Patty Goes Geeky

A techno odyssey

He never asked, ‘What’s my motivation?’ He just drooled.

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I’ve checked off one of my to-do items from very early on in my blog: creating and posting a video. It stars my grand-dog, Dante, a graduate of the Pavlov Studio of Acting, and the two of us created it as a Christmas present for his mother. “A Day in the Life of Dante” is posted on YouTube. (There apparently are other dogs out there named Dante whose days have been chronicled for posterity, so be sure to watch the right video. He is the handsomest one.)

Actually, the Christmas video was 10 minutes or so. I figured the audience — Jenna — would want more rather than less footage so her DVD has the director’s cut. The version posted on YouTube is edited to 4 minutes, and even that is long. But by the time I got to the tight version, I was pretty done with editing Dante video.

It is clunky, but it sure was fun to make. I would have chronicled the process in the blog, but didn’t want to spoil the surprise gift. In lieu of a blow-by-blow description, here are the details and the most useful tips I acquired:

I shot about 45 minutes of footage on a Flip camcorder, dumped it on my computer with the program downloaded from the Flip site and edited in Windows Movie Maker, mostly self-taught on both. I picked a chronological theme because it was the easiest structure on which to hang the collected snips of video. What is not easy is trying to hold the camcorder steady with one hand and hang on to the leashes of two excited dogs on a walk with the other. I created my YouTube account (patricialfoote) and posted the short version last night.

What I’d picked up about shooting video before I started: Don’t use the zoom, and do brace the camcorder to hold it steady. Don’t shoot too much video because you’ll just have to edit it. Mix scene-setting wide shots, mid-range and detail shots. Collect “B roll” material to work in. Keep it short. (I wished I’d followed more of this, but I was too focused on the technology and the Christmas deadline to be very arty.)

The most important things I learned: When cutting up imported footage in Movie Maker, remove each piece you’re not going to use as you go so the collection holds only potentially usable material. Label each snippet completely so you know what it contains and where you might use it in the storyboard. Use the pause button to stop a snippet and then clip, rather than trying to clip as it runs (I know: duh. But if Will hadn’t told me that, Chimpanzeepatty would have taken a while before realizing that.) You have to publish the project to the computer before you can upload to YouTube.

Odd thing about the YouTube upload process: my computer was showing it loading for hours after I’d already gotten a time-stamped e-mail from YouTube saying the upload was successful. Wait, I just noticed the e-mail tells me how to embed the video in my blog. Let’s try it:

OMG. Is that not amazing?

So my next video can focus more on content and less on Just Getting The Sucker Done. In the meantime, I’d like to thank the amazingly talented technical staff — you know your stuff, Will — and my husband, who has been my rock through all of this. I love you, Mike. And I’d like to thank the people at Flip and Microsoft who made making the movie possible, and the folks at YouTube and WordPress who distributed it. I’d like to thank my daughter, Jenna Henderson, who inspired this story. Finally, I’d like to thank my amazingly talented actors, most important of whom is the guy who carried the movie from start to finish, Dante Henderson. You’re the best, Dante!


Written by geekypatty

January 6, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Posted in Video

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