World War I Flying Aces and the Music! Movie
At first, I thought about doing a short movie of popular aviation songs from 1918-1938 but it became apparent that I should focus on how an event like WWI flying aces and then Amelia Earhart’s last flight was memorialized in music both at the time of the events then all the way to the present. After I began scripting the project for the WWI flying flying aces realized I had to cut out Amelia Earhart’s last flight and focus only on one event or the movie would be too long because I needed to have music pieces from two time periods and also have narration and video about artists and society to put everything in context with the historic events.
With that singular focus on WWI flying aces, I added the song, Aces High, a march from World War I for my first musical piece, to OpenShot (OS) Video Editor, to use for background music along with a PBS documentary I found about WWI flying aces. I separated the audio from the video in Aces High, leaving just the audio track on Track 3. Then I inserted the PBS documentary into OS on Track 2 and cut it back to just the scenes of flying aces that fit to the length of the Aces High song.
I went to work cutting out as much of the background music as possible from the documentary on Track 2. To do that, I learned that if I use the scissors tool to cut up the clip where there is no narration, then I could cut out the sound in those clips. With the Aces High track literally above the documentary track, I had also learned that the Aces High song track would now dominate over the sound in the track below it. This worked pretty well but there are spots where you can still hear the background music from Track 2 coming through when the narrator is speaking in the documentary. If I had used a different video editor than OS, I may have been able to separate out the music from the voice in that documentary, but that’s for another day, and perhaps for software I’d have to pay for…. You can see in the screen shot below that I cut the one clip called “Aces High. Air War 1914-1918” into 11 smaller clips on Track 2, to cut out the background music in between the narration. It was difficult to clip closely at the end of the narrator’s voice then clip again closely before he began talking, using OS.
After that was accomplished, I inserted the jpg of the Aces High sheet music cover, then added the next video of the Royal Guardsmen’s song, Snoopy VS. The Red Baron. I wrote the narration for the first and second segments, recorded them on my iPhone as MP4s, then inserted them into OS. I deleted the video that was attached to that clip, putting the audio clip on Track 3 (audio clips on Track 3 and video clips on Track 2 to keep things organized and to see where I had video or audio gaps). I moved the first audio clip to start at 10 seconds, leaving room for the Title with no audio. My narrations had no video so I added jpg images, stretching or compressing them to fit the narration space. I double checked to make sure that all audio clips were lined up with their video clips. At the end, I added the film credits, actually putting it on Track 3 so the video would override the Snoopy video, and the credits played as the song ended, faded to silence as the movie ended. To get the song to fade at the end, I had again learned by going online to use the scissors tool, make a short clip at the end of the longer clip and adjust the volume on the new, end clip to have it slowly fade to the end.
I used no transitions in this movie but instead used fades and made sure that each clip snapped cleanly onto the next clip. If I learned anything from previous projects, it was to have clean cuts and make sure that each clip lines up cleanly with the next one.
The title and credits were created in PowerPoint then exported as .jpg files so they could be directly uploaded in OS. I inserted them last in the movie, played it through to see if there any corrections to be made, then exported it to create the MP4. I uploaded it to Vimeo so I could add it to this blog, and here we are.
I had learned from the professor using the pan and zoom feature on OS for my still shots to give them more of an animated effect, so I researched and learned how to do it in OS and it seemed pretty straight-forward. But there were some distinct caveats when working with the clips. You have to be careful that you’ve snapped your clip up on both ends or it won’t look right. I was running out of time and OS had been crashing on me for all the clipping I had been doing so I decided to call it a day. I had put so much effort into refining the work I had already done that I didn’t want to take any risks with the work I had accomplished. Yes, I could always use the Un-do tool, but there is no “Un-Anxiety” Tool with OS. I was manually saving my project, even though I know it was auto saving. I know that because every time it crashed, the project came back, pretty much where I was when it crashed. But I had done so much that I didn’t need to tempt the Editing Gods at this point. It also seems like OS doesn’t work well in the fine details. It may just be me but toward the end if I wanted to shorten a clip but just a part of a second, OS didn’t want to play along. I tried to adjust the volume of the Snoopy video to 80% but it sounds just like 100%. Not knowing what OS’s true capabilities and limits are, I decided to be finished with the movie as it is. I went back to this week’s instructions and yes, I’ve checked the boxes for writing, editing, design, and audio and video production. It’s all there in this work except for maybe image editing. And story? The story is most definitely there. Is it something important to me, something important for the world to hear? I think it’s interesting—does that count? And Snoopy—what’s more fun than ending with Snoopy, the most famous dog in the world? I’ll get you some day, Red Baron, in my Sopwith Camel!!