The visit to New York
City and the Microsoft Windows XP digital gallery
was great, surpassing all expectations!!!
Visitors to the gallery were skilled
in computers, knowledgeable of computer video editing, and interested in seeing
what Movie Maker and Photo Story could do... they were
pretty impressed, and went home eager to try them. We had long
Bernadette was with me on the trip,
and we both wanted to get a first hand update
on the city we grew up in... and hadn't been back for a
visit in over 20 years. When I went to the gallery, she
visited a couple museums. We had enough time to see some of the
sights together. We stayed at the
Iroquois hotel on 44th Street, a block from Times Square with its 24hr per
day Starbucks, a mile from the gallery on 22nd Street, and a mile from 26th
Street and 10th Avenue where I lived until I was 23... but too far
from Bernadette's childhood home in the Bronx.
515 still pix (5 megapixel camera), and I
shot 178 minutes of digital video (all widescreen). Here's
a 4-1/4 minute holiday video greeting collage from them... click the link or the
There's a new touch that I worked on
when editing it, how to do a regular transition to or from a
custom image overlay... you may or may not notice the results as
you watch it the first time. Hopefully they're smooth enough that you won't.
I'll give you a hint... the first one starts at the 41 second
I'd like to share the 'how-to' for
such use of image overlays.
Issue #81 focused on the timeline of
a holiday video project, a bit similar to this video, so I'll limit the project
details to my tweaking the overlays. But, with much more footage taken in
New York, I'll add an overview of my methods of marking tapes, making
notes, capturing and collecting project files, making the projects, and
cleaning things up when done.
... before getting into it, here
are a couple notes...
and long weekend in New York City were great!! A
number of very interested and skilled people showed up, and we had a long
engaging show-and-tell session. Movie Maker and Photo Story did everything they
asked to see, and showed themselves off well. No-one was shy when it came
to asking for info, and beyond asking, wanting to see it done.
Having attended both the
San Francisco and New York galleries, I'd say that interest in still pictures
exceeds interest in video by about 10 to 1. If you want to introduce others
to this software, start with Photo Story and then ease them into Movie
Maker. No matter how easy it is to use Movie Maker, the process of movie
editing intimidates most people.
.... on to
the main topic...
It was an especially busy
week. On Tuesday night, back home from New York, I still didn't have a
topic for this newsletter. So I did what I do so often, look at what I'm so
busy doing and write about it. As soon as the suitcases were unpacked, I
was engrossed in looking at the pictures and video. I had already cataloged the
footage and wanted to do something quickly with some of it... Christmas was
less than a week away, and an online holiday greeting video couldn't wait
much longer. I decided to do the greeting and newsletter together.
Here's an overview of the
process used to make the video...
I number each
tape as I start to use it... I added some footage to a previously
used tape #92DV, used all of new tapes #93DV and #94DV, and got a bit more
than half way through new tape #95DV. The tapes are marked only with their
number. The tape is numbered to know what it is, and the tape case
numbered also to know what tape is missing from it.
I had reviewed the tapes and
made notes on the plane ride home...
Movie Maker doesn't use 'Edit
Decision Lists' with specific time code points. I locate scenes
on tapes using the number of minutes remaining on the tape. When
I do a fast forward or reverse, the camcorder shows the remaining minutes on the
tape. Noting the nearest number as I scan the tape is good enough for me and
Movie Maker to find it. The tapes start at minus 62 or 63 minutes.
Here are the notes in my
database for tape #95DV. This level of detail is typical.
Dec 17, 2005
-63 lunch at the Cloisters
restaurant... Bernadette at the table
-61 Cloisters museum >
12/21 - captured the footage for the Holiday Video... the newsletter
-56 street scenes of New York... Times Square... fire
-51 Rockefeller Center... outdoor scenes > 12/21 - captured
some of the footage for the Holiday Video... the newsletter #83
-45 building across the street from the Rockefeller Center, with
the light/audio display > 12/21 - captured the footage for the
Holiday Video... the newsletter #83 folder
walk to Macy's and the
-39 ice skating at the 42nd Street library
-31 Fifth Ave
-28 Chelsea area 'roots'
-26 end of recorded
The tape has 26 minutes
of remaining time... I'll use that space someday.
Once I had an idea about
the content I wanted for the video, I captured the footage using Movie
Maker... via a firewire connection between my camcorder
Created a new project-specific
folder for the captured video files, the still pix, the MM2 and PS3 project
files, etc... the folder is for this newsletter, not just for the Happy Holidays
scenes from two of the tapes into 7 DV-AVI files... 12.7 GB
Still pix for
Photo Stories and Image Overlays...
