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April 20, 2014

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

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.

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