Friday, April 24, 2015

A Moving Picture Says a Thousand Bucks

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, or about 1700 words if you can get it wholesale.

After such a successful trip last fall, I set out to learn how to create a video because I thought it would be fun to have a video with music of all the highlights of the trip.

Well, it is fun to have such a thing... but making one is another story.

I went through the pictures and picked out about 200 that I thought would be good, and ten or twelve pieces of video. And then I did some testing in a program called Lightworks to try to put something together.

If I hadn't had my indie film making niece Lamondo (and her shaggy hubby Clevedge) to keep me on the right path, I never would have been successful at this.

The other thing was, I let Jimmy Poon do about 90% of it with the proviso that I would get all the credit. Jimmy is great at tech, and not so great at negotiations.
Lightworks - Jimmy Poon Lives Here

There is a word they use when a tool, app, gadget, or software program works in the way you expect it to and you can use your existing world knowledge and experience to basically fuck with the thing in order to get the results that it would make sense to you to expect. That word is 'intuitive'.

The word that means the complete opposite of intuitive is 'Lightworks 12'.

Now, I don't mean to diss Lightworks because it is one hell of a piece of software. It is powerful beyond belief. But don't think you are going to pick this thing up in an afternoon. The simplest tasks require googsploration to find out how to do them.
I started to get some pictures in and some music and did a test. I found out it was quite painstaking to align pictures to the music - something I insisted must happen, because anal. It is also kind of a pain to put the pictures in there in the first place, one by one. No, you can't just drag and drop a picture in and then apply the effects you want. That would be too easy.

I came up with what I thought was a great workaround - I used the (ahem) intuitive Microsoft Movie Maker software to string together a bunch of pics and shove them through transitions. This worked because I was able to nail down exactly how many milliseconds each picture should stay on screen in order to match the rhythm of the chosen music (Sinatra's classic Luck be a Lady). I was able to do say 20 pics in a row very quickly, and then export an mp4 of them including transitions and dump that into Lightworks. Okay, so Jimmy Poon was able to do all that, while I whimpered and sweated beside him.

Pretty savvy, huh?!

I had to learn about transitions and dissolves and how not to fuck up in Lightworks and the whole thing took me months to complete. I actually abandoned the thing for about 8 weeks this winter.

I also found that to put all the content I wanted would give about a 3 hour video, something that was not really feasible. Unless I wanted it to come out in about 20 years.

Last week, the whole thing got completed and I, with great pride, shoved it up YouTube's pipe.

And there it was!

Without music.

Apparently there is something called 'copyright' or some such. I was gutted.

Fortunately, my pal Skadoo put me on to a part of YouTube where you can find out how much legal trouble you are in if you use a particular song... and other versions of Lunch be a Ladyfinger would NOT get shut down.

I grabbed one of them from a legitimate source and went to work. Because all that lining up work had become supremely unhitched. For the most part the arrangement of the song was the same but there are a number of bars missing before the final verse, in comparison to what I'd used. Crying gently, I kept at it, shoved things around in Lightworks, and finally completed version two.

I really hope you enjoy it!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent work as always, hope you replicate all of the Royals on your next trip.