Friday/ adventures in video editing

I am using Adobe Premiere Elements*, to cut up and make .mp4 files of the enormous .VOB files of digitized film & analog video footage that I have, of old family trips. The recordings were shot on film and analog camcorder in the ’70s to early ’90s. My dad had done the digitization many years ago.
I keep the clip lengths to 2-3 minutes.

*Video editing software; the bare-bones basic version of Adobe Premiere Pro.

I have three layers of still picture/video and five layers of audio available to work with. That’s a lot.
I have a digital scalpel that I can use to look at, and slice in, between two video frames or a split-second of sound (down to 1/30 of a second).
I can add in titles, and fix the worst quality defects of the video (such as enlarging the projected image slightly, to erase its black border; or adjusting overall lighting & color hue).

The dreaded Adobe .PREL (for ‘preliminary’, I think) files take a long time to load and render, even with my brand-new PC with 16Gb of memory and unlimited hard disk space (6 Tb).
The automatic save every 10 mins stopped me dead in my tracks for 2 mins at a time. I changed it to 20 mins.  (Cancel it, and you risk losing a lot of work).
DO NOT mess around with moving files or renaming them. Adobe does not like that, and will give you a ‘Media Pending’ message or black screen, the next time you pull up your .PREL file.

Here are a few stills from a 3 minute clip of scenes at Victoria Falls, 1975 in then-Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

I created a title screen with a Google Earth still image of the Zambezi River and Victoria Falls, and then the text scrolls in from left to right, and scrolls off after 5 seconds.
I created just one more slide to set the stage. I combined a still photo with an Adobe Title Page (the white text). It stays in place for 8 seconds (lots of text to read) and then the video moves on to the real footage I had to work with, from 1975. (Oops .. 108 should be 108 m. Will fix it).
ALL RIGHT .. that’s the 1975 version of me, in the blue shirt. Brother Chris in front of me with the red and black shirt. We were boarding the sight-seeing boat that cruises the Zambezi river upstream of the falls. There is audio now, circa 1995: a discussion among my family (with me included; my voice sounds weird, the way it always does, of course) of our memories of the trip. This conversation was captured during the projection of the 8mm film on a white screen, in order to capture the footage with a VHS machine on magnetic tape, with the audio.
We are on the Zambezi river, and the voice-over conversation is speculating what would have happened if the engine of the boat had stopped at that time, with the falls just 1/2 a mile away downstream. Cool sightseeing airplane comes over. It flies a little too low, maybe?
We had stopped at an island in the Zambezi for tea and biscuits. These monkeys would sneak up to an unsuspecting homo sapiens holding a biscuit, grab it, and make off into the trees. I added the text caption as a scroll-in. I picked a large, clear, light font that is should be easily readable to the viewer, without obscuring anything in the picture too much.
On to the Falls itself. There is continued voice-over from the family discussion. It is all in Afrikaans, so I am trying to be helpful with an annotation here and there, that scrolls in, sticks around for a few seconds, and scrolls out of the frame.  Be careful not to overdo the add-ons, with the arsenal of editing tools at your disposal, I told myself.
Victoria Bridge. The gorges are the zig-zag cuts that the river’s flow had made in the bedrock over the ages.
Final scene, all of three minutes in. I ended it with the Adobe ‘Dip to Black’ scene transition, to black out the frame, indicating that it’s the end of this video clip.
I forgot to mention that I had added an ‘Adjustment Layer’ overlay to the entire clip to lighten up the footage a little bit; it was too dark. I might have overdone the lightening .. will take on more look before I render the clip and export it to .mp4 format from this .PREL format.

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