Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Register NOW for RGTV: Girl Produced Television

Have you ever wanted to create your own TV show? This fall, Reel Grrls is partnering with SCAN Community Media to offer RGTV: Girl-Produced Television. Choose interesting topics, interview guests, broadcast your opinion!

Who, Where? When?

  • For girls, 13-19 years old

  • Meets weekly after-school and monthly on Saturdays (October-April 2009)

  • All skill levels


Download informational flyer, program calendar, and registration form. To apply: download and complete the application form and return it to Reel Grrls by September 19, 2008. Applications may be submitted via mail, email, or fax:
Reel Grrls

1409 21st Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122
206 328 4466 (fax)

For more information please contact Maile Martinez, Program Manager at maile@reelgrrls.org or 206 393 2085.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Getting our HD and SD vids onto a DVD

You know that saying, "if I knew then what I know now"? Well I am wishing someone had schooled me on outputting HD videos before we decided to use HD for our four-day documentary filmmaking challenge project. You may say that's neither here nor there, especially since we won the whole darned competition, but we almost didn't even get it turned in on time due to the outputting problems we had!!

ANYWAYS I wanted to share the story of how we got around these issues when it came time to put together the final timeline and DVD for this year's Reel Grrls Spring Showcase. I was pretty worried about the headaches we were in store for, since the spring showcase this year included five SD (Standard Definition) projects and two HD (High Definition) projects. I wondered if we would be able to burn one DVD that would show the HD pieces in their true def without messing up the SD pieces, or if we would have to down convert the HD pieces to SD.

In researching all this I came across a number of hugely useful resources. Here are some of my faves:

On burning HD videos to an HD DVD

On burning HD videos to an SD DVD

On exporting HD for the internet
And this one

After reading up and asking advice from everyone I knew (HD is such a new technology that I think most people are still figuring out things like this), I concluded that:
• There are some pretty simple steps you can take to burn HD DVDs in either DVD Studio Pro or iDVD, BUT we couldn't burn an HD DVD that would include SD projects AND
• We could not burn an HD DVD if we wanted it to be able to play on most commercial DVD players.

So. No HD DVD. That left
• Down-converting the HD projects to SD so that we could put all seven final projects in one timeline and then compress them using our usual methods.

Which is what I ended up doing. Here's how I did it:

1. First I exported each HD project from their respective Final Cut Pro timelines as Quicktime files with full resolution (using the same settings as the HDV preset sequences in which they were edited).
2. Then I imported the HD Quicktime Files back into a new Final Cut Pro project and dropped them into a timeline with Standard Definition settings.
3. After this step I was forced to render the timeline, which took FOREVER (so leave yourself time for it)! What's nice is that Final Cut does all the work of interpreting the HD files as SD (including letterboxing the video and squishing it down to the right size), but the side effect is the long wait for rendering.
4. At this point if you want to export your video as a Standard Def Quicktime, print it to regular SD miniDV tape, or export it for the internet, you're all set to go from your new down-converted SD timeline. I exported the finished product using Compressor's standard settings for a DVD of the length of our final productions, then imported the compressed files into DVD Studio Pro.

Voila! I hope this is helpful for you in your HD adventures. Please comment if you have thoughts on how to improve the process.

Monday, May 19, 2008

STORY TIME: Reel Grrls Spring Showcase

After months of study, and work, and fun, and the inevitable crazy last-minute tech issues, we are so excited to debut 2007-2008 Reel Grrls work for the world to see! So please come to

STORY TIME: Reel Grrls Spring Showcase

A celebration and screening of the latest short films produced by Reel Grrls, the nation's first after-school media and technology training program exclusively for girls.

Sunday, June 1st 5:00 p.m.
Market Theater
1428 Post Alley, Seattle 98101

$10 for adults
FREE for youth age 19 and under
To purchase tickets online, visit www.reelgrrls.org/purchase.html

Youth must reserve tickets by contacting Nazgul:
(206) 393-2085

This event will sell out, so purchase and reserve tickets now!

Check out a trailer of one of the films here:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Teen Arts Night at the Seattle Public Library!

Check this out, y'all:

Please excuse any cross postings.

Please invite your friends, students, and colleagues! Post, pass, or blog the word.

You are invited to The Seattle Public Library's 3rd annual All Ages Arts Night on Friday May 2nd, 4-9:30 PM. Next Friday!

Over 50 teens from all over King County will perform or show their art and fashions. There will be poetry, hip hop, a fashion show, dance, spoken word, 2 all teen bands, bookmaking, and pizza all for FREE! While all this is going on, we also host a large information fair of community organizations who work with teens in the arts (including Reel Grrls!). Everyone and their grandams are invited. Come see what the teens in our community are creating, and expressing!

