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25 March 2006 @ 11:46 pm
Technology, you shall NOT pwn me!  
So the fan film plot bunnies (can I call them plot bunnies if they're for a film, not a fic?) have totally taken over. The result?

Here's the deal. If you want to make a fan film, you need video clips from the movie. But you can't just stick a DVD into the computer and load the video into iMovie. Instead, you first have to rip the DVD onto your hard drive, which entails downloading a ripping program. So I downloaded the program and waited the requisite 1.5 hours it took for the DVD to get ripped. Doing that leaves you with, among a bunch of useless files, a set of .VOB files, each of which contains around 6 DVD chapters of the movie. So, for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, that's about 6 .VOB files.

Next, you have to take each of the .VOB files from which you want to use clips and "demux" it. Demuxing one .VOB file takes about 10-15 minutes. Once you've done that for one of the .VOB files, you get an .m2v file, which takes up a lot of space. The one I did, which was composed of PoA from the beginning until right before the Dementor enters Harry's train compartment, was about 15 GB. (Dude, I didn't even know what the difference between a meg and a gig was before today. Oh, I'm fucking well schooled now!) Then you have to run the demuxed file through a program called Diva. Shit, I don't even remember what the fuck Diva did. It might even have done what the demuxing program did, and I'm just mixing both of them up. I know one of the programs separates the video from the audio. At any rate, at the end of the demuxing/Diva'ing process, you finally get a .mov (QuickTime) file that you can import into iMovie.

But wait, no no, it's not THAT easy, folks! iMovie cannot import a file that is longer than 9 minutes. So now you have to download a program called Clip Creator that breaks the .mov file into less-than-9-minute pieces. But every time I ran the program, it would freeze up, and I'd have to force quit out of it. It was supposed to break the one file I was working on into two pieces. I also tried just pulling a several-minute clip out of the middle, but the damn program still kept crashing.

There IS an easier way to do some of this, but it requires buying a (fairly inexpensive) program or two. And I wanted to do it all for free.

I thought I had lost the battle, until I realized that Clip Creator actually did create at least the first file out of the two it was supposed to be making.

But before I could do anything about it, I realized that all my computer's memory had been SUCKED AWAY. I had started this whole process with something like 33 GB available. That shot down to ZERO. The ripped DVD was taking up about 7 GB of space. The first-half file that resulted from Clip Creator was taking up about 6 GB of space. I deleted the demuxed and Diva'ed files, one of which was 15 GB (holy crap!), because I didn't need them any more. (Well, since the second half of the Clip Creator result likely didn't work, I probably do still need them, but I'll just re-demux and Diva later. At this point, I can't be arsed to care. I just want one video clip, just one...so that I can experiment in iMovie. That's all I ask for. Is it that much?!?!)

And still, I have jackshit for disk space. WTF?! I deleted so much, and still no disk space? How is that possible?

Then I started looking at the various root folders on my computer to see what exactly was taking up so much room. And the weird thing was that the numbers simply didn't add up. The biggest item was the folder with all the HP movie stuff I had just been doing, but that was taking up a total of 7 + 6 = 13 GB. My iTunes are 3 GB, and the rest of the stuff on my computer is just small change. I have a 55 GB hard drive. What is taking up so much space, and why can't I see it?

Next, I downloaded a program called WhatSize. This program tells you exactly what is taking up how much space. And what I found is this: The big-ticket item is "Users", which is taking up 62.5 GB. (I don't quite get how, since I thought I have just a total capacity of 55 GB...but whatever.)

So I double-clicked on "Users" to get the details, and this is what I got:

/Users/.MissSophia/MissSophia.sparseimage 42.7 GB
/Users/MissSophia 19.4 GB (This folder includes ALL of the stuff on my hard drive--movies, music, documents, etc., including the Harry Potter movie, which is taking up 13.8 of those 19.4 GB)

WTF is the .sparseimage file, and why is it robbing me of precious disk space? The 19.4 GB number makes sense. This 42.7 GB number is coming out of nowhere. I tried to research what a .sparseimage file is, but couldn't make heads or tails of the available information. It has something to do with being a backup folder and is supposed to be terribly important. Still, there's something wrong with the size of this one; there's got to be.

My brother-in-law works for Apple (my computer's a Mac laptop), and my husband is out visiting him right now, so I texted this information to my husband's Blackberry, and I'm hoping some light will be shed on this situation.

But because of this low-disk-space situation, I'm scared to try to mess with the clip in iMovie. My husband advised me to transfer the movie folder (the 13 MB one) to our desktop computer, so that I can clear up that space on my laptop's hard drive to tide me over until we figure out the situation with the mysteriously low available disk space. Once that's done, I'm gonna try to mess with the clip on the desktop's version of iMovie.

On one hand, I'm very proud of myself for holding my own against all of this computer madness. I went to a high school for technology geeks, so I once was very good at programming, but that was well over 10 years ago, and now I'm a dumbfuck when it comes to computer stuff. Seriously, most 15-year-olds could probably kick my ass in this respect. So it's quite a triumph for me to have gotten as far as I did in terms of transferring the DVD into iMovie, especially when I had no help at all. It was all just me and Google.

But I'm also fucking pissed at this disk space problem and at the fact that it is so goddam complicated to get clips from a DVD onto iMovie. There are some easier ways, but they require payment...which I may succumb to. When I was telling my husband what I was planning on doing (megaprops to him for not groaning at the deepening of my HP fanaticism, BTW), he told me that we should just buy a program that's better than iMovie. Hey, if he wants to enable me, by all means, he can go right ahead!

In conclusion: I'm proud of my incredibly geeky way of wasting basically 10 hours today having made it this far, and I WILL NOT GO DOWN THIS EASILY. I WILL recover my hard disk space, and I WILL get these clips into iMovie (or whatever better program we get).

But does anyone have a suggestion for how to make this easier???
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
Now With 87% More Bearded!Ron: discobatmoeyknight on March 27th, 2006 06:06 pm (UTC)
I have no idea about MACs. (I am adament that I will never, ever own one. Of course I was adament about the iPod, too. But who can't love that thing?)

Anyway, I have a PC and Windows. I use a program called Xilisoft to rip DVDs straight to MPEG files. Depending on the lenght, I usually get two files approx 750KB each (the last two movies had three files, the last file being approx 110KB)

Arabella and I usually use Windows Moviemaker which will automatically put your video - regardless of size - into clips. We have another program - Screenblast - which is good for somethings, but Moviemaker is what we go with. It's only problem (and this may just be that I need more RAM, I don't know) is that at about the two-minute mark into a movie, it tends to crash and/or slow up so that the music sometimes doesn't synch anymore. You learn to hit save after every change.

So yeah, the movies are hogs, but they shouldn't hog up that much space. What I think you are doing, though is saving all the files required to actually burn a new DVD of the movie. You don't need that. You just need an MPEG file to do videos. Maybe there is a setting on your program that will allow that?