So Many Sucks

OK, I’ve let things slide for a while.  I apologize for those of you who may be following along.

When last I wrote about my movie, I’d just finished principal photography.  I was pretty depressed about the whole thing and mostly convinced never to do anything like it again.  Which, as I understand it, is quite normal for directors when production is wrapped. Didn’t make it any easier or enjoyable, though.

I wound up with 625 video clips comprising over 128 gigabytes of data and estimated to contain more than 700 minutes of ‘footage.’  (The usual low-end ratio is 10 minutes filmed for every page of material, so I was already short of the expected 840 minutes, for better or worse (probably worse, but only time will tell).)  I already started renaming the sequential, zero information file names to scene/shot/take and was half done. In order to do that, I need to watch the video until the slate, which is that clapper thing you always see on behind the scenes stuff.  For the first week I struggled doing so and it was the weekend before I started to get my act together. I did manage to get copies of all the raw files on my during-the-week computer (our house in Maryland), but managed to leave the backups and originals in our Virginia house (moron!), so when I started the next week actually doing the renaming (I have a spreadsheet with the original file name, then the scene/shot/take information as well as comments about the various takes) I found that I had stupidly renamed a number of files to the same name (thus losing the other) and somehow managed to completely fail to copy some file all together.  That forced me to wait to get the original media the next weekend, so zero progress for two weeks.

Boy, did I screw up my file renaming!  It took me probably more than 8 hours (spread over several days) to have confidence that I had all the correct files (two were even corrupted, but fortunately the original media versions were clean) and they were named properly.  So I got all my data and am all set to start editing on Monday.

Then I wound up with a migraine!  I get them at irregular intervals and they can sometimes last for 3-4 days.  After decades of experimentation, I’ve found a drug cocktail that will minimize the pain from the headache (before, my only ‘treatment’ was to hide in bed praying to sleep, as that was the only time I was pain free), but it makes me a bit spacey and does little to stop the nausea (makes dieting easier, though).  That lasted through Wednesday. Thursday, yesterday, I finally feel good again, so was all set to finally start editing when I got home from work.

But first I tried to make a ‘behind the scenes’ page showing off some of the videos and images my wife took, but Youtube has made that a small nightmare for me.  When I first uploaded the video there was a page that allowed me to get an embedded link for each video. That page vanished when Firefox thoughtfully decided to restart itself and I haven’t been able to find out how to get those damn links since then.  Way to be user friendly Youtube! If a professional programmer can’t figure these things out without Googling, then it’s too damn complicated.

So I figured, well, I have one, surely I can recreate the others, so I work on my web page replicating the same embedded URL and changing the code at the end of the Youtube URL.  Simple, right? Except the clips that show up in my web page seems to be random compared to the clip that shows up when I reach it via Youtube. I had to take a break or I would have smashed something.  If you want to investigate yourself, it’s the most recent files uploaded here:

Now to editing… Finally.  Except (you knew there had to be one, right?) the Kdenlive software that I had successfully used earlier, now, when I go to make a cut, jumps around randomly instead of the frame where I told it to cut.  WTF?! I tried reinstalling it, no luck. Well, hell, I’ll just switch to the second most recommended editing software, they’re all supposed to look and feel the same, right? Except the operating system software to load the other editing software denied the editing program even existed!  I had to take a break a number of times to keep from destroying anything, so it was a while before I decided I’d try the Linux version of Davinci Resolve, a very popular Window-based editor. Except it isn’t optimized to install on Ubuntu (the flavor I use), so I had to use this script to convert it.  Which took, like, an hour to download and convert.

It installed, after I resolved a dependency issue (one of the ‘joys’ of working on Linux).  Great! Now I just launch it and start going through the learning curve to use it. I fire it up, it goes through a bunch of introductory screens, assures me my hardware has enough horsepower to get the job done, then…  hangs. Eventually I get a crash report. Well, that sucks. I rerun it, exact same issue. So now I’ve wasted the entire evening and haven’t edited a damn thing. And got steam coming out of my ears and want to smash things.  I blow off some of that steam to some friends, then watch some TV and go to bed. As I lay there, I decided I’d try my wife’s hated Windows laptop to see if I could edit with it (will try that this afternoon). I have no idea if it has the horsepower to do editing, but I might as well try.  The cost of buying a new machine is such that it probably makes better sense to hire an experienced editor instead.

But I’d really like to get the experience doing the editing, as I’ve been assured in many places that I will grow a lot as a director by doing at least the rough-cut version of at least my first film.

I’m also going to see if I can do editing on my computer in Virginia.  If that works, perhaps I’ll just bring it home (which robs me of an off-site backup, but maybe I can leave one of my portable hard drives there instead).  My goal of having a rough cut by Thanksgiving isn’t looking very feasible any longer.

Boy, do I hate computers!

Author: mitusents

Biochemist, MBA, then programmer. Now novelist, screenplay writer and hopefully director. What a strange trip it's been.

2 thoughts on “So Many Sucks”

  1. Oh Keith, I am so sorry about that migraine. You must always have canned pears and a drug called imitrex on hand. Also, peanut butter on toast and coffee. I get a migraine 3 to 4 times a week and would have no life without these remedies. As to the editing, all directors have suffered the growing pains you are experiencing. Consider this director college 101 and you are both the teacher and the student. Our prayers are with you. Cookie

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