3,000 Miles in 30 Seconds(ish)

I thought long and hard about what I would construct for this week’s video assignment. My original idea went to sh*t after shooting (thankfully it wasn’t terribly time consuming) and I struggled with making this coincide with my focal theme of emotional expression through creativity. I really wanted to do some form of stop motion for the 30 second documentary assignment.

Make a short, 30-second documentary, the topic is up to you.

Then I remembered I had all these photos from when I drove across the U.S. in search of something new.

It was October 2011 when I decided to leave New York City. I was completely miserable with the direction my life was going. I had a job I hated that kept me in the office way past my bedtime, a commute I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, and a severely broken heart.

I decided on Santa Monica, CA because a.) I had a childhood friend offer me a room until I could get my feet on the ground and b.) it was the furthest I could get from the city without leaving the country. Terrified and hopeful, I quit my job, pack up my car and drove west. It took me seven days to get to CA and I’ll never forget this very emotional, yet pivotal moment in my live. So, by means of creative expression and reflection, here is my approximate 3,000 mile trek across the US in 30 seconds (I think it was more like 2,800 miles but who’s counting ):


I used iMovie to string my photos together to create a “sort-of” stop motion video. I wouldn’t recommend iMovie for stop motion projects as you can’t make your clips shorter than 1 second. This was actually the first time I’ve ever used iMovie AND doing stop motion so getting acclimated required some Googling and YouTube tutorials. But, like most Apple products, once you get the swing of things, it’s fairly simple to execute.

After importing all of my photos, I “selected all” and shortened the duration to 1 frame per second. I have iMovie 10.0.8 and had trouble navigating to the right command based on the tutorials but eventually found it.

2015-06-24_17-51-57I added a few title screens to the beginning and end and included a couple filters (cross-fade and fade to black) to make the transition to the next frame smooth. To top it off, I added a fun little summer soundtrack from audiojungle. All of these additions were pretty intuitive to find and once I felt my story was complete, I “shared” the file to my desktop as an mp4 and uploaded my very first YouTube video! Voilà!

Once I got started, the process flow came easily. I found it strange that this particular category from the DS106 assignment bank gave me the most headache since I studied film in undergrad. Perhaps it’s that type A trait that keeps haunting my personality… Overall I’m pleased with how it turned out given the quick execution time. What do you think?


  8 Replies to “3,000 Miles in 30 Seconds(ish)”

  1. Alicia
    June 24, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    If only 3000 miles took 30secs! I enjoyed this.

  2. June 24, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Great job! Next stop, Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut 🙂

  3. June 25, 2015 at 6:22 am

    Haha, right? Maybe some time in the future… Glad you enjoyed 🙂

  4. June 25, 2015 at 8:13 am

    Loved it! How great that it came together from what you had. That is the great things about ds106 making new from building on what is there.

    As you create – look at the fading of sound feature for ends – helps in taking viewer out of it less abruptly. A credits frame as well – all about attribution even when it is your own work so if built upon by others you are a part of it.

    The one frame decision was key in telling the story. Great choice.

  5. June 25, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Thanks Kathy! I experimented with fading out the music at the end but made the choice to end the song on a beat. To me, a fade gave it a less complete feel but I totally get what you are saying. Good call on the titles. I’ll keep that in mind for next time 🙂

  6. June 25, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Thanks, lady! The sad part is, I learned Final Cut in undergrad. I wonder if I could pick it back up….

  7. June 29, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Maybe then the opposite of fade – amp up the ending to go out in a bold note… just thinking out loud with you. 😉

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