This months letters: Vets' Stories - needing historical footage; Working in the Wild - Killarney Provincial Park; Editing Dirty Little Tricks - Sync the Dancers (running in slow-mo), Slap the Clackers (syncing audio with video), Time Adjusting (changing clip speed).
Love your magazine! I've been a subscriber since my first camcorder in 1999. My buddy and I interviewed 22 World War II vets and are putting together a "History Channel-ish" program to be shown at an event honoring these vets in the fall. While keeping in mind our essentially zero budget (we may be able to scratch $100 or so from the town's Heritage Foundation sponsoring the event), we really need some historical footage to enhance our project. The video won't be used to gain any type of profit. It's strictly to honor our local heroes. Can we use footage we find on the web or on an old tape without a legal worry? And if not, do you know of a source of public domain or almost-free footage?
New Brighton, PA
Read the What's Legal column of the January 2009 issue, Eric, which will answer part of your question. Meanwhile, no, even if you aren't profiting from your video, you're not supposed to use copyrighted material that you find on the web, unless it's in places like those listed in Mark Levy's column. Government agency footage is considered "public domain" because it was made using public tax dollars, which means footage from some government agencies like the Department of Defense, NASA, Congress and even the FBI might be usable.
Working in the Wild
Just wanted to let you know how much I loved Chris Pyle`s article on Shooting in the Wild. It struck a chord and reminded me of a video I put together over the last year for a favourite Provincial Park I loved to go to. Similar to Chris, I spent a year shooting in all kinds of weather and through all 4 seasons and was lucky enough to capture a black bear, loons, wolves (on 2 separate occasions), along with a variety of other birds and animals. It`s used by the park as a fundraiser for the friends of Killarney Park. It was my first "professional" video and since May has sold well at the park and I know it has helped preserve the park, Ontario`s most southernly wilderness-class park. A preview is located on the Vimeo site. Search for Killarney Provincial Park and let me know what you think. Thanks and keep those great articles coming.
Glad we could inspire you, Ken. Working in the wild isn't for everyone - you have to enjoy your own company... a lot! But the time spent is usually worth the effort.
Editing Dirty Little Tricks
Columnist Morgan Paar wrote in his December 2008 column, Editing Dirty Little Tricks: "Extreme problems call for extreme solutions. What they can't see won't hurt them." And he challenged readers to send in a couple of their Dirty Little Tricks stories. The following writers answered his call.
Sync the Dancers
I shot a musical scene that had 2 dancers. One runs offscreen while the other waits for her return. I had to make up for the lost time in the video where the dancer had run offscreen while staying in sync with the music that they were dancing to. All I had to do was to run the exiting dancer in slow motion and then fade her back in as she returned, with a simple cross-fade. Right after she returned, she went into a lift. I kept the video running in slow-mo. As she came down from the lift and into an embrace, I did a cross-fade with the video that was running in real time, so that you see a double image of her descent, as if she descends twice, and then the slow-mo catches up with real time as they embrace at the end of the cross-fade. Very dramatic! ... A happy accident, a very happy accident!
Tim from TN
Slap the Clackers
Great article. I will be showing it to my class this week! I teach filmmaking at a high school. We use Mini DV cameras and edit on Final Cut Pro. A problem we run into is that the audio is not always perfectly synced with the video. Since we show our movies at a big festival in an auditorium with 500 people, if the audio is even a few frames off, it is very noticeable (not to mention downright embarrassing). To solve this problem, we purchased decorative movie clackers at a party store (cost $2). Just one "clack" before every scene and we are able to sync the audio perfectly.
Sometimes when I'm editing to a particular song, I like my clips to fit to the music a specific way. Sometimes, though, the clip I want to use is either too long or too short for the space. When this happens, depending on how the clip is shot, I either slow down or speed up part of the clip to make up the time or to make the clip shorter, so that it fits the desired space in the song. Depending on the subject and how the clip is shot, this can be unnoticeable to the viewer. It doesn't work in all cases, though; some clips with fast-moving subjects may make this trick/technique a little more challenging to pull off, but hey, you never know till you try.
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada