A Video Perspective of Summer Sports
It's summer... time for outdoor fun... and taking pictures and videos of outdoor fun. We've been going
someplace about twice a week, and on days we stay home there's an hour walk with our cameras.
With five grands who take turns entering the sport-of-the-year club, there's never a weekend without
something to take videos of. Last week included our first to a Justin baseball game. At 8 going on 9,
he's our youngest grand.
It's not that much of a challenge taking video and making movies that look better than the games themselves.
Pack the highlights of a two hour game into the 10 minutes of a YouTube flick and it's easy to make an
enjoyable video... at least for close family and friends. At this age it's not important who wins or
loses... they are all so cute.
Start with the camera... the subject, the viewing, the zoom... lots of things come into play. I'll
go through some of them in this newsletter in the hopes that reflecting on them will reinforce them for
me, and help some of you.
In the post-game editing room of my laptop, I used HitTheBongo's Brady Bunch script to do the opening
60 second clip... followed by 9 minutes of the same but full-sized clips. For shooting I had one constraint,
the script is made for standard sized videos, so I shot in 4:3 aspect ratio. And for editing, the 10
minute maximum length of YouTube provided the other constraint.
Here are links to two copies of the same video
my website - for
YouTube - to be 'with it'
- for Justin and his friends
I took 18 frame snapshots from the finished movie to make suggestions about the shooting and editing.
Before getting into details, here are...
... a few notes...
1&1 Website Host
I've been wrestling with website space for many months, if not ever since I moved my site to the 1&1
service. The problem is that my ftp uploads hit a ceiling and stop, most of the time in the middle of
a file. Sometimes there's a note about not having enough space, but most of the time it's just a cryptic
error message about the transfer failing, with no reason.
I'm currently using about 2-1/2 GB of space and my account has a limit of 300 GB... that's how big
the problem is.
I got an email this week that offers some hope... it says...
... due to necessary hardware upgrades in our data centers... we are moving your account to
our new state-of-the-art data center located in Kansas. The move will occur on July 10, 2007 between
12 am and 6 am EDT.
They also said I had to go cold-turkey for the 6 hours of the move, not able to update it.
One of the things I'll enjoy with the elbow room is posting to a new ImageGallery folder. I kicked
it off with these 3 pictures from our trip to Chicago the other day. There's one shot of the outside
of 'The Bean',
a polished stainless steel sculpture by Anish Kapoor, and two of the inside.
These smaller pix are links to the original 10.2 megapixel sized pictures (3872 x 2592 pixels) taken
with a Nikon D40x, a digital SLR that I've been checking out and enjoying... great camera!!!!
Feel free to download and use them in your story and movie projects. I put my URL in corners for usual
ownership reasons, but located to easily work around.
the Apple Store in Chicago
After taking pix of the Bean, we walked up Michigan Avenue and stopped at the Apple store, where I
played a little with a new iPhone. That didn't take long as they were there to fondle, but not to go
online or make calls. While there, I walked around and checked what everyone was doing on the many computers
setup for demo. One common theme was watching videos on YouTube.
There's a new Garmin store close to the Apple store... its GPS gadgets are more interesting to me
than the iPhone. As I was writing this tonight Olivia, one of our grands, called.... on a new iPhone
our son Chris has. He loves it!!!
.... back to the main topic...
the Ball Game
The are many rules of thumbs for taking pictures, such as rule of thirds... which I won't get into.
It's a matter of making each shot interesting by not having a single object in the middle of the frame.
Let's go through my thoughts about the scenes with the above snapshots. The shots are not random, they
were shot that way by plan.
Preplanned straight lines
Snapshots #1, 2, 3 and 4 all show shots where the action is along well established lines.... baseball
and horseshoes are great for having such structured paths.
The straight lines from base to base make it easy to be positioned to shoot the action without having
to either pan or zoom. Most of the time there isn't any real action, but you can be there shooting when
there is. The same holds true for the line from pitcher to batter.
#4 and 6 show how to use chain link fencing for interest. Most of the time I was staying clear of
the fencing, easy to do because the links are big enough to let the camcorder shoot through with an unobstructed
Sometimes I'll back up just enough to let a single link of the fence be the frame for a scene, as
in #5. Then in #6 I used two fences, the closer for framing, and the farther one for visual interest.
