instead, record audio using an external mic that plugs directly into the camera itself or a separate recorder. You can even use your smartphone as an audio recorder with the proper apps/setup! Here are the pros and cons of recording on-camera vs. on separate recorders:

On-Camera Pros:

  • No need to sync audio and video in editing software
  • Less equipment needed
  • Easier to plug in and go

On-Camera Cons:

  • Limited reach/portability if the mic cable is tethered to camera but too short or you are using a mounted mic and must get close to sound source
  • Usually only supports 1/8 inch audio cables
  • Limited to one microphone input
  • Difficult to monitor and adjust audio levels
  • Lower quality recording

person holding microphones

Audio Recorder Pros:

  • More freedom to move around to pick up sound
  • More audio inputs for multiple mics
  • Options for 1/8 inch, 1/4 inch, and XLR audio cables inputs
  • More control over audio levels and record settings
  • Higher quality, more balanced recordings

Audio Recorder Cons:

  • Must sync audio with video in editing software
  • Recorders can be expensive
  • Another piece of a equipment to learn 
  • Adds to list of equipment and requires more setup

woman sitting on armless chair with light between bookcases in room

Once you weigh your options and pick a recording method, here are some other tips to consider when you start filming:

  • Try to film away from distracting sounds like AC vents, busy streets, large crowds, etc.
  • If filming outside, use a wind muff on your microphone to block out unwanted wind noise
  • Always use headphones (plugged into camera or recorder) when recording so you hear what the mic is picking up
  • Ensure your audio levels are between -10db to -20db

Learn about film microphones below. For tips on Audio Recording and Editing, check out the Audio LibGuide.

Additional Filming Equipment 


Smiling Woman Holding Black Dslr Camera

Ready to record but don't know which microphone to use? Learn about the best mics for video production:

  • Shotgun - Industry standard for recording video sound that is usually mounted on a boom pole. Directional microphones that also captures surrounding sound. Best for capturing dialogue, room noise, and sound effects.
  • Videomic - A type of shotgun mic that attaches directly onto the camera with a shoe mount. Best for capturing general audio in room.
  • Lavalier/Lapel - Small mics that attach to clothing. Best option for recording dialogue and is often used when recording interviews.

Scene Lighting

Try to film in a bright, well lit location to avoid having to use external lighting. Shooting in the early morning, late afternoon, (9 am or 5 pm) or on a cloudy day are great times to film because there are fewer shadows.

If your video does require external lighting or enhancers, here are few popular options and their benefits:

  • Softbox/Umbrella lighting - Studio lighting with better diffusion and output. Usually requires florescent bulbs and electricity. 
  • LED light - Compact, portable, and usually battery powered. Very bright, may need diffusion.
  • Ring light - Cast even lighting with no shadows. Popular with vloggers.
  • Reflectors - Helps to bounce light to balance the brightness or diffuse direct light on the subject.
  • Diffusers - White material placed in front of light source to soften harsh lighting.

Camera Supports

Photo of Man Holding Digital Camera

Almost all video shoots will require some kind of camera stabilization. Shake-free footage looks more professional and less like a home video. Once you become more comfortable with the camera, you can move up to camera stabilizers that will help you film while on the move. 

  • Tripods - Good for static or panning shots. Video tripods with quick release plate and smooth fluid head are best.
  • Monopod - Allows more mobility than a tripod.
  • Stabilizers - Easier and more comfortable way to hold camera when capturing moving shots
  • Sliders - Creates more impactful videos with slow track movements
  • Gimbals - Stabilizes videos automatically with very smooth results. Can be very expensive.


Video backdrops can impact the mood you want to create. Backdrops provide a smooth, uncluttered background to your videos which can eliminate distraction. They are most commonly used in documentary-style, interview heavy videos. 

You can also use greenscreen backdrops to key out the background and superimpose another image or video behind it. The more even the lighting, the better so external lighting may be needed.


