Friday, August 27, 2010

DIY PC build

Kotaku has a nice article about building your own PC vs. buying it pre-built.

YouTube Movies

YouTube now has a "Movies" section where they stream full-length movies (with commercials) for free. (well, most are free, for some others they ask for a fee)

Friday, August 13, 2010

How to add an Avatar-videolog-like overlay to a movie-clip

Watching the movie Avatar, I was wondering whether it was possible to add an overlay similar to the one visible in the movie during Jake's videologs to home-made movies using simple tools like iMovie 09. I wouldn't want to shell out the money for pro-tools like Final Cut or Adobe After Effects.
I figured I wouldn't get the full realtime-time-display and blinking "REC"-tag, but a static picture should be possible.

I found a PNG-file somebody created and posted here which looks exactly like the one from Avatar. (He also created an After Effects file for those who have that software, which displays the dynamic effects)
(in case the link ever dies, here are mirrors of the PNG and AE file)

Now, how to overlay the PNG into a movie? I tried iMovie and while it is possible to insert a picture into a movie-clip, overlay doesn't seem to be an option. The image is just statically displayed wherever it's pasted in.

I found another solution here, which suggests using Quicktime Pro. That worked perfectly.

Here are the steps that worked for me:

- I exported my movie-clip from iMovie 09 by going to Share - Export Movie - and I chose the HD option (which creates a 1280x720 video)
- I opened the exported video in Quicktime (Pro)
- In Quicktime, go to File - Open and open the PNG file
- In the open PNG file, go to Edit - Select All and then Edit - Copy
- Back to the movie-file, go to Edit - Add to Selection & Scale
- Now, in my case, my movie was 1280x720 but my PNG file was 1920x1080
- Go to Window - Show movie properties
- There are now 2 video tracks in the list. Video Track 2 should be the PNG picture.
- I selected Video Track 2 and changed the Scaled Size to 1280x720. This brought the size of the video back down to what I wanted it to be
- In the dropdown-menu Transparency, I selected Straight Alpha Blend and set it down to 0%.