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Summary:

I attended a cousin’s wedding last week. He asked me if I wouldn’t mind taking candid photos during the wedding. I being the closet photog, starved for scenery other than the sunsets from my front yard was more than happy to oblige him.

So morning of the wedding, I took my job very seriously. I started snapping away. Trying to get all angles, people, emotions and so on (ok, so that translates into angles that I’m not sure what I was shooting, eyes half open, food being chewed, etc, etc) I ended up with about 400 pictures by mid day.

I attended a cousin’s wedding last week. He asked me if I wouldn’t mind taking candid photos during the wedding. I being the closet photog, starved for scenery other than the sunsets from my front yard was more than happy to oblige him.

So morning of the wedding, I took my job very seriously. I started snapping away. Trying to get all angles, people, emotions and so on (ok, so that translates into angles that I’m not sure what I was shooting, eyes half open, food being chewed, etc, etc) I ended up with about 400 pictures by mid day.

Being the respectable geek I am, I ran back to my hotel room (a couple blocks away) and downloaded my pictures to my powerbook. That took a while… But when it was through, I was proud to have captured some truly perfect moments. They say that if you can print one shot from a roll (‘they’ must be old, ie, pre digital!) then you’re doing good. Well, I counted about 40 that I wouldn’t mind spending some ink and paper on. I guess I did pretty good.

But not knowing just what they’d want, I kept them all and left it to them to sort out. So by this point I’m sure you’re going – “I thought I was reading The Apple Blog feed…” Yeah, I’m getting to that. You’re in the right place.

So OS X being the awesome platform it is, I quickly made up a slideshow (45 minutes long!) and exported it (that took some time…). Then I imported the slideshow movie file into iDVD, added the actual picture files to the DVD (though not accessible from the DVD menu) and set it burning. I made a number of copies, as I’d already been getting requests from family members for some of the shots I was taking. But I made sure to get copies made for the Bride & Groom, and each of their families.

Everyone oohed and ahhed at the DVD. They declared it better than what they expected from the paid photographer. They kept saying how much they owed me for the great work/gift I provided all of them. Being the humble – and honest – person that I am, I deferred all praise to the computer. “I really didn’t spend any time at all on it. It was easy.” And it was. Apple made it possible for me to click a few buttons, let the machine run, and waa-laa, a memorable masterpiece was created. Zero effort from me necessary. The Uncle/Father of the Groom, who’s very much a geek himself, said he’d never know how to get Windows to do that for him, let alone as elegantly.

And that my friends is the point (as my 3 year old has taken to declaring lately). You see, Apple just enables the fun things in life as if they were nothing at all. Because this stuff shouldn’t require a lot of time and effort for a fun and simple reminder of the good times. Thanks Apple. (and you probably got a couple new customers from this awesome demo as well)

Ok, sappy enough? I feel like I’m on one of those Switcher stories from a couple years ago. But seriously, This stuff doesn’t suck. It’s so fun to use, and even better to see the reactions that come from the effortless results. Try it. And if you’ve already done so, share your stories.

A couple technical things as a side note:
iDVD will do everything I mentioned above, in one step (ie, make the slideshow, import the picture files, etc) but there’s a catch. The catch being that it will only create slideshows with a maximum of 99 pictures at a time. So there would have been 5 slideshows on the disc. That’s all well and good, but while I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on this impromptu project, I wanted it to flow as one movie. Hence, my iPhoto slideshow creation and export.
And because I imported a standalone slideshow movie, I had to add the picture files separately to the DVD. But you don’t want all the files as individual buttons on the DVD menu, you (or at least I) just want them available when the Disc is popped into a computer. To do this with iDVD, go to the Advanced menu, and choose Edit DVD-ROM Contents. This lets you add whatever files you want to your DVD, for use in a computer. Hopefully that tip will be handy for a few of you.

  1. Timothy Griffin Thursday, June 23, 2005

    That is a handy tip – cheers.

