Thursday, March 27, 2008

iMovie video clip sound problem - techie

I have had to deal with this problem twice now. The first time, a year or so ago, I figured out how to solve it and then I promptly forgot. The same problem just came up again last night and this time I am going to record the (newer and better) solution.

Some cameras (in my case a sony digital still camera) record video in a format that is incompatible with iMovie. The clip imports into iMovie just fine, but there is no audio. I did some internet surfing and found this is because the file is muxed which means the audio and video are intermixed and for some reason, iMovie does not like this. The solution is convert the file to a different format. The best program I found is MPEG Streamclip. It is a free download and is easy and efficient to use. Here is what to do to fix the no audio problem:

  1. Download and install MPEG Streamclip
  2. Open Streamclip
  3. Import your video file by using 'file' - 'import' or drag the file from your finder to the Streamclip window.
  4. Select 'file - 'import to Quicktime' - you will be given a chance to name the file and select a destination.
  5. That's all - you're done!

Now you can import and edit the new Quicktime file.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Unlocking files - Macs only - easy

Sometimes people give me photos that are locked. I suppose they were locked while in their camera in order to protect them. But that means, I can't change or delete the files. It is quite simple to unlock a mac file. Just locate the file in the finder, highlight but don't open, and then press the command+I (for info) keys. This brings up an information window. About halfway down the window you will see the word 'locked'. Click on checked box and it will uncheck and unlock.

Sometimes I end up with locked files in the trash and it won't empty completely. Just double click the Trash, select the files and follow the steps above to unlock.

Rotating text in Word - fiddly

Today someone asked me how to rotate text in Word. Surprisingly, there isn't an easy way. Here is what I came up with using Microsoft Office 2004 (version 11.3.5) on my mac:
  1. create a text box
  2. type the text into the box and format (I centered it)
  3. remove any text box formatting you don't want such as a line (default in my program) - you do this by clicking format (pull down menu at top of screen) - colors and lines - line - no line
  4. Select the text box so that it can be copied (sometimes this takes two clicks)
  5. Cut the text box by using control X or edit cut, the text box will disappear and be placed on the clipboard
  6. click on Edit (putt down menu at top) - paste special - paste as picture - now it is an object that can be rotated
  7. make sure the 'drawing' toolbar is showing - if not go to View - Toolbars - Drawing
  8. select the text box, click on the rotate tool in the tool bar, mouse over a corner of the box, and rotate.

If you have WordArt installed you could try playing with that.

Good luck!

Important new direction

I haven't been posting to Granny Tech very often because of time demands on my mission. However, I still get lots of 'how to' computer requests. When I go to the trouble of responding to computer questions it makes sense to share the information here. For now, the post topics won't be terribly organized but I will label them so they are usable. I will also add a difficulty level to the titles so it is easy to get appropriate help.

I have a new site called Granny Macs that I am doing with a friend. We plan to blog step by step instructions on how to get started using a mac. Take a look if you are interested!