I made one story from a still picture of the crèche
at the Metropolitan Museum of Art... and, as it was going to be
used for a widescreen story, I squeezed the image by using
IrfanView to resize it... maintaining the height but reducing the
width to 75% of its original pixel dimension. The picture at the right is before
With the custom widescreen
profile of PS3, it'll look normal when using it in a widescreen
The 3-box stack of red
gift boxes in the opening frames of the video was extracted from a
picture of some Macy's decorations.
The overlay I wanted to experiment with was a Movie Maker
frame snapshot of the internal courtyard at the Cloisters
. The video was shot widescreen so the snapshot didn't need
The prepping of this one
was turning the pixels of the fencing and courtyard to transparent
ones to use it as an image overlay.
My pixel removal results
with Paint.NET were pretty crude, leaving some ragged edges in the
video. It's something I need to study some more.
Imported the crèche picture into the story project 3 times... and
made a short 17 second clip with smooth transitions at
each change of the panning/zooming options.
the story using the 856x480 pixel custom profile for widescreen.
The clip will align with the rest of the widescreen movie
For me, t
he exciting point in this video starts at the 41 second point of
the timeline. That's where the overlay image starts to fade in from a video
clip, and as the next video clip fades in, the overlay image stays there
doing it's thing as an overlay. It does it by smoothly shifting from the video
track to the title overlay track.
Image overlays on the title
overlay track sharply snap on at the start and off at the end. If you want one
to start and finish as parts of a transition, you need to use it on the video
track. It'll transition nicely with other clips, but it can't then be used as a
long overlay. It's one or the other.
To get both the transitioning
to the overlay, and the long overlay, use the same title overlay clip
twice, once on the video track, and then again on the Title Overlay track.
you use a PNG image as a video clip, the background color is black... and its
default is blue when you use it as a transparent
color and transparency settings of an image overlay don't function as they do
for a normal text overlay, but the background color feature does. The image
at the left shows a frame of the transitioning when the background
color is changed to green.
use this background color feature when the overlay is on the video track,
but not when it's on the Title Overlay track, where the background color is
In the portion of the project
shown below, the Overlay3 on the timeline (with the background changed
to black) starts at the 41 second point, fading in from the previous
clip and then fading to the next video clip. Once it's about fully
faded in, another copy of the overlay image is on the Image Overlay
track... to take the handoff from the overlay on the video track and
continue it for as long as wanted.
The viewer doesn't know that
you've shifted the viewing from the video track to the overlay. It's the same
image, but you've achieved using it both in a normal transition and as
a custom overlay.
You can do something similar
with a pair of overlay clips to fade or otherwise transition the overlay
with overlays is to work with just the one on the Overlay track,
but select transitions where there's something equally abrupt
or dramatic happening at the starting and stopping points... a
straight cut works, as does a page-turn.
It'll work OK on many
transitions if you tweak the position of the overlay and check how it looks.
Select the sweet spot, which depends on the transition.
Cleaning Up... backing
Here's what my list of files looked like when the video was
finished but the newsletter was still being written... with the files
sorted by extension:
- the captured DV-AVI files from segments of tapes 93 and 95
scanned images of the programs for the two concerts we attended... I
didn't use them in the video
a Windows XP system file that keeps track of what's in this folder
JPG - the
smaller sized ones are snapshots by Movie Maker or IrfanView... the
two larger ones are the original picture of the crèche from the camera
and the resized squished one for the Photo Story made from it
MSWMM - the
Movie Maker 2 project for the Holiday video
PDN - a
Paint.NET file with layers, used to make the first image
overlay with the scroll, text, and gift boxes... so I can go back and change
PNG - the
transparent overlay images... see that I'm giving them the names they need to
fit into my Starter Set of custom overlays. I've been leaving it installed in
Movie Maker and storing the originals of the project-specific ones in with the
other project specific files. The file named Tree-50 was an experiment that
didn't work... I'll delete it.
PSD - a
Photoshop file from Bernadette... the scroll used in the opening image
overlay... Overlay1 was made from it... note that IrfanView can view
WAV - the
sound track for the video, ripped from the video by TMPGEnc... I experimented
with 'enhancing' it with Audacity, but ran out of time before I made it good
enough to substitute for the original audio track.
WMA - audio
tracks ripped from video segments using Movie Maker... to use for the video
when muting the clips on the video track... the sound from one of them is
used through the whole piece, and I took no steps to lip-sync
or instrument-sync the audio to the video, as you may have noticed if
you're perceptive about things like that.
WMV - The
first one listed is the online video, the Crèche-widescreen is the Photo Story
from the crèche picture, the larger high quality one is a DVD quality
version of the video that is ready to go to MyDVD if I want it on a
DVD, and the last one 'HolidayLights' is an unedited extract of a segment at
Rockefeller Center, used for a forum post.
GB of files at this point. When I clean up the folder in a week, month, or when
I need the space... I'll keep any of the overlay images that have possible
future use, and the high quality WMV file for DVD use, or to render other online
copies from if I need them.
Have a great week...