    And well done on impressing the guests!

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  2. Cool! I’ve also been doing this for about two years now, with increasing sophistication – although I generally focus on video. I started with a Pentax Optio S4 and iMovie/iDVD 4, now using a Canon SD300 and iPhoto/iMovie/iDVD 5.

    Whenever I go to a wedding (usually 1-2 a month from March-September) I shoot video of the various stages, dances, etc (these are mostly traditional Jewish weddings so there’s a lot of stages and a lot of dancing). With my old Pentax the video wasn’t great but people still loved the DVDs I made – but with the Canon the video quality is really quite good – close to that of a budget miniDV camera.

    I’m currently using a 1GB memory card, which the Canon fills with video in 9 minutes on its highest setting. So I keep my 12″ PB in the hall and offload the memory card using a compact SD/USB adapter – sometimes 3 or 4 times. I’m upgrading to a 2GB card to cut that in half.

    (The new Casio EX-S500 looks like it might be a nice upgrade from the SD300, it uses Mpeg-4 for video so it can probably fit more video on a card, but I’ll have to see how the quality compares.)

    When I get home I import the videos and stills into iPhoto to catalog them, then launch iMovie and import the clips (from the “Photos” tab, duh). Then I’ll take 1-4 hours to put together a nice highlights movie, usually 15-30 minutes long, including titles, etc. While I’m in there I’ll export some music from the actual wedding for use in the DVD menus. After I’ve added chapter markers I hit the iDVD button and move to the last stage (besides burning)

    In iDVD I usually use the White Wedding theme, it’s simple and nice. I drop some of the video clips into the menu drop zones (again from the “photos” tab) and then some of those audio files into the menu screen’s audio wells. Finally I hit the slideshow button and add in any stills that I shot at the wedding – also with music from the wedding.

    After that all I gotta do is burn it and throw it into a case, and then I’ve got a really nice gift for the bride and groom. If I have the time/inclination sometimes I even print an insert for the case with one of the stills I shot, using NeoOffice/J’s page layout module (although I’m thinking about picking up iWork and trying Pages – the iPhoto integration would be nice!)

    People have been thrilled to receive these DVDs a day or two after their wedding, when it can take months or years to receive a video or album from the pros. It’s a really fun and rewarding project.

    (I have been pretty frustrated with some bugs in iPhoto, iMovie and iDVD – it’s really time for Apple to do a feature freeze on these products and seriously focus on fixing the bugs.)

    (It’s also time for Apple to combine iTunes and iPhoto into a single app that handles all stills, videos, and songs. An “iMedia” if you will. The current setup, with iTunes handling photos for the iPod Photo, and iPhoto handling videos, is just silly. Then again, maybe it’s just time for me to put out the $50 for iView Media)

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  3. response to articel Thursday, June 23, 2005

    the 99 picture limit is dictated by DVD tech and not specifically by IDVD

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  4. Great story Nick! :) I recently shipped a DVD for my friends Tom and Laura who got married a couple of months ago. They were thrilled! :)

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  5. I went to a wedding a few weeks ago where no one was allowed to take photo’s during the ceremony! So I just turned off the flash and sound on my Digital Camera and took about 60 photo’s of the event.

    Then after the ceremony, I cleaned up the photo’s in iPhoto, brought them into iDVD, and then burned it to disc all before they left for their honey moon.

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  6. I would imagine there are countless other Mac users that could share similar stories. This past Christmas it was the first time in over four years our whole family was together for the holidays (5 children, and a host of grandchildren). During the week while we were together I brought along my Sony DV camcorder. When the week ended, I imported the footage I had shot into iMovie, did some quick edits and exported it to iDVD. I sent everyone home with a copy of the DVD. They raved about it!!! If only they knew just how easy all of this is on a Mac.

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  7. Its tough knowing where to get ideas for a wedding, mines coming up soon and your blog was alot of help, thanks.

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