Eager student looking for patient fanvid teacher!

UPDATED: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 19:11
VIEWED: 1955
PAGE 1 of 1

Tuesday, September 26, 2006 10:48 PM


I am in awe over some of the vids that people here have made and was really excited when someone recently told me that they made theirs with Windows movie maker. I have that! I just never tried to use it before. So I set out with determination to make a vid ... and fell at the first hurdle. How do you extract the vid clips from the series/ movie to match up to the music? I would be immensely grateful for any tips of the trade you would be willing to share!

I was really wanting to illustrate a filk that I wrote myself but finding some low tech way to record that onto the computer is another challenge! I'm a real techno incompetant!



Wednesday, September 27, 2006 1:21 AM


You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.

Oh, I wanna learn too!
People have posted threads about how to do such things before, and I always go "Huh?" so I think I need it in Captain dummy talk. - show Universal your gratitude!

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. - Gautama Siddharta


Wednesday, September 27, 2006 3:07 AM


Oh bother. Nothing I try is working! Please, can't someone out there help? I'm thinking of illegally downloading the eps simply because I can't get clips off my DVDs! Surely there's a better way! I know I'm a bit slow but I'm a fast learner with just a few hints!



Wednesday, September 27, 2006 11:29 AM


Uh ... same thing here. Know how to use Movie Maker but can't rip the DVDs.



Wednesday, September 27, 2006 11:59 AM


I don't want to come across as being demeaning, I really don't. It's just that Googling "dvd rip" returned something like 43 million responses. The software is out there! Some of it's gotta be free, and some of that has to actually work and be bug and virus free, no?

Still, I getcha, there's got to be someone or dozen on this board who knows how to do parse dvd images with a minimum of effort and maximum quality. To those I say: reply to this thread! Cuz, it's going to be put to use toward expanding the Browncoat 'verse. And that's a good thing.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006 12:09 PM


Have no fear, Steamer is here!

I've done a buttload of FF vids over the last few months with Windows Movie Maker. I have to confess, though, that a friend of mine burned all the vid files onto a couple of CDs and snail-mailed them to me, so I don't know exactly how to rip them off the discs. I'll have to ask her if she's online later...

I will warn you all one thing about WMM, though. It's quite liable to freeze up on occasion, esp. if you have a relatively slow processor and you're working a little too quickly for it. If you're patient, though, it'll unfreeze after a few seconds and you can continue like nothing happened. HOWEVER, if it becomes a recurrent problem you might be well-advised to save your vid often.

Now, for ripping music: It's a piece of cake to do it with Windows Media Player (at least a later version). Just insert your CD, click the "Rip" tab, choose a track and let 'er rrrrrip!

Shall be checking in with my friend ASAP about ripping video. After that, if anybody has any questions about vidding with WMM, feel free to shoot me a private message; or I'll check back on this thread and see if there's any more questions I can answer.

~ Steemah

Do you own
A Firefly
Want to keep her
In the sky
All you need
Is Kaylee Frye


Wednesday, September 27, 2006 12:31 PM


I have an update! I have successfully converted my DVDs to AVIs (which is what you need for WMM)!

I taught myself all the terminology and found what software I needed through trolling through Google tutorials (I understood about one word in 3 but I got there in the end!)

I recommend the software A1 DVD ripper, which is free! I got mine by going to and looking under Video downloads, video ripping. This shareware program is small and fairly simple to use but it only lets you rip 50% at a time so it's not good for copying whole movies (all to the good I say!) but perfect for converting just one scene!

I wanted to share the fruits of my labour with all you folks! I'm so proud! I'm learning a new skill with the dread machine! (I know I sound terribly British but I never had computer lessons and it's all a bit of a mystery! But determination wins through!)

Watch this space. It'll take me a while to produce anything ready for public consumption but then, look out world!!

Oh and Steamer, thanks so much for offering to mentor! As I had little in the way of clips I haven't played much with WMM yet but if, no let's say WHEN!, I get stuck it's great to have someone who's offered to help! Plus I've seen your stuff and it's amazing!



Wednesday, September 27, 2006 12:40 PM



Originally posted by EmmaRigby:
Oh and Steamer, thanks so much for offering to mentor! As I had little in the way of clips I haven't played much with WMM yet but if, no let's say WHEN!, I get stuck it's great to have someone who's offered to help! Plus I've seen your stuff and it's amazing!

