dad's birthday project...

I changed the design of my blog.  I picked one of the pre-made templates.  I like it, but I'll see if I like it enough to let it stay.  What do you think?

Jerome and I have been working on a project that was started a few years ago but has come to a point that it needs to get done - and it's a perfect time to get it done because it will be a birthday present for my dad.  He is turning 80 this year.
The project that I'm talking about is putting my parents 8mm home movies into a digital format.

It's a little complicated since we don't have the equipment to do this the way professionals would, but we hope it turns out OK anyway.

Luckily the old projector is still working so that we could set it up with the film, point it at the screen (also the original) and use our digital video camera on a tripod and record the movie on the screen.

A little off topic,...I have a question.  When did your household first have color TV?  It seems from what I can read on Wikipedia that it wasn't until the summer of 1954 that color TVs were made available to the general public.  I am too young to know that for sure, but I do recall something being said to us in Kindergarten about the first color TVs coming to households in September 1954 and I remember marking that in my mind, because that is when my oldest sister was born.  I thought "WOW, my sister is really old".  Anyway, the reason I ask is because all of the home movies that my mother and father took were on color film.  I'm guessing that they didn't own a color TV at the time, but they could record their own lives in true Technicolor.  The first home movie is Christmas 1956.  This is when they purchased the camera, projector and screen...I know this because you can see all of the boxes for these items under the tree.

We recorded the 8mm in the late winter last year - we had a trial run of this about two years prior, but  decided to just re-do it all last winter.  We set this up in the basement, so it was very dark.  The 8mm film itself is starting to deteriorate by either getting really bleached out or getting really dark.  The projector is running a bit slow (probably needs oil on some gears) and so everybody looks to be in slow motion.

However, we have a Mac and they are supposed to be great with pictures and movies.  It came with the software iMovie and iDVD, but Jerome is an avid reader of computer magazines and articles discussing new technologies and software, so he found one on the internet that he thought would work for what we would want to do in the future and downloaded it along with its very large manual.  The software is called Final Cut (Pro, I think).

So, after we sat through nearly 4 hours of home movies, recording them all with the video camera, Jerome then transferred them onto the computer.  And then it sat there for several months while spring and summer came and (nearly) went.

We've (mostly he) started pulling the movies into Final Cut, where it gets edited and pieces fall on the cutting room floor.  It's good that he is the one editing because he can provide some objectivity since these are not (in a lot of cases) people he knows and whom he is emotionally attached to.  Clip, clip, clip.
So, now we have ordered the movies by year and event, we have edited the length, we have added chapter markers and transitions, have made freeze frame images with titles to each of the movies (I think there are 44 in total) and placed them at the beginning of each movie.  We have removed the ambient sound, which consisted of the projector noise and my commentary on each of the movies, we lightened the dark films and darkened the light films and sped them up just a tad. We went online to find the old drive-in intermission clips from the 50's and 60's so that we can use them at the end of two of the three DVDs that these movies will fill.

Now we are trying to get music that they liked from that era.  Once we find what we want to use, we will add it to the program and voila!  No more silent movies!

Then we will still have to set up the DVDs with the movies and some still photos and also "Chapters" so that you can choose the movie you want to watch.  Then it will be rendering and burning time.  Can only hope all goes well.  Dad's birthday will be upon us quite quickly.  Jerome and my dad share a birth date (October 10).

We would also like to be done with these for our trip out east at the end of next week.  So that we can get approval from my older sisters.

It's quite a process and this is not the first movie/DVD that we've done on the Mac.  We had to purchase an external hard drive and a back-up.  These movies take a LOT of room/memory.


Charisa said…
Wow, that sounds like quite a process! Such an amazing gift! I'm liking the new layout. It's very calming. I'm getting an itch to re-do my blog too.
Jabbles said…
Thumbs up on the chosen design.
That sounds like a great project. My mother did this quite a few years ago with her old 8mm. Same set up but back then home computer editing would have been very difficult, so the quality isn't great. It should actually be redone as the transfer at the time was to VHS.
Tami said…
Very cool project. Wow you guys can really get stuff done over there.

I like the layout of the blog, as it pertains to one you can pick from a template. Let me know if your have a specific idea in mind. Maybe Forbes could design it and put it up for you.

I'm a bit too young too for the color tv question (we always had one). But, I do remember when we got our first tv with a remote control. I was in middle school, so it must have been about 1983-1984 ish.
dynochick (Jan) said…
Seems like the first color TV in the house when I was growing up was around 1963 or 64. Not a lot of shows were even in color back then. I can remember watching a TV show just because it was in color.

Your home movie project sounds great. I am sure he will enjoy it.

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