15 October 2012

Making movies for #SciFund

The next round of #SciFund is coming! I do not have a project in this round myself, as I’ll be too busy finally going on my expedition that I raised funds for in rounds 1 and 2! But I’ll still be active in helping out and offering advice.

In my rounds, I was pleased by some of the positive feedback I got for the videos I made. Here’s how I did them.

The idea almost always starts with movie music: that sets the tone and gives me a style. I find it easier to riff off an existing style of film or TV, because I know what it’s supposed to “look like.” In my second #SciFund project, I did “monster movie,” so that dictated black and white, bad dubbing.

I use Windows Live Movie Maker (built into Windows 7) for the video. I used this because it’s included on my computer, and I was too cheap at the time to buy proper video editing software. Plus, I figure limitations inspire me to be more creative. Yeah, that’s it.

I shoot any new video with just a consumer point and shoot digital camera or even my phone. The sound from my cameras is never good enough, so I always plan to add sound later rather than doing it while I'm recording video.

Some still images (like my title logos) I make from scratch in a graphics editor, because the Movie Maker text editor is very low end and limited.

I get the graphic and video elements in Movie Maker roughly in the order and duration I want. This is my first draft.

I make the audio in Audacity. Movie Maker only lets you import one audio track at a time, and I always want dialogue playing over the music. I use Audacity to combine multiple audio tracks (speech, music clips, sound effects). I usually do this in “chunks,” maybe tens of second long, depending on how long the video is supposed to be.

I spend a lot of time redoing my voice overs for maximum punch, and splicing “takes” of different sentences together. I think for some sentences, I did 30-50 takes. For instance, listen to the narration of this draft:

You can hear the hesitation a few times in my speaking. Now compare it with the final version:

I add the sound to video in Movie Maker, and fiddle with the time of the video / graphics so that the two align for maximum punch. I spend a lot of time shaving off fractions of seconds here and there.

Then I add the next chunk of audio, and repeat until done. I save it, and then upload it into YouTube and Vimeo.

Related posts

Sound over picture

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