Eastide: Jerry = i”m a Transition Junkie in need of rehab!

What a week! I should have stuck to some of the building block assignments. #noir106 was doing character assignments, so I decided maybe I should use Jerry and learn some Final Cut Pro and video editing. Early in the week it sounded sensible to do an overview video for future expansion of his story.

First – when you can start from scratch on a story and have all the artistic license I think it is easier. I struggled with using the facts, but not trying to over sell. I also found out how much isn’t collected or saved like you thought. It really makes me appreciate those who take a photo a day for 10 years or document over time effectively. So how does one apply those thoughts to new projects? Story telling needs planning, thought, direction, and collecting and creating. Or – making do with what you have and filling in or in some ways leaving parts of the story out.

The next challenge was in trying to condense 76 years into a short time period. As I worked – I realized there needs to be chapters and this would be more of an overview and have gaps. I was dependent on photos that were already scanned (not all in good quality) and many years of gaps. Jerry was not one who was friends with the camera and the little video there was has him in the background or non-existent aside from the pieces I used. I was very pleased that I did have the video – it actually is a very insightful piece of footage and genuine to who he was.

Uploading was another issue. The Share feature clocked at 4+ hours and timed out and failed. It was using something called the compression app. Second time I exported as a Quicktime movie – but quality dropped and frames dropped as well. It only took 10 minutes to export and 20 minutes to upload to YouTube. It looks great on my iMac, so-so on my laptop. Now I have to read about configuration settings on exports.

Here is my draft video. It is not a finished product at this point. IGNORE THE TIME stamp– it has 8 minutes of black space when it is finished for some reason – another tweak to be done! It is long in internet terms- but comes in at about 6 minutes with credits.

PROCESS:

I skipped the template based software to learn more about manipulating the content. I used Final Cut Pro 7. While my project was large for my skill level it was not huge. But the sheer quantity of photos and pieces got overwhelming. And just when you think you are about done – you hit a key and all goes out of whack or something disappears!

I set up 3 folders: Photos; Audio;Video; and imported them to the tool. I chose songs by the Ventures for the music from YouTube – it was one of his favorites. I had done some voiceover, but it seemed like too much and did not help the story – so that time was practice. I separated the video audio and had to make sure it stayed in sync so linked the video and audio for that part only so that it would not move or alter. I had to extract some photos from other sources and they became of lesser quality. Photos were organized and named for easier placement and moving around. As chapters go on, one solution may be to make the older ones have an older theme overall to look intentional.

From there it was learning to use the viewer and canvas. I watched some tutorials from Lynda.com on the software which helped see the built ins and how to maximize time with keys – really a timesaver!

A key lesson was understanding that going forward the more organized and prepped the content is earlier to creating and editing the better. The feeling of wanting to get to the video and create has to be delayed. Making sure all the content is fixed, edited, logged and named correctly prior will make this easier and probably result in better outcomes.

I ended up creating a monster – 13 video tracks and 9 audio tracks in layers. They probably could have been condensed – but after losing some work, I began to lock layers so I didn’t alter them as I worked on other portions.

With so many still photos and looking at them for so long, it seemed necessary for transitions and not abrupt cuts. I WENT TRANSITION CRAZY! DON”T MAKE THAT SAME MISTAKE! In hindsight – this is one of the tweaks on the next iteration. Getting rid of transitions and equalizing the length of shots overall. The readings for the week were good – and transitions discussed – but once it was uploaded and watched outside of the tool – I don’t like so many of them. I had initially thought consistency would be better than too many ones – but again – that is not how it turned out.

Because of the content – the time was fun and meaningful. I will be remiss if I don’t go back and do this right or better. This being the first story of the family should not mean it is the roughest. I will continue to polish and improve in his detailed chapters.

While I was in the midst of all this – I did a short project in iMovie putting my audio assignment into visual format. The details are here. The video is below.

All in all – it is learning and video has a short shelf life in most cases – so on to the next one and making it better.

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