Friday, July 23, 2010


One of the best things about blogging is that you can turn even unpleasant experiences into content!

For the last two days I have been struggling to make a trailer for my upcoming release Fire in the Blood. For my last major release, I paid to have a trailer made. It wasn't all that expensive, but I was surprised to discover that I ended up doing most of the work. I wrote the script, located the images, found the music. I reviewed at least five drafts of the one and a half minute video, making detailed suggestions about everything from font to timing. The only thing I didn't do was actually use a movie-maker tool to construct the video itself.

So for this release, I decided I'd try to do it myself. How hard could it be? One of my fellow authors, Kris Norris, has raved about Apple iMovie as a platform for composing videos. Her own trailers are fantastic. (I call her the Trailer Queen!) As it happens, I have a Macbook that my company bought several years ago for a project that never materialized. Normally I use Linux and occasionally Windows, but I figured I'd give iMovie a try.

I'm pretty smart. I mean, I have two masters degrees and a PhD. And I make my living developing software. But I'm almost ready to admit defeat.

As is normal for computer people, I started up the program without looking at any kind of manual. I was confident that I could figure it out. I clicked and dragged and fussed and fumed and got absolutely nowhere with the simplest task (importing my images).

Okay. I gave in and decided to see if there was any documentation. I found a thirty page introduction and tutorial and sure enough, there was the information that I had to put my images into iPhoto first, before I could use them in iMovie. Huh? Well,that was a bit strange, but iPhoto was straightforward.

So. I got my images. I figured out (by frequent consultation of the tutorial) how to drag them onto the time line and set the duration. Great! Now I needed to add the titles.

Back to the manual. I found the right tab for creating titles. Gee, they looked great, flying around, in any color or font that I wanted...Now if I only I could get them to attach themselves to my images...

Then when I'd figured that out, the titles started spontaneously spreading themselves out over multiple images. I had a theory as to why, but I couldn't figure out how to undo the effect. I had to start a brand new project, repeating all my earlier steps...

Then the program crashed.

Didn't someone say that the Macintosh was easy?

I was pretty close to tears. I'm not used to being thwarted by computers. However, I'm planning to take a break and give it another try tomorrow. I've sent friend Kris some questions--perhaps she can explain some of the more arcane aspects of the software. Even she admits that iMovie "has a long learning curve".

I do hope the curve's not too steep. My release is in three weeks!

Thanks for letting me vent. That's another advantage of having one's own blog!


Anita Davison said...

Lisabet I feel your pain! We have two Mac users in my house who swear they are far superior to any low rent computer - but these same souls have had to send their desktop and Macbooks back for repair, replaced them once each in three years and have software conflicts that leave them red in the face
Yet they will never give up on macs and laugh at me and my humble Sony Vaio that has never let me down. Good luck with the release.

BrennaLyons said...

Personally, if you usually use Windows anyway, use Movie Maker. I taught my kids (at ages 8-13) to make trailers in that program, and they have been successfully doing it for school projects and fun...yes FUN...for three years now. I go one step further and make the video in Animation Shop 3 then take that and the music into Movie Maker, but Movie Maker alone will work. Mine are simplistic, without a lot of effects, but I am getting into the effects more now and learning how to use them.

I use Mac at the schools, but to be honest, I've never really liked their video programs.


Victoria Janssen said...

One of the best things about blogging is that you can turn even unpleasant experiences into content!


Aurora Black said...

I'm sorry about the trouble you're having, Lisabet. Windows Movie Maker may produce slightly crude results (I've made 5 videos with it), but it's effective.

Cate Masters said...

Windows Movie Maker's pretty intuitive, but unfortunately it doesn't come bundled on newer PCs. I think you can download something like it though, if you don't already have it on your computer. Sorry to hear imovie's giving you such trouble! It might be worth it to learn, though, if it has great features. Let us know how you make out!

Patricia K said...

I wouldn't be able to do that

desitheblonde said...

hey i think my comapq has mind of his own she keep going out the guy think the pic i have on of the ghost want to get off ha ha i took ghost pic in nasvhille at the grand o oprey

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, all!

Thanks for your comments and sympathy ;^)

I don't use Windows anymore except for dealing with edits of my books (OpenOffice just doesn't handle Word change tracking correctly). I use Linux almost all the time. I have a Windows virtual machine but I definitely don't want to download something new from Microsoft!

Anyway, I plan to persevere!


Mary McCall said...

I'm such a technodunce, I wouldn't have even tried it. But I'm pushing for a new diagnostic code: Author Promotion Anxiety. The code should be 666.0x.

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