December 29th, 2007


iMovie and Handbrake

I've been fiddling with things over the break, during the quiet times at my parents' place. Specifically, with iMovie and Handbrake.

iMovie is Apple's bundled movie editor, and I quite like it. Almost exclusively, I'd just used it to take footage from the phone, trim it down to the clips I wanted, and then re-format it for streaming from the web. But we have Plans in the fencing group (specifically, we'd like to produce an ad, in style of this clip), and that'll need a little more. So I spent time exploring the various corners of the application. I've got a reasonable idea of how to produce all the things I want to do, with a combination of cuts, transitions, captions, and maybe even some effects.

On the other hand, there are some things I'd like to do that iMovie doesn't seem to support (such as old-time silent-movie-style captions, or capturing a frame and swirling/zooming out to a polaroid). But more importantly, I've been running into a couple of bugs:
  1. It's started having a wide border around the video, in the editing frame, where random portions of frame are flickering. It hasn't done this before, and that's slightly disturbing. It might be a different camera setting, but it looks like either boundary errors or bad mallocs or something like that. And it's really off-putting. Luckily, it doesn't seem to make it into the final mixed-down footage.
  2. iMovie can apply effects to footage, such as making them look like photo negatives, or old-fashioned scratched film, etc. For the ones I'm interested it, when I've tried applying them, it's also applied the negative filter, which produces a horrible effect. Maybe this is just me being baffled by the user interface. I dunno.
It also completely chokes my poor 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo when applying the effects rendering, chugging away for minutes at a time. Oh well. Anyway, I'm hoping it'll do the job. And I have a shooting script. Just need to arrange for the necessary actors (I'm talking to you, mikeymookeymoo) for filming the scenes...

Handbrake was recommended by cobrabay, as a means of getting things off my DVDs and onto my phone, for watching there. I installed it a few weeks ago, shortly after said recommendation, but I hadn't had a chance to play with it. Tried it out at Christmas (strangely, there were new DVDs lying around as candidates...). It manages the first part, in that it can rip a movie or series of episodes off the DVD, and they'll play happily on the Mac, though it did take hours. Getting them to the phone has proved more problematic - Nokia's got its own Media Transfer utility, which furtles through iTunes and fetches whatever's in a particular playlist. So I added a movie to that (mixed down to "Hi-Res iPod", IIRC), and set it going. An hour later, the Mac still sounded like it was doing an excellent impersonation of a hovercraft, and the progress bar reckoned on another five hours....

Think I'll try again later, with a single episode of something....

Mind you, I got a couple more microSD cards for Christmas, so at least now I can experiment with dumping stuff onto the phone without having to clear out all the music first. Hurrah.