How I came to the Village

A belated video introduction to the Village philosopher for #prisoner106.

The process

This was a new one for me–it’s very simple, but I had never done a video that had both still images and moving video footage in it. Video is the one thing in #ds106 that I feel least adept at.

I used iMovie for this video. It was surprisingly difficult to figure out how to create a new “event.” Honestly, the way iMovie organizes things into movies, events and projects…I’m not sure I’ll ever get it all straight. I had to do a web search just to get a new event started. And now I can’t remember how I did it. Sigh.

After that, things were mostly easy:

1. I used the “down arrow ” sign to import media. Importing images, videos and audio all worked in the same way.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 9.43.30 AM

2. Then, when the media was in the top left window of iMovie (honestly, I don’t know what these areas are called), then I moved it down to the bottom, editing area. The music file just slotted right into the right place, and the images worked just like video–they were automatically set at a few seconds long, and with the “Ken Burns” effect.

3. I altered the Ken Burns on the images by clicking on the image in the bottom window, and it shows up on the top right window. Then I click on the little “crop” tool on the top right, and can adjust the Ken Burns effect on the image (or get rid of it).

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 9.46.02 AM

4. I recorded the voiceover in Audacity and imported it into iMovie–that way I could do edits in Audacity, which is quite easy. I didn’t know what it would be like doing audio edits in iMovie (and, given what I describe below, I’m glad I did it this way). The timing of the images and video just fit with the voiceover. I made sure the voiceover was the length I wanted, and then just trimmed the images and video to fit.

5. Perhaps the hardest part was reducing the volume of the music after the intro titles so that the voiceover could be heard. Again, I needed to do a web search to figure out how to do this, because it was not simple.

  • Option-click on the music track, and you get a little diamond. Option-click on another place in the video and you get another little diamond. These can then be adjusted up or down to raise or lower the volume. I tried to do a kind of “fade out” to a low volume before the voiceover started, but the adjustments on those diamonds is really, really coarse. I couldn’t even seem to move the diamonds right or left after I placed them, which was a real pain. Probably there is some way to do it that I am not aware of.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 9.51.59 AM

Every time I tried to adjust the diamonds on the right to lower the volume, it jumped from like 60% volume to 20% or 13% or something. There didn’t seem to be much in between.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 9.54.04 AMI was then able to click on a small piece of the audio line and go to the top right window, under the “volume” icon, and adjust the volume there. But sometimes that adjusted the volume of the whole music clip rather than just that portion.

Somehow, eventually, I managed to get the music to a decent volume level, and though it didn’t fade smoothly like I wanted, it was good enough.


Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 9.58.08 AM5. Fading out the music track at the end was much easier. There is a little circle at the beginning and end of the music track; just drag that and you get a fade out as long as you want. That worked beautifully. But if you wanted to have fine control over the fade as well as the length of it, you might be back to the diamonds of doom.

6. Then it was time to “share” (that’s what “export” is in iMovie). For some unknown reason, every time I tried to save it to a file, one of the end titles was empty (it just said “TITLE”, even though when I previewed it in iMovie it had the right text in there. So I just deleted that title and added a new one with the text and finally it worked.


Other Mac video editing software?

I’m not thrilled with iMovie. Does anyone know of good video editing software for a Mac? I’m willing to pay money, but not a really large amount. Suggestions appreciated!




2 Replies to “How I came to the Village”

  1. Well – you did mighty fine with this and it doesn’t at all look like a first conversion of multiple media into a video. You bring much with your voice and presentation style that is engaging and enjoyable to view and listen too. You really do prove the fact that it comes down to good content and communication first and then the delivery process.

    IMovie in oder versions was much more intuitive and made sense. I agree. Events, libraries, dates, Theater – I too still don’t understand the difference or the reasons. It seems to be a trend with Apple as I am now seeing similar in Photos with collections, shared, moments, albums! And yet – once you area able to find something you know it should be able to do, it shows that it does have some muscle.

    It is similar to when I started using Google – hard to break my old organization and putting things in place habits with the newer versions that really don’t require organization, but dates or tags instead. I find iMovie can really produce some fantastic things and they look amazing – but with the templates and pre-sets that make it all look so good, it doesn’t always allow you to be in charge of your story – it makes decisions for you based on algorithms like – one person in scene so this motion will be used…..

    I find it good for getting me started and being the other artist in the room to stretch some of the possibilities, while at the same time constraining.

    Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere allow for much more manipulation – but you start with a blank canvas – no templates, no suggestions. If you like Audacity – you probably would like either of those. FCP is a heftier price. Adobe Premiere you can now do the online subscription and just use it when you want or need by buying for a month.

    If you want to delve more into the underpinnings and geeky side – Blender is an open source editor for video and animation. It has a strong developer support community. While many game designers use it – it is also for “normal” video editing as well. Again – its concepts are in layers and gives you control without all the trendy names.

    1. Thanks so much, Kathy, for your helpful suggestions! I do find some of the template stuff in iMovie useful, like the templates for the titles and transitions–I use those a lot. I do think it can do a lot, it’s just that I’m frustrated with trying to figure out how to do things…it seems I learn it and then things change dramatically with the next version and I have to start over. Maybe that’s true with many such tools, though.

      I will look into the monthly thing with Adobe Premier; it might be worth it just to see what it’s like, to try it out for a month. I like the subscription thing for that. Then, I guess, if you find you use it a lot you could pay for a license to just have it.

      I haven’t heard of Blender at all, so I will definitely take a look at that!

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