How Free Software Saved the Day!

Here’s how I used Windows Movie Maker, Paint, Dropbox, MPEG Streamclip, and LogMeIn to get work done from another state!

This past weekend my wife and I travelled to Connecticut to visit my family. We left Friday after work and arrived around 11 o’clock. While on the way I got a text that our Pastor wanted a YouTube video to be played Sunday, while I would be gone. Now, I am not the one who plays the videos during a church service, but I am the one who will get them downloaded and prepped for playing.

Having any video, like from YouTube (or one you did not create yourself), is more than just pressing play when told. They ought to have a proper head and tail, or in and out. If a video just starts immediately, that gives the audience and the engineer no time to prepare for playback. It would be, “Ok, lets start the vid– Oh, I see you started it already.” Since this is engrained in my very soul, I knew that whatever this video was I had to make  it lead in and out.

Saturday morning I woke up, drank some coffee, chatted for a few minutes with my family and got to work. I knew what I would need to do, but I had to get everything just right or else this could be a nightmare. I started off by downloading the beta version of MPEG Streamclip on my parents’ PC because I didn’t bring my laptop. (They didn’t mind). I used the beta version because it works with downloading YouTube videos directly from the software. It made the video an .mp4 and I then converted it to an .avi. AVI and WMV are the native video formats for Windows machines, so I knew I couldn’t go wrong with that. But MPEG Streamclip won’t convert any more than 30 seconds of your video into a .wmv so I went straight to .avi.

I then opened WIndows Movie Maker and dropped in my converted YouTube video. I like to give the person in the soundbooth 3 seconds of black at the start and finish. The YouTube clip just started right off the bat and had no fade in or out. So I opened up the powerful Microsoft Paint program and used the very advanced paint bucket tool to fill the entire image with black, saved it as a .jpg and put it at the front and end of my Movie Maker timeline.

After putting a cross dissolve from the black to the YouTube clip, I exported the video to the desktop as an NTSC DV AVI, just to be sure of compatibility issues later on. From there I put the video in my Dropbox account online so it would go to my work desktop.

Next, I used my free version of LogMeIn to remotely work from my parents’ PC on my Mac at my desk 200 miles away. I opened my Dropbox folder and used MPEG Streamclip again to convert the video again. The reason I did this is because the software we use for our presentations during church–EasyWorship–likes very particular video formats and I did not have the plugins necessary on my parents’ PC to convert it. Finally, I put the completed video into our server’s designated folder and called it a day–off.

Using LogMeIn Free version

You may ask, how did I know that the video would play? Well, when I remoted to my workstation I played a sound effect from my desktop that I knew someone in the office would hear. Josh, the photographer, walked over and moved the mouse so I knew he was there. We then communicated through a search bar where we typed our messages back and forth. I asked if he could hear the audio in the video when I played it.

By using MPEG Streamclip, Windows Movie Maker, Microsoft Paint, Dropbox, and LogMeIn you can get a YouTube video ready to play with the proper head and tail.

One thought on “How Free Software Saved the Day!

  1. Very interesting information. Hope some day i also can do some of those things you do. Keep the great work you do for the glory of our Lord.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s