Thursday, November 15, 2012

Or Tandem Bomb (my first daily create)

In the absence of easy access to a person who speaks a foreign language, I decided to record myself speaking the lyrics of 'Je Suis Un Rock Star', which I vaguely remembered from my teenage years.  I found the lyrics at, and discovered that this song has more English lyrics than French lyrics.  Then I thought of the German Christmas song 'O Tanenbaum'.  I recorded myself on an iPad using the default camera app.

I found the lyrics to 'O Tanenbaum' at When I went to read it out I broke into song and decided to keep going.  This was the first take, but given time constraints (and a lack of confidence that I could do it any better) I decided to go with it.

I used the Wifi Photo Transfer app to transfer the video file to my PC, and while it was downloading I started taking these notes.  Now I had my video.

Next I opened Windows Movie Maker and imported the file.  So far so good, except for a continuing glitch I have getting WMM to show my video previews.  I hoped to be able to get by without preview, given the lifelessness of my video presence.  I then wondered how I would add subtitles.  I found some excellent instructions from Barry at the occasionally useful Yahoo Answers.  I created my subtitles, by simply Anglicising the German words, taking some liberties, but intentionally avoiding grammatically correct phrases and sentences.

Then, given the hammering given to WMM in the transition from version to version, to create subtitles I settled on an alternative approach that WMM 2012 could accommodate.  The 'captions as subtitles' approach was suggested in a comment by Kenny R in a blog post by Larry Henry (for source, click here and scroll down to the first Comment). I inserted my fake subtitles, then added a Title (animation unseen, due to the aforementioned issues with Preview in WMM) and credit.

I compiled and re-discovered that the compiled movie is blank, apart from the captions. ('Re-discovered' means that I remembered that my blank preview is not the only problem I have with WMM.  It also fails show video, apart from the components created in WMM.  That is, the titles, captions and credits.) So I took all of the files to another laptop (the old trusty painfully slow lappy), fired it up and compiled the movie there.  It is running the same version of WMM, but does not have the preview and compile issues.  I then discovered the value of the preview, so you can see that white captions are unreadable against a white t-shirt, and some editing was required.  Finally I was able to compile and upload to YouTube.  I hope you enjoyed it.

Commentary:  I tried to keep to the 15-20 minutes suggested on The Daily Create page, but blew the time budget by about 200%.  Given this is my first assignment I am happy with this.

By the way, The Daily Create page (linked above) specifically stated (and I quote) "the one hard and fast rule is MAKE ART DAMMIT!"  If this is art, then I am truly an artist. I'm just not entirely convinced that this is art.


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