updated imovie

The Facebook page for Porirua hosted several discussions about memories of Porirua and local MP Kris Faafoi (bless him) offered to record former resident Joe Ryland.

This gave me an opportunity to test drive my new mac and the updated version of imovie.

It took me a while to get going and I still cannot find the best way to find and import images from what once was iphoto. ┬áIphoto has gone, replaced by a less than intuitive images folder. One day I’ll sort this out.

Apart from that editing this video was easy, but I was grateful that I had used Camtasia at work, just to get my head round imovie. It seems like an amalgam of Camtasia and I suspect the pro version of imovie/Final Cut.

So here is the latest story/memory. Thanks to both Joe and Kris for doing this.




another about amy

There are of course many reviews of the Amy story and movie. This is one by Ty Bur and the Boston Globe.


My point amongst all the reviews that talk of her pain is the way the film is presented. It follows almost some of the digital story values where the story and the telling take precedence over who is telling the story. I don’t mean that the teller is lost but I do mean that the focus becomes placed on the story.

I’m not sure throughout the story that I had a real understanding of who her manager “Nick” was but the story he told was resounding. But he does talk to us in the Kathryn Bronwich Observer interview. Amy’s best friend (is this she of “we’re best friends right?”) talks over images and videos but we never really see her. It’s a powerful way to tell a story.

Crossposting tricksters

trickstersWhile I don’t wish to cross contaminate blogs it occurred to me that some readers of this blog may be interested in the story from the edtech.ako blog about Alan Levine who recently visited New Zealand and brought with him some ideas.


When I get sorted I’ll sort how to perfect my partial retweeting skills.

using music

Music can add emotion and excitement to your story. I tend not to use music with the local stories we have made for the Ranui Residents Association, because it can override the voice, because it can take time to find the right piece and because copyright can be fraught.

Generally it’s ok to use music that is 50 years old (i.e. out of copyright) and it’s ok to use copyrighted music as long as you don’t share it publicly, for example something shared at a funeral or tangi is pretty much ok.

For this video, made for my friend Bella, I added Dobie Gray’s Drift Away to the end where I added a series of images representing aspects of her life. There was a bit of a tangi singalong by the end of the story. I made another version and added Nick Cave’s Breathless – music that Bells liked. Both songs really lifted the story and gave it an ending that allowed us to remember her with joy.

Free music

You can find free music sites – some listed here.


This site from Creative Commons Legal Music for Videos is useful.
This wikipedia site List of countries’ copyright lengths may also be useful. Note for NZ it’s 50 years after creation.

As with images you should credit any music you use. Of course it’s best to make your own – using Garage Band, an Apple Mac application or by recording a song using Audacity or a more sophisticated application.

Most importantly, however, consider the time and effort in finding music when the voice of the speaker can be an effective sound.

getting there being there


While I am keen to get going on this ds106 MOOC (for the uninitiated Massive Open Online Courses) I have a few things to finish (in my head at least).

About 3 months ago a local Councillor and myself talked with (interviewed is not the right word) a woman – Ngaire Metcalf – who was born a Windley. The Windleys are one of the big families here – having owned one the farms that now make up the suburbs of Porirua. The owners of these farms were: Windleys, Gears, Mungavins, Mexteds, Bothomleys and Sievers.

Many of them married into local Maori families ( Ngati Toa Rangatira) so the mix is very rich.

Ngaire’s audio is long and at times we wander off into other things – which is what happens when you have a connection with someone. I have edited 2 stories and made them into digital stories of a sort ( these are not true dst) and I need to finish another. While I am waiting on Ngaire to ok the first two I sort of wait, hang about. But tonight I will make a start on the final one – about her Paheka family.

In the meantime I have re-activiated a Flickr account ( I prefer Picassa) and tried to sort how to make animated gifs ( that’s new for me) and I’ll now share here one of the stories we did. I like it and I hope she does too.

using audacity

By the time I came to do the stories about Bill’s father and Mazina, I had bought a very useful little device: the Olympus Digital Voice Recorder. This changed my life.

I had previously talked with Bill and recorded a second conversation. Because he didn’t have any photos I took new ones and used cunning black and white renditions to age them.

The Olympus allows me to download the file to my computer and I have a free, open source copy of Audacity. While at work on Windows I use Adobe products to edit audio, I still prefer Audacity because it’s so easy to use. The trick is not the technical edit but the story edit – where to stop, what’s to keep in, how to retain the character of the person and the story they are telling, how many ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ and, at times needing to keep an intrusive background noise in order to retain the recorded comment and, lastly, prospective audience interest.

I’ve made a pdf I had at work into a short guide, but if you want a hard copy comment here (with your email of course) and I’ll send it to you.

getting started


I wanted to create a sense of community and to record histories of people who lived in the area. There were the older people, many related to the farms that once were in this area, there were the stories of Ngati Toa Rangatira who used the area for food gathering (including I understand, juicy eels) and there were the younger people who had stores to tell about dairies, being Samoan, playing in the road.

I started with some of the older residents and found, through members of the Ranui Residents Association, some people who had lived in Ranui. I met with them, talking a bit about their history and looking at photos, then I wrote up a story for them to read and recorded them using my old Mac laptop.

This was quite good as a start but the stories sound a bit stilted, and the problem is that it’s my words really, although I tried to keep to their voice. This video is Reg and Nan Early’s  –14 Arawhata Street.

I followed a similar approach with Margaret and Roy Hughes and ended up with 3 different stories – one about catching flounder, another about living in Porirua and a third and about Margaret’s influence on the development of an over bridge/intersection. I recorded these on my iMac.

For John Ryan I followed a similar idea. He had some images of Mungavin House which his grandparents had built, and an image of old Porirua. When I returned with the scanned images nd the story I had written, he put that aside and began talking. In many ways this works better. We have some images to look at, and because I had spent time with him I knew which questions to ask. There are two stories: one about Mungavin House and another about Porirua village.

I am now recording a woman who is the granddaughter of the Windleys – also farmers in the area. I visited her with a local Landscape Architect, Andrew Gray, who wanted to gather stories about where people lived and the roads. Between us we have recorded an hour’s worth of talking – and I am now editing this, taking out the ums ad arghs and extracting stories about social history. I think there will be one long story where she is looking at old images and pointing out houses, and two shorter ones where she talks more about social history.

Doing it this way is fine but it takes some time to edit the stories, and in the end the editor has control because she decides what is worth keeping.

In the next blog I’ll talk about the stories of Bill and Mazina, and then I’ll talk about the editing process.