Getting Started With Video Editing

When I was 10 or so, my parents (finally) let me watch Star Wars for the first time. They thought it was too violent and I guess wanted to make sure I was ready to handle it. Perhaps my earlier imitations from Calvin & Hobbes played a factor, since I was acting very much like the main character, and they eventually took the books away until my behavior improved.

But before the movie, there was the soundtrack by John Williams.

My father, being an audiophile had purchased a Dolby Pro Logic receiver, and our middle-class home was host to an amazing sound system. We had amazing movie nights as a family! I’ll never forget when my dad put on the opening take-off scenes of Top Gun, and I came running down to see what was going on; overwhelmed by the immensity of sound! The subwoofer was put inside the fireplace, which only seemed to amplify it even more!

So when the first measures of the Star Wars main theme hit my eardrums,  my attention was hooked. I listened to that triumphant opening and the whole album over and over again, while looking at the images in the record album. 

What was the story? Who was that Immensely Cool(TM) masked figure? It was set in space!? With robots and aliens!?

Listening to the soundtrack, I still didn’t know the story or the characters, but I began to hear when things were going “bad”, “sad”, “good”, and other emotions.

So when it came time to watch the movie (on Laserdisc!), I was buzzed, excited, nervous, and ready to finally SEE what was happening onscreen in time with the soundtrack.

It wasn’t what I had pictured in my head. It was WAY cooler!

And from then on, over time, and due to parental rules about TV/movie consumption rates (no movies during the week), I developed the ability to absorb a movie soundtrack and visualize/replay a movie in my head from just the score. The bassoons and muted trombones slide up together…it’s the shot of the Rebel soldier’s feet as Darth Vader is holding him up. Frantic ascending strings…Leia’s been stunned. All of the edits, transitions, and story, accessible!

And so it went, from soundtrack to soundtrack!

Until Spirited Away.

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EHEM. Let me try that again…

Spirited Away deserves it’s own blog entry, but to sum up: Lush, gorgeous, beautiful, moving, rich, wonderful, enchanting.

After the heroine has already been through so much in the story, she must embark on a quest to remove a curse, and the sequence in which she leaves the bathhouse, and journeys further into this strange world, is one of the most amazing visual and aural sequences I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

Ultimately, without the rich story, world, and characters, or plotting, this scene wouldn’t have the impact it has, but it’s pulled off beautifully. The music is exquisite, and together with the visuals is…yeah, I’ve said “amazing” a lot huh?

After experiencing this scene and being utterly transported from the darkened basement room, I had to hold on to it in some way. I wanted a version with just the music and the visuals; no sound effects or dialogue.

So I got on the computer, googled a bit, and came across AnimeMusicVideos.org I had technically watched an anime…and I wanted to combine it with music…sounded good!

This guide gave me everything I needed to know about how to create my music video; DVD decryption, transcoding footage for editing, framerates, interlaced vs progressive, color depth, and more!

So I ripped, decrypted, transcoded, converted, squished squashed and squeezed. Once I had the video, I ripped the music from the soundtrack (I had bought it very soon after viewing the film :)), applied it underneath the video, and viola! My first music video!

So, where was I going with all this?

If you want to get into video editing, there are some definite steps that will help inspire you and also be fun!

1. Find your favorite movie or TV show, and try to make a music video out of it using a song. Try and tell a story. Some of the best videos use footage that has nothing to do with the original story, but combined with a song, and cut together in a unique way, takes on a completely different mood, feeling, and story.

2. Watch movies. (This one’s easy) But pay attention! Where’s the camera and why is it there?

3. Whoa whoa whoaaaaa, listen to the music! Try and see/hear the rhythm and pacing of the scene.

And finally…

4. Listen to Star Wars! :)

 

 

Discovering Music

Been awhile! Hi everyone!

Busy week filled with chroma-key goodness and more! Just wanted to give a shout out to this wonderful, new band I’ve discovered recently.

 

This is what I love about the Internet; discovering new artists, related artists, and random artists. So, on to the band…

Recently on my Facebook feed, someone posted a link to a trailer for Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, and while I don’t play many games anymore, the editing of the gameplay footage was great, and the song immediately caught my attention.

After some Google-fu, the music is from the song “Full Circle” by Half Moon Run.

Not only do these guys have really great harmonies, but the percussion really sells it for me. Their full album is all over YouTube, Spotify, etc. so definitely check them out! They are touring in Seattle this October, and I’m probably going to pick up tickets. :)

 

And it’s awesome that I can find and get connected to great music so quickly, using the internet, social media, etc.

