Homeshow Hell and Back

... you little bastard ...

Some useful bits of information and experience I gleaned from my "Home Show" residency at CSV:

  • Surround yourself with people who know more than you do. This goes for everyone I worked with : DOP Chris MacLean ("can I get even a little directorial input, Daniel?"), After-Effector Ryan Feldman ("you want how many white lines?"), montage sorceress Hilda Rasula, and 4-evening audio edit/mixmaster Stephen Roque. The staff at CSV also offered invaluable support, though I learned that it's better to have some idea of what your question is; even the best technician can only intuit so much from a frantic blank stare. I particularly treasure the memory of Greg at 7 PM, wearing his bike helmet, calling the AVID "you little bastard"; it may have been a term of endearment.


  • Make sure that your timecode is enabled when you digitize! I wondered for some time why we had a mixture of drop-frame and non-drop-frame footage in our bins, and why some of it had 11-or-12-hour timecode. The mystery's sad solution was that I hadn't always enabled the Digitize Tool's TC button; thus, a whole lot of media in our timeline had nothing but time-of-day TC, making a res-up impossible. There was nothing to do but redigitize all the required clips and cut them back in manually.


  • Did you know that while you can mix footage of different resolutions in a single timeline, you can't mix single-field (e.g. 15:1s) with standard (e.g. 15:1), and that if you do, you'll get a whole lot of "WRONG FORMAT" messages, which look like "MEDIA OFFLINE" and are just as scary? Yeah, you probably knew that. I do... now.


  • I learned from fellow resident Leslie Peters that, before you blow away your media, it's a good idea to watch your final master on a projector, not just a monitor. I didn't do it. But it does sound like a really good idea.


  • Don't think that just because you're practically done, you won't need to book any more hard drives. Especially if you have to res up.


  • I've heard horror stories about people working on multiple systems and trying to transport sequences in various file formats. Working on three systems


  • Know when it's time for a break. After 26 consecutive wakeful hours of work, frustration won out and I took 4 hours to make a wholly different movie. It's 8 minutes long and called "I Hate Video".

'Nuff said? Not really. I'd do it all again, and not just because I'm a masochist. The nice thing is that once the master Beta hits the screen, nobody sees all the (self-induced) trials and accidents I endured, or those I put my friends through, in order to get it there. It never fails to astonish me that other people are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty, all in the name of helping me make my singularly, anally introverted work. Foolish mortals. Lord love 'em.

CSV 23 September 2003

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