Peter (hujhax) wrote,

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... wherein Peter explains how to curate Dubbed Indemnity.

Last month, I put together a DVD of clips for Dubbed Indemnity at the Hideout.  DI is the improv show where they play a clips DVD with the sound turned off, and a cast of improvisors provides the soundtrack.  The task took rather more time than I expected, partly because there wasn't a document like this one floating around.  So, I'm writing a quick how-to for future DI curators.

(Note that I'm talking about how to do this in Windows.)

So you want to create a clips DVD.  This means there are three steps you need to perform:

1.  Rip your DVDs to your computer.
2.  Arrange clips from those DVDs in order.
3.  Burn a DVD of that completed video.

We'll look at each of these steps in turn. 

1.  Rip your DVDs to your computer.
Sadly, this isn't just a matter of copying a file off the DVD to your computer.  The DVD is copy-protected, and the VOB file is in a format that will be useless to you in step 2.

After spending a lot of hours trying many, many, many free programs that didn't work right, I finally solved this problem by throwing money at it.  I bought a copy of "ImTOO DVD Ripper Standard V6" for $36, and installed it on a Windows box.  Then I popped in my first DVD.  I pressed the "DVD" button in the program interface, and selected the DVD drive.  I then went into the main window and selected the video file I wanted from that DVD, and hit F2 to rename it to something descriptive.  I set "Profile" to "WMV - Windows Media Video"[1].  I set "Video Quality" to "High".

At this point, you'll want to click on "Basic Settings", select "Audio Codec", and click the checkbox under "Disable Audio".  (It saves a little time and disk space if you don't bother with the audio, which you're going to throw out anyway.)  Then, click the arrow-button next to "Audio Codec" to open up the "Advanced Profile Settings".  This includes the items "Start Time" and "Length" -- adjust those so that you rip only the clip that you want -- maybe with a few extra seconds to either side.

Finally, hit the big round "record" button.  Soon enough, you'll have a video file with the clip.

Repeat this process with the rest of the clips you want.

2.  Arrange clips from those DVDs in order.
For this step, I used the Windows Live Movie Maker, which is available for free for Windows 7.

You can start with this file, which includes an opening title and closing credits.  You can edit either the title or the credits by double-clicking the text items in the timeline.  To add a clip, drag your new WMV file into the timeline.  Then, under the "edit" tab, you can use "Set Start Point" and "Set End Point" to remove any extra footage from the start or end of the clip. 

Repeat this process for all your remaining WMV files.

Note that you'll want to include a few seconds of black between clips.  You can use a plain black JPG like this one -- just drag it between two clips and set its 'Duration' (on the 'Edit' tab) to three seconds.

Also note that Movie Maker may have tried to put all sorts of crazy/stupid transitions in between your clips.  (I swear, they actually include the star wipe in this software.)  You'll want to fix that.  So, select one of your elements, go to the 'Animations' tab, and click the "Crossfade" transition.  After that, click "Apply to all" to automatically use it throughout.

Finally, you should be ready to save off your movie.  Go to the "Home" menu.  Click the "Save movie" button (towards the top right of the window), and select "Burn a DVD".

This should create a WMV file of the entire "clips show", and then automatically take you to step 3...

3.  Burn a DVD of that completed video.
If you selected "Burn a DVD" before, it should automatically open Windows DVD Maker.  If it doesn't open automatically, then launch the program yourself and drag the WMV file into it.  Click "Next"; pick whatever menu style suits your fancy; press the "Menu Text" button if you're feeling like being a perfectionist about things.  Finally, put a DVD-R in the drive and click the "Burn" button.

At this point, it should churn out your DVD.  Once you're done, try playing the DVD and make sure it plays.[2]  You should be good to go at this point.

One last note:  ideally, it's much easier to accumulate your clips over a long period of time.  If you rent videos from netflix, just pay a bit of attention during the movie, pick out a useful scene that catches your eye, and afterwards, get the DVD ripped and the clip set up in Movie Maker.  It's much easier to slowly accrue videos over a few months than it is to gather everything together at the last minute.

Oh, and one even last-er note:  I am keenly aware that this is not *the* way to put together a clips DVD; it's just *a* way to do it.  If you've successfully put together a Dubbed Indemnity DVD via a different process, let me know how you did it.

[1] I have no great love for this format, but it works nicely with Windows Movie Maker in step 2.

[2] You'll also want to try it on the Hideout system a few days before showtime, just to make sure everything works.
Tags: improv, tech
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