Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

The Amateur Videography Jamboree

Imagine a video of this critter in action...

Imagine a video of this little guy in action…

So I hired one of my former students, an audiography major with some video training, to help create the video application for the $20,000 business grant I imagine the Boob Book might be eligible for. He came over and recorded interviews of a couple women who have had encounters with breast cancer (one has recently learned she has a recurrence), and then went off to work on the results.

The plan was for him to come back and record me doing my pitch. However, knowing the kid has a full-time job (40 hours a week, can you imagine? horrors!), I figured it would be hard for him to squeeze in another recording session and do the editing job he’d set for himself in his spare time. To help out, I decided to use the Mac’s considerable video recording capacities to record my 90-second blabfest, and then he could splice what he has into that.

Well. The first effort was OK but not great.

Next thing I know, Connie the 18-Wheeler is in the offing. She’s in town for a couple of weeks, and she offered to use her iPhone to try to record a better rendition.

This was really pretty awesome. I can not, for the life of me, memorize 90 seconds worth of spiel anymore. Back in the day, when I was a young pup, I had a photographic memory. In high school and college, all I had to do was go over class notes and textbook copy a couple of times, and it was seared into my brain like so many PDFs. Literally, on a quiz or mid-term, I could see the page in my mind, right down to the page number. To answer a question, all I had to do was call up the page and read it. Cheating, no doubt…but it did work to extract a Phi Beta Kappa key and a $30,000 graduate school grant. 😉

That skill now gone with the proverbial wind, Connie decided we should record just a few sentences at a time. Since the pitch is very short, any given paragraph consisted about two or three utterances. Her idea was to move the camera angle back and forth for each new statement — there were five of them, by the time we broke the last graf in two.

Not a bad idea: it turned out that I can memorize three or four sentences, if asked to regurgitate them within seconds after going over them a dozen times. She also coached me in speaking as though I were speaking rather than reading from mental PDFs.


iMovie logo. Copyright Apple Corp. Fair use claim: Illustrate and identify the software under discussion.

The result was five clips with lag time at the beginning and end of each. Putting those together in a sane way required me to learn to use iMovie.

At first it looked TOTALLY overwhelming. But thanks to the Tyro’s Treasure Chest That Is the Internet, I managed to identify and find guides to the tasks that needed to be done: trim out the blank spaces at the beginnings and ends of each clip, blend the clips together, add a title at the front and a list of our contractors at the end (by way of making it look like we’re a real entity…we are, but we’re pretty ghostly), and even add transitions between the clips to lend a little logic to the shifts of angle. Since we’re a publishing and editorial company, I used page-turn transitions.

The result is certainly not professional, but neither is it awful. By the deadline, we should have something acceptable to submit to the contest.

And…my but that was enlightening.

The Mac comes with some surprisingly sophisticated software. There are two video programs in this thing, both of which can  be used to edit videos. It looks like iMovie can do a lot of stuff, such as add a sound track (music!) in the background and do a number of special effects. I think. With some practice and exploring, one could have a lot of fun with this stuff.

And create all sorts of marketing videos, eh?

What would you think of some cooking videos? Shorties, they’d have to be…but something simple would be easy to record with an iPad or iPhone and a couple of tripods. I could post them on YouTube and embed them on FaM pages, or on the P&S Press blog. Or both, for that matter, since embedding a video is not the same as typing identical copy into two posts. Hm.

And what if I did readings from Fire-Rider? Would you sit through that? Or how about a reading from one of the many essays I wrote during about my mis-spent youth? Or gosh…maybe even the poem that Puerto del Sol published…? Classic hikes in Arizona? Heh…would you watch one or more videos of a hike down the North Rim of the Grand Canyon? That’s something to see, for sure.

Would you be interested in watching stuff like that? Would you find it more interesting than a written blog post? Less interesting? The same?

Anna’s Hummingbird: Wikipedia, PaloAltoNorvig, Creative Commons.

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Author: funny

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  1. You are such an interesting writer, I wouldn’t want the written blog to disappear completely, but I am curious about seeing what your videos would be like. Maybe you could have a Youtube channel? Anyway, post some so we can check ’em out. Start with whatever video you think turned out really well.

    • Well, I’m a writer, not a movie-maker. 😀 Also, I’m weirdly unphotogenic. Apparently it’s not just ME who thinks I look an awful lot better in real life than I do on film — photo images of me will scare small children and cats.

      One of my friends, the photo editor of Arizona Highways and a photographer of many, many years’ experience, insisted I was being silly about this issue and took up the challenge to create a really good professional photo of me.


      After much labor he came back and said, mournfully, “I just don’t understand it!” 😀

      So I’m inclined to spend as little time as possible in front of a camera.

      I do have a YouTube channel, where I used to store videos for my online students before we had Canvas. When YouTube was engrossed by Google, I think that channel either went away or became inaccessible to me. I guess I’d have to create a new “channel” there or maybe take up Vimeo, which I understand is now more user-friendly than YouTube.

      It might be fun, though, to record an occasional how-to video — if only my hands were visible, the result might not be so frightful. And it would add something to the blogging empire. I guess.