OMG dear readers! Tomorrow is our glorious premiere of Thirst For Hunger, and this is my final teaser blog for this project- man does time fly! Today we’re going to talk about the annoying and necessary editing process. With this video editing, like the image editing I wrote about before, I was the editor. Again this is because of hardware restrictions on my library, I don’t have a computer that teens can use that I can download video editing software to.

First thing’s first: you need editing software. Now many computers come with a basic editing software, Apple computers come with iMovie, Windows have Windows Movie Editor. These are both solid basic applications and will work just fine for many YA library programs. However, I have been a armature movie editor since high school, and find them a bit restrictive… I was able to find and download an old version of iMovie in which gives you more control then Apple’s current product. Does anyone know of an good open source video editing software that’s not too difficult to navigate and not so idiot proof that you cannot start sound tracks from your chosen place?

The next important thing is: you can hide a lot of problems and errors with editing, but your movie will be better with better raw footage. There are quite a few scenes in there with horrible sound quality, or imperfect angles, and I really wish I had just been patient enough to do more then one take! Learn from my mistakes, film each scene a few times, the more takes you have the more opportunity you have to find perfect performances!!!

And the third important thing: do your best to instill realistic expectations on what your editing can do. In an age where computer generated effects are all over DIY videos on youtube it’s very hard for teens to grasp that those effects are actually still out of reach for your project. There were 2 scenes written with the expectation that we would be able to create special effects for them. During the writing process I said we weren’t capable of such effects, and one of my teens assured me that he had a friend that could; while I stated that I was dubious that a teen would get such work done on time particularly a teen I didn’t know and that doesn’t come to our meetings, he was insistent, so I figured we could go ahead and the worst that could happen was that we cut the scenes. So we shot and I edited together those scenes, and I sent them along to the kid whose friend could edit them. The teen of course did not even send them along until I reminded him multiple times- and then lo and behold, this elusive friend with the video editing skills could not edit video files filmed on ipads (what? I’m pretty sure that’s NOT a real thing. But what do I know…)

For your viewing pleasure I am posting 2 scenes that were originally conceived with grand special effect dreams. The first has written in rainbow, fog, and explosion effects:

The second scene merely hoped for 1 effect, fire:

These scenes actually have not been cut I came up with a janky solution to these problems, which I think embraces the spirit of our no budget project (to see these low budget effects please tune into our premiere tomorrow!).

The second to last thing I have to tell you: use sound, often and well! Sound effects are crucial, a well placed sound effect can create an entire effect. And you can get an entire world of free sound effects legally at freesound.org (thanks to my radio nerd friends Leigh and Mooj for the recommendation!) As an example: In the beginning of our cornucopia scene we have the the tributes being raised up in their elevators/pods (exactly like the book), the way we choose to do that was having the actors squat and slowly use their knees to rise up into standing. Which works, but isn’t necessarily an elevator:

But with just the simple addition of a motor noise, and presto change-o:

And my final note on editing: finding the right music is hard! My teens wanted to use their favorite tracks for this project (duh)- and at first I was inclined to let them, 20 secs of a song in the middle of our movie… it’d be fine right? Nope. Youtube is so much smarter then me, as soon as the video was uploaded youtube knew we were using copy written songs (Capitalism strikes again! It also accrued to me after the fact, that by illegally using such music I wouldn’t be able to post the video to my library’s website). Luckily 2 of the songs I had chosen to use were by as yet unsigned artists who gave us permission to use them (major shout out to my favorite Houston band Only Beast who’s letting us use their track A Nerve during the ending credits!), leaving me only needing to replace 2 songs with creative commons music. Also luckily there is a website where you can search for music by creative common license jamendo.com. Their search function is easy to use, and I was able to (rather quickly) find 2 songs that worked perfectly for the scenes in question.

And with that I am officially done blogging about this project! See y’all tomorrow at 5pm central!