The Accidental Video-ist

I am not much of a video recording person, I only remember to switch my camera phone or digital camera to the video mode when it occurs to me that the photo I want to take will only make contextual sense if there is sound and the image over time. I usually notice this after the person has started speaking or the action has began, thus my videos tend to be truncated.
To top it all off, I really hate the post-production process. In other words, I hate editing video. In grad school, we had to do an intense 2 week course in video and editing, and I hated every moment of it, other than the editing instructor was a hot 40-something Irish gentleman. But not even Gerry could convince me that editing was worth my time, although I did enjoy watching him talk. Luckily for me, in my final project team we had a member in Shonagh Hurley who not only loved editing video and but could spend hours creatively editing.
Unfortunately, Shonagh is in Dublin and I am in SoCal, so when I need to trim or splice together video segments, I am a bit screwed. And why?

Well, my chosen video capture device – the Nokia N95 (or N86 or …) – makes lovely and good quality video straight out of the mobile device and Vimeo, YouTube, and Flickr take the Nokia camera phone videos straight without any conversion. Sounds lovely if I were able to shoot a perfect video in one shot or if folks were able to speak succinctly and not get distracted or tangent off into an non-related subject, or, or, or…
Many times in the course of a ‘video shoot’ I will take 3-6 short-ish video clips and then get home and want to string them all together plus trim a bit of the fat off. As an Apple MacBook Pro owner this should be easy peasy with iMovie, except that every time I try I find myself in a pile of self-loathing that I even captured any video at all, let alone tried to edit the damned stuff. Gah.
Why so much loathing? iMovie is one of the few Mac user interfaces that rather making sense in the first go around and just works, no, iMovie fools you into thinking it is simple and then an hour or so later you are swearing and trying to Google how to do something simple all the while iMovie has taken your 26 mbs of original files and somehow has turned them into 2.64 gb (!!!!) of edited movie file. Then when you have finally finished swearing and editing in iMovie, when you go to compress it your lovely, clear, 640×480 video has been compressed and exploded and compressed again into a 320×280 non-wonder of pixels and sound that does not match the frame all at a whopping 4-10x the size of the original video!!!!
iMovie, please explain how you can take 26 megs of .mp4 of video glory and mangle it into a compressed, pixelated mess 170+ megs of a .mov file?????? HOW?!?!?!?!?! This mess only brings me to have more loathing for a such an inefficient process that wastes hours of time for each 2 – 5 minute video.
Luckily for me, Nokia has included a simple video clip editor on the Nokia N95 camera phone, which allows me to trim clips and string them together as well as add simple titles. Then when you save it, the new file is a simple addition of the original clips rather than the crazy exponential math that iMovie comes up with. Thus, if I have a 14 meg clip and add to it a 12 meg clip to make the full video, the N95’s video editor will save the edited file at 26 megs. Miracle.
The only problem with this miracle of simple video editing is that the folks at Nokia have not included the video editor on any of the new N-Series mobile devices! Not only do I have to give up Lifeblog when I retire my Nokia N95, but also I will have to give up the native video editor.
Nokia, please bring back the video editor on the Nseries devices so that I am not further compounding time in the purgatory of video editing. Please.

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