The Norman Transcript

April 20, 2014

It’s easier than ever to be your own movie producer


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Things have certainly come a long way since 1988, when the first stand-alone audio CD recorders outside of CD manufacturing plants started showing up.

At that time, do-it-yourself CDs were the province of the rich and famous, as the burners weighed 600 pounds and cost $100,000.

Nowadays, do-it-yourself CDs and DVDs are no big deal. With the right computer, burner and software, you can make great-looking disks that will play on any DVD player.

Blank DVDs, purchased in bulk, can be had for pennies. Even add-on Blu-Ray disk burners for desktop computers have come down in price ($70, or so), making homemade Blu-Ray disks an only slightly expensive pursuit.

If you want to make your own movie DVDs, then, as with all computer functions, you will have to learn how to use a new computer program; in this case, it’s called a DVD-authoring program.

Years ago, when I first started messing around with home-brewed DVDs, this was not an easy task. Modern-day programs have changed all that, to where building your own movie DVD can be as easy as arranging books on a shelf.

If you use an Apple Mac, the clear choice is a program called iMovie. Unless you are a Hollywood producer with complex movie-making requirements, iMovie has everything you are likely to need. It, coupled with the Apple program iDVD, does a great job and is easy to figure out.

My first iMovie project involved taking a number of video clips that were made using a Flip Video camera (also a great, but discontinued product), assembling them into a movie and burning the movie to DVD. To finish what was an admittedly simple project, I only had to read three help files to go from random video clips to finished DVD. It was easy and fun.

For making movies on a Windows PC, you might like an easy-to-use program called DVD Flick (visit dvdflick.net). Using DVD Flick is easier than falling off a greased log backward, and it’s free. It also lets you easily integrate disparate video formats into the same movie, something I really needed to do.

I had gathered a number of videos from different websites, including YouTube, and needed to turn them into one seamless movie for use during the Internet security classes that I teach at our local library. I tried numerous free DVD-authoring programs, with less-than satisfactory results, before coming across DVD Flick; I like it.

All of these programs will allow you to add menus, titles and even basic special effects to your homemade DVDs. You are not limited to video, either; you also can add still photos and slideshows of your pictures. With a little effort, you can make DVDs that will make just about anyone smile.

Dave Moore of Norman has been an independent computer service technician since 1984. He also teaches computer security workshops to public and private organizations. He can be reached at 919-9901 or davemoorecomputers.com.

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