[Warning: The following post is technology-filled and totally about me. I mean, even more about me than normal. Really. You’ve been warned.]
The beginning of 2009 has been almost completely about software for me. I am in the middle of editing the video for last month’s Gospel According to Scrooge. This is a time-consuming project for a couple of reasons.
We shot video from four cameras on two different nights (Sunday and Monday). That means there was 16 hours of video to import and work with. On top of that, I’m not experienced with video editing, nor with the editing software. Most of my video editing experience has come from the last few years of editing the Scrooge video.
During that experience I have been using Apple’s Final Cut software. Because of some software and operating system issues, I was forced to upgrade to the latest version, Final Cut Studio 2
. It’s very powerful software with many cool and wonderful features. That’s what makes software powerful – cool, easy-to-use features, that give great depth and complexity to what you can accomplish. It also means there is a lot to learn. So, I’m learning.
One of our choices this year in Scrooge was to use some pre-recorded video as part of the production. We used four different video segments this year: the opening montage, taking us from the opening titles to the opening song; the bedroom sequence, which shows Scrooge entering the bedroom, undressing, hearing the voice, then encountering Angel #1; the graveyard, with the Cratchit Family; and the final bedroom scene, where Scrooge discovers he is still alive. In order to accomplish some of the effects used in these segments, I used a trial version of Adobe After Effects CS4. After Effects is widely used by video professionals, but I had never used it. I quickly had to learn some key features in order to have the video ready for Scrooge. But, as I said, it was a trial version, so I had to purchase the full version in order to finish the edit of the DVD.
I ended up ordering Adobe Creative Suite 4 Production Premium, which includes After Effects. Again, it’s another powerful program with many wonderful features. More learning.
Both of these programs are more than one program. They are suites that include several programs, each with many parts and pieces.
With so much to learn, I’ve turned to a some internet sources for instruction and help. The first is MacBreak Studio, a podcast from Pixel Corps. These are short video podcasts that cover one specific feature for video producers in each show. Usually these are features specific to Final Cut Studio. Some of these shows originated in Pixel Corps’ original podcast, MacBreak.
Another great podcast is ChurchMediaDesign, or CMD, from the media guys at Watermark church from Grand Haven, Michigan. This is a phenomenal show that gives a lot of great how-to’s. (They also give some free resources to use in your own ministry.)
A third informative podcast (can you tell I love podcasts? It’s because they’re free!) is Creative Cow’s Creative Cow for Photoshop Video podcast. As the title says, it’s video help for Photoshop users.
After I wrote the previous paragraph, it got me thinking, so I searched iTunes and – duh – it turns out that Creative Cow has a range of podcasts covering the range of both Adobe and Apple products. I’ll have to check them out when I’m done posting this.
I’m also exploring Lynda.com. It has a tremendous amount of video tutorials on all of this software and more. Unfortunately, it’s not free. However, it’s not that expensive, and they have a trial period.
Although it’s not theologically correct, it does bring to mind something I often quote from my dad…
Live and learn.
Die and forget it all.
I hope to work on the first part…and delay the second part for awhile.
 Okay, not exactly 16 hours. One camera didn’t film the first act on Sunday. Very disappointing. But the import of the video was only the beginning. Two cameras shot in LP mode, which our JVC was unable to replay. I didn’t discover why until after I spent most of one day trying to use the JVC. Editing will mean going through all of the captured video frame-by-frame.
 When I say “upgrade” or “bought”, I mean that I did it on behalf of Faith Assembly. This software is more than I can personally afford. Although the upgrade to FC is cheaper than the full version, and, since I’m a homeschool dad, I can get the education version of CS4.
 And when I say “our choice”, I mean “my choice.” Yes, I asked the opinion of everyone in the leadership team of Scrooge, including Pastor Goss. Those that liked the result can thank them for their decision. But those that didn’t can blame me, since it really came down to me pushing this through. More on that later.