Saturday, July 16, 2011

Movie Mogul

Perfect casting: My sister is a vampire and I'm the clown.

Some things are coming together. Among them, the video project I had in mind involving the family Home Movies.

As you may recall, my first attempts to to get the raw files from DVD onto my computer in a working format ended in frustration. But this past week my boss tasked me with getting footage from a DVD into a PowerPoint presentation, and in the process of learning how to do that, the answer to my own problem came along. Last night I had a really productive evening ripping the Home Movie files from DVD and then converting them to QuickTime and importing them into IMovie, Apple's video editing software. Today I slept in late, had a few slices of white pizza for "brunch," then went straight to the computer where I've been working in IMovie all day.

I won't say that it's the most intuitive program to learn, but the help files are OK and I was sometimes able to figure things out for myself. While not a professional video editing tool, it's darn good. It's a breeze to add titles (using any font in your system) and background music and sound effects, and you can incorporate still images as well. I haven't begun to learn all the features; instead I spent a lot of time breaking the master film down into editable scenes, and inserting soft transitions in place of many of the hard cuts. The home movies are already a million times better, and I've only just begun. As an example, instead of the original hard cut from shots made in our back yard to footage of the family vacation on Ludlow's Island in Lake Vermillion, I was able to insert a map of the island, zoom in on our cabin there, and fade in to the action. Tomorrow I may actually go into work just to scan some more family photos for this project. I should just bring a box with me and scan the whole thing. Any photos I don't use in the video can be included separately as a slideshow on the finished DVD.

I'm excited to be learning new things and I love the results I'm getting. Dad will be impressed.

And it especially feels good to have a project again, one with immediate rewards. This project won't last forever, but for as long as it does I've got Direction and Momentum again.

Heck, it even justifies all the time I wasted downloading music. I've got a lot of good stuff to choose from. "Stardust" by Nat King Cole, anyone?

Tonight I get to watch a brand-new (to me) episode of the new Doctor Who. For today, anyway, Life is Good.

-- Freder

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