My pleasure. Very glad to hear of your progress! Interesting bit about the DVD ripper though, I never knew such a program existed. Bears some searching. Thank you for the compliment, too, very much obliged!

River grabbed
The gun and
Dropped three
"No power
In the 'verse
Can stop me!"


Wednesday, September 27, 2006 4:29 PM


Hello all!

I only started making vids about a month ago, but I think I have a fairly good handle on the basics. I'm still learning about the video effects and transitions in WMM, but everything up to that point, I would be more than happy to share what I've learned.

To rip clips from the DVDs, I've been using DVD Shrink, which is a free download here:

Once you've installed DVD Shrink and started it up, select "Open Disc" from the toolbar along the top (you should have the DVD you want to rip from in your DVD drive prior to this). Once you've opened the DVD, select "Re-author" from the toolbar. This will allow you to choose just the episode that you want, so pick that (on the first Firefly disc, "Title 1" is the pilot, "Title 2" is the Train Job, etc.) and either double click it, or drag it over to the "DVD Structure" window on the left.

From here, you can choose the exact shot that you would like to rip. To do this, click on the icon of a blue arrows pointing left and right, which is on the far right of the left hand "DVD Structure" area. Clicking on that icon will bring up the "Set Start/End Frames" window, which will allow you narrow in on the scene, or even the exact shot that you want. DVD Shrink usually has two frame markers per second, and WMM will let you edit even closer. Once you've found the clip you want, hit OK on the "Set Start/End Frames" window. You can watch the selected clip in the lower left hand frame if you want.

At this point, I usually go over to the "Compression Settings" tab near the upper right and change out some of the options. My personal preference is to un-check all the Subpicture (subtitle) options, and to un-check all but the first option ("AC3 2-ch English" on the Firefly DVDs) under Audio. I then like to hit the drop down window just above that that says "Automatic" and change it to "No Compression" -- you're going to lose some quality in the clips as you run them through all the various steps, so I like to have my clips at as high a quality as possible to start with.

Once you've decided on the length of your clip, and any audio or compression settings, click the "Backup!" icon along the top toolbar. This will bring up a window that allows you to choose where the file will be saved. One of the small annoyances with DVD Shrink is that it doesn't allow you to change the name of the clip right then and there. Hit OK when DVD Shrink is done ripping.

Now, go to the place you told DVD Shrink to save the file. There, you'll find two new folders: AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS. Go into the Video one, and there you'll find five new items. VTS_01_1.VOB is your actual video clip, the other four are junk and should be deleted (if you don't delete them after each time you rip a clip, the next time DVD Shrink will bring up a window asking if you want to delete them). Change the name on VTS_01_1.VOB -- as far as I've been able to tell, DVD Shrink will continue to save over the same VTS_01_1.VOB file each time. Plus it'll be easier to find your files later if you re-name them. We'll call this sample video clip "whatever.VOB"

Next comes a step that I'm not 100% sure is necessary, but it's something that I read should be done, and something that I haven't played around with much. It may be fine without this, but this is the way I go about things. So, the next step is to change the extension of whatever.VOB to whatever.mpg. (Do this just like re-naming the file.)

(If you can't see the .VOB or .mpg, you need to change a setting on your computer. Assuming you have WindowsXP, go to the Start Menu -> Settings -> Control Panel. In there select "Appearance and Themes" and from there "Folder Options". Clicking on "Folder Options" will bring up another window. In there, click the "View" tab. Under "Advanced Settings" scroll down to "Hide extensions for known file types" and make sure that is not checked. Then hit Ok, and close out of the "Appearance and Themes" window. You should now be able to see file extensions like .VOB and .mpg).

So now comes the next step in the lifecycle of the whatever.mpg clip. You need to convert the file into a .avi, which can't be done with a simple re-naming trick like the VOB to mpg conversion we just did. The program I use for converting mpg files to avi files is called Xilisoft Video Converter, and the trial version can be downloaded for free here:

I've found Xilisoft to be a fantastic little program, with only one or two drawbacks to the free version. First off, you can't convert more than 5 minutes in a single clip. WMM will allow you to put these clips back together seamlessly, so even if you did want to take a full 6 minutes from the DVDs, just split it into two clips in DVD Shrink, convert them separately, and then recombine them in WMM. The other small drawback to Xilisoft is that it asks you if you want to register before every time you convert a file, which can get a bit annoying. Other than that, I love this program, and it carries the added bonus of converting music files, too (as long as they aren't longer than 5 minutes, of course).

