iMovie Workflow – Digital Story Telling by suchenfz


									                            iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 1

              iMovie Workflow – Digital Story Telling
This document tracks, step-by-step, the workflow for building a slide show of the
kind that is required by the course’s Digital Storytelling assignment.

A concrete example will be useful in describing the process. As our case in point,
you may want to re-screen the Quick Time movie titled “Jody Saddles Up”, which
is located just below the Slide Show Workflow heading in the Design Chops site.

Navigation path : > DesignChops > Images-in-Series >

This slide show is just over a minute long – half the length of the project you will
be completing in your own project. All the stills in this file were shot at Wyoming
Ranch early one morning as a young wrangler named Jody groomed and
saddled her horse, Harry. Unlike your project, there is only a music track in this

Making your Digital Storytelling project in iMovie follows XX big steps, with a
bunch of smaller ones. But first, important information about iMovie Files.

iMovie Files

In its early versions, iMovie created two forms of files for each project: “media”
was a file that contained all the still images or DV clips providing the source
materials that were to be edited; “project file” consisted of a much smaller files
that carried the instructions (aka meta data”) about how the applications was
building the edited iMovie file. If you think of a specific layout of coins on a desk
top, the “media” files constitute the coins themselves while the “project file” is a
record of where each coin is sitting.

The 5.0 version of iMovie now builds but one file. It has as a distinctive logo (the
clip board with a star in it) and a longish file name – “iMovieProject”

The size of the “Jody Saddles Up” movie 200 MB. It is just over 60 seconds long.

More on the nature of iMovie files to come.
                          iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 2

Note that iMovie shares the non-linear operating mode that used today
throughout the television and filmmaking worlds. In this mode all the digitized
source elements are stored on the computer in one place as “media” files. In the
editing process the “project files” are simply versions of how the source materials
has been put together – different organizations of the coins on the desk. Two
important things here: first, its easy to create multiple versions (which aids the
creative process); second; the editing process is “non-destructive” in that the
single source of materials one is editing with is never actually altered. The way
non-linear editing works is dicussed in detail in the Digital Cinema Domain.

1. Import Source Images

1.1 - connect your camera to your Mac and download stills into iPhoto.

      - open iPhoto and create a new album that will contain all the images you
      will be using in your movie. Give the album a name (in this example its
      “Ranch Source Pix”.)

      - because iPhoto can display lots of thumb-nails at one time, this is a
      useful place to sort through your best shots (aka “selects”) and those
      which you probably will not use (aka “outs”).

      - drag and drop your best images towards the top. Arrange them in the
      rough order in which you think they will be used.
                          iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 3

      - there is no reason to eliminate photos here – unless you have duplicates
      some images are so lousy you know they’d never make it into a final

      - when you go to iMovie, you will find that its very easy to access any of
      the images in your iPhoto collection. For this reason, you may also want to
      place any scans or screen-grabs you make into iPhoto.

1.2 - open iMovie and set-up a new project:

      - > file > new project

      - give your new movie a name (here it is “Jody Saddles Up”)

      - choose where to save the movie file. Its important to think for a moment
      about where you want to save your iMovie files. If you are working
      between Mac’s, the desk top might be a good place to save the file until
      you have a more permanent home in mind.

      - for the record, the “Jody Saddles Up” was built with iMovie version v
      5.0.2, released in Spring 2005.

1.3 - select Photos from the pane buttons

      - turn off the Ken Burns Effect, if it is on. This feature won’t be used ‘til
      later in the creative process.

      - at the top of the photo browser, there is a window linked to iPhoto. Use
      its pull down menu to select the album into which you have already placed
      your images.
                         iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 4

      - iMovie automatically references the selected album in iPhoto and
      displays the first six images. Note that the total number of photos in the
      album is indicated at lower right.

      - if you are importing images (scanned, for example), choose File > Import
      and pull them into the photo browser.

1.4 - select clip viewer icon.

