Step 1: Compile
Taking things off of the TV using a miniDV camera is the easiest and cheapest way to compile content. There’s no additional electronic equipment needed (assuming you or someone you know has access to a camera) and you can work on a quick turnaround time.
- Load your miniDV tape into your HandiCam or any video camera you have.
- Turn TV + cable box on.
- Flip camera on to VCR mode.
- Take AV cables and plug single end into camera and 3 into cable box according to the colors. (If you don’t have a cable box or an HDTV or this doesn’t work for you for any other reason, try plugging the 3 colored AV cables directly into your TV)
- What you see on TV should appear on your camera.
- Press record at desired time.
Getting the MiniDv tape onto the computer is easy. I’ll break it down next week, but if you’d like to see where this is going, you can use this as a resource.
Taking content from YouTube
I like to use KeepVid to make online video files into .Mov files which are compatible with my video editing software (Final Cut Pro). KeepVid will also let you save video from most other sites as well, just make sure you save as a .Mov. Note that downloading online video files for remixing isn’t the best since the quality is compromised. You’ll find your video files pixilated but the sound suitable for use.
Taking content from DVDs
I use Mac the Ripper, a free program that allows you to make backups of your DVDs onto your hard drive. It also allows you to remix those back ups. Just pop the DVD into your computer, run the program and hit ‘extract’. There’s plenty of support on the web for this program should anything crazy go down.
Note: Most mainstream movie and TV scripts are available online for download or made by fans in transcript form. This will help you wade through the material of say, a three seasons worth of Mad Men.
Step 2: Convert Files
Now that you’ve compiled all the footage you think you’ll need, you’ll want to put it in one folder labeled “original video” on your hard drive. The file management component of this process is what makes remixing, and any video editing, a pleasurable experience versus a laborious chore. In this folder will be all the videos you need to convert to bring it into your editing software. The best program for this is MPEG Streamclip. It’s free and it’s the easiest and best tool out there.
- Open the program, click “list” then select “batch list”
- Select all the videos files in your “original video” folder and drag them into the batch list
- Click ‘export to Quicktime’
- Create a new folder on your Hard drive labeled “Converted videos”
Now you should have most of your material harvested and converted. The next step is editing. At this point in the process, I like to take a break and read a lot of stuff other people have written about the show or content of choice. Check in next week for the editing portion of the remix process.
Page 340 in Jenn Pozner’s Reality Bites Back has more on political video remixing and subverting pop-culture from a feminist perspective. I also encourage reading all 346 pages.
“Remember, you don’t need to turn off your TV. Television can be fun, cathartic and yes, a source of much pleasure, guilty or otherwise. And when it’s not… that’s your cue to bite back.”