26 Sep 2010

Star Wars for Toddlers is a go

I finished editing Star Wars, and my 3-year-old loves it, and I feel guilt-free about showing it to her. There were some wrinkles during the process, so the current version is actually the third one I made (I’m REAL familiar with the movie now, at least around the problematic scenes). I ended up having success with the Mac-based tool SimpleMovieX, and in fact it’s the first piece of software I’ve paid for in a long time (and it’s not cheap, $40). The free version is full-featured, but saving out the whole movie would have taken a couple of days because they deliberately slow down file saves in order to get you to pay. Still, I ended up liking that particular method of having a free trial, because it let me experiment with all the features over any number of weeks or months (which is sometimes how long it takes me to get my act together).

All that said, I would like to make a fourth version. In addition to fixing a couple of my edits, I have two other problems. First, the file size is too big, and I think I can get decent quality with a lower bit rate and smaller file size. Secondly, there is a white line along the bottom. I believe this is because the software decided to render it at 768×327 instead of 768×328. Many players assume a multiple of four for the resolution, and so put a white line since there’s no data on the 328th row. I’m not sure how to force SimpleMovieX to use a different size, since it only had a short pop-up of choices. Maybe I can use a different tool for the transcoding part.

Oh, and by the way, I didn’t find any good tools that could work directly from a DVD rip, so I had to encode to H.264 with very high quality and size, edit that, and transcode it. Moreover, I had started off hoping to directly edit the H.264 and just save it out, but the audio kept getting out of sync more and more after each edit. I learned about keyframes, and that’s how I found SimpleMovieX, whose primary feature was to let me only visit keyframes while editing, but it helped NOT AT ALL. Come to think of it, if SimpleMovieX didn’t let me edit, and didn’t transcode well, I’m not sure I’ve even found the right tool after all. But I did get a pretty good result, so there.