Filming a Woman at Library

In filmmaking, you should always record a scene from different angles to give your editor more footage to work with. Think of coverage as: record more than what you need, do multiple takes, and try different angles if possible. Keep in mind these core concepts:

  • Think about the type of shot you need for a scene:
    • Establishing - The environment of the scene for context
    • Wide - The 'master' or 'safety' shot of the scene with a full view of the subject or action
    • Medium - Waist-up shot of subject to show body language or gestures
    • Close up - Chest or shoulder-up shot of subject to capture emotion or dialogue or draw attention to details
  • B-Roll - Cutaway footage to provide context and visual interest. Also used to hide cuts when editing.
  • Room Tone - Recording the silence within a location where filming took place. Used to fill in gaps in the dialogue.
  • Audio Recording Tips - If using a separate audio recorder, try to press record on camera and recorder at the same time. Then clap once so audio spike makes it easier to sync. 

Scene Composition

Black Video Camera

Composition refers to how elements are arranged within the frame to convey a certain message or feel. There are rules filmmakers follow to make their imagery look natural and keep the viewers interest. For aesthetically pleasing shots, follow these compositing rules:

  • Rule of thirds - Break up your frame into six sections - three horizontal and three vertical. Then place your subject at one of the interconnecting points. Creates an asymmetrical, more natural looking image.
  • Filming angles - Most shots should be filmed at the subject's eye level to make the scene more personable. Alternatively, to convey certain emotions try filming the subject from below to give a dominating feel or film from above for a more vulnerable tone.
  • Headroom - Always leave a gap between the top of the subject's head and the frame cut off in medium shots for a balanced look.
  • 180 degree rule - When framing two characters in a scene, camera should not pass invisible axis to maintain positioning and avoid confusing the viewer.

Screen Recording

Need to screen record movement and action from your computer or phone? Free screen recording is usually built into most major computing platforms. See this guide for more information.

If the built in methods don't give you enough options, you can also still use the following free programs to record:

Apple - Support - Downloads QuickTme (Mac only, Windows is old version)

- Using Screenshot in the QuickTime Player app, make a video recording of your computer screen and save it on your Mac.

Free Cam Reviews 2021: Details, Pricing, & Features | G2 FreeCam (Windows only)

- Create screencasts, edit recordings, and upload to YouTube or save as a MWV video file. 

Conceptul Planning (Pre-Production) - Step 1


Man in Black Crew Neck T-shirt Sitting Beside Woman in Gray Crew Neck T-shirt

  • Define the goals of the video: Who is the targeted audience? What message am I trying to convey? What are the most important points? What will the tone/mood be? 
  • Follow project guidelines
  • Be creative!
  • Write a script - Keep it short, clear, and to the point
  • Storyboard if needed to help you visualize the shot list 
  • Have a call to action!
  • Plan a production timeline
  • Scout locations and do your research! Most places require approval to film even on campus buildings/grounds
  • Recruit your talent - Depending on the project, you may need your actors to sign a video consent/media release form


Man Wearing Black and White Stripe Shirt Looking at White Printer Papers on the Wall

Story Arc - The classic narrative arc makes it easy for the viewers to follow along with the story, engages them, and keeps them watching till the end.

  • Act 1: Opening, exposition, rising action, introduction to the story
  • Act 2: Build up, confrontation, conflict, climax
  • Act 3: Falling action, resolution to conflict, ending, resolution

Four P's - When brainstorming ideas, think about these four pillars:

  • People = Connection - Who is in the story? What is their role?
  • Place = Authenticity - Where does the story happen? How does this affect the plot?
  • Purpose = Meaning - What is the goal of the story?
  • Plot = Engagement - What is the story?

Keep it short! - When working on your video story, try to make it as short and clear as possible. If you can say something in 10 seconds, don’t spend a minute on it!

Attention Grabber - Humans reportedly have an 8-second attention span and if social media has taught us anything, it's that attention spans are going down even more with each generation. Try to illustrate your point quickly and clearly using hard-hitting facts, questions or sketches at the beginning of your video to keep them wanting to watch more.

Editing and Exporting (Post Production) - Step 3

Man in Gray Shirt Sitting in Front of Computer

So, you've finished recording all of your footage and are ready to begin post production. Probably one of the most important and time consuming aspects of your production process, Video Editing involves cutting and compiling footage into a cohesive, watchable piece and exporting it as one final video file. 

Importing & Organization

Person Using Macbook

When editing, organization of files is key! Without it, you may run into linking issues where the editing program cannot locate your files to edit.

