Category Archives: final cut studio

Continued Learning

I’ve been working on my final project for Adult Education…a video that reflects on my own learning and learning in general.  I started, as I usually would, with about four pages of single spaced text.  Something just felt wrong…too many words for a movie.  So, the first step was to start thinking visually…what pictures and video clips was I going to use to tell the story of my learning this semester.  How could they tell the story along with fewer words from me.  I think I have accomplished that.  Once I had the script, I could start collecting the materials which mostly consist of clips from films I’ve watched this semester.  I took care of that on Thursday.   And here’s the secret:  with a clean script and all the materials in one place, putting the film together has gone relatively smoothly.  I still have a ways to go, but writing and editing the script and thinking about the clips as I captured them really put the film in my head before I ever opened Final Cut Pro.  It’s funny in a way because it is very similar to the process I use for writing.  I read, I jot notes, I blog a bit, I start constructing sentences in my head, so that by the time I get to the actual writing, the paper is almost done.  The biggest difference here is that I started putting the visuals together in my head.

My only concern is that I am using single, lengthy clips from the films rather than several shorter pieces.  It seems to work but it isn’t typical from what I’ve seen.  I would like to do one sequence of short, quick shots.  I’ve seen that in some movies and it looks cool.  I dropped in a quote from Knowles at the beginning and I’ve got a great one from Eartha Kitt for the end but dropped the idea of splicing in quotes throughout the film.  I may go back to that but for now I like the transitions between sections.

As with each project I’ve done, I’m experimenting…in this case, it’s using music or the soundtrack of the films along with a voice over.  I may need to redo the voice overs at the end and figure out how to make the films quieter when I’m talking but for a first step, it’s not too bad.  All in all, it’s been a productive film day.

And I keep learning:

1.  After spending about an hour trying to copy the captured clips from the computer in the media center to my hard drive, I discovered that because my hard drive is Windows formatted, I can only copy about 3 gigs at a time.  Since I didn’t want to reformat the drive, I borrowed one from Troy, but I may need to invest in another one. They are so small now.

2. I needed some soundtrack music so I bought a couple songs from iTunes.  (Remember when you had to go to a store?)  After downloading them, I discovered they weren’t in a format that FCP can use and because they were purchased, I couldn’t convert them.  (That seems like a violation of my rights as a buyer.  I would be able to convert them if I bought them on CD.)  So, undaunted, I went to the web and in just a few minutes discovered the work around:  burn them to CD and then re-import them into iTunes and you can convert them.

King Rail at Assateague

Can’t believe it’s been a week since I’ve posted…working on my field-based research project as well as thinking about my final project for adult education. More on that later…meanwhile, I am trying to start a weekly schedule of posting little videos. Here’s one of a King Rail hunting in the marshes at Assateague National Wildlife Refuge. I wanted to play around more with titles so there’s no voice over.

The Saga

So, I created a video in about two hours but have now spent almost that much time trying to get it to show up correctly in YouTube! I thought I had solved the problem before I took a break for dinner with a guest. I figured I hadn’t rendered the title correctly. (In fact, I thought maybe rendering was the issue with the graininess of my early video but that’s another story and it didn’t seem to be since I re-exported it, too, this evening.) Anyway, I tried rendering the title and re-uploading but still just got five seconds of a grey screen where the title should have been. Now, back at it, I have tried saving it as a quicktime movie rather than an mpeg-4. But that seems to be causing trouble for YouTube in terms of doing its own converting. YouTube does suggest using an mpeg-4 format.

So, I just went ahead and put it on my own server. And after another 10 minutes have discovered that WordPress doesn’t allow the embed tag so here’s the link: Whimbrel video.

It DOES allow you to embed video from YouTube and Google, but I’ve already given up on YouTube. Maybe I should try adding my video to Google while we sit and watch election returns since YouTube still has not processed my video! I am NOT impressed.

NB: I put it on Google in the mpeg-4 format and lost my titles again! I am trying the Quicktime version now since Google says it will recognize that. Just going to leave this edit window open. This is the last chance and then I am going to bed. Add another hour worth of time to trying to figure this out!

A few minutes later…good news…in Quicktime format, Google shows the titles. So, here’s the embedded video:

My First Project

My first movie–Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary–is in the can.  Actually, it is is the envelope since I burned it to DVD.  I really want to upload it to the web but can’t seem to get it small enough.

I am, all in all, pretty pleased with the project. It definitely evolved.  I had originally planned to do just the music part, and only added the introduction over the past few days after I had an inspiration.  I think the introduction helps because it names a lot of the animals you see in the musical part.

I picked Corkscrew as a topic because it was small; we only spent a few hours there.  Unfortunately, that meant we didn’t have a ton of footage; you’ll see a lot of repeats, like the little blue heron.  We probably stood and watched him for 10 minutes so he shows up a lot in the video.  As I consider my next project, the amount of video and number of images available will be a consideration.

I only used a few transitions in the piece.  I want to experiment with them and filters during the next project.

I think I wasted a lot of time on the music.  Using midi files with multiple tracks will help speed that process along even if it means I’m not performing the song.

What A Difference

Haven’t posted…been too busy working and learning to reflect. But now, as my (hopefully) last DVD is burning with my first FCP project on it, and I’m waiting for a load of laundry to dry before heading out for the day, I can sit back and think a bit. I’ll at least start with the first question:

What did I learn?

I learned how to do a few technical things in FCP and GarageBand, but I also learned some personal things, too. (Or maybe re-learned since I’ve fallen in this trap before.)

Continue reading What A Difference