Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Annual Family DVD again

I just finished my annual family video DVD for 2010. They are so enjoyable that I wanted to share the same information that I posted last year (March 10, 2010). It might inspire you to make one for your family.

Each year for the past six years I have created a DVD that has pictures and video clips. My family loves watching them over and over and I enjoy making them. They take some time to make, but the end product turns out so good that it makes all worth it. I edit the video quite a bit so that it is interesting and I put the pictures into a slide show with musical background.

I thought that I would share some of the lessons that I have learned.

1. I transfer all of the video tapes for the year to the computer and then I make one set of DVDs without editing. I have found that if I make this set first then it’s not hard to cut out a lot of the video because I have a copy of the complete, raw video that I can personally watch if I want to see more. Maybe it is just a psychological thing but it works for me.

2. I work with a PC all day, every day and I love how it makes my life easier. But when it came to making videos, it didn’t work very well at all. I tried many different programs and even bought a new computer, but as soon as I did some video editing it wouldn’t work. I finally came to the realization that it wasn’t going to work on my PC. With my friend’s prompting, I bought a Mac and within a few weeks I had a perfect DVD to share with my family. Maybe there are new PC programs that will work now, but for me, the Macintosh is the only way to go. It works every time and editing is very easy.

3. Videos take a lot of memory, so I would suggest that you get as large of a hard drive as you can afford. You will also want to have an external hard drive that you can use as a back up. (See last week’s post about backing up.)

4. Plan a time of year to do it. For me, it works best to produce the DVD in January.

5. Put several different video clips on the DVD. Don’t try to put everything into one, long movie. If you break it down into shorter video segments then your family can watch the clips they want without having to sit through clips that they aren’t interested in (i.e. the clips they aren’t in.)

6. If you don’t have the desire or time to do it yourself, you can hire someone to do it for you, but remember that the editing decisions need to be yours. A stranger won’t know which shots are the most important to your family.

Chris Stevenson

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Organizing the Pictures

I found these instructions from a handout that we used for book publishing about 30 years ago. When I read over them again, I thought that they still applied to what we do today. These are the instructions when we were doing all of the picture insertion in a book. It applies either if you are inserting the pictures yourself or hiring it out. It is a great way to organize your book when you are ready to start inserting pictures.

1. Decide where each chapter or division of your book begins and place each chapter in a separate folder, sack or envelope or make a note in red, "start new Chapter", etc.
2. Decide where you wish each page of pictures to go and insert the dummy sheets [a sheet of paper that indicates the placement of pictures by drawing boxes. The boxes usually have a number in them that matches the number on the back of the corresponding picture.] or copy of the scanned photo page there. Or draw a box the size of the picture you want on the manuscript page. Write or type the caption for the picture where desired.

This is a very simple and easy way to organize all your pictures before you start putting them in the book. Then all you need to do is scan the pictures and place them with their captions in place.

Chris Stevenson

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Page Layout

Page layout is a term which refers to the way in which text and images are situated on a page. The layout of your manuscript should be adjusted to look exactly the way you want to see it in print. Look at previously bound books for ideas. Check out several family or personal histories to see how they are done. When you see one you like then take note of the headers and footers, where the page number is located, how wide the margins are on each side of the page, and what fonts were used for the titles, text and captions.
Then you can setup your page to the same settings and see if it looks good for your book. If not then make some small adjustments until it is just how you want. This will become the template of your book and make it easier to set up the rest of the book to match. Save this layout as a separate file named something like “Book Template” and as you start a new chapter in a new file then open up a copy of the template so each chapter will match.

Chris Stevenson

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Last To First

When you are making corrections to your book it is easier if you start on the last page and work forward. The reason for this is that as you make changes to your manuscript on the computer everything after it will move. So if you start at the first page then as you work your way through the book it will be harder to find the corrections because the computer screen won’t look the same as the printed proof copy. By starting at the last page any change you make will effect the pages that you have already edited.

If you have pictures in your book, then after you have finished the corrections, start at the beginning and check to be sure that the pictures are still where you want them.

Chris Stevenson