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7 minutes reading time (1372 words)

Publishing your movie: DVDs and Internet

In my first two articles you learned how to record and edit video. By this point in the series I hope you are excited about how easy and affordable it is to create movies of student recitals and lessons in your piano studio. So far, all the movies you created have remained "trapped" in your camera or your computer. In this article you will learn how to share your movies with your students, their families, and anyone else interested in your studio. To view some real-life samples of videos like the ones in this article, complete with transitions and titles, we invite you to visit the online edition of this article at www.claviercompanion.com. 

Creating video files for posting on the web

Web video files are easy to share. A student's aunt in a distant state can simply open Internet Explorer, type the web address, and in five seconds she can be watching her nephew's piano recital, recorded hundreds of miles away.

Web video files do have some disadvantages: they are usually short, small in size, and feature low audio and video quality. Quality and size are often sacrificed in order to make the files as small as possible so they are easy to store and can be downloaded quickly.

Earlier in this series we built and edited a movie using iMovie on a Mac computer. To save your edited movie as a video file ready for web posting, go to the "Share" menu in iMovie and choose "Quick- time." Then find the "Compress movie for:" menu, choose "Web," and click "Share." Choose a name and save it. That's it. Video edit- ing programs other than iMovie feature similar tools, usually found as an "Export" menu option, or as a "Save as..." option.

If you recorded a studio recital that featured many performers or pieces, you may want to save each performer or piece in a separate file. This way you will end up with many short files ready to post, as opposed to one very large file that will take a long time to down- load and view. 

Once you have saved the compressed video files, you can upload them to your web space and add a link to your website. I will not go into details on how to do this, since this topic is beyond the scope of this article, but rest assured that some of your students will know how to help you if needed!

Another easy way to share movies on the Web is to use a free online video service such as youtube.com. Youtube.com is a free site that allows users to store and share short videos online. You will first need to create a free account by following the directions on the main page, and then you can upload the compressed files of your videos either as public or private files. This is done in a few simple steps. Keep in mind that you may need written permission from the students and/or parents featured in the movie to be able to post their images online. 

Figure 1 Student Vikki Chen appears in a simple movie with three chapters

Creating a DVD

DVDs usually feature much better video and audio quality than web video files. They can store long movies in one package and divide the movie into scenes or chapters that can be easily navigated. Many DVD authoring programs allow users to create professional-looking navigation menus that allow the viewers to see specific chapters or scenes - for example, one performer out of a whole recital.

iDVD is the DVD authoring program found in all Macs. iMovie and iDVD can "talk" to each other very easily. So, if you created your movie with iMovie, you can transfer it to iDVD in a snap.

First, you need to set chapter markers in your movie timeline. These markers will allow the viewer to navigate the DVD scene by scene by choosing a specific performer from the menu or skipping to the next performance in the DVD. Each marker can be set to point to the beginning of each student's performance in the recital.

To set a chapter marker in iMovie, move the playhead to the point at which you want to start a new chapter (iMovie automatically inserts the first chapter marker at the beginning of the movie). Then click the "Chapters" button and then "Add Marker." Type the title of the chapter in the "Chapters" pane (see Figure 1 on page 66). These titles will also appear in the DVD navigation menu.

After setting chapters, you will need to export the movie to iDVD, a program that will allow you to create the navigation menu and burn the DVD. To export the movie, select "Share" in iMovie, and choose the "iDVD" option. This will automatically launch iDVD.

In iDVD you can choose the look of the navigation menu by click- ing on the "Themes" button and then choosing a pre-made theme. I have chosen the "Reflection Black" theme (see Figure 2). You can change the title and options of the menu by clicking on them. Notice the "Drop Zones" in the menu. These zones are areas where you can "drop" photos for them to appear in the menu when the viewer watches the DVD at home. 

Figure 2, The iDVD navigation menu using the program's "Reflection Black" theme.
Figure 3, The same navigation menu, with photosfrom the movie randomly selected by iDVD and placed in the Drop Zones.

Then click the "Chapters" button and then "Add Marker." Type the title of the chapter in the "Chapters" pane (see Figure 1 on page 66). These titles will also appear in the DVD navigation menu.

After setting chapters, you will need to export the movie to iDVD, a program that will allow you to create the navigation menu and burn the DVD. To export the movie, select "Share" in iMovie, and choose the "iDVD" option. This will automatically launch iDVD.

In iDVD you can choose the look of the navigation menu by click- ing on the "Themes" button and then choosing a pre-made theme. I have chosen the "Reflection Black" theme (see Figure 2). You can change the title and options of the menu by clicking on them. Notice the "Drop Zones" in the menu. These zones are areas where you can "drop" photos for them to appear in the menu when the viewer watches the DVD at home.

You can pick photos from your iPhoto library by clicking on the "Media" button. If you don't have relevant photos in your photo library, you can also have iDVD choose random images from your movie and insert them in the "Drop Zones." To do this, click the "Menu" button and then the "Autofill" button. Figure 3 shows the menu after pressing "Autofill."

You can also add a soundtrack to the navigation menu by clicking on the "Media" button and choosing music from your iTunes library.

Most of themes in iDVD are animated. To test the navigation menu, click on the play button. You will see the menu exactly as it will look on your TV when you play the DVD. You can test the menu by choosing scenes and watch- ing them. To stop the test click on the stop button on the virtual remote control that appears on the screen.

Before you burn the DVD, it is a good idea to save the project first. Burning the DVD is a simple step. Click on the "burn" button, which looks like a circular camera shutter on the bottom right corner of the iDVD window, and follow the directions. The burning process may take some time, so be patient!

This simple process will let you share the beautiful performances of your students on a professional-looking, high- quality DVD that will make your students proud of their progress! 

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