      - this opens a interface area into which you can drag and drop any image
      from the photo browser. Later, when you click the time line icon this same
      area becomes home to a video track and two audio tracks.
                           iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 5

2. Build a First Assembly

In the same way that you’d start a drawing with a quick sketch of the overall
composition, its creatively smart to begin a new slide show by including images
that represent the overall structure of your piece, from beginning to end. If you’re
following the Digital Storytelling Production Plan you’ll have already developed a
script. It is this script that you should roughly follow as you build a first assembly
of the show. Try not to get caught up in a fine-tuning of any one section.

2.1 - build the sequence of photos in the Clip Viewer

       - start by dragging what will be the first image in your iMovie project from
       the photo browser into the clip viewer. It will automatically move to the left
       end of the clip viewer. Scroll through the other images in the photo
       browser pulling one after another onto the clip viewer. (example below
       shows first four images)

       - you can easily rearrange the order of the slides in the viewer by dragging
       and dropping any one of them to a new position.

       - to get rid of an image in the Clip Viewer, highlight (select) it and hit the
       delete button. Rest assured that if you remove a slide from the movie, it
       still exists in the iPhoto library.

2.2 - assign a default duration to each photo.

       - at this stage, it’s a good practice to make all images appear for the same
       amount of time. This will allow you to view your first cut in a neutral way,
       checking the basic continuity of all the images that constitute your iMovie.

       - As a useful protocol, you might want to make each slide hold for 1 or 2

       - to accomplish this, double click on each slide. Up pops an info dialogue
       window. It names the slide and also has a panel to give it a duration. One
                         iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 6

      second is written as “0:01:00”. The last set of digits are 30th of a second.
      Thus one and a half seconds would be written “0:01:15” and two seconds
      is “0:02:00”.

      - use the copy and paste function to give each slide the same duration. Be
      sure to click “set” button after you have changed the duration setting.

2.3 - playback your slide show for the first time,

      - playback happens by clicking in the gray bar separating the iMovie
      monitor from the clip viewer. You can tell the monitor is active when the
      lower left corner shows a minute version of the time line and has a white
      pointer indicating the time code of its position. In the sample below, the
      pointer is just over half way through the movie – at the point when Jody
      leads the horses into the barn. You can drag on the white pointer to move
      it forward or back through the iMovie. When you do this, a smaller pair of
      white markers appear. These are used highlight multiple shots in your

      - iMovie controls should be familiar to you. The left one takes the play
      head to the front (head) of the movie. The center one plays and pauses
      the movie. The one on the right plays the iMovie full frame. Note that
      there are key strokes that also control the playback controls.
                          iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 7

       - take some time at this stage to consider the meaning and the aesthetic
       values you want to put into the slide show. Play down your piece again
       and again, making sure that the content is clear. At this point you should
       be working with a combination of narrative, discursive, constructive and
       intuitive approaches you are designing with. As you screen and re-
       screen, think ahead to how the editing will be able to fortify and extend the
       meaning(s) you wish to convey.

3. Lay in Sound Tracks

In Digital Storytelling you will be building two separate tracks: one with the first
person voice recording that tells the story; the other with a combination of sound
effects or music.

Strong audio tracks are more than half the equation in a successful production.
Its good practice to “work loose” at first,. Recommended procedure is do the
voice first, do the music/effects second. But there can be circumstances where
you might want to reverse those steps.

3.1 - record narration

       - in the digital storytelling production sequence, you will have written a
       script before you’ve gotten to this stage of working in iMovie. Now is the
       time for you to record the script, using your own voice for the narration

       - select Audio to open the Audio Pane.
                         iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 8

      - iMovie lets you use a microphone to record a voice track directly into the
      iMovie timeline. Note that the mic built in your Mac isn’t very good, so you
      will want to plug in a higher quality mic and position it close to your throat.
      It will help a lot to do your recording in a quite location\.

      - before you can actually record your narration, you need to click the
      Timeline Viewer button.

      - this brings up the Timeline itself, along with its associated video tracks,
      audio tracks, volume level bar and Timeline Zoom Slider.

      - in our case study example there is no narration track. But you will find a
      clear example of how to edit against a music track.

3.2 - lay in music or sound effects
                   iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 9

- here is how to bring a pre-recorded piece of music into your project:

- first listen to lots of possible choices and then select a track (or tracks)
that you believe will contribute to the emotional power of your project.
Import this piece of music into iTunes (or you can directly import an AIFF
file of music by dragging it from a music CD right into the iMovie timeline.

- with the Audio Pane open, you can look through your iTunes pop up
menu to find music track you want in iTunes pop-up menu.

- drag that file directly into one of the audio track spaces in the time line.
You can slide this to the place where you want the music to start. If you
want to see the audio forms in the time line, or if you want to tweal volume
levels (say if you are mixing voice and music and want to adjust levels as
                       iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 10

      the piece is playing), then pull down the view menu and choose

3.3 - analyze and mark your music track.

      - creative media designers use every opportunity the can find to sync up
      key visual moments with key audio moments. So take some time to play
      and replay your track, searching for distinguishing points where you will
      be timing edits to your tracks.

      - in “Jody Saddles Up”, there are some is a recurring musical beat against
      which the opening sequence is edited, with cuts coming on every other
      beat. Later in the piece, there are some quick, staccato beats which are
      use to introduce a surprise interaction between the horse and the

      - iMovie lets you mark such beats on the track by using the control-M key
      as you are listing to the track being played. Small green markers appear
      when you tap the key. The example below shows the timeline for that
      moment when there is a first flutter of direct communication between
      horse and wrangler. This exchange follows some quick banjo licks on the
      sound track which have been located accurately by tapping the Apple+B
      key during playback.

      - you can now line-up your edits to match these pre-marked points in the
      audio track. (note that if you make the visual cut a few frames before the
      beat, the viewers eye and ear will sync these up precisely. The viewer
      may not consciously perceive the synchronous cuts you are using, but the
                         iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 11

      emotional impact will be felt. Your slide show’s pace becomes
      commanding when you cut to music. The flow will feel natural and “just
      right”. In fact, few viewers will discern that your piece is made of still
      images as opposed to video footage.

      - you might want to study this screen grab showing a chunk of the time
      line in “Jody Saddles Up”.

      - its import to know about the Timeline Zoom Slider. It is located in the
      bottom left corner of the Timeline viewer. By adjusting the slider you either
      expand or contract the scale at which time is displayed on the Timeline.
      Above is a setting that shows the entire 1 minute movie, “Jody Saddles
      Up”. When cutting to music (see below) a more expanded setting is

      - and here is a more compact setting of the Timeline.

4. Create a ROUGH CUT

Rarely does one’s script translate perfectly to the screen. Images make
demands that one can’t accurately anticipate in the script. And the quality of a
                        iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 12

voice performance – or the timing of a musical performance – will often require
serious adjustment to the conceptualization of a script.

Such is the editing process – one of the most creative domains in media
production of any kind.

4.1 - critique your assembly

      - now comes the is the creative phase when you work out your piece’s
      editing design. It is a sequence-by-sequence process.

      - having constructed and evaluated your Assembly, you should now be
      able to identify the major “scenes” or “sequences” in your project. Each of
      these will consist of a number of stills that want to be bound together into
      a cohesive unit.

      - For example, in the Ranch movie there is an “opening sequence” with a
      series of slow zooms and dissolves that move “in” on the ranch,
      establishing its location beneath the mountains and the quite time of early
      morning. Then there is a second, a more quickly paced scene that uses
      hard cuts to follow Jody as she enters a corral, bridling three horses, and
      leads them into the barn.

      - identify the major sequences in your digital story and then for each of
      these complete a trio of related tasks.

4.2 - assign durations to each image

      - the precise amount of time that each image is held on the screen is
      where you establish the pacing and flow you want for the sequence at
      hand. You can do this by typing in the new timings you want into the
      Photos Pane (double click on the image to get its pop-up screen). Of if you
      prefer working in the Clips Pane, you can drag and pull the head or tail of
      any shot, extending its play time.

