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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Apple iLife movie trailers are fun and easy



For the past several weeks I've been spending time with the Seminole High School Warhawk Band as they prepare for their performance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I'm working on a documentary video (publishing soon) on their preparation and I'll be going to New York for coverage of their big day on Herald Square.MC625.jpg

Last week I showed a rough cut of the video to my boss and he asked me to make a trailer so he could start showing it around and get folks excited about the story. Immediately I thought of the cool demo Steve Jobs did using the new movie trailers feature in iMovie that's part of iLife '11. Sure, I could make my own trailer in Final Cut Studio, but this was an opportunity to try the new software and have some fun!

I picked up a copy and after fooling around with it a bit to figure out the controls (I rarely read manuals) I was off and running with a folder full of band clips. Three hours and several versions later, the trailer was done. Take a look:

You can choose from 15 different trailer styles. The titles and credits can be edited in the Outline. The Storyboard gives you drop zones for video clips and there you can edit the phrases between scenes. And finally, the Shot List lets you organize your clips based on type and quantity. Clips can be edited to adjust color and exposure and an anti-shake filter can be applied as well as several special-effects.



Overall it's simple to use but I found it to be pretty limiting. With only 15 themes from which to choose, I was a bit perplexed as to which theme would work best with the band clips. I settled on the "Sports" theme because of the dramatic fanfare music, cheering crowd and overall "in the spotlight" feel. Having more musical choices per theme would help and I'd like more control over the fonts. I'd also like the ability to remove "iMovie" from the credits. The credits are lots of fun and look very authentic. You'll notice "Dr. Beat," the electronic metronome the band uses to keep time while practicing, is the director of the "film" (he's also has many "lines" in much of my video).

The full video story will be out at the beginning of next week, after the last week of rehearsals. Then it's on to New York for the big performance, where I will be deploying some gadgets to get the job done on parade day. Two words. Tuba cam. You heard it here first.

If you're planning to watch the Macy's Parade, the Seminole Warhawk Band is #5 out of 11 bands to appear and they'll have their 75 seconds of fame on NBC live TV around 10:30 AM. This is the first time a high school band from Tampa Bay has appeared in the parade. The estimated live TV audience is 65 million with 3 million watching along the parade route.

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 12:10am]


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