Filmmakers Over 50

Ready for Your Close Up?

This Fall I will be teaching a class on making iMovies at the Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning at San Francisco State University's Downtown Center at 425 Market Street.

Here's the course introduction and a handy link to enroll.

Roll credits!

From Memoirs to iMovie: Telling Stories in 60 Seconds

SFSU Downtown Center (Noncredit)

All of us have stories to tell. Now, thanks to easy-to-use computers, digital video cameras and iMovie software, we’ll learn how to turn those stories into movies we can show on computers, play on a VCR, and post on a website. We can delight our grandkids, blackmail our parents and bore our co-workers like never before. Together we’ll make a one-minute movie. We’ll learn how to bring video and photos into the iMovie environment, lay them out in a timeline, add a sound track, and build in transitions, titles, and special effects. All without having to read a computer manual! Participants should have access to digitall video cameras. This class will be held in a Macintosh lab.

Course #: CE 8648

Section: N01

Instructor: SAM MCMILLAN

(updated on 08.18.04, 7:53am)

6 meeting(s)

Fri, Oct. 01, 2004 - Nov. 05, 2004, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

SFSU Downtown Center, 425 Market St.

Membership is open to anyone 50 years of age and above. Membership is $195 per semester ($165 if you register before September 10, 2004). Membership entitles you to participate in three courses from the OLLI curriculum. You can also take additional OLLI courses for a reduced fee of $60 per course based on seating availability.


The Lickable Interface

Stamps.com turns a step-by-step instruction process into a thing of beauty.

Getting Started at photos.stamps.com

Originally uploaded by Word Strong.
An elegantly designed step-by-step process guides you...

Remember Aqua, the Macintosh "lickable" interface? Turns out the real lickable, clickable interface is a postage stamp. Today, Stamps.com announced the ability to use your own photos as bona fide US postage. While the price is a little spendy, the design of the step-by-step instructions that walk you through the process is elegant, simple, and fool proof.

What are they doing right?

• Focussing on the task at hand

• Limiting choices

• Labelling task-based icons for crystal clarity

• Using typography to create a visual hierarchy

• Designing a visual environment that uses warm, friendly photos to demystify the process and subtly suggest, "Hey, I CAN do this!"

• Using color to reinforce actions. Take a look at the great big orange buttons used for "Continue" and "Order."

Lickable postage

Originally uploaded by Word Strong.
Here's the result!


The Ken Burns Effect on Steroids

Photo to Movie makes it simple.

You know you’ve arrived as a filmmaker when you have a special effect named after you. The new versions of Apple’s iMovie actually feature something called the “Ken Burns Effect.” If you’ve ever seen one of his movies — Jazz, The Civil War, Baseball — you know it well. The camera glides over an archival still photo, slowly panning, swooping, and gliding until it isolates a single area, and then zooms in on a telling detail. Or vice versa, as the case may be. The sense of motion is compelling, and handled well, revealing.

Now, thanks to LQ Graphics and their product Photo to Movie, there is an elegant way to achieve exactly those effects that took Ken Burns thousands of dollars and an expensive film school education to achieve. Photo to Movie makes it easy to import a set of photos, organize them in the iMovie timeline, then specify key frames that define the motion of the photos in the final movie. Transitions between photos include cross fade, wipe, iris, slide, push, zoom, color fade, and slide changer. Multiple tracks of audio can be added. Sophisticated font handling tools make is simple to add complex motion graphic effects to titles. Finished movies can be exported to NTSC or PAL, burned on a DVD, or formatted for viewing via e-mail, on the web, on a CD-ROM. I smell Oscar!


How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?

Practice! Or use a Dynamap.

There’s an old Charles Wright joke about a guy who had a map that was an exact 1:1 scale replica of the earth. But he had no place to open it up. Well, the new lenticular Dynamaps for Tourists, published by Urban Mapping, are way cooler than that. On one side of a map is a sophisticated polymer substrate that superimposes three separate color images of Manhattan streets, subways and neighborhoods. Each image is laid down in an alternating strip that’s sliced 1/300th of an inch wide. Tilt the map slightly and, as if by magic, the street grid, subway network, and neighborhoods are revealed one at a time. It’s like a technically advanced version of the prizes you found at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box. But much hipper. Maps are printed on heavy coated stock and fold into quarters for easy handling. Currently available is the map of lower Manhattan from 70th Street to South Ferry. Check it out at www.urbanmapping.com.