Rants of a Digital Bard

OMG! Who gave this idiot a blog?

Queen of Diamonds – Day 2

The original plan was to use Vimeo or some other service to upload footage so that I could download it and work from home on my computer.  I don’t have a laptop and I haven’t gotten around to installing Adobe After Effects or any of my other tools on my fiance’s laptop yet.  So when I came back on saturday morning, I brought my computer with me and decided to set it up at UMKC and do my work from there.  The rest of the editing team were all set up on laptops, except for Merlin who also had a Mac in his sound editing studio.

When I got to UMKC I processed the rest of the footage from my camera and got it backed up onto my computer and a portable USB hard drive.  When the rest of the editing team got there, they copied the footage to their laptops and started working on the editing.

None of us had ever edited a complete film before, but I’ve been doing a lot of small stuff over the past couple years and I’ve developed a work-flow for getting my projects done as easily as possible.  I suggested that Zach and Jess drop one clip from each scene into Vegas, even if it’s not the perfect clip, and build the entire story.  We’ll watch it and then make decisions on what scenes to drop.  That would give us a current length of the film. It was 22 minutes.

The final film had to be 7 minutes max plus 1 minute of ending credits and a 20 second starting clip with bars and tone and the 48 hour logo for 8 minutes and 20 seconds max.  So there was a TON of editing work ahead.  To make it even harder, since we had recorded the sound seperately, we had to have the footage edited and ready for Merlin to do sound and we had to note which takes we used in editing for each scene so that he could find the correct sound.  Fortunately, Merlin had a lot of experience with Vegas since he used it often in his daily work.  But he used version 6 and the editing crew were all using a trial version of 9…  Begin the pain…

Jess made a shot list and notes on how long each shot should be to fit in the 7 minutes.  Noel and Zach started in on the editing.  Merlin imported all the sound he recorded during the day and worked on getting it ready to put into the footage when Noel and Zach were done.  He also installed version 9 of the Vegas trial on his Mac where he does his sound editing.

I did some “post work” on some of the clips in After Effects where we had lighting issues and the clips needed to be color matched to other clips in the same scene.  I also worked on the ending credits and a title graphic.  We had planned to do a 20 second title sequence, but we had to fit 22 minutes of story into 7 minutes, so it was decided to just put a title graphic over some of the footage instead in order to use up the full 7 minutes to tell the story.

Between 1am and around 8am, Zach, Noel, Merlin and Jess worked on editing.  Occasionally one of them would take a 10 minute or 30 minute powernap and then it was right back to work.  And although I’d had only 2 hours sleep in the previous 30 hours, I couldn’t sleep.  At first I had too much adrenaline because this whole thing was very exciting… Later I was hopped up on too many energy drinks and caffiene.  Besides, I have a hard time sleeping anywhere but my own bed.

As the production manager, this was actually Tanya’s time to shine.  She was the group’s cheerleader and slave driver. Keeping everyone on task and making sure everyone was properly fed and hydrated.  I started to crash a bit around 3am and if she hadn’t been there I wouldn’t have gotten much done.  Jess’ girlfiend Rachael also came in and helped with cheerleading.

By noon I think they had managed to get it edited down to around 11 minutes, so it was just a matter of tweaking a few seconds here and a few seconds there to get it to 7 minutes…  At that time the hand of fate started to bitch-slap us around.  They started having problems with Vegas.

As good as Vegas is, I don’t think we were using it right in the editing process.  Noel and Zach would edit a scene and then give the Vegas project to Merlin to do his sound thing.  But Merlin was working on the Mac versi0n while Noel and Zach used the Windows version.  And there were issues when giving the project files to Merlin that eventually started causing Vegas to crash on the Mac.  Every time it crashed, it took about 20 minutes for Merlin to recover things and move forward.. then it would crash again.

My personal work-flow is to edit a scene to where I want it, render it out and then use the individual renders in the final project to render the entire movie (when I do home movies).  I think Merlin was working with all the project files at once instead of pre-rendered scenes and that was what caused Vegas to crash all the time (that and I’ve read a lot of stuff today about the Vegas trial cashing a lot on the Mac).  Every time they asked me to do something, I did my editing, rendered it out and gave them back the ready to use rendered footage.

By 5pm panic set in and we were still at 8 minutes plus very little of the sound work had been done.  None of the sound effects had been put in or the beautiful score that had been composed for this project.  At 5:30 we decided to just render out individual clips of each scene then give everything to me and I’d render out the final on my computer in After Effects.  We still had 34 seconds to cut at that point and Jess gave me the places to cut in AE and I rendered out the final film.  However, a little bit of a miracle happened while I was removing those final seconds… Merlin got Vegas working and was able to render out the whole thing on his machine.  Which is what we ended up turning in at the last minute before the deadline.

We didn’t get the narration in or the individual music componants… and none of the sound effects… but we did get a 7 minute movie with 52 seconds of credits and a 20 second intro turned in on time.  And it has some really amazing acting in it.

August 3, 2009 - Posted by | Touchy feely..., Videography | , , , ,

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