iMovie – I’ve missed you

It’s been such a long long time since I worked on an iMovie video. During that long hiatus, iMovie ’08, ’09 and ’11 flew by, and by the time I caught up it’s iMovie 10.0 now. And the iMovie ’11 Missing Manual that I bought 2 years ago is obsolete.

I used my Canon Vixia HD video camera during my trip to Beijing in May 2012. Good decision? Bad decision! A handheld video camera in the hands of a beginner is a bad idea. Came back with “Blair Witch Project” motion sickness inducing videos. But I knew my mom and dad would like to see those videos. I gave all the raw videos to my dad and I think he actually would watch them 😛

Anyway spent most of last Saturday editing the 2-hour video of my trip to Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City to a 12-minute video. Took out all the vomit-inducing clips and spent minimal time trying to make it “beautiful” or coherent audio-wise. But I did have to re-upload the video several times to youtube because I spelled Tiananmen wrongly. It’s not Tiannamen.

My ideal job should include some imovie-making.

Perhaps this year forward I will move towards “Do what I love, love what I do.”

DC Highlights: Cherry Blossom Festival

I always associated cherry blossoms with beauty, tranquility, harmony, sort of zen-like. I was expecting that when I was on my way to the National Cherry Blossom Festival. But instead of a nice stroll in a peaceful Japanese garden wrapped in cherry blossoms, I found myself walking in an atmosphere that was almost Pesta-Pulau-Pinang-like.

Sight and Sound experience

My small group from church organized a trip to the Daniel and the Lions’ Den show at the Sight and Sound theater (Broadway-style show with a Christian theme) in Strasburg, PA. It was a 2-hour drive to the Amish-land. We had lunch at a family-style restaurant where we had way too much food. Then we headed towards the theater. While in the car, I had my camera ready to take shots of Amish farmland and people, but I only saw strip malls, outlet stores, lots of restaurants, and an occasional Amish horse buggy driving by.

I was surprised by the number of cars, buses, and people at the Millennium Theater.

A giant mammoth, Wooly, greeted visitors inside the theater.

And then there’s the mandatory group picture.

After Nebuchadnezzar died and his son, Belshazzar, became king, we had a 15-minute intermission. But the intermission dragged for an hour. Finally we heard that there’s some technical difficulties, and a group of actors came out and led the audience in an extended praise and worship session. Finally after a 2-hour intermission, we were told that the technical difficulties were too major (a stage lift broke leaving a very large hole in the middle of the stage, I think), so they were not able to continue the show. However, we could exchange the ticket for another show another day.

Then it was a 2-hour drive back to Bethlehem. I guess the biggest disappointment was not being able to see the lions’ den scene, because everyone was debating whether there were any real lions in the show (most probably no) and how real the fake lions will look.

Fire! No Fire….


I was about to go to bed and the fire alarm went off. I quickly stuffed my laptop, camera, purse and cellphone into a bag. Grabbed my coat and car-keys. Knocked on roommate’s door to make sure that she’s aware of the fire alarm. Quickly went outside the building and into my car. Waited for the policemen and firemen to come and check out the situation. Captured a short video.


Back in my room and worked on this video. Extreme blogger behavior…

iMovie: Season 2

I thought I will put aside iMovie projects and concentrate on school work, but I had some time to spare and it’s the weekend and I’m still kind of hooked on it and there’s this song that keeps playing in my head and I just had to use it in an iMovie project.

This iMovie project is unique in that it included mostly photo-stitched panoramic scenes that I took in Malaysia. And this might be the first ever video on youtube to show a panoramic view of Farlim (Ayer Itam), Penang. One-of-a-kind!

While I was going through all my digital photo albums, I discovered I’ve lost quite a big chunk of photo files from my initial digital camera stage. I either burned the photos on CDs and lost the CDs or I placed them somewhere and had to transfer them to somewhere else and they got lost in transition. The photos that I lost were mostly photos of Lehigh. I guess when the weather is warmer I could go out and take more pictures.

