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Digital Storytelling

ADOBE PREMIERE PRO for WINDOWS XP: a tutorial by Daniel Meadows December 2004

"For me the noise of Time is not sad: I love bells, clocks, watches — and I recall that at first photographic implements were related to techniques of cabinetmaking and the machinery of precision: cameras, in short, were clocks for seeing, and perhaps in me someone very old still hears in the photographic mechanism the living sound of the wood." Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida (originally published in French as La Chambre Claire, Editions du Seuil 1980).

Time ran out for Barthes in 1980 when, aged 64, he was run over in Paris by a laundry van.

"No one is just like anybody else. No one, in fact, is even who he or she was ever supposed to be. No one was supposed to step out from their fellows and stand alone to say their piece, to thrill those who stand and listen with the notion that they, too, might have a voice." Greil Marcus: Granta no. 76, 2001 _ contents

Part One: THE ROUGH-CUT page 1. The Accompanying CD 2

2. Watch the Digital Story Scissors 2 3. File Discipline 2

Part Two: COMPLETING YOUR FILM 1. The Cut 16

10. Playing Out to Tape 30 1. Post-production 30

folder from the CD which accompanies this manual (paper wallet inside back cover)

1. The Accompanying CD. Some notes on installing the "D'Storytelling_Tutorial"

Copy the "D'Storytelling_Tutorial" folder from the CD to the desktop of the computer you are using. With the folder copied, Double-click its icon to open it. Open the "projects" folder and, one-at-a-time and in this order, open the three project files

"scissors_soundtrack_only", "scissors_rough-cut" and "scissors_final". Each time a project opens, Premiere will "conform audio" (see this taking place at bottom r-h corner of your screen). Let it do this, then go FILE > SAVE, and FILE > EXIT. When you open the "scissors_final" file, Premiere will prompt you for the location of missing preview files. Preview files enable you to see your film playing smoothly and with all the effects and controls working. The "scissors_final" preview files are not in the folder, they did exist once but, as they were very large, they wouldn't fit on the

CD. Their absence doesn't matter, you don't need them in order for the project to load. So, in the "Where is…?" window click "Skip Previews". With the project loaded, create new previews by hitting the return key on your keyboard. Wait for


Premiere to render a full preview of the film… a process that takes a few minutes. Go

You now have Scissors loaded onto your machine in the three stages of its construction. As you navigate the tutorial, you can compare your work-in-progress with the fully functioning version. _

2. Watch the Digital Story Scissors. Inside the "D'Storytelling_Tutorial" folder double click on the file "scissors_viewing.wmv". Windows Media Player will automatically open and the film will play. When it has finished don't close the window, minimize it, you might need to refer to Scissors from time-to-time. _

3. Premiere is a Professional Editing Tool. Adobe Premiere Pro has a lot of capacity and although some of this does go unused in the making of Digital Stories you will find that — if you take to Premiere and want to continue using it after the workshop is over — it gives you plenty of room to grow. The main reasons we use it for Digital

Storytelling are:

· It out-performs the cheaper and "bundled" home video editing packages like Windows MovieMaker, Apple's iMovie (note: these and many other

which makes it the tool of choice over market leaders like Avid and Apple's FinalCut Pro; screen whereas Avid conventionally runs on two screens and users of the Maconly application FinalCut Pro find it easier to work with one of Apple's large

23 inch "cinema display" screens; other packages from Adobe which are used by Digital Storytellers, like Photoshop and Encore;

• It can export Digital Stories in a variety of formats including tape, DVD,

QuickTime, RealMedia, Windows Media and MPEG;

4. File Discipline. When you complete this tutorial and embark on making a Digital Story of your own, you will need to create, on your desktop, a set of folders which exactly replicates the set of folders shown here in the "D'Storytelling_Tutorial" folder. Call the desktop folder by the name of the Digital Story you are making thus: "scissors" (no inverted commas) and, inside it, create seven other folders as follows:

projects scans sized_images soundtrack titles video voice-over

It is very important that you use these folders, and only these folders, to store the pictures and sounds (multimedia "assets") that you are going to use in the making of your own film. This is your special place on the computer. _

5. Beginnings. Okay, for the purposes of this tutorial, you will use to use the assets contained inside the "D'Storytelling_Tutorial" folder on your desktop.