So if you're going to use Xilisoft, once you have it installed and started up, click on the "Add" button on the toolbar in the upper left. Select our whatever.mpg file from where you saved it. Now go to the area along the bottom of the Xilisoft window, to the drop down list called "Profile". From this list, choose "AVI - Audio-Video Interleaved (*.avi)". Right below that is "Zoom", which I usually keep on "Letterbox", but I've just realized that "Full (Keep aspect ratio)" might be a better option. Hmm, something to play around with. Next, click on the "Browse" button next to "Destination" and choose the location where whatever.avi will be saved. I've found that you need to click somewhere else in the window for your last change to take effect, so go over to Split and pull down the dropdown list, but keep "Infinite" selected. (You'll only have to go through this set up once, Xilisoft will remember your settings.)

Once you've set all that up, go to the toolbar along the top and click "Encode". This will bring up the "Registration" window I mentioned earlier, but it isn't a big deal. Just hit "Later" (or hit escape), and then "Ok" on the next pop up window. Your whatever.mpg file will now start to convert.

Next: on to Windows Movie Maker! It may be easiest to get all the clips you want and converting them to .avi before you move into WMM, since WMM likes to be a RAM hog. Once you're ready to move into WMM (which can be found through Start Menu -> Programs -> Accessories -> Windows Movie Maker), go ahead and start up WMM.

The next step is to import all the video clips and music you want to use. The option to do this is along the left-hand side. You can select more than one clip to import at a time, so you can dump your entire clip folder into WMM if you want. Importing video can be a long process that will make the rest of your computer basically unusable, so it may be a good idea to start up the process and then head out for a bit.

One of the odd things I've noticed about WMM is that each of the video clips you rip from DVD Shrink will be in their own little folder under the "Collections" tab, all named and alphabetically arranged, which is nice. The weird thing is that music and still images won't be given their own folder -- they'll be put into whatever video clip folder you have selected at the time. I numbered all my video clips (because I'm odd that way), so I just make sure that 01-001 is selected when I import any music or images, so that I always know where to find them. And the very first clip I have from the pilot episode -- Mal saying that they've done the impossible -- doesn't mind sharing his folder at all.

Once you've imported all the things you want to use, you're basically ready to start creating. I'll give a few tips I've learned about WMM in general, but feel free to ask any questions you want, since it'll be easier to answer specific issues that come up.

-Save your projects often. Like someone else mentioned, WMM can be memory intensive and likes to crash from time to time. It's happiest when you have at least 3 GB free on your harddrive, but even then it may freeze up and crash. And then take another 20 minutes to re-open. So save often.

-WMM doesn't let you have blank video time. You have to fill up the entire video timeline from 0.00 seconds straight through to the end. However, the way to get around this is to go into the "Tools" menu, and from there select "Titles and Credits". Select where you want to put the blank screen time (ie, before or after the selected clip, etc.). In the next window "Enter Text for Title" enter one space in the top field. Then go down to "Change the text font and color" at the bottom. This brings up another screen, where you can change the screen color. "Color" is on the far left, and defaults to blue (seriously, Microsoft Blue Screen of Death blue, go figure). Click on the blue square to bring up other options. Personally, I prefer black for my blank screen time; black is found in the lower right corner of the "Color" window that comes up. Hit "Ok" on that window, then click "Done, add title to movie" option near the middle of the screen. This will put a plain black screen into your video, which you can lengthen or shorten (to a minimum amount, at least) as much as you like.