Panoramic scenes don’t make good youtube videos. The screen is too tiny and the details are lost 🙁

Last iMovie of the season

It’s official: Chicago O’Hare airport plus United Express airline and I do not go well together. I missed my flight even though I was standing right in front of the gate 15 minutes before boarding time. I spent the next 2 hours waiting in frustration and working on this last iMovie project of the season and finally completed the project in-flight.

The break is over.

I’m back in Bethlehem and it’s time to get down to serious and intensive dissertation work.

My Vacation

Here’s where I spent my Christmas and New Year break.

During my vacation, I….
1. Slept in 3 different houses.
2. Helped the Cheah family move to a newer house.
3. Took GBs of photos and videos.
4. Completed 12 imovie projects.
5. Shopped for free.
6. Spent some time with a doberman and a cockatoo.
7. Learned some skateboarding vocabulary.
8. Visited the Bridal Cave (the 3rd most scenic cave in the US), the Ha Ha Tonka (the nearby state park) and the Windermere Baptist Conference Center.
9. Enjoyed the sights (especially of the Lake of the Ozarks) and sounds and food of NTM Roach.
10. Experienced what it is like to be with a family again!!

Timmy Hawk

This has got to be my favorite imovie project completed in Roach, MO. Here’s why:

1. I spent about an hour or more in the freezing cold capturing the numerous video clips and then spent many hours working on the clips: (a) reviewing through all the clips and sorting out the good shots from the bad, (b) cutting the clips to remove the nothing-is-happening moments in the clips, (c) selecting which clips to use and where to place them, (d) selecting the music that will give the video more “oomphh” power, and (e) adding the slow, fast and reverse motion special effects.

2. This is the first video that included my “copyright” signature.

3. The inspiring enthusiasm of the star of the video, Timothy aka Timmy Hawk. He persevered through many Ollies (skateboarding vocabulary) and runs up the kids-made ramp. But we had some funny moments: I intended to try out some video-capturing techniques that I’ve read about but his only intend was to go out and play. At the end of the gym session, he was rushing out to join his friend at another place for more skateboarding fun but I needed a clip of him walking into the gym to start my video, so I told him, “Timothy, wait, can you pretend to walk into the gym?” and he gave me the blurrest look and continued to walk out of the gym…haiyahhh.

4. This video consisted of both our best efforts 🙂

The Bridal Cave

The Cheah family and I went to the Bridal Cave in Camdenton, Missouri. The Bridal Cave is the third most scenic cave in the U.S. The sights were absolutely amazing. At the innermost part of the cave-tour (the cave still goes on but not the tour), the guide turned off all the lights and there was…total darkness. According to the guide, no matter how long we let our eyes acclimatize to the total darkness, we will not see anything. That was quite an experience.

This Baby: A Christmas Celebration

I was sitting in church and the idea of making a Christmas video came to me. I immediately knew that I have to use my favorite Christmas song, This Baby by Steven Curtis Chapman. At first, I thought I would use photos of Derrick (my newest nephew) as the baby star, and photos of Timothy (my sort-of-godbrother) as the boy star of the video. But as I thought of it, I couldn’t figure out how I can make random photos fit together to form a Christmas theme. Aside from that, a video consisting of numerous photos of one baby is only interesting to the baby’s parents and grandparents, not very exciting for the rest of us. In the end, I decided to set that idea aside. My alternative idea was to use photos of missionaries and their work.

One time, I was with a group of friends from church, and one of the girls mentioned that she just came back from a missions conference and that Heidi Baker spoke at that conference. Another girl quickly responded in awe that Heidi Baker was at that conference. And I was sitting there wondering, “Who in the world is Heidi Baker?” I later found out that she and her husband are missionaries in Mozambique. Their ministry is called Iris Ministries and their website has numerous photos. So that’s where I went for the photos to form my Christmas theme video.

I remember once, a friend mentioned that she couldn’t imagine a Christmas without snow. When I told her that half the world “celebrates” Christmas without snow, that was like an “aha-duh” moment for her! I guess when you’re living in a first world country surrounded by images of traditions, gifts, evergreens, wreaths, poinsettias and carols, you don’t really think of what Christmas is like for the rest of the world. As I was working on this video and examining the photos, I realized that I too don’t know what Christmas is like for half the people of this world.