Open Premiere from your desktop by double clicking its shortcut icon ADOBE

PREMIERE PRO. The horse graphic appears (its design, I notice, owes much to the work of the 19th century photographer of animal locomotion Eadweard Muybridge), followed by the WELCOME screen. Here you have three choices: you can open a recent project, a new project or and existing project. Choose "New Project" and the NEW PROJECT window opens. Here you are offered a choice of Presets for making your film. These settings refer to the film format you are going to output from your computer. You can use one of these Presets or we can create a Custom setting of our own. We are going to use a Preset.

In the AVAILABLE PRESETS window click the little "+" sign next to the DV-PAL folder and it will open to give you a choice of settings. Select "Standard 48kHz". In the DESCRIPTION window you will see that this setting is for editing with Firewire

DV (Digital Video) equipment in Standard PAL (which is the European TV format) in an aspect ratio of 4:3 with a quality of audio that matches most DV cameras.

In the LOCATION window make sure that the project will be saved in the "D'Storytelling Tutorial\projects\" folder. In the NAME window type a name for your project which, I suggest, should be your own name thus: "Firstname Lastname 01" (no inverted commas). Click OK. _

6. Arranging Your Workspace. The very first time you open Premiere Pro in your PC a large number of windows suddenly appear in your workspace and this can be confusing. So, close all of the windows (click the little cross in their top r-h corner) except for the PROJECT window, the TIMELINE window and the MONITOR window. Also, you should leave the TOOLS window open. (Strictly speaking the TOOLS window is a "palette", a small panel of a fixed size that always appears in front of all the other windows. To open it, or any of the windows or palettes, go to WINDOW in the Menubar.)

From now on, every time that you open Premiere, the arrangement of windows in the workspace will be as it was the last time you left it. (Premiere remembers where you were when you closed down last, even if you are embarking on an entirely new project.)

You will find that you can drag around any of Premiere's windows by click>dragging in their blue titlebar. Shrink and enlarge windows by click>dragging in their bottom

so it is best to get used to the idea that your Premiere desktop is a fluid space

r-h corner (in the little triangular box made up of diagonal lines). As you assemble your project you will, from time to time, find yourself opening and closing windows,

Even so, it does make sense to save a default arrangement, a "Digital Storytelling" workspace, a one-click option to restore order to your screen. This you can do by moving windows around and then saving the arrangement; go to WINDOW in the Menubar and dragging down to WORKSPACE > SAVE WORKSPACE. The best arrangement for Digital Storytelling is as follows:

· Have the TIMELINE window fill the bottom half of the screen, leaving just enough space at the l-h side for the TOOLS window; beneath its "X" (close) button, you will see there is a little right-facing arrow. Click this and select VIEW > ICON >PREVIEW AREA. And under


• Put the MONITOR window in the top right of the screen. Near the top of it, just beneath the "X" (close) button, this window also has a little right-facing arrow. Click it and select COMPOSITE and AUTOMATIC QUALITY and SINGLE VIEW. You can also stretch the MONITOR window so that it overlaps the TIMELINE window a little. Arrange it so that, when you select the TIMELINE window, the control bar at the bottom of the MONITOR window is concealed.

· Next go up to the Menubar and select WINDOW > EFFECTS. When the

EFFECTS window opens, look for the little tab near the top with the word "Effects" written on it in bold type. Click>drag this word into the PROJECTS window so that the tab lines-up with the project's name tab (already there immediately under the word "Project"). The EFFECTS window will now be "nested" into the PROJECT window. Repeat this process with the EFFECT

CONTROLS window so that both the EFFECTS and the EFFECT CONTROL windows are nested into the PROJECT window.

• Finally go WINDOW > WORKSPACE > SAVE WORKSPACE and in the "Save Workspace" box type "Digital Storytelling" (no inverted commas).

Next time you open your project following a restart, you can set your Digital Storytelling workspace from the Menubar by selecting WINDOW > WORKSPACE > DIGITAL STORYTELLING.

Our American colleagues at the Centre for Digital Storytelling (CDS) in California encourage us to think of the non-linear video editing workspace as a kind of kitchen: the PROJECT window in the top left is the cupboard where we keep our ingredients (multimedia assets), the TIMELINE window across the bottom is the cookpot where we mix them up, and the MONITOR window, top right, is where we taste (view) what we have made. This is why they call their manual "The Cookbook".

