Month: August 2014

Lights, Camera…. Edit!

You can tell I am preparing for parenthood; I am focusing a great deal on preparing for taking pictures and video on our trip to China and for after when Lemondrop has come home. 

I took up film making in college, back then we were using Super 8 cameras, I had gained an interest from watching my stepfather taking and editing home movies.  Had my finances been better I would have loved to continue but the cost of film and processing was just not feasible for me at that time.

It wasn’t till years later that I got my first camcorder, a Hitachi VHS model my father surprised me with, and I really enjoyed using it. I didn’t travel too much with it though because it was a big bulky thing. Some years after that I bought a smaller secondhand Hitachi 8mm camcorder from a local audio video repair shop; one thing I loved about it was that, along with a battery pack, you could run it off of AA batteries which would give me about an hours worth of filming. I bought it before our first trip to Disney World; who knew when we would go again and I wanted to get every minute I could. One of the local discount stores had a great buy on AA batteries, I bought a ton of them, created ready-made bundles of how many fresh ones I would need each time I had to change batteries and stuffed a half dozen or so in my camera bag along with the videotapes each day before we headed out to the parks.

I think we came back with over 30 hours of video; I spent so much time with the view finder against my eye that when the trip was over and we were sitting in the airport I tried to zoom in with my naked eye on something that caught my attention.

We ended up getting to go back quite a few times since then and, especially the first dozen or two trips, I got many many hours on tape; the later trips using a variety of Sony Digital8 cameras which were feature rich and I really loved using.

I take my filming seriously and work real hard at it; I hate watching home movies where the scenes are seconds long and the picture bounces around; if I am filming a show, a parade, or what have you, I get the entire performance and do everything in my power to hold the camera as steady as possible. Alas those habits had their repercussions;  I developed chronic tendinitis in my elbow which made holding the camera up for extended periods just too painful and I had to downsize my camera to the smaller Mini DV format.

The tiny Panasonic camera I got was a okay no frills camera that at least let me continue filming; the best thing about it was that it had a threaded lens to accept filters and such so I could at least use a polarizer or wide angle lens; especially the wide angle lens. Companies love pushing greater zoom capability but I often was more interested in a wider lens to capture more around me in a confined space without having to constantly pan the camera back and forth or up and down. 

Despite all the hours of video we got, hundreds I am sure, we were never able to do any post production editing; no matter how good a computer I had I just was never successful getting the tapes transferred into the computer to edit without issues.

With our new camera though, a Sony HDR-PJ350, that is no longer a problem; along with 32gb of onboard storage it takes up to a 64gb Micro SD card; I just take the card out and move the files right onto my laptop… a whole new world has opened up.

I picked up a editing program by Sony called Movie Studio Platinum Suite that has a bit of a learning curve but holds great promise so I am now taking the new camcorder out, or using my phone, and filming odd things to give me something to practice with. In fact while at Lutheran services today helping with the English classes my manager had a meeting with the students to lay down some rules; one part pertained to me and so I edited that segment from the meeting that I may keep handy the next time a student comes in late and gets annoyed that I wont let them interrupt the class….

It is nothing great; just a effort to play with adding titles, but you can click HERE to see it.


Update on Operation Lemondrop……

It has been a long time coming but we received notification today that our i800a, permission from the federal gov’t to adopt a child from China, has been approved; the Lemondrop Express is picking up speed!