      - here is an example of very short cuts, as seen in the clip viewer. If you
      squint you will see that one of the cuts is only 5 frames long (which is one-
      sixth of a second.)
                        iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 13

      - work your way from sequence to sequence. At each stage of refinement,
      pause to playback. Don’t be precious about getting each section frame
      perfect. You are working on the Rough Cut here. Polish comes later.

4.3 choose visual effects

      - iMovie offers a number of built-in visual effects that you may want to add
      to your stills. iMovie 5.0 has twenty-three such effects. You activate
      these options by clicking the Effects Plane.

      - preview all the effects to see which, if any, work with the intent and
      overall design of your project. You will see as you explore the Effects
      Pane that most of its visual effects have been designed for video (motion
      picture) footage. But there are a few that can be useful in altering
      individual slides within the Digital Storytelling assignment: Adjust Color;
      Black & White; Brightness & Contrast; Sepia, Soft Focus. Check out all the
      effects. Study the different controls that accompany each. Then apply the
      visual effects you want to use to any frame or series of frame in the slide

      - simply drag any effect you want right onto the image/still photo as it
      appears in timeline.
                        iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 14

      - Playback often. Don’t be precious about getting each section frame
      perfect. You are working on the Rough Cut here. Polish comes later.

4.4 add camera moves to specific photos.

      - this is the best moment on the slide show work flow to use what iMovie
      calls the Ken Burns Effect. This is a very nifty function that, basicially,
      allows you to make precise “camera moves” within any individual
      photograph/still image in your slide show.

      - as a designer, your challenge is to “motivate” the use of the Ken Burns
      Effect (named for the filmmaker who did the Civil War, Jazz and History of
      Baseball series on PBS – all built upon use of archival still images.)
      Without a reason for such camera moves – without a pattern that makes
      sense to the audience, this effect can be really distracting and it can all to
      easily signal the filmmaker’s lack of intent or lack of creative control. In
      other words, it can be a cheap trick that doesn’t work. So be careful.

      - choose the Photos Pane and then click the box that activates the Ken
      Burns Effect.
                         iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 15

      - you will want to experiment with this valuable tool to get the hang of how
      it works. Basically, the tool lets you (i) choose an opening frame (re-frame)
      within each source photograph; (ii) choose a closing frame within the
      same photograph, (iii) determine how long you want the “camera move” to
      take, and (iv) whether you want the move “forward” or “reverse”.

      - playback often. It is often useful to use the same form of in-frame moves
      within a sequence, building a set of recurring patterns that your viewer will
      feel. Don’t over use the Ken Burns effect. Its most effect when employed
      judiciously and with real point.

4.5 complete the rough cut

      - keep working until you have shaped out your entire movie – from its
      opening sequence to its ending sequence. In its Rough Cut form, your
      movie should be within 10% to 15% of its intended length. Thus for a 2
      min movie, your length should no more than 20 seconds too long.

      - screen the rough cut many times. It may be useful to show the piece to
      friends and ask for their feedback.

      - it will take awhile to shape each sequence into its rough structure. You
      will probably want to move back and forth between different sequences,
      making sure that there is variation within the emerging movie, and that the
      “image event” being constructed will successfully create a “mirror” of your
      “feeling/concern” (this lingo is from the discussion of Sol Worth’s Mirror
      Model of communications).

5. Polish a Fine Cut

In the workflow recommended here, the final polishing takes place only after you
have edited your slide show to the precise length you want it . The image flow
should syncronize with the audio tracks. The piece is essentially done. Now for
the polish.

5.1 - add titles and credits

      - the digital storytelling assignment asks that you use an opening title for
      your movie and that you also attach an end credit sequence that comes
      after the movie itself.

      - a little bending of the rules: the 2:00 min maximum length for this
      assignment does not include the end credits, although it does include the
      opening title, which should appear at the front, or close to the front, of the
                  iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 16

- the Titles Pane is the place where you are able to build both title and end
credits. It operates along the same lines as the transitions and effects

- as you explore with this feature of iMovie, you will find 23 different ways
of integrating text into your movie. At the head of the piece, your
assignment requires that you give the viewers a short “opening title”.

