Kickstarter

Kickstarter 5 – Making the video

Planning and preparing the kickstarter video is somewhat less straightforward than I might have hoped…

In principle it should be straightforward

  1. Plan video
  2. Shoot video
  3. Apply voiceover
  4. Apply background music
  5. Export to right size and format

Planning

Planning I’ll simplify into the following – the first half will involve me panning across a relevant picture with a voiceover. The second half will be me talking to camera with a printed proof in my hands to demonstrate that it is there, but with gaps for artwork.

Kickstarter has advice about videos, which can be summarised as

  1. It is to your advantage to do one
  2. Make it compelling. It doesn’t have to be super-slick, but it should give a closer look at what you are doing.

I’m working on a Mac, which should be easier…

But no. Well, some things were fairly easy, but one or two things that used to be easy are now incredibly hard.

Firstly, the current version of iMovie has fallen foul of the modern “let’s obscure all the UI” fad which has become rampant across software on all platforms. None of this ‘discoverability’ malarkey, oh no. Let’s hide functionality behind vague icons, in various places, some of which will not even look like icons. Definitely don’t make them menu options which can be found via the menus. Don’t bother with anything in the help about them either.

Seriously, I had to google how to do pretty much everything; almost nothing worked by the kind of click and drag direct manipulation which I used to use in older versions of the software four years ago (which was really straightforward BTW). Adding different tracks, extending a view, doing a ‘Ken Burns’ pan. All took me to the Google. Crowd-sourced help as a policy and patch for bad UI design annoys me, as you can tell.

So I import a high resolution picture of my beautiful cover by Claudio Pozas, and I want to do some pan and zoom out effects while I do the first part of the video.

After the googles told me that what I wanted was ‘Ken Burns’ and that it was hidden under the crop menu (why?) I found that I had to do it in several sections – import the image as a new clip and do another ‘a to b’ pan. Of course, there is no help with matching the closing position of one clip with the start of another that I can see, so you’ve got to guesstimate it. You can’t zoom in to improve your chances either, so that whole process was a bit frustrating.

Aspect ratios may be harder than you expect

So Kickstarter wants videos in 4:3 aspect ratio. Guess what? iMovie no longer supports that! It only does widescreen.

I tried to downgrade to the previous version of iMovie, and I could get it running – it was happy to do 4:3 but I couldn’t get it to preview or export anything, even though I tried a number of different formats.

What to do?

Well, the only solution that I’ve found so far is to use the free Handbrake software (only download it from their site folks! Don’t trust mirrors!). You can use that to crop video to the right aspect ratio.

Hurrah.

Of course, I’ve got to go and sort the video out again from scratch so that the key elements are always visible in the crop area!

Boo!

I know apple are quick to ditch some formats (floppy disks, flash) but there must still be a heck of a lot of 4:3 video around that people will want to work with. Why put the effort in to remove it from their software?

Audio happiness

As a temporary background track I put on the blade runner theme. It sounds lovely, but I can’t afford the royalty payments for that (!) so I’m currently scouring royalty-free music sites for something worth purchasing. I’m interspersing that with some noodling around on the ‘GarageBand’ software to see if that will help.

For my voiceover I decided that my phone probably had a better mic than my laptop, so I used that to record my voiceover. Exporting from the phone to the laptop via Airdrop worked instantly and seamlessly, so thumbs up for that.

I had some fun trying different ‘voice acting’ styles until I had a rendering that I was happy with. Getting the pacing right took several tries, and then I adjusted the background video and audio to match the length.

The talky bit

I’ve not yet videoed the bit where I talk to camera because I’m waiting for my printed proofs. I’m going to do some test shots soon though, and I’m working on my script.

Decisions have to be made about the background , lighting and other things; I think experimentation to get it right is going to be the order of the day – although at the moment I’m leaning towards indoors with natural light as being the best bet.

Tools Used

  • iMovie
  • Handbrake
  • iOS voice recorder
  • iOS video
  • GarageBand (possibly)
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