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December 2008 Archives

December 19, 2008

A Picture Saved is Worth a Thousand Thanks

Recovering Lost Photos with Toast 9 Titanium

Last month I decided it was time to revamp my iPhoto library, which contains all the new photos I've taken for the last few years, but not many earlier pics, which largely languished unseen on shelves and in boxes.

It was time to put everything in one place and organize it for easy access, which meant importing thousands of photos archived on various CDs and DVDs, as well as scanning all my analog prints and slides. Naturally, I decided to do the easy part first, copying over the CDs and DVDs I'd carefully archived for posterity.

All went smoothly till I came to a CD burned in 2001 that contained only 20 or so pictures, but very important ones, of an exhibition of my sister's artwork. Most of the paintings have since been sold, making rephotographing them impossible. The CD simply would not mount, in any of the two Macs and one PC I tried. I spritzed it with disc cleaner and wiped with a microfiber cloth, to no avail.

I was about to give up (and vowed to make two backups of every photo going forward) when a light bulb went off. I remembered that Toast 9 Titanium has a Disc Recovery feature that is able to grab whatever readable data remains on a damaged CD or DVD. So I fired it up, popped in the offending CD, and voila! ALL the photos were recovered!!

Here's how it works: Start a Disc Copy project in Toast, put in your disc (ignoring any error message about unreadability that may pop up), then check the "Use Disc Recovery" box at lower left. Finally, click the "Save as Disc Image" button at lower right to save the copy to your hard disk. Toast will start reading the data, and copy everything it can. This may take a LONG time (hours) if your disc is severely damaged, and if it has a lot of data, such as a dual-layer DVD, so be patient and just let it work in the background, or overnight.


Recovery1.jpg


In my case, since I only had 20 pictures on the CD, the process was quick. A disc image file called Becky Pics.toast was saved to my hard disk, which I could then mount in the Finder by choosing "Mount Disc Image" from the Toast Utilities menu. From the Finder, I then dragged the recovered photos into iPhoto. The salvaged files:


Recovery2.jpg


Resurrecting photos from the damaged CD is turning out to be the easy part of the job, however. Scanning and organizing thousands of analog photos is a significantly bigger task! But that's a story for another blog entry.

December 22, 2008

Playing with Time: Making Time-Lapse Videos

While I fervently hope I am never trapped in an elevator or eaten by ants, the millions of people who've watched these YouTube movies are clear evidence of the impact and reach of time-lapse videos.

Watching things get built, grow, morph or change with the seasons can be mesmerizing. Ordinary happenings become entertaining just by speeding them up. Take a look at this Christmas tree decorating video. It's absolutely fascinating to watch and the kids are adorable, although in real time it would have been a complete yawner.

So how can you make your own time-lapse movies? Pretty much any video shot from one position for a period of time is fair game. You could shoot the kitchen scene at Thanksgiving, the view from your car window as you drive cross-country, or your kids building a sandcastle or snowman. (Tip: Use a tripod or other fixed mount to keep the camera steady, and make sure you have enough power to keep things going for as long as you need. Plugging into the wall is best.)

Once you have your footage, it's time to speed it up. Turning it into the next YouTube sensation is easy with Creator 2009 and VideoWave. First, open VideoWave and select "Add Photo/Video" to add your clips to the timeline. Then right-click on the first video clip and choose "Trim..." to bring up the Video Trimmer window.


timelapse1.jpg


Now change the speed to whatever multiple you like. For example, if your overall video is 4 hours long, and you want the end result to be 4 minutes long, put 60 in the speed box to speed it up 60 times. (Note that if you have a long movie, it may be imported in multiple clips. Change the speed for all of them to the same number.)


timelapse2.jpg


After changing the speed for each video clip, you can preview the overall movie in the main video window at top right. Adjust the speed up or down if desired, or cut out portions that don't help tell the story. You may even want to speed up some parts more than others, although it's best to just stick with one number. When you're happy with the results, choose "Export As" from the Output menu, and save your movie to disk. You can choose from many formats, such as MPEG2 for recording to DVD, 3GPP for cell phones, and MPEG4 or AVC for iPod and portable player viewing.


timelapse4.jpg


Finally, upload your new time-lapse production to the web to share with family and friends. If you want to be the next online video star, send it to YouTube. If you'd rather it stay private, try uploading it to Roxio Online instead, where you can securely share videos with people you invite using PhotoShow. Either way, the results will be time-altering!

About December 2008

This page contains all entries posted to MyMoments in December 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

November 2008 is the previous archive.

January 2009 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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