RH: ROBERT's ALMOST-COMPLETE ARCHIVE OF WORKS..... My other blog is "I came, I saw, I solved it" at http://i-came-i-saw-i-solved-it.blogspot.com/.......... Robert Ho REQUEST FOR STATEMENTS at http://roberthorequestforstatements.blogspot.com/2011/01/robert-ho-request-for-statements.html


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My archive of works is at http://i-came-i-saw-i-wrote-it.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 28, 2009

Making home movies is this easy:

You can make a Seelan PALAY-type movie very easily using free softwares downloaded from the internet and googling for "xxx tutorials" or "xxx video tutorials" if you prefer to learn from videos -- plus reading the Help if you get stuck.

1. To begin in a general way, here is a List of open source software packages From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. These cover many business, professional as well as home users: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_open_source_software_packages

2. Here is a source I trust and use often, because download.com not only lists a huge selection of free programs but also descriptions, sometimes Editor Reviews plus Users Feedback and Reviews and most importantly, Ratings and How Many Times It Has Been Downloaded : http://download.cnet.com/windows/

3. Of course, you can also google for a specific kind of free software such as "free video editing software" and patiently go through the search results. If you do google for free software, try to read some forum comments on it before downloading in case there are problems with the software. Here are search results for "free software": http://www.google.com.sg/search?q=free+software&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a

4. Now to come to my slight experiences making little home videos. Among the best and easiest to use programs is Windows Movie Maker [WMM], available as part of your Windows XP or Vista operating system. If you don't have it, download from: http://www.google.com.sg/search?q=windows+movie+maker+download&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a . You can also download the free, better, Windows Live Movie Maker [for Vista and Windows 7 only] here: http://windowslive.com/desktop/moviemaker

5. If you do need help with WMM, google for "WMM tutorials": http://www.google.com.sg/search?q=windows+movie+maker+tutorials&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a

6. If you want ONLY video tutorials, then "WMM video tutorials": http://www.google.com.sg/search?q=windows+movie+maker+video+tutorials&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a

7. If you are new to video making, I suggest you start with WMM. It is easy to learn and powerful enough. You can drag and drop [import] video clips and even photos into the program to form the video part. You can also drag and drop .wav, .mp3 music as well as sound effects [a good free source is SoundSnap at http://www.soundsnap.com/ ], etc, into the program and edit them all by clicking on each video or audio item and sliding its arrows left or right to shorten or lengthen it, etc. Or Copy, Cut and Paste video or audio items. [To delete a segment of video, Split the Segment in 1 or 2 places, select the part you want to cut and Delete].

8. You may find that WMM does not allow much audio mixing, like mixing a narrator's voice on top with softer music below his voice, on a second track. So, a good audio editing or mixing software like Audacity will help: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

9. You may encounter problems with the many different video as well as audio formats such as .avi, .mpeg, .xvid, etc for video and .wav, .mp3, etc for audio. So, to convert from one format to another, use Format Factory, which also converts photo formats: http://www.formatoz.com/

10. One problem with WMM is that it has no [as far as my slight experience knows] Reverse Motion feature so that you can make a man in your video walk backwards, for example, even in fast motion or slow motion. So I downloaded TrakAx: http://www.trakax.com/

11. Like another user who posted feedback, I could not install after downloading TrakAx, so I cleaned up my Windows, Applications and Registry [back up first so you can restore the deleted Registry files if your pc does not work properly after deleting] and I could then install without problems. Download Ccleaner here: http://www.ccleaner.com/

12. My son brought back his graduation ceremony DVD so I copied the .vob file and used Format Factory to convert it into .avi so that I could import this .avi file of 29 minutes into TrakAx, after discovering like another user that if I tried to import the whole 29 min file in .wmv format, part of it is not imported. Importing the file in .avi format worked fine. A minor bug they will soon fix.

13. At first, I imported the file into WMM and edited it, adding titles [text] and deleting big chunks of it. Then, when I tried to Save Movie, that is, finish it by saving it into .wmv format, it kept stopping at around the 9% mark. I finally remembered that when I edit/delete big chunks of the file, WMM does not in realtime delete any part of it. WMM sort of 'remembers' that certain parts are to be deleted but does not do so. The whole thing remains 29 min big file. So, when I tried to finish [Save Movie], my pc could not cope. I am using a cheap pc [my expensive S$2,500 pc illegally confiscated by police] with specifications that are basically that of a netbook. This means that if you are using TrakAx -- or WMM with smaller files, a cheap, less than S$600 netbook is good enough even for video editing, as well as all other normal uses like net surfing and email [but not powerful enough for demanding graphics-intensive games]. You don't need a supercharged speed demon with huge capacity in ram and super video card. Apparently, TrakAx does cut out chunks that I want and even save the whole finished movie without overloading my pc. My pc is an S$800 ASUS Eee Top, basically a netbook [but with touchscreen], running on Windows XP Home. If, like me, you are too lazy to learn TrakAx, use it just for making certain video segments like the reverse motion I did for my son on stage [so I could repeat his brief stage walk 3 times] then save [or "Render" it in TrakAx lingo] this segment and then import it back into WMM for the rest of your editing. This can make your work easier until you master TrakAx. You can of course, also make segments in WMM and finish off in TrakAx.