Always create a folder on your computer (or hard/flash drive) and upload ALL your files into one place. Create sub-folders such as: 

  • RAW Footage (subfolders for days of filming or by location)
  • Audio Recordings
  • Music Files
  • Images
  • B-Roll
  • 'Name of Project' Folder (save the video editing software project file into this folder)

If using a hard/flash drive, ensure it is plugged in at all times when editing. If your computer has limited memory, you may need to save the project file on the computer and your footage to a hard/flash drive. NEVER work off of the camera's SD cards when editing. 

Next, review the footage and delete/archive unwanted files. Then, rename your files using keywords that will help you locate them for importing. 

Choosing an Editing Software

Low Angle View of Lighting Equipment on Shelf

There are countless video editors out there that can range from free to over $1,000. When picking the best program for you, consider your budget, skill level, OS compatibility, and your overall accessibility to the program. 

As CSUN students, you have access to the following video editors at no additional cost:

Adobe Premiere Pro Logo - PNG and Vector - Logo Download Adobe Premiere Pro

- Available to download and install by submitting a request to the IT Help Center. Best pick overall for editing programs thanks to its user-friendly interface that is used by professionals all over the world. Mac and PC compatible.

Apple iMovie

- Available for free for Apple users (iMac, MacBook, iPad, and iPhone) and on Library iMac Computers. Best program for novice filmmakers. Combines professional trailers and themes, abundant special effects and an easy-to-learn interface. Compatible with Mac only. 

Final Cut Pro - WikipediaFinal Cut Pro

- Available for free on Library West Wing iMac Computers. Comparable to Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro has a similar interface as iMovie with more advanced editing options. Compatible with Mac only. 

DaVinci Resolve - Wikipedia DaVinci Resolve

- Available for free on Library West Wing PC Computers and to download. A powerful pro-level editing software with a learning curve. Good for editing, color correction, audio production, video effects, and motion graphics. Mac and PC compatible.

Other editing programs to consider:

 Windows Movie Maker

- Available for free from Microsoft. Good entry-level video editing software but many limitations. Best for making a simple one-timeline movie or slideshow. Compatible with PC only. 

HitFilm Express movie editor with Visual effects software free download. HitFilm Express

-  Free video editing software with professional-grade VFX tools. Perfect for beginners, film students, gamers, and YouTubers. Mac and PC compatible.

PowerDirector - Wikipedia CyberLink PowerDirector 365

- Available for purchase for $54.99/year. One of the fastest video editing systems around, supports 360-degree VR footage with straight forward interface. Mac and PC compatible.

 Corel VideoStudio Ultimate

- Available for one-time purchase for $99.99. Powerful but easy-to-learn editor that supports 360-degree VR and 4k support and motion tracking. Compatible with PC only. 


- Online video editor that helps in creating professional marketing videos. It offers collaborative functionalities such as project sharing, commenting, and co-editing. Free version allows 5 min export length at 720p resolution. 

Video Editing

Free stock photo of adobe, colors, edit

Editing can vary depending on which software you use. However, many share similar workflows and interfaces so if you master one, the learning curve for the next is much lower. While it takes years of trial and error to feel completely comfortable inside these programs, with practice and effort, you will find this process very rewarding.

The steps below will help guide you through the editing process as a beginner:

Importing into Editor

  • Import files from your computer or hard/flash drive into the software's library by clicking File -> Import Media
  • Once imported, clips will be stored in the program's media library or browser
  • You can organize the files even further by putting them into bins and containers with the media library

Young content creator girl is on her laptop creating new vlog sitting on the sofa. working with video from home Free Photo

Timeline & Editing

  • Review clips in the media library and drag desired clips into the timeline or select 'in' and 'out' points for exact timestamps 
  • Keep in mind what frame rates/resolution size you want for the video. Normally, the first clip you drag in will be the template for the whole video or you will need to select the frame rate/resolution when creating your project
  • If the clip has audio, the audio wavelength usually links to the clip on an audio track 
  • Proceed to rearrange the shots in order based on your script (an assemble edit)
  • In the timeline, you can cut clips from the beginning, middle, or end and delete sections you don't want.
  • Trim out dead space of video clips so only the action plays
  • Trim all clips roughly so that they flow together (the rough cut)
  • Search for video transitions in the transition library and insert in between clips 
  • Apply b-roll footage, images, or titles (text) on top of main timeline track if multi-track is available, otherwise place items before or after main clip
  • If adding titles above scenes, ensure it is legible and has high contrast
  • Sync audio from separate recorders to footage by matching audio wavelengths from the different audio tracks
  • Begin editing elements more precisely by fixing audio levels and color correcting/grading
  • Ensure music does not overpower the dialogue 
  • Add sound effects for added depth

Editing Language:

Video Transitions/Cuts: Titles:
Fades - Most common type of transition that can fade from black or white Main - Text that introduces video or transitions in the story
Cross Dissolve - Gradually transitions to next clip by dissolving previous clip Subtitle/Caption - Transcription or translation of dialogue for accessibility
Wipes - Replaces clips using animation. Grabs attention but rarely used Informational - Text explaining elements or actions in a scene
Jump Cut - No transition used, scene abruptly changes to next clip Lower thirds - Gives information about something or someone 
Cutaway - No transition used, scene cuts to related clip to show action Credits - Acknowledgment of personnel who worked on project
Cut on Action - Cutting with matching actions from two clips Safe Margins - Barriers to keep text within a title to avoid cutoff



Young content creator girl editing video on her laptop. working from home Free Photo

Encoding is the process of compressing and changing the format of RAW video content to a digital file format that is compatible with different devices and platforms. For most video editing software, this entails exporting the project using a specific video codec that is supported by the platform you want to share it to. Differences in codec compression:

Lossy Lossless
Creates smaller file sizes by leaving out some video data but results in lower video quality.  Larger files size but keeps all of the data from the original file resulting in higher video quality.

Common Codecs and Video File Types:


  • HEVC/H.265 - Preferred by many. Designed specifically for 4K video streaming with very efficient compression, high quality video, small file sizes.
  • H.264 - Standard for video streaming Has wide compatibility across all kinds platforms, very good image quality, efficient compression, safest option!
  • Mpeg-4 - Common codec for online streaming. It lost popularity to H.264 and H.265.
  • DivX - Maximizes video quality with much larger file sizes. Common for videos stored and transported directly on hard drives and not shared online.

Video File Types (container):

  • MP4 - Universal standard compatible with most codec. Streaming services like YouTube and Vimeo prefer .MP4
  • MOV - Apple developed to use with Quicktime player. Limited compatibility.
  • AVI - Universally accepted formats and compatible with almost all codecs. File size can be large making it less ideal for streaming or downloading. 
  • WMV - Windows Media video with smallest file size. Best for sending videos through email but very low quality.

All in all, a good rule is that if size ISN'T an issue, export to the highest settings and quality you can using the information above.

If file size IS an issue, then your best option would be H.264 in an MP4 format which is the standard for uploading video for Blu-ray discs and for Vimeo, YouTube, and other popular online video outlets.

Sharing and Publishing (Distribution) - Step 4

Happy diverse people using digital devices Free Photo

So you followed this guide and finally reached the finish line of video production! The final step is to share your work with the world. 

The choice of the right file-sharing platform mainly depends on your personal or professional needs. Below are some examples of the most popular sharing resources for those who just need to easily share large video files or who want to upload their content to the web. 

File sharing:

 Google Drive

- Active CSUN students have access to the cloud-based storage & sharing solution Google Drive with unlimited storage (may change in 2022).


- Active CSUN students have access to the cloud-based storage & sharing solution Box Drive with 50GB of storage available.

Dropbox Vector Logo - Download Free SVG Icon | Worldvectorlogo Dropbox

-  Cloud-based storage & sharing solution for videos and files. Free subscription available with 2 GB storage with upgraded plans starting at from $9.99/month

Video streaming:

YouTube Logo, history, meaning, symbol, PNGYouTube

- With more than 2 billion active users, it is the most popular video-streaming platform. Unlimited video uploads at no costs and a maximum upload size: 256 GB

Vimeo Logo Download Vector Vimeo

- Popular video-sharing platform that offers a wide range of specialized service solutions. Vimeo does not offer unlimited video storage with only 5 GB with free subscription. Vimeo premium plans start at $7/month.


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