Category: Video Editing

Image representing Animoto as depicted in Crun...

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Following (and the recent hullabaloo about WordPress‘ new for-pay “VideoPress” upgrade) yesterday’s blog about some new video-audio sites-services available online, I came across another one.  A friend, colleague and former classmate of mine recommeneded something called, which allows videographers, animaters and the average-joe alike to make something, he said, really quite impressive.

And I’ve really liked the samples I’ve seen (though there’s room for improvement—especially considering the lack of professional human involvement likely in most of them.)

What are these samples, you ask?

Well—basically—the Animoto service (based on free, $5.00 and $30 or something thereabouts fees, I believe, as of the time of writing this) will take your photos from upload (or from Flickr, Facebook, or other social photo sharing site) and incorporate them into a slideshow against your own music—or theirs—whilst analyzing the musics beats and other facets to time the slideshow’s transitions/effects with it. You can, apparently, tweak photos/timing/etc after the fact—and include some video.

So—while I’m not buying taglines this year, such as the “end of slideshows” that this proclaims, I do think that it’s worth taking a peak at if you’re doing slideshows for personal—and maybe professional use.

If you’ve tried this, what do you think?

Image representing Xtranormal as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

The first thing I’ll point out is that video is beginning to become more than just the “hot” new thing; it’s a “keeping up with the Jones’ thing” now for business.  YouTube, I hear, is the second largest search engine—and is used for posting not only video, but audio (without real video with it) or even text-based things (with information textually in the description only).

More and more companies are offering their services for web-based video construction.  Let me highlight a couple.

1. Epipheo Videos

The business creates videos for businesses on the web, using an animation style, and with a focus on a solid-core nugget of an idea.  So much focus is put on this central nugget, that the name of the company is actually an amalgam of video and epiphany.

2. iScript

This one doesn’t rely on voice-synthesizers, but takes your screenplay, and has (real) actors record it into a listen-able mp3 which you can then send to Hollywood script reviewers who will supposedly be more apt to listen to your screenplay than read it (even though the latter is faster) because they’ll take it with them when they go jogging and such.  I’m one to take advantage of spare moments doing menial tasks listening in to podcasts and such, but I really am not sold that “Hollywood is listening” as their tagline asserts.


3. Xtranormal | Text-to-Movie.

This is sort of silly—but it allows users to make movies with pre-made talking avatars, 3D, basically, with ability to create scenes of dialogue, with what look to be pre-defined accents, poses, characters, settings, etc.—all read by a speech synthesizer which shows how technology is becoming uncannily better.  I’ve seen a couple of these before I realized what they were, but first sat up and noticed when this was posted on a friend’s Facebook:

Another funny one on the site, was this movie, about a woman held captive—in a action-movie-style parody.


Unfortunately, I haven’t tried any of these—but just came across them, so don’t consider anything I say an endorsement, or even a critical review: it’s really all just a flag/alert to some interesting new ideas out there.

Today I’ve been working on a project, transferring (Digital) Hi-8 tapes to DVD.  Some of the tapes (I don’t quite know why) have been capturing as multiple (often hundreds) of little clips.  iMovie ’08 (which I’m using for convenience and a variety of other reasons) is a little too user-friendly to be quite so easy for a video professional like me.

Here are some things I’ve learned about dealing with multiple clips—and how to transfer them easily to DVD:

(1) Command-Click (Mac) on the first (last) clip, and then Shift-Click on the last (first) clip to drag the event clips into the project window.

(2) You will get a very surprising dialogue box that will tell you that you will get better results if you actually edit your movie, rather than just dumping all your clips onto a DVD…very basic stuff for those who’ve been editing for years, but I suppose a useful warning for the beginner…

(3) Then click “Share” and go to “Media Browser” (like Adobe CS3’s Bridge) which will give you size options.  You don’t have to choose the largest size (according to Apple Care’s phone support), just the one that matches your project settings. Help on this topic can be found under “send” rather than “share” in the iMovie help.  The shared movie will take a chunk of time—maybe 30 minutes to over an hour depending on size/length, processing power available, etc.

(4) Open iDVD and go to “Media”.   In iDVD ’08 you will need to, in the upper pane, select the event you want, especially if you have multiple projects each with multiple clips.   That way you can see the “shared”  movie (the long compiled one) plus all the clips.

(5) Though going through all of this for an error that causes captured sequences to auto-parse seems like a hassle, there are some bright sides:  You can see all the sub-clips, and use them to populate your iDVD menus — something that you’d have to generate broken-up clips or screenshots (using a program like “Grab”) otherwise…

(6) You can also use one of these movies for audio in your DVD menu too!

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