Saturday, November 22, 2008

No on 8 Rally Video Montage

At a No on Prop 8 Rally on Nov 9, '08 that Terri and I attended, I brought a video camera. The area around the main speakers was too crowded to get very close to, but there was a ton of other things going on. Then I noticed the amazing array of home made signs and the real story started to emerge for me. This was much more than a carefully scripted event, this was a whole group of people who felt deeply wronged by society and who were really pissed off about it.

I started video taping all the signs I ran into and wound up with 130 or so (I've lost count). All showing an amazing amount of creativity, and initiative. And they wanted to be heard. They wanted to be filmed. While filming, I nearly fell over a little girl who wanted me to see her "I Love My Moms" sign. I was totally charmed, and on the spot, I made the decision to make a finished video. (She and her sign and her mom's are in the video). I hope they get to see it. Unfortunately, I don't know who they are.

I started out by turning all the signs into 3 second still frames and that was pretty cool in and of itself, but it really needed audio. I thought about just using some music, but discarded that idea as getting the rights to any music that would have the impact I wanted would be too expensive.

Then I had one of those "Duuuuh, you idiot, use the audio of the rally, use the chants, use sound bites." So I got to comb back through the raw footage to find audio clips that helped give the impression of what it was like to be there.

Then the iMovie wrestling match began in earnest. I have a buggy, out of date, copy of iMovie 6. I didn't know it was buggy until I started working with the audio. In iMovie, you take a video clip and if you want to mess with the audio, you "extract" it so you can work with it separately. That part works great. The part that is buggy is when you copy and paste an audio clip, the clip appears to disappear, but it's actually been pasted somewhere else on the audio clip sequence (sometimes even underneath another clip) and I had to go find it. This was complete crazy making, but there wasn't time to get an updated copy from eBay and I didn't want to fork over $100.00 for a retail copy (plus I'd have to learn a whole new interface), so I coped by memorizing the audio clip name and did a lot of hunting around. I got pretty good at it, and things started to come together over a week and a half.

The cool thing about video editing especially when you're working with adding audio is that it's very reinforcing. You get immediate feedback on whether your addition worked, and every good addition seemed to make the images more compelling. iMovie allows for two audio tracks, so I could layer audio also. Pretty cool, but I think I am going to upgrade the software though I'm already really over-stressing my Mac Mini and if I got a new computer then it would come with iLife which contains iMovie et al. Funny how you can talk yourself into spending a lot of money this way. Oh and I want a better video camera too.

At some point in time, I recover my senses, and remember that my big goal for the winter is to become a really good skiier. That's going to be expensive enough and I find it ironic that I'm interested in a hobby (videography) that make pricey things like skiing look cheap. Maybe I should take up flying next. (My brother is a pilot and I've actually had a couple of lessons, but I don't love it enough to give up everything just to be able to fly.)

Anyway, last night at 1:30AM I finished the video and this morning I uploaded the video to You Tube. And here is the link:

It's only been hours and it's already having an impact. That's cool. My timing turned out to be good as there was another rally at the State Capitol today.

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