For more information:

Questions? Please contact:

Jennifer Bisson
Teen Services Librarian
Seattle Public Library

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

High Definition Video

Hello Reel Grrls,

It's an exciting era for us as we are all learning about High Definition Video for the first time here. I'm beginning to pull together some info that we can all share and am going to start posting it up right here on our Reel Grrls blog. I'd love to invite all of you to do the same. Post to our blog with info you find or glean, questions or thoughts or observances about using the new HD format. This is a big technology jump and I for one am confused and a bit intimidated by all the new stuff we have to learn about it. So let's figure it out together. Here's my first crack at it (a lot of this is taken from various internet sites and a lot of it is reworded by me because rewording helps me understand):

What is High Definition Video?
HD is more than just "better quality than SD (standard definition)" or "wider than SD." SD records in interlaced frames in 720x480 pixels at 29.97 frames per second in NTSC video countries like ours. One abbreviation for this that you may have seen is 480i, which means 480 scan lines with interlaced frames. When SD shoots in "widescreen" it's actually not changing the resolution at all but simply uses a "wide pixel" mode for 16:9 recording. The overal resolution in SD is fixed and universal.

On the other hand, High Definition Video can be defined by three different characteristics:
1. The number of lines in the vertical display resolution. In HD it's generally 1080 lines (versus SD's 480)
2. The scanning system: progressive vs. interlaced. Progressive scanning redraws an image frame (the lines of the image) each time it refreshes that image. Interlaced scanning draws the image FIELD (every other line or "odd numbered" lines) during the first image refresh, then draws the remaining "even numbered" lines during the second refreshing. Interlaced scanning gives us greater image resolution if the subject isn't moving BUT can lose a lot of resolution and can gain digital artifacts when filming fast moving subjects/images.
3. The number of frames per second or fields per second. The 720p60 format is 1280x720 pixels, progressive encoding with 60 frames per second.

So what does all this mean for us and our new Canon XH-A1? Well now we can interpret some of the settings we've been figuring out:
24f means 24 frames per second and 24p means 24 progressive scan frames per second (and 24 is what we want to be shooting in because it's closest to film)
1080i mean 1080 lines of horizontal resolution, shot in interlaced frames
60i means 30 interlaced frames per second, consisting of 60 interlaced fields per second

Is all of this starting to make some sense? Or are you more confused than when you started reading this post?? Personally I haven't decided yet. Let's keep on workin on it.

Also, I found these great forums where you can read and post about HDV (high definition video). They even have a thread just for our very own Canon camera! Check it out grrls:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sundance - Adobe Youth Luncheon

Sundance was awsome, the hardest of core. Wednesday morning there was a luncheon held by Adobe at the New Frontier club/gallery where all youth programs/classes were welcome to come and eat really good food--i was expecting pastries and coffee, but it was a full on eggs-fruit-oatmeal-juice-coffee-otherstuff yumminess.
Then everyone gathered to watch shorts from the programs that were representing Adobe, such as Reel Works in NY, Spyhop, Real Ideas Studio, us, and some other programs. There were a couple short documentaries, one was about a kid struggling to grow up partly homeless, and another was about two friends who struggled to maintain their friendship in NY because one was Jewish and the other was Muslim. There was a spoken word piece that was kinda experamental, and they also screened Disorder. At the end, all the filmmakers went up in front of the audience to sit in these really freaky folding director chairs (their alot scarier to sit in than they look) and talk about our films. We were asked questions about how we came up with our ideas, what did we struggle with, and what future films might we be planning. It sounded like alot of the other filmmakers struggle with the same thing we do--patience, editing, etc. But Disorder was the only piece that had animation which made us cool. fa' sho'. I told them about the vampire doc we're making, and they all thought that was interesting, i got some good reactions from the audience.

Afterward, it was major mingle time. I met some students from some university in Dallas that really liked Disorder, and the cool cats from NY. Ballard High wasnt there though (suckuuuuus!).

There was alot of computers and software set up for people to try out, i ended up talking to one of the Avid editing software representatives, we had a really long conversation about the difference between mac and pc, FCP and avid, college programs, and hollywood vs indie. Well i guess he thought i knew what i was talking about, he told me to fill out a sign up sheet for something but wouldnt tell be what it was for. I was alittle suspicious, but i thought it would just be more info and stuff about avid. after filling it all out, he told me i was one out of five youth he was supposed to find that stood out, and he sent me the avid editing software for free in mail. It can be downloaded on to a pc or a mac. ooooober coolness.

--kubo, over and out