- in the sample we’ve been looking at, the words “Jody Saddles Up” fade
in to the opening image, hold there for a few seconds and then cross
dissolves into a duplicate image, which holds a beat longer and then
dissolves into the a new image.

- an opening is recommended because it gives your audience quick
comfort in knowing what to expect. At the end of your Digital Storytelling
                        iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 17

      piece, you may want to build a “scroll” (aka “a crawl”) that gives credits to
      yourself and others who have worked on the project or whom you want to
      enshrine as “special thanks to”.

5.2 add transitions

      - when you open the Transitions Pane, you will find 16 built-in ways that
      iMovie will transition from one specific photo to the one following it.

      - as with the Ken Burns Effect, make sure the transitions you use add to
      the flow and meaning and feeling of your movie. Transitions need to be
      motivated just as much as the images themselves..

      - explore and preview the transitions in the same way that you messed
      around with other panes in iMovie.

      - to apply a transition, you simply drag it onto the timeline, dropping it on
      place where two shots are joined. Here is an example showing transitions
      as they appear in the timeline.

5.3 mix tracks

      - you can adjust the volume of your two tracks very easily and intuitively.
      From View select the “Show Clip Volume Levels”. You may want to
      deselect “Show Audio Waveforms” so that it is easy to see this volume
      adjustment feature.

      - where your cursor clicks on the purple volume line cues the program to
      introduce a purple button. You can click and drag this to adjust the
      volume. The lower in the track the lower the sound.
                        iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 18

      - thus you can “dip” the music track in anticipation of a spoken words on
      the voicee track. Conversely, you can “raise” the music or effects to just
      the level you want vis-à-vis the audio level of the narration track. Such
      massaging of track levels is termed mixing.

      - iMovie provides only two sound tracks whereas Final Cut Pro, the
      program’s far larger and more robust cousin, can deal with any number of
      different audio tracks. But the functionality and the design power are well
      represented in iMovie.

An aside about this workflow

      - Please, please take a moment to understand that this workflow has as its
      primary goal the task of helping the student media designers to
      differentiate between the various aesthetic tools that iMovie puts into the
      media designer’s hands.

      - but everyone soon develops their own distinct approach to designing in
      iMovie. You will find yourself wanting to work through the various editing
      steps in a variety of ways – often depending on the kind of slide show (or
      later, of movie) you are working on.

      - for example, you may feel it is important to finish one entire scene before
      moving on to another. You may find that camera moves are totally central
      to your piece, and that you therefore need to work with the Ken Burns tool
      right from the beginning.

      - stll, it remains ture that in the same way that one sketches in all the
      components of a portrait instead of starting with a detailed drawing of one
      eye, it is generally smart to shape the entire your piece first. That is the
      purpose of the Assembly and Rough Cut. Subsequent passes can then
      tweak and embellish the basic design approach. There are dangers in
      being seduced by your material into polishing one sequence before the
      others have been roughed out.

5. Save & Export

iMovie permits you to “output” your Digital Story in a number of different ways.
File > Share leads to a dialogue box that lets you choose what quality/resolution
you want to use.

      - if you choose “Videocamera”, then you can record your finished movie
      onto DV tape. This gives a very high quality output and its what we use at
                  iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 19

semester’s end when Digital Stories are handed in to the instructor and
excerpted for the Student Showcase Screening

- You will find there are a number of QuickTime settings. These apply
different codec’s (compression systems) and result in smaller file sizes
and images sizes – which is important depending on how you want to
distribute your completed piece.

- Aways back up your work.

- While these notes should help you with the Digital Storytelling project,
you will certainly want to get familiar in a more general sense with iMovie.
In other projects within you will have an opportunity to work with video
footage and to incorporate still images with moving ones. There are
excellent on-line learning resources built into the application.
      iMovie Workflow for Digital Storytelling – Kit Laybourne – – page 20


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