(Silent) Young Adult Wolf!
I decided to spend tonight relaxing in my bunk and working on a Video assignment. I chose Alan’s “Return to the Silent Era” challenge.
I really had no idea what movie I wanted to do. Everything I thought about seemed like it would be kind of flat. And the, out of the blue, I settled on a movie that I don’t even really remember liking but that is a quintessential symbol of the decade I grew up in: Teen Wolf.
Then, I pulled it into iMovie. I knew I wanted to make it black and white and use the iMovie “Aged Film” effect. But, unfortunately, in my version of iMovie you can’t apply to effects to a clip. So, I did the B&W effect, exported it, and then imported it back into the program. Then I was able to add the “Aged Film” effect.
Next, I began thinking about where I wanted to insert cue cards. The trailer soundtrack is mostly a voiceover with bits of dialogue beneath. Strangely, they seem to show each of the scenes the dialogue come from, but they are lined up together. I was able to pretty easily figure out, however, what dialogue went with what scene.
I wanted a realistic cue card graphic, so I did a quick Google image search and came up with this one (which is free to anyone to use!).
I pasted that image in wherever I thought the cue card should go, and started typing the dialogue straight from the movie. It was pretty easy to settle on a font that looked right. I did have to play with the title effects so that the text didn’t fade in and out (which wouldn’t make any sense on a cue card).
At this point, I felt like something was missing. I decided to see if I could replace some of the language in the movie dialogue with more “authentic” slang of the silent movie era. I found a bunch of Web sites with 1920s slang dictionaries. This PDF was probably the most thorough and useful. The translation isn’t exact in some cases, but I felt like it added some kind of additional authenticity to the project.
Next, I worked on the music. I knew I wanted to use ragtime piano, and I found this great radio show on the Internet Archive that was available with a Creative Commons license.
There’s a point in the original trailer where Teen Wolf turns on the car radio, and the music in the clip changes. I used this point to switch to a different ragtime tune. I’m not sure if the music works that well, but it is authentic!
Finally, I decided to speed up all of the video a bit. It seems to me that silent movies often have the quality of speed being off, so I thought this effect might work. I think it’s okay.
I added an opening and closing cue card, and that’s basically it! (Note I changed the title because the term “teenager’ didn’t come into use until after 1930! I’m not sure “Young Adult Wolf” is as catchy, though. :-)