Use Manual Focus.... not automatic
At any kind of ball game I set the focus manually. Zoom all the way into what you want to focus on,
set the focus there, then shoot as usual.
The fencing would play havoc with auto focusing. So would the batter take the focus away from Justin
when he was pitching, when I have both batter and pitcher in a tight visual line.
Action in Groups
#6, 7 and 11 each show groups of people... a team in the dugout, both teams at the closing, and the
It's good to keep shifting from one extreme to another... a single player or two to a group... a tight
in shot versus a wide view.... shots with lots of motion, and those without. If the action gets too stiff
you can add custom effects or transitions in the editing.
I don't pan at a ballgame. I choose either a player or the ball and follow it. The background is automatically
panning faster than you would ever do it manually as the scene unfolds. I try to keep the camcorder focused
on whatever it is I picked to take the shot.
Like panning, I don't usually zoom. The computer editing can zoom steadier than I can. But, as with
all suggestions, rules are meant to be broken at times, as long as the breaking doesn't become the rule.
On the other hand, I take lots of scenes tightly zoomed in. #16 is the view of the pitching/batting
action taken from beyond the outfield. #18 shows Justin's foot on first base, zoomed into from my position
behind the batter.
I have the digital zoom feature turned off and only go as far as I can with the optical one.
#17 is a close-up of Justin's face... a moderate zoom from where I was.
Get some footage from the Back
#8 and 9 show Justin and another team-mate in the dugout bench from the back. Views from behind can
imply a strong story to a viewer... maybe one that is better than the reality of the subject.
Justin wears #24 on his shirt.... the pair of 24/7 had some meaning. There were a few times I was
shooting #24 from behind, only to find it wasn't Justin.... it's funny that two of them on the team wear
the same number.
Any sport-related video can use a shot or two of slow motion. The Slow Down - Half effect is perfect
for it. I used it on the clip of Justin on the sideline preparing to hit, and again on the scene #2 of
him scoring from 3rd on a walked batter.
#10 shows a virtual Sports Illustrated cover as the titling effect as part of the Brady Bunch 60 second
opening script... it's also used by itself at the end of the 10 minute video.
My camcorder can take 2 megapixel snapshots. But Bernadette was there using a 7 megapixel camera.
She's the Photoshop guru who made this magazine cover from one of her shots.
No, he hasn't pitched a no-hitter... but he likes pitching. I saw an article the other week about
major league pitchers starting at younger ages, so the headlines fit with current stories.
I used IrfanView and Paint.net to convert the large
cover file to an 800x600 PNG file for use in the Brady script.
an Opening Clip...
A Photo Story with added text makes a great opening clip for any project... for this video I went
further and used the Brady Bunch Avisynth script made by Al HitTheBongo. I tested the script
a couple weeks ago and was primed for using it as a real opening clip.
Brady Bunch Script
I used the script as downloaded, opening it in VirtualDub, adding the resize filter to make the output
720x480 pixels, and saving it to a new DV-AVI file using the Panasonic codec for compression.
Frame snapshots #11, 12 and 13 are from the script segment. To summarize again what's happening: you
open the script in VirtualDub (or other video app that accepts it... Movie Maker won't) and use it the
same way you use a single video input file. Avisynth, running in the background in stealth mode (the
only way it works) reads the script and puts all the pixels together from the assorted video clips, handing
the pixels to VirtualDub, one frame at a time. Avisynth is a 'frame server'.
This opening again demos how powerful such a 'frame server' utility can be... if you have a neat script
The Bunch of Projects
For the script, I made 24 projects of 30+ seconds each... more than I needed so I had different ones
to choose from. I saved each project to a DV-AVI file.
These clips did double-duty. Many were used by script to make the opening scene... and they were all
used as full-sized clips for the final assembly.
The Final Assembly
My goal was to have a copy of the finished video on my website, and another on YouTube. That gave
me one restraint... keep below YouTube's maximum of 10 minutes... it's 9:57.
I used the Video for LAN (768 kbps) setting, my usual for videos on my website. Rather than re-render
it with my custom Video for YouTube profile, I uploaded the same 57 MB file and was surprised how quickly
YouTube converted it to a Flash file ready for viewing. It took only about 5 minutes after the upload.
