'ware ye the slippery slide of the cyborg

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'ware ye the slippery slide of the cyborg

Postby kevinkirby » Fri Nov 28, 2008 1:30 pm

Considering how ubiquitous the filmmaking wares seem to have become in recent computers; my reasons for installing Adobe Premiere 6.0, on that jury-rigged p4 vaio I found, should be self-evident. The Premiere movie-editing software has reached a much more advanced iteration in modern times, but version 6.0 still retains some attractive features. It can still produce a basic, youtube-ready video as an mpeg(1) export. And it still insists on fronting a learning curve which would even bring a chuckle to mighty Zeus himself. Not to mention the price: about one percent of what they go for new.

So anyway, to keep up with society's insistance that every pc, or mac, owner should theoretically require the assistance of cutting-edge cinematic software (just see if you can find anything these days without bundled film editing/authoring software) I went out yesterday and shot a bunch of stuff with my hi8 sony from 1996. Mostly static shots of local architecture, rendered in b&w with those horizontal black strips on top and bottom. You know, those ones that they use for the old tv sets that can't show a movie in its full widescreen glory. What did they call those things again? Oh right; it was called a Letterbox, back in the days before The Upgrade.

Well, after a day of walking around The City, 20 minutes of pseodo-widescreen architectural footage became fodder for one of my computer's two hard drives. The only trouble being some guy in The Haight who, upon spotting me across the street in my bumbling adjustments of the camera's settings, roared out an angry threat.

"Don't film me, dude," he shouted, shocking me out of my focusing and exposure-setting trance. I hadn't even noticed his small group, as my planned camera angle lay in a direction entirely opposite. Apparently he was expecting to be made into one of those iconic Haight Street "lounger" characters, perhaps as background to one of those narrated documentaries about how many hippies there still are. Hopefully he didn't take my shouted reply, and impulsive name-calling, too personally.

Not that any of the resulting footage was worth a cuss, in any case. Because the hi8 handycam only has a single ccd, all the shots come out looking like old movies anyway. So the stuff making it into my hard drive appears as widescreen black&white footage that's been sitting in a basement for some forty-odd years.

As anybody who has the latest computers knows, Windows Movie Maker will basically make a movie for you, as its title claims. To try it out -- and as a break from learning, step-by-step, the intricacies of Premiere -- I imported the day's shoot to see what a robotic film-editor could do. And, was pleasantly surprised. After selecting my choice of a "music video" output, I let the program analyze all those random shots within the framework of the Cream song "Born Under a Bad Sign" -- for this is what Windows Movie Maker was made to do.

The video that came out wasn't half bad. It actually looks like it goes with the song, for some still-mysterious reason. I think I'm just going to let the computer finish my movies from now on. Even after becoming an experienced master of movie editing software, I'm fairly certain that anything I could do with all those shots would pale in comparison to the cool sequence which was spat out by the cyborg film creation unit in windows.

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