Thursday, March 17, 2011

Doing the Impossible

I had every intention of blogging yesterday. I really did. But I knew that it was going to be a tight squeeze, and it ended up falling off my radar.

Two days ago I had my wife's aunt send me an email. I could tell she was a bit nervous. A church group she is involved with are having a big event today and they asked someone to make them a presentation that had narration and all. The result they got from her wasn't what they were looking for, to say the least. The audio sounded tinny, the video cut people out, and there was much to be desired.

The email asked me if I could fix the audio on it. I asked what program the woman had used to record the thing, and I was told that it was Windows Movie Maker. Uh oh. I don't have access to that program, even though I have used it in the past. I now only own a Mac. I told her that I would give it a try, but that we would have to recreate it the best we could on my Mac. Tuesday night rolled around and I didn't hear from anyone, so I thought we were in the clear.

Needless to say, I was a bit surprised when I got a call from a number I didn't recognize Wednesday morning. It was the woman in charge of the event. She told me that she was wondering if she could have an hour of my time to fix whatever was wrong with the video. I told her that it would probably take a bit longer than an hour, but that I would see what I could do. She just wanted to make sure it would be done by 8:00 PM when she was meeting with someone to test it out on the big screen.

We picked up the stuff at noon yesterday on the way home from the mall. Munchkin needed a sweater to go with her Easter dress, and we had a coupon in the mail for ten bucks, so we found her one. After arriving home, I started Wifey recording the audio from the script. I've never done any sound editing, but after going through all the sound clips and having some internet search tutorials, I was able to split them up into different tracks in GarageBand and export them to iTunes so that they would be accessible from the iMovie. And as I looked at the time, I realized that three hours had already passed. Yikes!

The pictures were in a PowerPoint presentation, and when I went to open the file, PowerPoint kept freezing on me. I don't know why, but it must not have liked my Mac version. Wifey suggested that I open it in Keynote (the Mac version of PowerPoint), and that worked like a charm. Phew! I was able to export the individual slides as images and pull them into iMovie. Another half hour down.

Wifey jumped in and ended up fixing the Ken Burns' Effect (where the pictures zoom in or out a little bit to keep visual interest) for all the pictures. And another hour had flown by. ACK! It was now 4:30, and we still had to get all the sound files imported in the correct locations. Thankfully, it took a lot less time than expected. By 5:30, we had all the audio in the proper places (including background music), and levels mostly set.

We took a quick break for lunch, and then hopped right back into a preview and realized that we needed to adjust a few more audio levels, so we did. And then the rendering began. We had a finished product by 8:00.

The video is only 25 minutes long, but I was happy to report that it took us about 6 hours to complete the thing. While it isn't perfect, it is pretty good. They are coming to pick it up in about a half an hour, and I think they will be pleased.

I know I am.

I'm glad I could help out and do this. But it also made me realize how much I love doing something different. I wish I could find a job that let me use all my skills. I realize that there are people who are far more advanced than I in this movie-making stuff and audio editing, but I had a good time doing this yesterday. I didn't feel stressed, even when it was coming down to the deadline. I knew we could get it done, and I learned a bit on the way. It made me want to start recording music in GarageBand. So maybe I will. That way, I'll have something to add as background music in the video I want to create.

Boy, my list of things I want to do for this blog just keeps on getting longer...

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