Anatomy of an Edit

If you’ve ever wondered what all goes in to making a promo for a network like PBS, I’ve made this short little video. The clip below is 4 hours and 30 minutes of editing work (which is about half of the total time spent to make the piece) compressed into 60 seconds. Take a look:

And here is the spot created from the work above:

The graphics were created by a design firm in LA, but I had to massively tweak them after the initial look wasn’t approved by the final client. The final color correction and audio mix were done at Post-Op Media (where I work).

Just a cool little insight into what it takes to do this kind of work.

Uncanny place…

So I built a simple 3D environment (sometimes called 2.5D) in After Effects to do some moves on some archival photos. I think they look nice. I even built in some depth of field so that I could play with drawing the viewer’s eye to certain places on the screen as the camera moved. I rendered them out and included them in an early cut of the show I’m editing.

Over the weekend, the roughcut was shared with the 3D graphic artist so he can review the sections we need him to cover with high-tech looking, CG animations. He comes back with some notes on what he can do – including this one: “I can make those stills shot on the table look better by redoing them in an After Effects 2.5D project – make them more moody & sensitive.”

He is offering to redo the work I’ve already done. I am not sure whether I should be offended or take it as a compliment. He seems to think the stills were actually shot on a real life table, so I’ve got that going for me. However, in spite of the fact that I seem to have fooled him, I hope what I’ve done isn’t so bad that he’d like to redo it better.  If he (a professional graphics person) can’t tell how I created them and is fooled then I may be better at this than I realize…or we’ve got other problems.

A low-rez example of the look & feel of what I created

I’ve discovered I have a new allergy

It came to me last night. In the midst of a back-and-forth comment flow about the newly announced MacPro: I am allergic to people arguing about platforms.

I get all itchy when people start railing against a brand based on some new product announcement. Hearing “Apple is dead to me,” causes me to twitch. I break into a cold sweat whenever I hear someone claiming one platform is the best there is and everything else sucks. It makes me ill enough to want to leave the conversation right away.

Are people really basing their loyalty to a brand or product on an announcement of a yet-to-be-shipped product? Seriously?!? So, the newly announced MacPro won’t allow you to make use of the PCIe expansion cards you are using today? Even though you are working on a 4-year old platform? With a 6-year old technology in PCIe? Even though not a single third party software or hardware developer has announced what their plans are for working with the new platform? Well, Grant Petty from Blackmagic has good things to say, so we’ll have to see if others will follow.

I’ve watched this industry struggle through some significant changes and this argument, while changing topics, remains constant – people can’t stand change. I read it best in the comment on the Blackmagic thread above, “it’s really just the case of people wanting a bigger horse instead of a car.”

Someone asked me, after voicing my hatred of platform wars, why I continued to bother participating. I had to stop and think. I replied, “its in my nature to seek out & keep as many tools in my kit as possible. I have to stay informed and up-to-date on the latest info and trends. While it may make my skin crawl, I’ll be damned if I’m going to let knee-jerk reactions and opinionated bloviations win the day.”

“Oh my god,” came the response, “could it be possible that you’re going conservative in your old age?”

“Exactly the opposite,” I replied,” I embrace change. I love learning all this new stuff. Bring it on.”

Formats & Frame Rates & Codecs, Oh My!

Last night, I was a panelist at the Women In Film & Video session, “Formats & Frame Rates & Codecs, Oh My!” along with Virginia Quesada and Chief Engineer Sam Crawford of Henninger Media Services and moderated by Editor Mickey Green. It was a great evening covering a wide range of technical topics. The turnout was phenomenal. I was surprised and pleased to see a large number of producer-types there. I wondered if maybe the producers had come out, because of something that may be shifting in our industry. Being the Super-Tech-Geek that I am, I have noticed an increasing interest on the part of typically non-technical producers. These are folks who, in years past, have stayed away from the complex technical issues surrounding production and post-production. My theory is that (maybe) many of those folks are coming to the realization that tech is not going away nor is it getting any less complex. Lack of understanding of the technology used in our productions can be directly translated to higher costs and missed deadlines. The energy of last night felt like things were shifting slightly and that even the non-technical folks have a rising interest in getting a grasp on the technical stuff. Its a refreshing thought & I hope I’m right. WIFV is interested in doing more of these sessions and I hope to be involved again. Stay tuned.

As promised, here are links to some of the items I presented:

Presentation Slides – my slides on Backup Plan and Project Asset Management

The slides on HD formats were taken from a presentation I gave back in 2007. Here is a PDF of those slides. There is more in the PDF than what I covered and (thankfully) most of it is still valid even 5 years later.

Here’s a direct link to my Generic Assets Folder Template. And the post where I explain it all in more detail along with many other Asset Management techniques is “Man Crushed Under Weight of 34Terabytes.”

Thank you Mickey & WIFVers for putting this event together. Thanks to those who attended. And keep your eyes out for info about upcoming events like this, there will be more!

And we’re back…

Just a brief note to say that is back up and running.

We got hit with a “base64 hack“. It infected every single PHP file on the server that hosts So its been a pain to get everything re-installed. The only back up I had was from just after the infection hit on March 15. It did give me a chance to clear out a bunch of old theme and plugin files, but what a hassle.

The site is back online and it looks like I didn’t lose anything important. I did discover that my favorite theme – K2 is now only sporadically updated, so I may be in the market for a new WordPress theme later this spring.

Mostly just posting this to see if everything is back in working order. Thanks.