For the batch of projects and the final assembly, I used some special transitions and two special
effects, the slow down - half used in two of the clips. Some well-placed PIP transitions can do lots
for a sports themed video. Snapshot #14 shows one of them, using a Pixelan PIP transition.
The background music isn't quite what I had in mind. As often happens, it's the last thing into the
mix and you're ready to roll out it out for the initial showing. I lowered it's volume relative to the
sounds of the video clips a bit more than usual.
Conclusion and Closing... and What's Next?
This video went online a couple days ago and viewers' comments are starting to roll in. Of course
they all love it, at least family and close friends, the only ones who really count for something like
this family home video.
You can't put this much effort into a video of every game... but it's better to do a few of them a
year well then to roll out batches of them not worth watching.
Have a great week and enjoy your summer fun and video work...
I look forward to comments and discussion about this and other newsletters on the forums at:
Windows Movie Makers.net
Have a great week...
Movie Maker, Photo Story 3, DVD Maker, Expression Media -
Photo Story 2 - www.papajohn..org/PhotoStory2/PS.html
Products and Services
I'm involved in anything and everything that supports the users of Movie Maker and Photo Story, and
adding more regularly. Some are free and others reasonably priced.
Radio and Podcasting
is the only weekly Podcast having more useful information about desktop video editing and production
than anywhere else on the Web. Digital video editing, nonlinear editing, streaming media, software releases,
tutorials, business tips, technical help, download of the day and news on the latest products to make
everything easier. It's where professional and consumer desktop video users go to stay on the cutting
Call the phone mail machine to get your technical question answered on the air... call (206)-203-3516
The radio broadcast is from Boston, and the website has downloadable podcast files. The June 19th
2005 podcast was the first 'bi-weekly' show with a segment about Movie Maker 2. The frequency of radio
Q&A sessions about Movie Maker has fallen off as submitted questions are minimal. Maybe Vista will
perk it up a bit.
Movie Maker 2 - Do Amazing Things (with its online companion on
www.papajohn.org ), published
by Microsoft Press...
Maker 2 - Zero to Hero - with support on the publisher's forum -
Friends of Ed
Learning VirtualDub - published by Packt Publishing in April 2005, is the first book
about VirtualDub software. I wrote the introductory chapter about downloading and setting up the software:
VirtualDub, VDubMod and AVISynth.
A large percentage of book sales are of electronic copies. The
Packt Publishing Website page
for the book provides a full table of contents and chapter summaries... and a link
to a full free online copy of
A six page article Making Movies with Vista was in the Spring 2007 Special Edition
(page 78). It covered the movie making process from camcorder tape to viewing it on a standard video
The 2006 Summer Special edition included a 7 page tutorial about Photo Story 3.
The November 2005 edition had a well done reworked 6 page reprint of the article about Movie Maker,
starting on page 42 after the Happy 20th Birthday article for Windows.
The Winter 2005 quarterly special had a 7 page tutorial Make a Killer Home Movie with Maker
2. The special edition of the video made for it is
on my website
as a file download.
Microsoft Home (online magazine)
I was interviewed by phone for an article about Movie Maker for an upcoming
Microsoft Home magazine
Movie Maker and Photo Story - www.papajohn.org
- the site's goals are: doing amazing things, providing a detailed tutorial for PhotoStory 3, and helping
you solve Movie Maker problems.
It's been expanded to include the version 6 of Movie Maker in Vista, along with the new Photo Gallery
and DVD Maker apps.
PhotoStory 2 -
www.papajohn.org/photostory2/PS2.html - a detailed tutorial about using the earlier
version. It's been a long time since I've updated anything on it, but it still gets pretty good viewer
Online Support - Forums and Newsgroups
I'm a regular or moderator on many online forums and newsgroups, the key ones being:
Forums are open to all for viewing, but require registration of those who want
to post. Moderators actively participate to ensure the forum discussions move forward and stay on
Movie Maker and Photo Story forums at Windows
Newsgroups are wide open for all to view and post... moderation is collective
by the participants.
Windows Vista newsgroup -
Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup -
Photo Story 2 newsgroup -
Photo Story 3 newsgroup -
Movie Maker/Photo Story newsletter. The subscription is $20 for 52 issues, and a link to subscribe
is on the main page of www.papajohn.org
or the Products and Services page.
