Flashback to Memorial Day 2012 – Leah Visits Her Family

Left to right: Curtis (Leah’s dad), Doreen (Leah’s mom), Kyle (Leah’s brother), Leah, and Braeden (Leah’s brother).

This is a flashback to Memorial Day weekend, when Leah and her family got together to welcome her brother, Braeden, home from a deployment in the Middle East.

I put this video together in response to a comment on a picture I posted on flickr back in February. I had taken a blurry photo of a Dr. Laura Schlessinger doll that I had found at a thrift store and shared it with my flickr friends. I was so happy to find her because I was looking for dolls that could be parents of my adult dolls in my stories. The doll talks, although that wasn’t my reason for buying her, and Flava Sweet suggested that I do a video of her talking. That was what started this whole thing . . .

I took the pictures in early June, which is why I decided to have the story take place over Memorial Day weekend. I decided that Leah and her family got together to welcome her brother, Braeden, home from a deployment to the Middle East.

I recorded several minutes of the sounds heard from my back yard on a Saturday morning, to add some realism to the story taking place on Doreen and Curtis’ back patio. I made video of the Dr. Laura doll saying each of her phrases, so that I could splice it into this video, and I downloaded a few sound effects to use.

Then, it took me two and a half months to edit it and put it together, and another month and a half (almost) to post it! I have a follow-up scene that I want to add, but I’ve been working on the diorama set and have had a lot of “life” interruptions. I will get that done as soon as I can and add it here, but I can’t wait anymore and I want to share my video!

While editing the video, I made a lot of mistakes and try-try-agains. I tried using voice-changing software to make my voice sound like a man, since most of my characters in this video are men. I tried several different programs and just couldn’t make it sound right. No matter what I do, my voice, when deepened, only sounds creepy; not masculine. *Sigh*

I tried a few different text-to-speech applications and eventually decided on the two that sound the least like computer generated voices. They don’t pronounce everything the way I would have wanted them to, and the accent is often on the wrong part of the word or the wrong word in the sentence, but it will have to do.

I settled on using ten phrases, to work into the story, but the doll actually has more than that. This is a video of the full repertoire of phrases that she says: www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG4VBpmoWeU.  (I didn’t make this other video, but it’s very cute!)

I’m still learning how to use Windows Live Movie Maker, and I didn’t realize I couldn’t “layer” sound. I wanted to play my “outside sounds” in the background behind the dialog. That required mixing in another application, and now I’ve begun to learn to use one called Audacity. I’ve learned a lot doing this! lol

My apologies for the awkward silences and bad timing . . . it’s my first talkie, and I’m just so happy to have it finished, so I can move on with my storytelling about Leah and James!

If you have trouble understanding the text-to-speech, drop me a message and I’ll post a transcript!

Thanks for watching!

See the whole story here.


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