14. So, all you aspiring Seelan PALAYs out there, do try making a video using video clips from a camera or cellphone plus photos from the internet or your own shots, mixed to a soundtrack of your favourite .mp3 song or music, plus maybe some sound effects from Soundsnap all audio-mixed in Audacity. It's all far easier than you can imagine. Better and better technology and softwares have made everything so much easier.

15. You may sometimes find that you need to teach someone or a kid some procedure that is happening on your pc, so here is a screen capture program that captures your pc screen even while you are moving your mouse or doing some operations. In effect, you are making a video tutorial with this CamStudio. I have attached a short demo : http://sourceforge.net/projects/camstudio/

16. When you start making videos, you will find that you may need to download some .flv [flash] video or audio segments from YouTube or other internet videos for use in your own video. If you are using the free FireFox browser, then download this free Net Video Hunter: http://netvideohunter.com/

17. To play back the .flv or flash videos, you can either download some free flash player or download this K-Lite Codec Pack which will turn your Windows Media Player [part of Windows] into a player that will play practically ALL media files formats, which it doesn't do currently without:

18. Thus, with para 16 and 17, you will be able to download almost any video on the internet, play it back on your Windows Media Player enhanced with K-Lite Codecs, convert it using Format Factory, import it into Windows Movie Maker or TrakAx and do your own magic. There are of course, copyright restrictions on how much of a video or audio you can use, so try not to use the entire thing but judiciously.

19. There may be times when you want to do a little sequence of one face morphing into another and even into a third face or fourth face, etc, or all together into one composite, then add this to your video. You can do this morph in a matter of minutes and save the result as a video .avi file -- or animated .gif if you want to put this animation on a website. Moving images are a lot more eye-catching than still photos. A good free recent software, Squirlz Morph, makes this very easy: http://www.xiberpix.net/SqirlzMorph.html

20. A very powerful image or photo editing software is Gimp2, so powerful that like me, you'd probably need to watch lots of YouTube Gimp2 tutorials to learn its many, many features or spend quite some time reading its Help. However, some of its features are very easy, done with just a few clicks, like the Pinnochio Lee Kuan Yew photo I attached above. This was done using the Gimp2 Iwarp feature, which can be found under the Filters menu --> Distorts --> Iwarp. I simply chose Iwarp's Grow function, set the growth to max but radius to min so that only his nose grows and not any other part of the face near the nose, clicked and dragged and voila! LIE KY the congenital liar. If you want Gimp2, here is the download url: http://www.gimp.org/downloads/ . If you want a Video effects plug-in for your Gimp2, download the big file from: ftp://ftp.gimp.org/pub/gimp/plug-ins/v2.6/gap/ . But you will also need the installer file to install this plug-in. So get this Gimp2.6 installer file from: http://www.box.net/shared/e9i2rgyn9t . Incidentally, once you have installed this additional plug-in, your additional new Video menu also gives you Morphing functions but these are not as easy as Squirlz.

21. With all these free softwares described above, and with free tutorials and video tutorials to help, anybody can make a video as good as the one Seelan PALAY made. If you write well, then write a good script and have it read by a good voice into Audacity, for example, with music under, for example. If you don't write so well, then use music as your main soundtrack throughout, with titles [text] written and animated in Windows Movie Maker, now and then throughout your video. WMM allows you to animate your text so it moves, just like a little video in itself.

21. The revolution started with blogs, which at first were just words online. Now, few blogs are without photos. Soon, videos will be as common. This is progress. This is the great story of mankind and no evil dictator can stop it.

22. I have just discovered another must-have Add-On for my FireFox browser -- VideoSurf Add-On. We all experience the problem of not knowing what a video is about until we click on it to start playing, then watch the entire video before we discover whether it was worth watching. It would be wonderful if, before we even clicked on it, we could see a series of thumbnail pics of the video to decide if we want to watch it. VideoSurf does exactly that, giving you a series of snapshot pics of the video so you get a good idea of what the video shows. You can even click on a thumbnail to jump to that scene in the video. To download: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/10218

23. You will discover that playing back your home-made movies on your pc is not enough. You will want to play it back on your big-screen tv. So, download this DVD Flick dvd-authoring software from: http://www.dvdflick.net/download.php . Remember to choose DVD PAL system if your tv and dvd player are PAL. You will also need a DVD burner optical drive on your pc, or an external one plugged into your pc usb port. Plus of course, some DVD-R blank discs.

24. If you want to convert videos from one format to another in HD, this iWisoft Video Converter freeware is pretty good: http://www.easy-video-converter.com/

25. I have made a 7min beginners' guide to making Home Movies, using the softwares and resources above as well as the internet. To watch this YouTube video
"RH beginners Home Movies tutorial Windows Movie Maker, TrakAx" :

To embed into your website :