Creating with iLife


One of the things that I wanted to do when I came back from my holiday (vacation to those Americans) was to take all the footage and photos and put them in something more structured and what better way than to create a DVD with everything.  This is how I did it (if you are reading this through RSS you might want to go to the site as the structure will be better).

Jeanette and I had been to two weddings, and these would form the structure.  So I decided to tackle the first one first, but instead of using lots of different tools and creating all the graphics myself, I wanted to see how easy it would be to use the built in themes of the Apple iLife 06 product.


Apple iLife contains several products, and for this project I decided to use iMovie HD to ingest the video from the camera, edit the video, create transistions, titles and the credits.


Then use iDVD to create the DVD menus, image slideshows and the menus to jump straight into various parts of the movie.


iPhoto would be used to select the images, and iTunes to select the sound track that I wanted to use.

The great thing about using Apple iLife is all the products are selfcontained, but can also interact with one another, for instance one click can take a project from iMovie straight into iDVD and setup the DVD correctly with menu to each of the Chapters created in iMovie.  That can save hours.

One thing that did set me back was the Audio stopped working on my Apple Powerbook G4, which I believe to be a Hardware issue, so I was basically operating without audio.  I don’t advise this at all, the finished product will be much better know what is going on with Audio.

This is the list of steps that I took to build my movie:

  1. Create some space on your Mac.  I needed about 20GB of space for this DVD, so if you don’t have the space then you are going to have to make some.
  2. Look through the source footage and photos and decide what you like and what you can edit out.  Even after editting, I found that my movie was 2 hours long, and the slideshow was 45 minutes.  Looking back on it, I wish I cut even more.
  3. Load all the photos that you want to use into iPhoto, this way you can easily use them in your project later.
  4. Load all the music you want into iTunes.
  5. Connect your camera to you Mac.  Firewire is the best way to do this because with iMovie launched and the camera connected you can control the camera from iMovie.
  6. Start ingesting.  This is the easy step and you just have to step back and watch as iMovie takes in the video in realtime.  One thing I like to do at this point, is not to take it in one big step but to do rough edits.  That way the video is already in smaller components and easier to deal with.  It also gives you something to do in the 2+ hours it takes to ingest, and saves time later on.
  7. Once you have ingested, all the files should be on your Mac.  Disconnect the camera, and store the tape somewhere safe.
  8. Now you can start editing the movie.  As any one that has done this before it is good to have a rough story to tell through the editing process, so first draft on paper what is going to happen.  If like me you can split things up in to chapters, all the better.  For instance, I had chapters that went like this:  Intro movie, Wedding, After Wedding, In the Hotel, Around the island, On the beach, at the nature reserve, and credits.
  9. Once I knew the general running order, I can start to create the movie.  I decided upon using one of the built in themes as I had never used them before and they looked like they could do the job well.  The nice thing about these themes is they have drop zones in which you can drop stills, motion, music and titles to further personalise you movie.  Once I had selected a theme I liked, I could then start choosing what elements of the theme I wanted to use.
  10. Firstly, I decided to create a title sequence.  I dropped the theme sequence into the time line and then started putting content into the drop zones.  I have already loaded up iPhoto and iTunes, so it is easy to navigate to pictures and start dropping stills into the drop zones.  You can even take stills from your ingested movie and drop it in here.
  11. Once this is done, iMovie will start to render the title sequence.  But this will happen in the background.  Even on my old Powerbook I could keep on working, and that I did, finding the first video I want to put in and dropping it into the timeline.  If there are sections that you don’t like in your video, you can use the tools to cut it out, crop the section of video and even paste sections around.  Its best to play around with these tools so that you get the hang off what is happening.
  12. Once you have dropped this section in, you can create chapters by dragging the chapter icon over the start of the video that you have just put in.  Naming it will insure that once you take the video to iDVD your chapter menus will be created automatically.
  13. Keep dropping video, editing the video, and cropping it.  You can play back at any time to see whether you like what you are doing.  I also put in the chapter markers at these points to know where I am.
  14. Once you have done this, you can start putting in other elements from the themes in.  These can create natural breaks between your chapters and can be used as an introduction to a new scene or area.
  15. Now you have your basic edits, you might want to disolve between them.  If you have cut up the video you can just drag transitions down inbetween the clips on the time line quite easily.  If not I found I had to cut up the clip and put transitions in. I am not a big fan of many of the transitions that I found, so I tended to use a disolve effect. 16.

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