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1. The concept of the video mixtape

From the days of Betamax and VHS comes the phenomenon of collecting clips so insane, so shocking, and so funny, that simply editing it together and trading and circulating the footage was enough to make some of it legendary within the video underground. Be it home-shopping channel and cable access bloopers, digusting scenes from sleazy splatter movies, amazing news footage, bizarre pornography, strange homemade video projects, extreme sports, disasters and mishaps captured on film, or foreign television gone mad -- there has never been a set criteria for the footage that these video geeks collect -- except that it should glue any eyes in the room to the TV screen in total amazement!

With an infamous history that goes back as far as the mid 1980's, these bizarre compilations (known as "Party tapes", "video mixtapes", or just "an amazing collection of fucked-up clips") have secretly entertained countless media dorks. Via conventions, by mail, or over the internet, these compilations have slowly found their way to video collectors outside of the mainstream worldwide. The point behind which being; not to make money, but to entertain fellow video-geeks by mixing up your own deranged cocktail of strange audiovisual shit from your personal collection, and sharing it -- copyright laws be damned! After all, this is the visual equivalent of audio sampling so popular in today's music.

So, if you've never had the pleasure of experiencing this unusual form of manic entertainment-euphoria, settle down in your private home-cinema gulag, drink up, smoke up, have your buddies come over, and let the strangeness blow your minds!

2. The ingredients

If you sit down to watch a video mixtape, you wanna see shit you've NEVER seen before. You want more WTFs per minute than anything you've seen before. So if you're gonna make a video mixtape, keep that in mind. You can get all kinds of amazing stuff from your personal collection, forgotten VHS tapes, on the internet, from mailorders, local television... be imaginative. If you wanna use movies from sites like rotten.com on the internet, make sure it's watchable. Nobody wants to sit at home, watching their TV and seeing a big blur of blocky pixels moving around on the screen. Track down the original source, get the best possible quality version you can, and work with that. Besides, videos from rotten.com and the likes are a good source of inspiration, but these movies have probably been seen by too many people already.

3. The tools of the trade and what to do with 'em

Once you start collecting and pre-editing your raw material, you will need some decent tools. And once you're actually gonna sit down and properly edit your movie, you will need powerful video editing software. There's a lot of useful tools freely available on the net, and the imaginative internet geek will probably have no trouble getting hold of the big video editing programs used by professionals. The tools you're gonna need depend on the way you're gonna handle making your video mixtape. I'll walk you through my way of making a mixtape, and explain the tools I've used.

PREPARING
When you have a wide source of material, you're gonna end up with all kinds of movie files on your computer. You can have files like MPG, MOV, AVI, VOB or WMV in all their different versions and codecs. Some of these files might be small, and some of these files might take up to 700MB, or even a couple of GB. That's okay if you have a big ass harddrive, but if you don't, it's smart to cut out the bits you wanna keep, and throw away the rest. Tools like TMPGenc for MPG files, and VirtualDub for AVI files, allow you to cut the videostream directly (without having to compress the footage again, which would lead to loss of quality) so you end up with just the clip you wanted, in the original quality. A couple of minutes of a AVI movie for instance would only be a couple of MB big.
Sometimes you wanna convert a certain movie format to a easier editable one, say a MOV to an AVI. You can convert just about anything to anything with WinAVI VideoConverter. Just go for the highest quality settings possible to be sure to lose as little quality as possible in the conversion.

EDITING
Once you got a fat collection of brain-imploding clips to work with, it's time to start putting them together. Editing software like Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas, Pinnacle Studio and sortlike editing software allow you to import certain types of video and professionally edit them together in any fashion you want. Use your creativity, look around and study movies, television shows or other mixtapes to get a basic idea of editing do's and dont's. There are lots of great tutorials available online on this subject, and the site www.videohelp.com will probably come in handy. And don't forget www.google.com.

Remember, there are a lot of different ways to go about editing footage for a mixtape. Some people just put all the clips they have in a row, while others take everything apart and re-assemble just about everything, and put it to new music. The tools and techniques used vary from person to person, so read some tutorials, try out the software you think works best, and just see where this will take you.

4. Releasing your video mixtape

When you think your mixtape is finished and you feel it's time to release it to the public, do it! Burn it to DVD and trade it with other video geeks, put it up for download through newsgroups, torrents or P2P networks like Edonkey or Gnutella, and get the word out that there's a new video mixtape on the block!