Thursday, November 29, 2012

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #42

Africa 2002:  Zambezi River Cruise

Yawning hippos, threatening crocodiles.  Do I really want to be on this pontoon boat?  The sunset is pretty and we see a couple of the travelers.

This is a kind-of "filler" clip.  The original media was a multi-chapter DVD, this fills a gap in the chronological sequence.  It may be of interest to those who were on the trip, but not compelling for a general audience such as "YouTube"

Lessons Learned:
Consider the audience.  This very short clip worked well in the original DVD, and jogs a memory of what we did on that afternoon.  Another person watching the DVD sees it in context and that also works well.  So USE it for that purpose, but don't expect it to go viral on the Internet.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #41

Africa 2002:  Victoria Falls

The hotel doorman gives some outrageous directions; next thing you know we are overlooking the massive falls.  Water mist, rainbows, droplets on the lens.  Wish I had an HD camera ten years ago!
Slow motion effects are effective, and Beethoven's music is perfect.  This is a nice little video.

Lessons Learned:
Steady the camera, be patient, allow the beauty to unfold.

Take your eye off the viewfinder and appreciate the natural wonder.  Tomorrow's technology will allow consumers to capture in even higher definition, but it will never replace your own eyes, ears, and memory!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #40

Africa 2002:  Zimbabwe Godfather

Mismanaged and corrupt, collapse of the Zimbabwe economy was underway.  President Mugabe was manipulating the currency for the benefit of his offshore accounts, creating an opportunity for freelance money changers.  The hotel doorman hooked us up with one of those guys ... a character with the ominous name of ... "Con".

What happens when some of the cash is missing?  Will we be able to pay for dinner?

One of our friends narrates the story, it's certainly a fun memory.  But it might be one of those videos that's for a limited audience.  When I play it for folks I usually stop the movie and provide a background story. 

There's a lot of money counting, music and stills from The Godfather are well-placed.  Light in the restaurant was very dim, so the I desaturated color and raised brightness which created something watchable and also a nice effect. Audio is from the camcorder's microphone, some of it is over-modulated.

Lessons Learned:
We have so much ownership of these vacation videos that we are sometimes unaware of an "inside joke".  Have an uninvolved person preview the movie before publishing it to the world.

Two lines of narration might set up the video for an audience that doesn't know the background story.

Music Copyright Considerations:
This is a short excerpt from one of my older edited videos.  It contains some identifiable music that is regrettably used without permission.  But remember the time this video was created; in 1997 the audience for this production was usually sitting in my living room.  "Fair Use" allowed me to use the music without consideration of copyright.
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.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #39

Africa 2002:  Zimbabwe

Ding-Dong!  That's an attention grabber.  Then a native guy introduces "The Show" and the audience is subjected to a short visual collage of unexpected scenes that includes eating worms!

The DVD that I created from this trip became my first use of a "vignette" concept.  Multiple chapters, each with its own story, presented more-or-less chronologically.  I rarely leave home with the story concept; just keep the camera running and hope for inspiration during the edit.  So each vignette become the result of serendipitous inspiration during the edit.

This particular vignette is the opening of the DVD.  We gain a humorous glimpse of the various travelers in an unusual setting.  It was shot and edited in 2002, using Pinnacle Studio.  If re-edited I might sweeten the sound and tweak the coloration, but it is essentially well done and humorous.

03/15/2014:  I noticed today that the video ends abruptly with scenes from the Zimbabwe Elephant Camp.  That was supposed to be a separate blog post.  Oops!  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #38

Africa 2002:  Meet The Beetles

How do dung beetles feed their families in Africa?  They roll big balls of elephant poop from the roads to their nests.

Here it is, captured on videotape.  A lighthearted view of the beetles doing their job, with some Disney music thrown in.  One continuous unedited take for your enjoyment.

Music is from Snow White ... the prequel to Heigh Ho, about digging in a diamond mine.  Metaphorically speaking, I thought it was appropriate.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #36 & #37

Africa 2002:  Grey As A Mouse (NO copyrighted music)  #36

Africa 2002:  Grey As A Mouse (YES copyrighted music)  #37

These are two versions of my "Elephant" video from our second trip to Africa.  You may recall that Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" was released in 2001.  I decided to read Tolkein's books before seeing the movie, and read them during this trip.  Coincidentally we experienced a large herd of elephants at the same time I read Sam's recitation of a nursery rhyme about "Olifants".
This could not be mere coincidence.

I was inspired to use the poem in a video.  It begins with a native play that includes an elephant puppet,  then I come on screen to personally narrate the poem and introduce close-up video of the giant animals.  The closing scenes are of the elephant herd, with titles and background music.
Example #36 above uses natural sound from the elephant puppet show for the closing background music.  It works well enough and won the annual competition at the local amateur videomakers club.
Example #37 is the same movie, but an excerpt from Fleetwood Mac's song Tusk is used for the closing music.  I think it's a superior version, but the music would have violated rules for the competition.  Notably, no one has questioned the use of Tolkein's work.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #35

Africa 2002:  Romance

This is the first of eleven clips from our second trip to Africa.  The video was taken in Chobe National Park, Botswana, from the back of a jeep where I sat with six other tourists.  We were not allowed to get out of the vehicle; as everyone jostled to get the best camera angles, the fully zoomed video became shaky, but that problem is mostly forgiven by viewers because of the subject matter.

Music is an old doo-wop favorite from the Orioles, It's Too Soon To Know, which perfectly sets the mood.  Slow zoom in, hold, then slow zoom out works well as the lyrics and visuals relate the story of "Mr. Belt."

Monday, November 5, 2012

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #34

Matt Tries to Surf:  2002

When my nephew from the midwest visited us in San Diego, the Pacific Ocean was a real treat for him.  We asked a Rick to give Matt a surfing "lesson."  Result:  the surfing professionals have nothing to worry about, but our guest was happy! 

While editing the video I had an idea to composite a shark into the waves.  (This would explain why Matt kept falling.)  Well, I knew nothing about alpha channels, and early versions of Pinnacle Studio DV did not have a keying feature.  But the family enjoyed this video anyway!

Titles, interviews, cuts and fades are all well done.  Music is Pipeline by The Ventures.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Videos Uploaded and Ready to Discuss! Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video

I just completed uploading thirty-eight more videos to YouTube.  These are digital edits that were used as DVD chapters from two vacations, Africa (2002) and France (2004).

So, there's lots of great stuff to come.  Plenty of discussion about how to create easy-to-watch video from boring source material.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #33

India 2000:  Laughing Through India

You might have guessed from Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #32 that we were having a great time on this trip to India.  And you would be correct!

I used Pinnacle Studio DV to compile this assortment of crazy clips soon after our return from the trip.  Even today, twelve years later, I smile at the memories.  Please be assured that we are good tourists, and absolutely love India.  The language and cultural differences create challenges, but our ability to laugh at ourselves makes world travel fun!  I hope no one takes offense from this video, as none was intended!

I like this video.  It's certainly not a typical travel video; sights, sounds, and landmarks go unexplained.  It's more a video explanation of, "Why do you people like to travel together?"
The musical selection, Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now [, I'm having such a good time!]" perfectly establishes the tone of the movie.