Photo to Movie User Profile - Peter Moruzzi

Peter is an architechtural historian from Los Angeles, California. He uses Photo to Movie to create unique video documentaries -- such a history of Palm Springs told through postcards (a clip from this video is linked in the snapshot above). We interviewed Peter on his background, his work, how Photo to Movie has helped him, and what he's currently working on.

LQ Graphics: What kind of work do you do?

Peter Moruzzi: I'm an architectural historian and author. My first book, "Havana Before Castro," was just published.

LQ: What is your background?

PM: I was born in Concord, Massachusetts, in 1961 and raised in Hawaii. I graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and later attended the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, where I'm now an acknowledged expert on mid-century Modern architecture and design.

LQ: How do you use Photo to Movie?

PM: We (Jeff Komori and I) used it to create a documentary based primarily upon vintage postcards of greater Palm Springs. It was then transferred to DVD and is sold on the Palm Springs Modern Committee website and at the Palm Springs Visitors Center. To date we have sold over 2,000 copies.

LQ: How has Photo to Movie benefited you in your work? Has it allowed you to do anything you couldn't do before?

PM: Prior to Photo to Movie we had been unable to successfully create a professional quality documentary that had the level of movement required to make the story interesting. Combined with the application's audio capabilities, it was a relatively easy process to create a 50 minute piece utilizing over 250 images.

LQ: What feature(s) in Photo to Movie do you use most often?

PM: Pan and zoom.

LQ: Obviously the documentary you made could not have been made the same way using motion pictures -- I imagine that the archival footage of Palm Springs and any modern dramatizations simply would not have represented the essence of the place like these postcards do. Was that part of your reason for choosing to tell this story through postcards?

PM: Postcards are a much richer source for depictions of obscure and long-gone hotels, restaurants, night clubs, bars, retail stores, and other tourist destinations than are available in films (of which there are very few related to Palm Springs). With Photo to Movie we were able to tell a fuller, more compelling story with movement and narration than we could have possibly done with bits and pieces of archival film.

LQ: Talk a little bit about your workflow. Was it difficult to digitize all of the postcards and recalibrate them for the screen?

PM: I scanned all of the material using my home scanner.

LQ: Another prosumer triumph! Talk about some notable reactions to your movie, perhaps from individuals who were in Palm Springs much closer to the beginning.

PM: At our big documentary debut we had a standing room only audience of over 400 people at the Camelot Theatre in Palm Springs. The event was covered in the local paper and we sold about 150 copies of the DVD that night. Many audience members were seniors who recalled much of what was depicted and described. They were delighted by the documentary and responded by purchasing many DVDs.

LQ: What are your future plans for using Photo to Movie?

PM: I have just written a book titled "Havana Before Castro: When Cuba Was a Tropical Playground" that is selling very well. It contains over 500 images and begs to be made into a Photo to Movie documentary similar to Desert Holiday.

LQ: Any other final thoughts about using Photo to Movie?

PM: Without Photo to Movie we would not have been able to produce such a visually appealing documentary at such a reasonable cost.

Thanks for sharing your work with us, Peter. If you'd like to learn more about "Desert Holiday" or about "Havana Before Castro," please visit the corresponding websites.

Desert Holiday

Havana Before Castro

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