Making Home Videos


Well, been laboring away for a week on this. It has never been easier with iPhoto, iMovie and iDVD to do this. Remarkable really. Here are some notes:

  1. Import the movie with iMovie, it supports lots and lots of formats. Only bummer is that older camcorders need Firewire. You have to either find a Firewire to USB adapter which is pretty expensive at $119. If you hve a MacBook Pro, you can get a $15 FireWire to CardBus adapter.
  2. iMovie makes it easy to take any iPhoto collection and then when you drag it, it makes a slideshow. Usually, the Ken Burns effect is on and isn’t right, so you have tweak that particularly for portrait
  3. Adding a soundtrack isn’t super well documented. You create a playlist with iTunes, iMovie can see it, but if you drag it to the background, it is background, if you drag the sound to a clip, then it is tied to the clip. There are a bunch of parameters for “ducking” which means turning down one sound track for another.
  4. iMovie has a strange way of saving projects. First, when you import, it puts it in a magic directory in your Home directory called ~/Movies/iMovie Events. This is where all the raw video is kept. iMovie is wonderful because all edits are non-destructive, you can always get back to your original clips. The edit data is actually stored in ~/Movies/iMovie Projects.
  5. If you want to make a backup, iMovie doesn’t have any Save As. Instead, you have to choose File/Duplicate Projects and then click on the name to rename it. By default, it adds, “1, 2, 3…” to the end everytime you do this so that works.
  6. When it is time to export, there are million different ways. The easiest is Share to iTunes which makes a nice compressed. m4v file. If you want to create a DVD and it is only one moive, then choose Send to iDVD. If you have lots of clips, don’t do that. Instead, you have to save to something called Media Browser which is a shared space that iDVD has for putting lots of clips in.
  7. When you start iDVD, you get a them, then you can browse through Media and you should see your movies there. To put a button on to start the movie, just drag and drop the movie onto the main menu on the left. It is that easy.
  8. If you are making lots of copies, you want to tell iDVD to make an image file. This is called a .iso and is just the flat version of the DVD. Then you use Disk Utility (how unintuitive, it feels like the thing that is for looking at hard drive repair), but it also lets you File/Open Image and then from there, you can burn DVDs to your hearts content.

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