After spending a ridiculous amount of time on my LEGO stop motion short film, I peeked into the assignment bank hoping for something quick and easy. I’m terrible with video editing on the whole and was rather pressed for time, so I decided to give the “Return to the Silent Era” assignment a whirl. I decided on making a silent trailer for the upcoming movie Pixels, since the Age of Ultron trailers all have far too much dialogue.
I focused on trailers because the assignment’s directions were:
“Take a 3-5 minute trailer of a modern movie and render it in the form os[sic] the silent era- convert to black and white, add effects to make it look antiquated, replace the audio with a musical sound track, and add title cards for the dialogue.”
Boy was I wrong. “Quick” and “easy”, this was neither. It took me a long while just to figure out what kind of files Windows Movie Maker would even accept, so I had to attempt to download the trailer in a few different ways until I finally had it formatted to WMV.
After I had that situation sorted out, I realized that Movie Maker does not have many effects built in, so I had to resort to just altering the picture to black and white. Then, I selected the entire clip and turned the volume all the way down (there’s probably a better way to do that, but, oh well).
So I had a silent film, albeit a lackluster one without cue cards. I went back and found the areas with dialogue and “split” the clip a frame or two after being delivered. Then, I added a “Title” pane, filled it with the dialogue, and shortened its display duration accordingly.
I now had literally a silent trailer. But, what’s a silent movie without some fun ragtime jingles?
I headed to the suggested incompetech site that hosts royalty free music, and found a few suitable clips, which all happened to be submitted by the same person (Kevin MacLeod): “Mesmerize”, Villainous Treachery”, “Iron Horse – Distressed”, “Grammophone Taps”, “Breaktime”, “Evil Plan FX”.
I threw all of those into Movie Maker, and adjusted their lengths to align with what I considered to be the general mood of each split segment. Eventually, it ended up sounding decent after adding a few fades in for good measure. Alas, there were still no gritty visual textures to add.
I uploaded my clip to YouTube once I felt reasonably satisfied with my work. So, here it is!
I’ll have to look around for some better video editing software before I get too deep into my assignments next week. Movie Maker was really nice for my stop motion video, but it just feels really clunky and lacks a lot of the depth GIMP has for visual work and Audacity has for audio work. So, it looks like I’ll be going open source.