Rosselange, France: Francis Claudel

Using Video to Share Memories and Emotions - Pinnacle Real User: Francis Claudel.

Using Video to Share Memories and Emotions - Pinnacle Real User: Francis Claudel

Insisting he’s still far from qualified to be labeled a “professional,” Francis Claudel has captured his vacations, family events and special occasions to video for the past 12 years for the sole purpose of creating a living representation his memories that he can share today and enjoy well into the future.

Living in Rosselange, a village in the Moselle département of north-eastern France, Francis got his start on an early (and bulky) VHS camcorder. As available technology and his video skills advanced, Francis graduated to a Super 8 camcorder, then a DV camcorder. Today, he holsters a High-Definition digital camcorder.

“I got the Super 8 camera for trips and later used it to record after the birth of my children,” explained Francis. “Now, the video camera is almost always with me, ready to use. That way, I can take advantage of opportunities. Sometimes, I fix the video camera on my motorbike when we go on trips with friends. Sometime I use a tripod, but that requires some preparation, which isn’t always possible.”

For Francis, it wasn’t long before simply capturing family events and trips in their entirety wasn’t enough. He wanted more than just a forensic recording, he wanted the story in a clean, easy to present format.

“In the beginning, I just wanted to save our family memories for the future,” Francis admitted, “but I quickly discovered that with video editing programs like Pinnacle Studio, there were many other possibilities. I saw that I could change and cut my videos, add special effects and so on. I can create a real interactive film! I can also prepare scenes by filming on green screen and then introduce the shot into my film in editing. ”

Although a computer user since the age of 12, that experience, both personal and professional, didn’t help.

“I am not a professional computer user,” confessed Francis, “but I still try to learn new things on it. In fact, before I started editing videos, I had no any idea what RAM or CPU or any of those things meant. I just used the computer for what I needed to and didn’t think about it much after that.”

Francis had tried several video editing software applications, but found them to be too complicated and difficult to use. When he tried Pinnacle Studio 8, Francis was able to capture and create his first DVD in a matter of just a few short hours, without any outside help.

“The simplicity of Pinnacle,” is, well, in French we say, ‘convivial,’” Francis explained. “Studio’s interface is logical, almost child’s play for basic functions. When Studio 10 came out, I bought that, then Studio 11, which is far more powerful and allows the treatment of High-Definition video. With the addition of plug-ins such as VitaScene, combined with the compatibility of several outside plug-ins, the possibilities of personal creation are huge!”

According to Francis, another important advantage Pinnacle Studio offered over other video editing applications he tried was the overall stability of the software.

“When I press the ’Create Disc’ button, I’m sure the disc will be created ... well, 99% sure,” Francis joked. “But seriously, Studio doesn’t freeze up or have some of the issues that I experienced with other solutions. On successive and well-balanced computers, Studio has always proven to be stable. I also appreciate the support of the Pinnacle Studio forum, which is rather efficient. I participate in the forum myself to help other users too.”

Francis has helped several friends and family members produce videos including his son-in-law who, like Francis, began editing with Pinnacle Studio after the birth of their first child earlier this year. Francis has also co-produced DVDs that combine his brother’s photography with his own video to create various movies with a different impact, look and feel then using video alone. But the most difficult video creation projects, according to Francis, are those he has done for his family and friends.

“Many of my friends and family have asked me to make films for them from the videos they have take and it’s a great pleasure for me, but it is not really easy to do,” Francis confessed. “The feelings behind each event are different, and the feelings of the people involved can be very different. Creating a video of a wedding is rather simple feeling-wise. Most everyone agrees as to what the focus or most imporatant part is. But to edit five hours of someone else’s video of a trip that you didn’t go on is more complicated. You don’t want the final video to be disappointing.”

Between personal use, helping friends and family, and giving tips to users on the Pinnacle forum, Francis ends up using Pinnacle Studio several times a week. But perhaps the greatest satisfaction he gets comes from safeguarding video and photographs, often long forgotten, and putting them to DVD so they can be easily shared.

“There’s nothing like the pleasure of creating and then seeing a film together with the friends and family who participated and to experience those good times again,” explained Francis. “In certain cases, tears were my nicest reward. My latest was a family project, which in part includes films of my father, who nobody has seen since his death more than 20 years ago. Some of the videos are more than 50 years old. I showed the final video at a family reunion on the occasion of my Aunt’s 80th birthday. It was a big surprise!”

To share his final production, Francis set up his video projector to play in a room off to the side of the main gathering area, but family members soon asked him to move the video to the middle of the main room for all to enjoy.

“Even the youngest were interested in the movie,” said Francis. “They were very happy to see their parents when they were very young. I had prepared 20 copies of the final video on DVD with a nice case and a printed photograph of the family, but even with 20 copies, I didn’t have enough and I had to go back and burn more. Everyone really enjoyed the movie and appreciated the effort I put in.”

Now, with several “amature” years of DVD creations to his credit, Francis has learned how to draw various emotions from his audience and how to capture their interest.

“If I want to get a certain emotion, laughter or tears, I’ve realized you need a good scenario,” said Francis. “Once you have good content, you can improve it further with editing software like Studio. You shouldn’t bore your audience. Everyone will watch when they’re the subject of the movie, but the addition of the various transitions and effects makes the movie more entertaining for everyone else. I also think that with the quality of HD, a lot of people’s perceptions of what is possible with home video production have changed. I enjoy that now with Studio 12.”

See videos created by Francis Claudel using Pinnacle Studio at: