But how to edit the video frame by frame?
It took me a day to find all the right (mostly free) software to do so after installing a trial version of Photoshop Premiere Elements and discovering that the free version leaves a giant black watermark on your video so you can't actually use it.
I've embedded the final video for you to see my handiwork. Given that it's my first try at editing a video frame by frame and then adding audio, I think it's a pretty good product.
I'm betting you can do even better. But save yourself a lot of time and money by reading my instructions first.
What you will need:
Digital video camera
Image editing software
Windows Movie Maker software
Pen tablet (optional)
Step 1: Record Video
Record a video on your digital camera and download the file to your computer.
Step 2: Split the Video Into Frames
Download a free copy of VirtualDub. This is a very simple software that will save each frame of your video as an individual image file. Open your video in VirtualDub by selecting "open video file" from the File drop down menu.
To split the video into frames, select "export" and then "image sequence" under the File drop down menu. The name you give the first file will be given to all of the files with a sequential number extension.
I saved my images as .jpg but you can select other file formats.
Step 3: Edit the Video Frames
Open the frames you want to edit in any photo editing software such as Photoshop or Corel Photopaint. Edit as you would any other image: fix the color, change to black and white, add objects, etc. This is where your work really starts. For the one minute video I edited here, there were almost 700 frames, and it took ten hours to edit half of those frames. If you are editing with the level of detail that I have in my video, it is very helpful to have a pen tablet, but you can use a mouse if your hand is steady.
Keep several frames open at the same time while editing so you can refer back to previous frames and ensure continuity. If you are adding an object in motion such as my strip of bacon, remember that there is very little change from frame to frame. Save the video frames without changing the names assigned by VirtualDub because these must remain sequential. If you delete even one frame, the video will no longer load.
It is a good idea to save and run your video after twenty or forty frames so you can see your progress and fix any mistakes before you proceed to the next batch of frames.
Step 4: Save Edited Video
Open the image sequence in VirtualDub again. To do this, choose "open video file" from the file menu, then click on the first file in the sequence (mine was "bacon0000.jpg"). VirtualDub will open all the images in the sequence automatically. Re-save the image sequence as a video by choosing "save as AVI" from the file menu.
Step 5: Add Audio (Optional)
Save the project and publish it when you are finished.