Friday, September 9, 2011

The Fruitful Woman: A Poem Video

A few posts ago, I posted a link to Soundzine where three of my poems currently appear, each with an audio. Since I had the audio, I decided to make a video, maybe two or three. I chose "The Fruitful Woman" to do first. I'd already done a poem video of this same poem a few years ago, but I thought I could do a better job now as I've acquired more knowledge about video-making. So take a look.

I made this video using iMovie on my Mac. However, I wanted my cover and end clips to be a bit snazzier than iMovie allows. My big, huge help here was Matthew Pearce who makes tutorials that he posts at YouTube. I have learned so much from Matt. One thing I learned was how to use Keynote with iMovie. In Keynote there are many more transitions and effects than in iMovie. It's a bit tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, you've got it. After making the shots I wanted, then I used Share to export them into my movie project. If this sort of thing interests you, you can find Matt's tutorials by going to YouTube and putting "mattsmacintosh + imovie" into the search window.

Something else I learned from Matt was how to use Picture in Picture. That allowed me to have the moving apple tree video in the background and to superimpose the fruits in the middle. However, picture in picture usually adds the image inside a rectangular frame. That looks very nice, but I wanted transparencies so that the images would sort of float on top of the tree. This is where it got hard and very time-consuming. After I gathered my images, I one by one got rid of the background colors by using Instant Alpha, a tool that's part of Preview. I kept getting the Spinning Beach Ball of Death and had to make a few calls for tech support. Got rid of it. But then discovered that Instant Alpha in Keynote works more efficiently. Eventually, I had all my images de-backgrounded and saved as .png (essential as .jpegs won't show as transparencies).

I'll illustrate how this works by following the progression of one picture, the final one in the video. Here it is in its original form.
This photo struck me as perfect as it has skin and fruit. But it also has a definite background which I had to get rid of so I could have the woman floating in front of the tree. That's where Instant Alpha came in.
After several days and many hours of fiddling, I at last got rid of the background colors. This one was challenging as there was more than one color to kill. At last I got the image you see above. But something was missing: her elbows! That looked too weird when I added it to the video.
So I went to Picnik, one of my favorite sites. (If you haven't checked it out, do so.) I used a tool called Doodle to draw in some elbows. I colored them but couldn't get a really good skin match. They looked kind of like prosthetic devices.

Then in an attempt to make the elbows look more natural, I used Blush, Wrinkle Remover, and Airbrush. Better but still not great and there's a bit of a seam. One more idea.

I found some leaves in Picnik and added them to the elbows as camouflage. That worked fine as the leaves fit in with the leaves on the apple tree.

While this project was time-consuming, it was also fun and I'm pretty happy with the result.


  1. I love it, Diane! The girl image is PERFECT! Love all the fruit floating free in front of the tree, too :).

  2. Thanks, Jama. Your new blog looks great!

  3. Diane, thanks for the info about doing a video. And I love the reading and the poem. Neat.


Let Me Know What You Think

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...