Hot Hawaiian Surf

I made this video short over the weekend. It’s a bodyboarding surf video taken from the top of the Kapahulu Groin in Waikiki.

This project began innocently enough over the weekend after I attended a car show (photos coming soon) at nearby Kapiolani Park. After taking numerous photos at the show I walked over to the beach, shot a few pictures and shot a dozen or so video clips of the kids body surfing.

Next thing I know I was at home, on my Apple MacBook Pro looking at the clips on iMovie and starting the assembly process. I was expecting to make like a clip of about 40 seconds to a minute long. After cutting the clips and assembling them, I decided I need music. So I hunted on the internet for some good instrumental tracks which I found on

Got this song called “Action Theme” by Matthew Shell. Great guitar piece of about 2:50 in length. After merging the music with the clips, I decided I needed more clips. So back to the beach I went on the next day to take more video.

Last night I was at home, and assembled the rest of the pieces together with iMovie. Cleaned up the video, tweaked the audio, trimmed a little more here and there, added titles and finally had iMovie export the clip as an m4v file and played it in Quicktime. It looked great at full screen mode on my Mac.

Shortly after the clip was uploaded to YouTube.

This whole process was a learning experience for me as I got myself more familiarized with iMovie 09. I still consider myself a novice to iMovie even though I’ve been using it since Augustr 2009. So far this clip has turned out to be my most polished of edited works since I started using the app. I’ve mostly made one shot, political oriented clips for Senator Sam Slom, the Hawaii Tea Party and a couple of campaigns. I’ve dabbled with other clip subjects such as recording airplane landings and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

This time I learned how to mix music with the native audio source, manipulate the transitional elements and even how to do a voice-over, which I abandoned during the final cut.

iMovie is a great little program that Apple bundles for free with all of their currently shipping Macintosh computers. It’s a great little program if your video production needs are not too ambitious. It’s great for cutting clips that will go to YouTube or possibly over to your local cable access channel. Depending on the camera you use, your video can either be output as a standard definition or high definition show.

Overall the process took me some time: About 4 hours for the two days at the beach actually filming the clips (I also took a lot of still pictures). Another 2 or 3 hours searching looking for music, downloading and auditioning a number of instrumental tracks for the clip. Finally assembly of the clip in iMove took another 4 hours or more at least. There were 26 separate clips to go through, many segments with only churning water and hardly any action (all cut), a tiny fragments of good stuff that had to be clipped and edited together.

Canon S5 Is

Hardware used: Canon S5 iS Digital still camera. This is one of two low end video cameras that I own. The Canon is primarily a still camera but has a decent, standard definition video capability. Most of the videos I posted to YouTube in the last few years were made with this camera.

My New MacBook Pro

Apple MacBook Pro 15 inch laptop computer running Snow Leopard 10.6.3. Bought this last year and have been enjoying it since.

Software: Apple iMovie, Apple iTunes, Apple iPhoto, and Mozilla Firefox.


Melvin Ah Ching is a photographer, consultant, blogger, desktop publisher, and computer enthusiast living and working in Hawaii. The Hawaii Files have been online since 2006.