Topics for upcoming newsletters (always subject to change):
#158 - July 14 - ULead's DVD Movie Factory
#159 - July 21 (open)
#160 - July 28 (open)
Newsletters issued more than 6 weeks ago are posted by Rob Morris to an
on his Windows Movie Makers' website. Links from my website pages to specific newsletters make it
easier for viewers to see the content of both while browsing a topic.
Drop an email to suggest a newsletter subject...
Add-On Transitions and Effects
Transition Maker 2 (TM2)
is a utility for the ultimate in making your own personal and custom transitions for Movie Maker
2. It's a joint product from Patrick Leabo, the programmer, and myself.
beta tested some of the Pixelan
packages , including the new packages for Vista, and think very highly of their people
ProDAD's Adorage packages for Movie Maker 2 are additional sources of very professionally
developed transitions and effects. Here are links
for Movie Maker - Volume 1
PapaJohn's Transitions - Volume 2
PapaJohn's Video Effects - Volume 3
I use a lot of professional background music for movies and stories that was created by
Randon Myles, and act as
his agent in selling tunes individually.
There are 62 tunes available from 4 of his many albums... at 99 cents per tune (MP3 or WMA format).
Here's a Sample - 45 seconds from 'Groove 2'. The 4 albums are: In the Fields of the on-Feretin
, Music for Film Volume III, the Emerald Way, and the Fourth Door.
I don't have a full set of online samples yet, but if you hear something you like in one of my
videos, there's a good chance it was done by Randon. Send an email if you are interested.
more info to manage, consider additional tools that help.
My personal database has been an ongoing project over many years, and is now available to others.
A tutorial about using it is on the Managing > Personal Database page of my site, and more info is
in the database package itself.
It's free for the asking to regular newsletter subscribers... send an email request and I'll return
it with the zipped file, which is less than 1 MB.
To others it's $10. To order, use the button on the top of the Managing > Personal Database page.
On my list of things to do is a video tutorial about how to use it.
is the preferred file download service for Movie Maker users... there's a
'PapaJohn Expert Zone'
where I keep many of my samples and personal videos.
Check it at N
eptune and the Distributing > Neptune page of the website, where there's a developing
tutorial about how to use the service.
and mydeo is the preferred
video streaming service. Many of the video samples for newsletter are on it.
Normal sized photo stories stream as well as or better than movies.
In conjunction with the
library , I offer free training sessions about Movie Maker and Photo Story, an intro
session and a workshop.
Classes will resume at the end of summer, when schools re-open. We'll be re-inventing the topics
offered, as the subject of Movie Maker doesn't draw very many... maybe topics such as making and
uploading videos to YouTube, and vacation videos to Trip Advisor... using Movie Maker as the tool
rather than the primary subject.
Other fee-based services
you can't save a movie because your project has become too complex, e-mail a copy
and I'll divide it into manageable sub-projects, and provide detailed instructions about how to render
the parts and assemble them into your final movie. $49.95 (no cost if it's not the right solution
or doesn't work) - for details, see the sidebar on the Problem Solving > Can't Save a Movie page
Movie Maker 2/Photo Story training and support services start at $75 per hour
- send an email - PapaJohn@CharterMi.net
and I'll help you determine your needs, and work with you to plan and implement them.
Wedding combo website/video packages - check the Living Projects section of the
website for samples of what you can expect for the online portion of a package.
© 2007 - PapaJohn; Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United
States and/or other countries.
About John 'PapaJohn' Buechler from Microsoft.com
||John "PapaJohn" Buechler, of Kalamazoo, Mich., goes by PapaJohn
online. An avid user of Movie Maker since its first release, and
a regular supporter of the community of Movie Maker users, John received
a 2003 MVP award from Microsoft for that support. In March 2003,
he started a comprehensive website about Movie Maker 2 at
He maintains the website, writes books and articles, teaches, and
provides support services - all for the community of Movie Maker
2 users. An engineer by formal education, John is a computer database
and multimedia expert by business and personal experience. He co-authored
the first book about Movie Maker 2 and is actively working on a second
one. You can find his advice in the
Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup and in the
Windows Movie Makers Forums.
newsletter is republished with permission of John "PapaJohn" Buechler.
Please note that this is an archive of newsletters and some information
may become outdated. PapaJohn, and the webmaster of this site, provides this
information "AS IS" with no warranties.
Visit - PapaJohn's Movie Maker 2 and
Photo Story 2 Newsletter Index