-WMM's audio is fairly limited. You can have the audio from the video clip play synced up with the video, and you can have a secondary Audio/Music track, but that's it. If you're making a music video, this isn't such a big deal, but if you want music, video, and audio separate from the video (ie, dialogue clips from another scene), that gets a bit tricky. What you need to do to get around that is to compile the video twice. Create your video with the dialogue and the video clips that you want, but without any music. (I've been known to have the music I'm going to use open in Windows Media Player, so that I can make sure that the visuals and dialogue matches up with the music.) Once you've finished the video without music, go to "File" and select "Save Movie File". Choose the "My computer" option on the first page, and then name your video and choose where to save it on the second page. On the third page, choose the option that makes most sense to you, but I prefer under "Other settings:" "High quality video (large)". Once your movie is done saving out, start up Xilisoft and convert your movie to .avi, just like we did earlier with the video clips. Then import your new .avi movie back into WMM. Drop the entire thing onto the Video line, then put your music on the Audio/Music line, and voila!

(Alternatively, if you don't want the audio from your video(if you are making a music video, for instance), click on the clip, then go to the "Clip" menu, and select "Audio", and in there, select "Mute". Music videos are probably one of the easier things to create with WMM.)

Welp, I think that's everything. Let me know if you have any questions, hopefully I'll be able to answer them.

Happy vidding!


You can't take the sky from me...


Wednesday, September 27, 2006 5:54 PM


OK, gang, here's the info I got from my friend regarding rippage and working with WMM:

There's a downloadable software at, and I have it on good authority that you do not want to get the platinum pack. Best go with the gold pack, since the platinum will play merry-hob with WMM. Best you go into your My Videos directory, create a new "Firefly" folder, and download the vid files (this pack will automatically convert them to .avi files as it's ripping) into it.

Now when I import files, I usually like to import from my Firefly folder as I need them, rather than taking forever to import every last one - it only takes a few seconds to import a batch of files. 'Course, if you have a bit more time on your hands, be my guest. Another recommendation I have if you're making a music video: If you want your video clips to fit the song you're using (say for example, the lyrics go "Maybe it's the things we don't say" and you want a clip of Mal and Inara at an impasse), you'll want to import your music first. That way you can plant each clip right where you need it and trim it to fit the words. The music file can go into the Audio/Music bar at the bottom, and then you're ready to start pasting vid clips into the Video bar above it. For the Video and Audio bars, there are two display options: Storyboard and Timeline. Timeline makes it much easier to keep track of your clip length.

Now that reminds me of another caveat about WMM: Don't review too much. It's tempting, but your preview window will hesitate somethin' awful if you go back to the beginning and review too many times (and consequently you won't be able to see how your sequencing is working out). Resist! If you really feel the need for some intense reviewing, what you might want to do is save the vid as a work-in-progress WMV file. Once you have it saved as a WMV or somesuch it's guaranteed not to hesitate and skip.

That's everything I can think of for the time being. Hao yun, 'Coats!

Serenity flies
At a hundred per
Is Wash nervous?


Wednesday, September 27, 2006 10:08 PM


Oh now those are some shiny directions! I LOVE you guys for this! Big kisses for CaliforniaKaylee and Steamer!

I'm just annoyed that I'm going away for a few days so won't get to play for a while!



Thursday, September 28, 2006 10:23 AM


A good file to save movies onto your compy is the K-lite Codec pack. It's completely free.

I use it for everything.

"I am a leaf on the how I soar."


Wednesday, November 30, 2016 7:11 PM


How did this thread end up at the top of the Blue Sun Room forum?






The crow?
Sun, March 12, 2017 13:03 - 1 posts
The Expanding Verse
Fri, March 10, 2017 22:14 - 76 posts
Eager student looking for patient fanvid teacher!
Wed, November 30, 2016 19:11 - 14 posts
Tall Card Deck
Wed, September 21, 2016 21:30 - 6 posts
The Writer's Resource Package
Sun, March 20, 2016 15:52 - 29 posts
Any good fics on this site?
Tue, February 16, 2016 19:42 - 4 posts
My Fanfic Plans
Thu, August 6, 2015 11:38 - 1 posts
"Ode To The Final Charge of the Serenity" (Another Firefly theme inspired poem)
Mon, June 29, 2015 06:37 - 1 posts
"Serenity's Crescendo" (A Firefly themed poem)
Mon, June 29, 2015 06:33 - 1 posts
The Adventures of the Jin Dui
Fri, March 6, 2015 16:46 - 3 posts
Ballad of Serenity (re-expanded)
Tue, September 30, 2014 11:46 - 5 posts
Sojourn, a Firefly Tale, a fan audio drama.
Wed, September 10, 2014 16:46 - 1 posts