Project Progress

I am finally starting to feel like I am making progress and that  things are starting to shape up.  I am now focusing on how long-time area residents have perceived “change” in the Northern VA area, and am letting these residents tell the story in their own words.  Since I am relying so heavily on oral histories, I have felt like I have been almost entirely at the mercy of those willing to talk to me.  In the last couple of weeks, I have done a few oral history interviews on my own of long-time residents and I feel more in control of my project with actual video footage to work with now.   Despite a couple technical setbacks (camera battery dying before interview was over…recording 40 minutes of blank audio and having to contact the interviewee again), it has been an enlightening and rewarding experience to interview all sorts of people I would otherwise never meet.  I am really beginning to wish I had more time to interview a wider range of people, but with the time and deadline restraints I am just going to have to work with the interviews that I can fit in by the second week in April.  Right now I have interviews with just older, white males so I am hoping that I can diversify my interview pool in the next couple of weeks!

Despite having started my project editing in Final Cut Express Academic, I think I have moved over to iMovie.  Although I have never really used iMovie (and just learned the basics last week!), it is proving to be pretty user friendly and, at least for me with an impending due date, a more efficient use of my time.  Final Cut allows for a bit more freedom with effects and personal touches, but after a series of frustrations and anxiety over getting this done in time, I made the move to iMovie and think that I will end up being happy with that decision.

A couple questions to pose to you all:

1) Since I want the people I have interviewed to tell the story of change in Northern VA in their own words, I have posed short text questions in between my sections for transitional purposes.  I know what they say, so I feel like I might be moving them along too quickly.  What is an appropriate length of time for a frame of text?

2) I am having some trouble with Handbrake on my Mac (it’s a Mac Pro).  It keeps telling me that I need the appropriate vlc, and even though I attempted to download what Handbrake is recommending, it is still giving me the same message about the vlc.  Any suggestions from seasoned Handbrake users?

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4 Responses
  1. cwarburton says:

    Okay, I am completely incompetent to answer #2, but with #1, have you thought about including a voice over instead of words like they do in news broadcasts? It might make it flow more easily.

    I can understand of being at the mercy of an interviewee. You have to keep reminding your subject to put things in less personal terms. But at the same time, you can get a great idea of how to structure your story from the interview.

    • jjanes says:

      I had initially wanted to do voice overs, but then decided that since my project is currently A LOT of talking, I wanted to break it up a little. Right now I am thinking that a little text on a blank screen with no sound will help my story to transition, but at the same time cut up all of the talking. I may change this mindset as I put more of my material together.

  2. tgoodwin says:

    I had the same problem with vlc and handbrake, I can tell you that thanks to Tad’s help and patience, along with Misha we figured it out. Mine was a simple reupload of the 32 bit piece, but then again, you should ask Tad, he saved me.

    I also found out that I was having some wonky issues in general , so I took my computer in to apple and they diagnosed it as a software problem, so I went home reuploaded my OSX program and there does not seem to be the same problem. Thank goodness for Applecare, well worth the price when you buy your machine! so, now that I’ve got what I hope are my issues fixed, I’m hoping to get one more round of tutorial from Misha with the uploading from DVD into Final Cut HD Express. (I used Handbrake to do this and finalcut does not like Mpeg 4 formatting. So I’ll need to reupload it inot a .vc format I think).

  3. cjames says:

    Re: Question #1:

    I was talking about storyboards with Jen Lapple last Thursday and she had the great idea of posting the questions for her interview subjects as captions on the screen as the subjects read their answers. That could save you a lot of time and improve the flow. But maybe it’s a pacing question. If you want to slow the pace down, you could have a frame with a question, but if you are trying to fit in a lot of information (like jlapple), then you could have the screen caption with the question.