 

Like this commercial for the 2003, Mitsubishi Outlander. The music is from Telepopmusik’s “Breathe”, and my apologies in advance, because this song was really overused in several areas. Just don’t click the button if you are sick of the song. :D

This is what a great commercial looks like, and when I saw it on TV, I rushed to websites, forums, and search engines to find out who did the music.

 

Or this beautiful theme from La Jetee (the film 12 Monkeys was inspired by this)

It’s funny now, because I just found this on YouTube, but Back In The Day(TM), people were still figuring out what to do with YouTube, and while I can’t prove it, I don’t think whole music albums or soundtracks were commonly uploaded to the site until more recent years.

So after trawling forums and the like, I came across a site that archived stock music and a variety of recordings from “old movies”. And ‘lo! There it was! All the music from the film, which I downloaded to my iRiver and enjoyed for months.

 

Maybe it’s because I’m a Digital Pioneer(TM) and not a Digital Native(TM), but the internet is still magical and awesome whenever I can dig for treasures like these!

 

 

Swimming, Diving, and Fear

So, along with the multitude of projects going on right now, I’ve been utterly fascinated by all things Sports Aquatics.

Particularly diving.

Suddenly… it is what I need to be doing, and my brain is playing catch up.

 

When I was about 6 or 7, I remember taking swimming lessons at Shadle Park High School in Spokane. They had a huge Olympic sized outdoor pool and a shorter but deeper indoor pool with a diving board.

At first, it was fun to just splash and explore around the edge of the outside pool; I was so short, I couldn’t walk very far away from the wall, and didn’t feel confident enough to venture too far.

Swimming lessons were fun. I don’t remember too much about them, except I distinctly remember Really Liking(TM) the teacher man who was holding me by my shoulders and tugging me around the pool like a tugboat.

We did this in the indoor pool, which was dimmer and had mint chocolate chip kind of color combination. Several times, while being tugged around the deep end, I noticed the big black lines (I didn’t know what they were for) bent slightly on their way to the diving board.

The lines themselves already kind of unnerved me; same with the giant crosses painted at the end of the pool lanes. My little mind thought them to be overbearing, and they had an unnerving, stark quality to them. The effect was made worse when wearing goggles, due to the optical distortion that happened.

So I kept an eye on them.

One day later that summer, our family arrived to the pool, only to discover it was closed for maintenance. I was bummed, but when I peered out to look at the pool, I was shocked.

The pool was completely drained! And the black lines didn’t bend gracefully, but dropped off the edge of a CLIFF into a Cavernous Expanse(TM)!

Often, I asked the hunky instructor how deep the water was; it looked like he was walking upright, and the black lines just seemed to bend gracefully a tad in that area. Giving my best guess at the time (since I hadn’t stuck my head underwater), I’d estimated it was about 6 feet deep, just like the outdoor pool.

So, long story short, that image of the drained pool was burnt into my brain, and I didn’t go near the deep end of ANY pool until I was 12. The dim, mint-green waters of the indoor pool turned very menacing and evil.

Eventually, through the use of goggles, and taking it slowly, inspecting every inch between the dropoff and the bottom, I got over most of the phobia.

 

Flash forward to today, and I’ve got 11 tabs open in my browser attempting to ascertain what diving classes are available, which pools have a high dive, and if a 10-meter platform is anywhere in the region.

The idea of doing flips and stunts looks amazing and fun! Since my wrists currently can’t take my full body weight or support me, it’s the perfect solution to get my acrobatics fun without having my hands fall off! (I took gymnastics as a kid, but that’s another story)

And now there are tabs about water polo, swim teams, all kinds of stuff!

I swam 600 yards today, and my goal (among many) is to go from 500 to 1500 per workout. So, yeah! That’s another exciting thing going on! Hope you enjoyed the story and laughed. :)

Just wait, and you’ll get to see me entering the water in…shall we say… unorthodox orientations. :P

Balancing act

Alas, today was simply a blur of activity and it is 9:30. More to come tomorrow. Had a chance to catch up with a good friend of mine and continue both my coursework in the “Moving Beyond Stuck” and “How To Connect With Anyone” programs. I have also added a new fitness goal: Swim 1500 yards in one workout. I am currently at 500 and I’m looking forward to slowly but surely ramping up the workout over the next few weeks.

Relevant content

I’d like to put interesting things up! Cool things!

I think for the beginning, to help me form good habits, I’m going to update daily, even if the content isn’t so super-awesome. Some crazy fun stuff happens during the day too! :) Perhaps when I’ve got a good few weeks of posts, I’ll scale back to maybe every other day, or 3 times a week.

Right now, there are multiple projects going on simultaneously, and balancing them all is proving to be quite the learning experience.

Today was:

  • -gym
  • -work
  • -HowToConnectWithAnyone course
  • -storyboarding an idea for a cool trailer

It felt really busy, and at the same time, like not much was accomplished.

That’s probably what happens when there’s tons of ideas in your head, and few have gotten out or been transformed into tangible, real-world results.

One idea, which I’d love to do, is a “fan trailer” for the game League of Legends. I don’t play it as much anymore, but when I did, my favorite character was Ashe the Frost Archer(ess?).

So one day, I’m listening to the NeoTokyo soundtrack by Ed Harrison, and this song came up:

And like most of the time when I’m listening to music, I started imagining a story or what was going on. The haunting tortured chords at the beginning immediately made me think of some kind of ice planet, or frozen landscape with moaning winds, and then later, a chase of some sort. A dire situation, and someone outrunning some menace, to ultimately be killed in the end. (something about the tibetan bells and violin at the end)

So, I’ve edited out the more relaxed parts in the middle, tied the beginning and end together, and I’ve got a really cool 2 minute long piece of music, that would really work in a trailer. I even emailed Ed to ask if I could use it, and to paraphrase him, he said “yeah it’s ok, just credit my work”

Now, I’m storyboarding the whole thing. The opening shots with the frozen mountains and whirling snowstorm…And someone trying to outrun Ashe’s magic arrows and spells, only to finally get her ultimate frozen arrow in the end.

Logistically though, this thing will require some serious resources and a good team, and that’s where my mind stops. What about money? Will people contribute this for free? When does it become a “violation of intellectual property” instead of a “fan film made with love”?

Still, the idea is there, and will not go away. So my goal (of many these days), is to at least create some kind of basic animated storyboard synched to the music. Maybe that might give people a better idea of the finished product, and also suggest better ways of telling the story.

There’s talk and then there’s taking action. Afraid to do the latter.

Time

Where does it go?

It’s 9:45, and by my own self-care habit creation, I’m to be in bed at 10pm.

Worked today.

The client we created a video for finally launched today! Congrats to LearnBIG!

I had a blast creating their video. They are really cool people to work with and I wish them the best! Here it is!

Check out their site: www.learnbig.com

I’m not getting paid to pimp them either, especially since my blog has 4 views at the moment, so for real…go check them out. :D

My good friend Eben did the voiceover, and he’s crazy good. Since “MyFullName.com” is currently owned by parents of an adorable kid, I used Eben’s URL as inspiration. Check him out at: www.allthingseben.com

 

Annnnd, I participated in Scott Dinsmore’s webinar on genuinely connecting with people.

So much goodness, I wish I had time to post more but alas…it is 9:52.

Long story short, I was able to join his class early. It launches tomorrow. I’m excited!

http://howtoconnectwithanyone.com/joinus/early-access/

I’ve got tons of ideas to post about. More later!

Designing A Life

So, I’m sitting at work, rendering some motion graphics in the background, and building a blog! Thanks to Scott Dinsmore @ LiveYourLegend.net for the prompting. It never occurred to me how this could really be a great sounding board for my ideas, making new connections, etc.

My goals for this blog are quite simple:

1) UPDATE IT

That’s it really!

If there were one reason I could point to as to why my other blogs died, it’s because I honestly didn’t want to reveal myself to the world. At the time, I felt unworthy, fundamentally “broken” in some way, and like an alien walking the planet.

That has since changed. :)

I’m choosing the name “All Things Luke” because this is a place where I can put all my random things; whether it’s art, animation, video…crazy ideas I write down at 1am…you get the idea.

Currently, I’m taking part in an online course called “Moving Beyond Stuck” with Roger Nix (www.drglover.com), and we’re being introduced to the concept of “creating a life worth living.” It is really exciting to me, and my intention for this blog is to also showcase my journey of personal growth.

My focus is now more on the process of growing, rather than trying to reach some point in the future, or be Perfect(TM). It really keeps me from taking risks, and trying new things…like this blog.

So, here’s to leaning into my fears and exploring new possibilities! Stop editing this and publish, Luke!