Sunday, September 16, 2007

Digital video kid

Noah spends a lot of time at the computer. Too much for my comfort. He sees it as an issue, too, since he tends to miss out on doing other things that would make his life feel fuller and more interesting. I do my best to support his quest for more balance in his life without exuding snide, judgemental comments, though I confess I don't always succeed. ("Hasn't it been, like, days since you used your legs as anything other than a cushion under your butt?")

But the upshot of my discomfort with his computer use is that I tend not to put a lot of attention and enthusiasm towards what he's doing there. And so sometimes I suddenly get rather blindsided by what he's got on the go. The other evening, for example, he was slow getting to the dinner table.

"I was doing something for David and I had to wait and save it before I came," he apologized.


"Oh," he said casually, "yeah, David, the programmer of Lugaru."

I know about Lugaru, because he's been playing it for weeks. It's quite a game. Combat rabbits, impressive graphics, intuitive controls. Neat stuff. Trust Noah to go into the support and development forums and get to know the developer.

"He's working on Lugaru2 and he wants to put out a little trailer showing some of the new effects, but he's going to college, so he's pretty busy. Besides, he doesn't have the right software to put together a video. So I said I'd do it. He needs it by the end of the week."

He has an uncanny knack for getting himself taken seriously on game development and game support forums. Perhaps it's partly that geeks don't seem to have any age-based prejudices when dealing with other geeks. Maybe most of them were once precocious 10-year-old geeks like Noah.

Now, Noah doesn't have any experience with video-editing, but he had expressed an interest in it, such that we'd put it on his learning plan last month. And I'd since managed to track down an inexpensive bundled version of Adobe Premiere Elements. But I hadn't even got it fully installed and registered before Noah was at it with his Lugaru project. He'd taken the audio files into Audacity and worked out the trims and fades, then exported the files and transferred everything over to the other computer and dived into Premiere. He'd figured out titling, transitions, cross-fading the audio files, slide shows, timing controls and how to meld the soundtrack and video.

No wonder the geeks take him seriously.


  1. Now that is just too cool for words! I have a friend here who has a "geeky" son. Not a homeschooled one, but one in a gifted program. He somehow became what is known as a "Sage" for Nintendo. Not sure what that means, maybe Noah does? I do know that they get free Nintendo products now and then. He even got his wii for free, and it may have been before the rest of the world could buy them.

  2. No idea what a Nintendo "sage" is (we don't have any game systems here) but that is pretty neat. Especially the free merchandising!

  3. Anonymous1:17 am

    I'm so impressed with your ability to sit with and be open to (even if reluctantly) Noah sitting infront of the computer screen for such long spells. Especially when I see how beautiful the outside space is and being aware that winter is coming. I find the whole screen thing and children's relationships with them tricky. But hey, look what happens when you trust, have the odd screen-free day and keep trusting, with the odd comment thrown in for good measure! Such wonderful learning, great opportunities and Noah able to fully explore and develop what seems to be one of his present passions. It's a good lesson for me. Jacinda

  4. In French, a Sage roughly translates into a Wise person. I assume that is what a Nintendo sage might be??

    Geeks make the best people! Good for Noah! That is really impressive, that he's been able to manoeuvre through the forums and be taken as seriously as he has...though it's not at all surprising.

  5. LOL My husband alsways tells our computer geek that he has root growing from his butt down into his computer chair and its time to uproot it to come help with some task or other.

    And I love the idea that the geeks pay no attention to age! Way to go Noah!!!! Although I do go unplug my boy in the middle of the night because he does have school to go to inthe morning LOL 2 more years and it was his choice to finish there.

    In fact, my 16 year old is now considering a college major and degree in archetecture so that he could use it to design games and such...and I never knew a background nor degree in such would be beneficial for gaming **shrug**

  6. Yeah, sage means that en anglais too, but it sounded like Debbie was referring to some sort of formal designation that was recognized by the company in some way.

  7. Ahhh, that could be true. We don't have Nintendo, either, so I have no idea.

    And you're right, sage is the same in French and English...that's the trouble with having two languages in one house, they tend run into one another after a while!

  8. Yes, he has somehow been handpicked by Nintendo through their gaming forums. He was about 14 when chosen and now is in his last of year high school. Apparently it's quite a thing - I don't know much other than that though . . .

  9. whenever i read your posts about noah and computers i am reminded of the stories i have heard about rob (my partner) when he was a kid. he started off a lot like noah except that computers where a lot less graphical back then he wasn't home schooled and he ended up dropping out of school when he was 15 or 16 but now he has his dream job and is incredibly self motivated and he does a lot of stuff online with volunteers of all ages including a lot of high school kids and probably some much younger although he doesn't work with games so not a whole lot of younger kids. i think it is true that there is very little ageism in geeky computer fields.


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