And that, you have to agree, is pretty neat

7. The Editing Process. We make our Digital Stories in three stages. First we lay down our voice-over. Then we put the pictures into their correct places on the Timeline so that they appear in the monitor in the right relationship to what is being said in the voice-over. We call this a "Rough Cut", a no-frills version of our finished

images and also titles and creditsgenerally "fine tune" the work to create something
which is elegant, flowing, well-paced and compelling
For the purpose of the tutorial we will go through this process using the Scissors film

film. Finally, and this is the fun bit, we add transitions and movement to some of the _

8. Getting Started. One more bit of preparatory business. As you construct your Digital Story, Premiere will automatically create some folders containing files that support your project. You need to tell it where to put them. Also, if you capture some additional video and audio, it is important Premiere knows where to put those files. Go up to the Menubar and do EDIT > PREFERENCES > SCRATCH DISKS. In the

"Preferences" box, use the "Browse" facility to make sure of the following: "Captured

Video" goes into the "video" folder of your project's folder (in this case the "D'Storytelling Tutorial" folder) on the desktop, and "Captured Audio" goes into the

"soundtrack" folder of your project's folder on the desktop. The other three — "Video Previews", "Audio Previews" and "Conformed Audio" — should all have the "Same

as Project" option selected

Before leaving the "Preferences" window, click on "Still Images" in the l-h list on

"Still Images" and type 50 frames (there are 25 frames in one second, 50 frames in two seconds and so on). The Digital Storytelling Tutorial works best when the sized images are imported into the project with a default Timeline duration of two seconds.

Click OK.

Now we can get going

We begin by "importing" our source materials into our project. Follow these steps:

Select the PROJECT window (just click on it). Notice that, in the thumbnail grid, one item already exists. This is called "Sequence 01", it represents the sequence you are about to create in the TIMELINE window. Leave this alone. Go to FILE in the Menubar and drag down to NEW > BIN and a folder called "Bin 01" will be created adjacent to "Sequence 01". This bin is where you will bring your multimedia assets from their source folder on the desktop into the project so that you can begin working with them.

Go to FILE on the Menubar and drag down to IMPORT. Navigate to the desktop and double-click the "D'Storytelling Tutorial" to open it. Click once on the "sized- images" folder to select it, and then click the IMPORT FOLDER button. Straight away your "sized_images" folder appears on the r-h side of "Bin 01" in the Project

Window. Drag the "sized_images" icon into "Bin 01" and then double click the "Bin 01" icon to open it.

Now, from inside "Bin 01" we can continue to import our multimedia assets, our "video" folder, our "voice-over" folder and — if we have got as far as putting anything into them yet — our "titles" and our "soundtrack" folders.

Premiere uses a "pointer" system to link the multimedia elements in the Bin with the source files in your desktop folder. So, when you ask Premiere to "import" a still or a piece of video or a voice-over, it doesn't actually grab hold of that file and move it or copy it, rather it creates an icon in the bin, an icon which points to its source in your desktop folder, remembering where to find it. So, if you change or delete one of these elements in the Timeline or accidentally delete one of them from the Bin, don't worry that you have also changed or deleted its source file. You haven't. If something has been deleted from its folder in the PROJECT window, all you need to do to put things right is just import it again.

You must not, however, move the source files from their place on your desktop. If you do move them then Premiere will not know where to look for them any more.

For this reason it is very important that if, while your film is under construction, you decide to create a new image, sound or video clip, then you must make sure to put that new file in its relevant place in your named folder before you import it into Premiere.

To navigate around the PROJECT window you either double-click one of the yellow folders to open it, or you locate the folder from which a clip or picture came by clicking once on the little navigation button — grey and folder-shaped with an arrow on it — at the top left of the thumbnail images.

Okay, before we go any further we must save our work. Go up to the Menubar, click on FILE and drag down to SAVE AS. If Windows XP doesn't automatically take you to the "projects" folder inside the "D'Storytelling Tutorial" (and it probably will), then navigate your way there. Now save a new version of your project called "Firstname Lastname 02" (no inverted commas).

Note: Because, sometimes, other Premiere projects are also stored on the same hard disk as your project, it is important always to double-check that you have chosen your own projects' desktop folder and not someone else's.

From now on, as we piece our story together in the Timeline, we will SAVE AS in this way frequently so that we can preserve all our Digital Story's different versions (its "history" if you like) as we go along. You will probably end up with about 15

versions of your Digital Story, each one more advanced than its predecessor

The point of saving AS as opposed to just saving is this: if the computer freezes or crashes (as it will), or if we make some bad decisions (as we will), or if we are careless and do something catastrophic to our film (as we might), then we have only to open the previous version of our film (FILE > OPEN RECENT PROJECT) and progress from there. The amount of time lost will be minimal. But, if we keep saving "over" the file and then we make a mess it, we will lose the whole project and have to start all over again.

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