Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #121

China 2001:  "Welcome" to Beijing


This little kid had no idea that he was being videotaped at the People's Palace.  I probably was attracted by his traditional Chinese regional clothes.  (It was the May 1 workers' holiday, many Chinese tourists were visiting their capital city.)

This little gem creates a nice breather in the middle of the trip DVD.  It's short, goofy, and fun.  The cartoonish sound effects came out of the Apple's basket of free audio clips.  I used zoom and reposition tools.  The original is standard-definition, so I enlarged as much as I could without losing essential detail of the kids finger.  A blurred vignette at the end leaves little doubt that this child hates American tourists!

Lessons Learned:
Sometimes you find something unexpected while reviewing your vacation footage.  That's what happened here.  Enhance the potentially funny stuff with sound effects!

Suggestion:
This clip consisted of less than 20 frames.  By slowing the clip, then shuttling it back and forward, you can create a "meaningful" movie out of almost nothing!


FYI:
All of the China trip vignettes are already loaded onto YouTube.  They may be viewed on one of my YouTube channels: HENBCtravel
I have three other channels that might be of interest:  HENBCvideo (miscellaneous videos that try to look professional, with particular respect for copyrights), RAGEAIR (advertises the licensing availability of my newsworthy videos), and this YouTube Channel of Shame (an odd collection of stuff, not respectful of others’ copyrights).


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #120

China 2001:  Beijing - Cloisonne Factory



Hey the camera guy must be learning something!  Perhaps years of trying to edit from poorly-shot footage taught me to pay more attention?  There are good close-ups of the artisans at this Cloisonne factory.  I like seeing the red-hot artwork being removed from the furnace.

Music was taken from footage of the Wuhan Bell Ringers' Show, and really works well for this one-minute video.  Good choices of video clips made this video easy to edit.  Here are some ways to bring that sound into the edit:

  • Place the music containing video clip on the timeline.  
    • If you can separate the video/audio tracks, just delete the video portion.
    • ...or reduce the video opacity to zero
  • Your software may have an option to bring only the audio track into the timeline.  

Lessons Learned:
Close-up and medium shots are valuable assets when you are editing!  Use them as a contrast or alternative to wide, scenic compositions.
Live music is a good solution to the copyright dilemma previously discussed.  It also helps to establish the location.

Suggestion:
If there's live music happening during your vacation, keep the camera running.  You might use the music in your edit.


FYI:
All of the China trip vignettes are already loaded onto YouTube.  They may be viewed on one of my YouTube channels: HENBCtravel
I have three other channels that might be of interest:  HENBCvideo (miscellaneous videos that try to look professional, with particular respect for copyrights), RAGEAIR (advertises the licensing availability of my newsworthy videos), and this YouTube Channel of Shame (an odd collection of stuff, not respectful of others’ copyrights).


Friday, April 11, 2014

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #119

China 2001:  Beijing - Summer Palace



This video transitions us from the serious mood of the previous chapter.  It's a pleasant visit to the Summer Palace, featuring a stroll under the beautifully illustrated covered walkway and cruise on a lake boat.  Music is an upbeat swing instrumental rendition of Summertime.

Most importantly, one scene introduces a guy wearing a ridiculous pink hat.  That hat makes a few "humorous" reappearances in later chapters of the DVD.

Lessons Learned:
You are in control of your audience's emotions.  Unless your intention is to shock, use neutral pieces to re-establish the overall theme of your creation.

Suggestion:
Reveal an item of interest in an early scene, bring it back later for a laugh or to solve a puzzle.


FYI:
All of the China trip vignettes are already loaded onto YouTube.  They may be viewed on one of my YouTube channels: HENBCtravel
I have three other channels that might be of interest:  HENBCvideo (miscellaneous videos that try to look professional, with particular respect for copyrights), RAGEAIR (advertises the licensing availability of my newsworthy videos), and this YouTube Channel of Shame (an odd collection of stuff, not respectful of others’ copyrights).



Music Copyright Considerations:
This original audience for this video was friends and family who would view the DVD in my living room.  It contains identifiable music that is regrettably used without permission.  
Today, with digital distribution, artists' rights deserve more attention.  Since this video is intended for non-profit illustration and educational purposes only, I believe that valid arguments can be made for its "Fair Use" in this situation.  Please understand that I do not encourage improper use of copyrighted material.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #118

China 2001:  Tiananmen Square




When we visited Beijing in 2001 I was impressed with how open things seemed.  Capitalism had burst out, a people were excited to hone their English skills by speaking with us.  But at Tiananmen we caught a glimpse of oppressive surveillance.  I felt the need to be careful where I pointed my camcorder, as squads of uniformed men marched in cadence around the square.

I decided to attempt to make a video essay to express my feelings.  So please consider this video is an example of amateur editor experimentation.

My Internet research for details of the 1989 "massacre" gave me a few still photos and a better understanding of events that led up to 06/04/1989.  The photos were mostly black and white, which gave me the idea to desaturate anything that created an uneasy feeling.  Scenes that depicted openness and freedom of expression would be displayed in color.

Titles on the desaturated "uneasy" content were given a muted blood-red color.  "Happier" titles are bright white.  For the final scene I wanted to merge the two feelings.  So I composited a black-and-white image of the protestors "Lady Liberty" in its historically correct position, in front of a colorized image of the Mao portrait.  Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On" seems like an appropriate musical accompaniment.


I played an in-progress version of this video for my local Final Cut Users' Group.  They applauded and said that it was "well edited" and "interesting".  But I'm still not sure if the message is clear.  Nevertheless, but it was a good editing challenge and helped me to practice with my Final Cut Pro 5 software.



One more note about the editing challenges:  At 01m:03s there is a short video zoom into the Mao portrait.  My camera work was very shaky and I wasn't able to fix it using FCP5's rudimentary stabilization feature.  However, a new (and still controversial) version of iMovie had been introduced.  The smoothed result you see in my video was created by stabilizing in iMovie then importing that edited clip into Final Cut.  (I posted a before/after example of iMovie stabilization here).


Lessons Learned:
Wow!  This movie really s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d my talent and imagination.  It a dramatic departure from my usual light-hearted touch. I've discovered that China 2001:  Tiananmen Square makes my home audiences uncomfortable; they came to be entertained, not see an anti-intolerance documentary.  
I made the choice to include this video with the other chapters on the vacation DVD.  Perhaps others would choose to create a simpler version for the DVD, and place the complex message in "Bonus DVD Features" or on the Internet.

Suggestion:
Maybe a "vacation video" can become something more?  If something tugs at your emotions do some research, outline your ideas, assemble your media, and assemble your timeline!
Though I welcome the feeling, this sort of emotional inspiration rarely happens.  For examples, check out my previous posts Normandy, France and Nagasaki Peace Park.


FYI:
All of the China trip vignettes are already loaded onto YouTube.  They may be viewed on one of my YouTube channels: HENBCtravel
I have three other channels that might be of interest:  HENBCvideo (miscellaneous videos that try to look professional, with particular respect for copyrights), RAGEAIR (advertises the licensing availability of my newsworthy videos), and this YouTube Channel of Shame (an odd collection of stuff, not respectful of others’ copyrights).



Music Copyright Considerations:
This original audience for this video was friends and family who would view the DVD in my living room.  It contains identifiable music that is regrettably used without permission.  
Today, with digital distribution, artists' rights deserve more attention.  Since this video is intended for non-profit illustration and educational purposes only, I believe that valid arguments can be made for its "Fair Use" in this situation.  I also feel that Marvin Gaye would be pleased that his music inspired me.  Please understand that I do not encourage improper use of copyrighted material.