Washington Apple Pi

A Community of Apple iPad, iPhone and Mac Users

March 2008 Retired SIG: Let's Make a Movie

By Len Alder

On March 27, 2008, ten members of the Retired SIG and two visitors who had read about the meeting on the Pi W eb site met to learn how they could better make movies using iMovie and QuickTime on their Mac. Visitors Jerry and Rita Chiapetta (from Laurel,MD) had the most experience with video -- Jerry is a former ABC News cameraman and both he and Rita have used Macs since 1968 -- although neither one of them had done video on their Mac.

Paul Silverman, a serious moviemaker who has used iMovie in producing movies of his overseas travels, came to assist in the presentation. He showed us how to navigate when laying out movie shots to easily make little edits that used to be very difficult. Remember when film edits had to be made by cutting frames out of a roll? Now they can be done with a few clicks, and then restored if you change your mind!

Three members talked briefly on camera about their experience with movie-making for a minute or two. Then we transferred these scenes to the hard drive’s iMovie 6 program, and the editing began. The f irst scene on the Canon digital camcorder (Model A75) is an establishing shot, showing the street view of our Apple Pi building in Rockville, where we meet. The next shot, also outside, made a few minutes before the meeting began, is of member Chuck Sprague walking into the clubhouse, saying, “I’m going to the Retired SIG meeting.” Within an hour, we had constructed a basic movie with the Canon digital camcorder and our Mac laptop for editing and enhancing.

Can short movies come out of a still digital camera? Nearly everyone at the Retired SIG owns one of them now, and a movie created on a digital camera meets the popular value of a television commercial: short, brief, and unusual. Don Fortnum had made a few movies of our meeting using his still digital camera. He uploaded them to the laptop/projector system, having taken the memory card out and installed it in a portable card reader. Each short movie was only 5 seconds long, they were still rather than showing action, and lacked audio. We’re still not sure why that was , but will do a follow up in the next meeting to try and figure it out.

Knowing how to use the technology available for making short, simple movies is an incentive to have fun with moviemaking. A simple idea, a short movie, when finished and burned to a DVD, can be distributed easily to many who will cherish it as time goes by. The Retired SIG member has a special role in the family of working to preserve family memories for posterity.  Now we can use our Apple products to capture those special moments in the media available to the Mac user, so even if the memories fade over time, we can still see and remember those special moments.  And all thanks to our Macs.