Modern technology — a love-hate relationship

I spent the better part of the day yesterday struggling with my video camera, computer, iMovie, and iDVD.

In the early 1980s, our first video camera was quite large and we had to rest it on our shoulder like the professionals do for Channel 9 News. It took video tapes. The good news was that once you recorded the tape you were done. You stuck it into a VCR and watched the unedited version of the movie you shot with all it’s bumps, quick-switches and views of your feet.

Now I have a small Sony Handycam. It fits nicely into the palm of my hand and records on mini DVD discs. The camera itself is user-friendly. It has a touch menu screen that tells me what I need to do when I need to do it. But then I am pretty much on my own in getting the movie from the little disc, that can only be viewed on or through my handycam, to a more universal disc that can be viewed on someone else’s DVD player, like my mother’s for instance.

When I connect the camera to my MacBook Pro, the video goes straight into iMovie. Which is alright. IMovie has good editing capabilities from what I can tell, if I knew how to use them. I can do a basic select. And I can cut segments to use out of the long, and at times, extremely boring video I shot.

But this takes a LOT of time to go through all the clips and play segments to make sure I’m not cutting out anything important. I was trying to make a DVD to send to my daughter-in-law because most of the video was of our little star attraction over the weekend, our 8-month-old grandson Luke. I decided to just send my daughter-in-law the whole unedited mess.

But I had to figure out how to get the movie from iMovie to a DVD.

And what format should the movie be in anyway, if you want to show it on a regular DVD player attached to a TV? There are about 25 options.

I consider myself above average in the technical savvy department, but geez.

I have now downloaded an iMovie-08 Getting Started manual on pdf. (I don’t think I even have iMovie-08, so that started me off on a new tangent to upgrade my iMovie software, which leads me to another rant about why do we have to keep updating all our software just when we’ve figured out how to use it?)

I have bookmarked an iDVD help page.

Yesterday I managed to burn a DVD of the unedited film that I hope will play on a DVD player, but haven’t tried yet. I also managed to edit out about 18 minutes of the movie to show to my parents today.

All in a day’s work.

I still need to burn the movie for my parents to a DVD. Worst case, I can just drag my MacBookPro up to Dayton and show my parents the video on this, which makes me wonder if some of these companies aren’t deliberately trying to make us more dependent upon their products.

The problem is, with new technology, we can do all kinds of really cool and neat things—but only if we know how. I want to create a jazzy DVD using iDVD, but I will likely have to spend hours learning how to do it. By the time I am ready to do it again, I will have forgotten what I did and will have to learn it all over. Frus – tra – ting.

Today I’m going to search for a Home Movies for Idiots book. If it’s not out there, maybe I’ll write it.

15 thoughts on “Modern technology — a love-hate relationship”

  1. Wise one

    But think about what you just said :-):

    ‘In the early 1980s… once you recorded the tape you were done. You stuck it into a VCR and watched the unedited version of the movie you shot with all it’s bumps, quick-switches and views of your feet.’

    Now, yes we _can_ do more. We _can_ edit and cut, put in background music, merge scenes… we _can_ do all that. But once upon a time – we didn’t. And the world didn’t end. And maybe people even had more fun watching, and re-watching, because they knew they could giggle again at ‘that bit where I/ you/ mom/ dad dropped the camera, and we got that shot of the frog’. Or foot. Or bought a new camera :-).

    It’s a bit like editing, re-editing, re-re-editing and r-re-re-re editing a manuscript. Where do we, should we draw the line between doing because we can and doing because it’s needed, necessary – a good idea?

  2. Lady Christine

    But sometimes, having the answer is less important than being both willing to ask, and wanting to recognise the question :-).

    Before that starts sounding too smarty-pants and the like, I think I’m talking about Smith’s Law 35:

    ‘If you don’t know why you’re doing it, don’t.’

    No, I don’t claim it as mine, necessarily. A long time ago I started adding occasional entries into a file I called ‘The Book of Rules”. This is just one of them :-).

    In this case, I guess I mean it doesn’t really matter _why_ you’re doing something – whether editing that movie file or re-editing your manuscript for the mumblty-mumble time. It matters that before you started doing it, you thought about why you were bothering, came up with a reason that satisfied you (and to heck with anybody else! 🙂 ), and used that to set your goal, so you could assess whether you achieved it.

    For instance, it’s easy to edit a manuscript. Depending on how long it’s been since you last edited it (and the longer the time, the higher the probability) you can and almost certainly will make ‘changes’. But there’s a difference between change for the sake of change, and having an overall objective.

    heh. I’m blethering again. I’ll stop now… :-P.

  3. This is so true. For one thing, as you say, things change constantly = always learning new things. For another thing, everything/every company does it differently (gee, not that they are trying to be different or anything). It’s just so very very difficult to constantly keep up and yet it’s so necessary. The day you spent was at least worth the effort so you could preserve memories; it’s the days spent troubleshooting blogger or a software bug or a website not working that drives me crazy. Why can’t their “people” do it right so it works the way it’s supposed to? I feel your pain!

  4. Ouch, technology is my nemesis–this week. Typically I can handle a challenge–but sometimes it just overwhelms me. Good luck!

  5. Wow, Christine. After reading that, today I’m thankful that my electronics are all in working order, and I don’t have any plans to try something new! lol

  6. I’m with you on this one. New to Mac, I’ve only tried one video project and am trying to get my courage up to try again. I admire your tenacity.

    1. Thanks JoDee. There’s a learning curve when you move to the Mac. At first it was awkward for me. Now it is awkward when I try to use a PC.


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