PCT Info on putting together a class video - Page 2
This information explains how we managed data and software to produce the Class of 2011 PCT video.
It is only meant as an example. Others have used different techniques.


Ok, it is like February 1st. You have all your images. You have loaded them up onto a large external drive and renamed them using FastStone and you have cataloged them with some type of image database software.

Now it is time to start making your program. First question: Is your computer up to the task? Do you have a fast CPU, a good video card and lots of RAM and drive storage?

Everyone has a favorite software. Some of the options could include: Adobe Premiere, Sony Movie Studio HD, Photo2Movie, or for a Mac, i-movie or Final Cut Pro (very popular for professionals). I used a variety of programs - Adobe Photoshop (for graphs), Adobe After Effects (beginning segment), Premiere / Encore (authoring to DVD), Sony Movie Studio (removing some camera shake), Sony Acid Music Studio (audio manipulation) and ProShow Pro. If you are new to these softwares, don't be intimidated. You do not need all these big guns to make it happen! If you are on a limited budget and currently have no editing software, take a close look at Sony Movie Studio. It is inexpensive and as a stand-alone could do the entire job. We have seen specials at Frys Electronics when this program can be acquired for free (with certain rebates).

Most of my work was done on a Windows machine using ProShow Pro. If you don't have a program yet and are searching for a software that is not too expensive and can do the job, you might look into this program (the lesser version, ProShow Gold $70 or Professional, $250). I have not tried the Gold version and don't know if it is up to the task for a production of this length, however, the Pro version has some drawbacks:

1) the character generator leaves something to be desired - the titles are not as crisp and solid as others (like Premiere or Sony MS) and you are limited with text borders and drop shadows.

2) The Gold version may not be able to handle a production of this size - you might have to do it in segments and render to video then patch the separate video elements together in Sony MS or some type of video editing program. The Pro version is better adapted to handle large shows but it still might use up the RAM once your production is about an hour in.

3) You can burn to DVD and Blu-ray but current versions do not allow you to have sub menus with chapters (again, you will have to render out and use in Adobe premiere / Encore or Sony Movie Studio / DVD Architect or some other program to get the chapters on a sub menu).

So, why do I like it? Well, it has a very user friendly interface, big images, quick processing and a TON of transitions and effects. You can dump multiple images easily on one slide and have them move about flawlessly. It is easy to add the Ken Burns effect (slight or big motion on still images - using keyframing techniques). And it is super easy to switch out an image for a different one if you wish. It was designed for stills and really, stills are what we mostly worked with. Images could be dragged directly from Adobe Bridge to ProShow Pro and it is easy to back up the entire show (re-write the content of the show to an external drive).

The cloud transitions, the sparkle, the floating balloons, all the power wipes were done with this software (ok, I did purchase the transition pack and volume 1 and 2 'style' packs to go with it). You shouldn't go nuts with the transitions but every now and then, it is a nice touch to add in something special. Another example were the slides with multiple layers. An example is the slide near the end that had 12 separate images floating in and out. This was a template that was already programmed and used with ProShow Pro. It was only a matter of dragging 12 images into a box and everything else was automatic.

We wanted some bling at the beginning so we checked out pre made templates for Adobe After Effects. The template we settled on was called " Corporate Photo Presentation Gallery - Elemental" and was found at Pond5.com (it cost $22) I have rarely used AE but, with the template came a video and the soundtrack. The video showed me how to drop in the images and change the text to reflect the outcome I wanted. It took about 6 hours to figure it our and whip out the one minute introduction.

Once the movie is done, you will need to port it to DVD authoring software. We used the DVD authorize program that came with ProShow Pro. Adobe Encore or Sony Movie Studio HD includes a program called DVD Architect Studio which works well. Ideally, you will want a main menu with two buttons - one will play the entire movie from start to finish, the second will take the viewer to a sub-menu with chapters. In our situation, PSP doesn't have the capability for submenus and we lost video quality when we ported to a new software from ProShow Pro so we were unable to produce a good quality sub-menu but if you edit with a different program and can make submenus, try to do this. The submenu will have chapters. Typically they could be S. CA, Central CA, N. CA, OR and WA. With the submenu page, a viewer can jump around from one segment to another, avoiding holding the fast forward button down to get to a desired spot.

People ask: "How long did it take?" That is a tough question to answer as we had lots of crashes. First, we upgraded our computer from XP to Windows 7 (64 bit). Windows was very unstable for about 3 weeks - resulting in many windows crashes. Then it took awhile to solve the problem with Adobe Bridge - "the apostrophes". Then, we spent a lot of time listening to music and trying different songs - that seemed to take forever but was great fun! We have a lot of new songs in our library now. Taking all that time out of the equation, but keeping in the time to catalog all the images, I'm guessing, one person, about 150-200 hours. And, it was all well worth it!! That would be, let's see, about 2+ hours for every minute of finished video - that seems high but there was a lot of testing and messing around too and, you have to remember that in one minute, there are about 15 images and each and every one received custom "Ken Burns" motion effects plus, as said before, the cataloging and image selection will take a significant amount of time.

Now, your program is finished. What about distribution?