On Motion Pictures

I have a fairly sizeable collection of video clips from our trip to New Zealand, which one day I hope to assemble into something which might be worthy of the term film.

My first observation is that while holiday photographs need a nominal amount of sorting and post-processing before being displayed, video is much more demanding of time, effort, and computing power. Having struggled to get to grips with previous incarnations, Apple’s iMovie 09 has been fantastic: arranging clips through drag and drop is very natural and when a “drop” is ambiguous it pops up a short menu of options. Cropping, rotating and reversing clips is simple and speedy (admittedly this is a borrowed MacBook Pro rather than my own wimpier and older MacBook). At first I was wary of the themes but the strong visual style makes it easy to decorate the film in an attractive way.

My second observation is that next time we capture videos there are some basic rules we can follow to make the post-processing a lot easier!

  • Set the scene with a strong opening shot. For example, when capturing a ferry crossing, start the clip with the shot of the ferry’s funnel instead of panning onto it at the end (the aforementioned “reverse clip” feature has rescued at least one such clip which ended where it should have started).
  • Keep the panoramas to a minimum: the vista may be beautiful but try to capture something a photograph cannot, such as the motion of waves lapping/pounding a shoreline.
  • Leading on from the previous point, sound is important. The camera records audio as well as video, so even if there is little or no action the sound can bring interest to a clip.

To thank you for reading this far, while I have not finished my masterpiece film of our entire three week trip, I did make a short trailer featuring just the footage from our dolphin encounter in Kaikoura.