Tuesday in August 2002 (actually August 6)
We just finished our second day at camp and I have learned many things. Some will cost you money.
The first day was not the best for me. The morning was note taking and compiling a reading list of all the books our instructor Pat brought for us to browse while our projects rendered. We had lunch and I was ready to accomplish great things. But first I borrowed photos from Pat (night shots of the streets of New York during her trip to MacWorld last year) since I hadn't brought any work of my own. We were to construct a slide show using iPhoto. When I finally got to put theory to practice my machine kept freezing on the third slide. It was also an enhanced computer trouble experience because the reboot button also kept jamming and had to be dug out of the case with a fingernail. I got very good at that by the end of the day.
I accomplished nothing while almost all those around me had great little slide shows running. Great little slide shows with music that comes with the program. Great little slide shows with music borrowed from CDs. I tried to view the successes of my fellow campers and not harbor any ill will towards them as they accomplished what I could not. I was partially successful at that.
I never got a chance to browse the books or stare at my screen in a hypnotic trance (at least not the first day). Paige (a fellow camper) was also experiencing problems similar to mine but minus the button thing. Other people's misery has never brought me any comfort at all so I hoped that for both of us the next day would be better.
The next day was much better, the weather was even great. It is hard to believe that Monday I could have baked cookies in my car and Tuesday It was as if autumn was in the air. I like weather when it allows me to wear long sleeves and a hat. Pat moved around machines for both Paige and I so I was able to practice, practice, practice. At one point I had so many programs open I did run out of memory but experienced no crashes. My notes are much better on the first day since I was sitting around but the second day was a lot more fun.
When I arrived everyone was viewing DVDs done by our more experienced attendees. Deb brought a DVD of her grandchildren playing in the leaves. It was great. Than we watched a family archive DVD with several films on it done by Chuck. Pat showed us one that she had done when she was at MacWorld in San Francisco, it also had several movies on one DVD. The movies are not about MacWorld but activities that she and her family were involved in while in the city, like going to the aquarium and the Maurice Sendak Museum. There was a very engaging piece on how to jump on a bed&emdash; actually jumping from one bed to another&emdash; which looked like a possible hospital visit considering the size of the demonstrator and the space between the two pieces of furniture. We than got to see what Teen Summer Camp did. Our project needs to be if not better at least as good. I feel a little overwhelmed since by that point I had only managed to get to picture three in my slide show in iPhoto. Yeah right Pat as good as the teens. It was finally time to get to work but first lunch. I like being with a group that believes in food.
The first thing we learned on our second day was how to steal music from the Internet. Napster may be gone but now Limewire is out there ready to aid and abet. My new knowledge will surely impress my nine-year-old niece Storm and probably appall her Grandfather. This lesson was a great sequel to the day before when we learned how to steal music from a CD. I downloaded some really odd stuff and the music industry may be correct in believing this could hurt business in a try before you never buy scenario.
We were to use iMovie but I didn't make great strides with it because I needed to do stuff to my files first. Two programs that I had only been able to witness others using the day before- Photoshop Elements and Graphic Converter 4.x&endash; were put to work on the first photos from my digital camera.
The photos were taken in very low (almost no) light situation at a May Day Eve celebration. This was a dance where some are outfitted in outrageous costumes and most of the participants danced till dawn. As a matter of fact the attendees seemed genuinely concerned with my welfare do to my preference to photograph events rather than take part in them. I took lots of shots and got some great compositions but most were too dark to see or flat. Even the photos with the woman in the white dress (great to bounce the flash off of) were uneven quality, she looked good but the rest of the scene suffered at times.
I have not used Graphic Converter in years but it quickly added viewable headers to my jpegs. I than- after first importing it into iMovie went back to Graphic Converter and rotated the images. Rotation occurs without opening the file- big big time saver. I gotta get me this program again and it is a not a to expensive shareware. I think the book on how to use it is higher cost than the shareware fee.
I than switched to Photoshop Elements, which I didn't even know, existed until the day before camp. I had called Adobe to upgrade my Adobe essentials: Photoshop, Illustrator and Acrobat and they asked if I wanted Elements. I said no since I didn't have a clue what they were talking about. The next day in camp I found out what it was/is- a Photoshop lite that accomplishes very specific tasks that people need to do. It has a nifty filter that I love (a very strong sentiment from me concerning software) called fill flash. The software can illuminate all those photos that were dark because my flash hadn't reset. I corrected several pictures and cropped to size. Most of this work was done in the last hour and a half of the day.
A couple of people in the class are experienced iMovie users so I learned from them while spying over their shoulder some of the time. You can tell when a class is successful because we went a half hour over and my fellow campers didn't notice or were afraid to mention the fact because they were not ready to leave for the day.
There are seven of us in the class plus our instructor, three men and four women. The range of experience is wide. Our video lighting instructor/guest speaker can't come until Thursday since he is on assignment. We all hope he doesn't get any work for Thursday, which is a little mean spirited on our parts.
We were told to get some video footage for tomorrow and as the only camper without a video camera the instructor took pity (again) and was going to loan me one of her video cameras. Chuck (a camper who is a fugitive from the law, an x-lawyer but still a nice guy) was kind enough to let me borrow one of his cameras. I wouldn't let him leave without basic instructions since this is only the second time I have ever videoed anything. The first time you may recall was when I borrowed your cameras to tape the fire burning at Page Hines hearth in Baltimore. I love that tape- I play it during cool weather when I read.
Chuck asked me if I had any little ones and I said no but I do have a dog. He advised me to film the dog which is what I did after I left class. Well that is enough for now. I'll let you know about the last days of camp latter.
Take care and stay in focus,
P.S. Buying your grandchildren a first generation iMac to use with iMovie is probably fraught with peril. I realize that anytime you ask my advice and guidance about machine purchases we quickly get to the point that you will need to spend more money than any of your other advisors say you need to spend. In my own defense I ask how well (in years and reliability) has the front end (the Mac) for your Media 100 served your business? iMovie runs on 9.2 but things like iPhoto (I believe) will run only with OS X and the newer versions of iMovie will probably prefer OS X as well. OS X needs lots of horsepower, which means an older cheaper machine is probably not the best solution.