Second Cut Not Without It’s Issues

Some good news: I got the second cut done for Treasure Hunt.  But (you knew there had to be one) the was a nightmare just around the corner.  After struggling for weeks on that damn singing scene, my mentor (and sound guy) John gave me some very good suggestions that allowed me to break out of the analysis paralysis.  I’m sure it could be made better with someone who has the patience to pick apart the singing and reassemble it so they’re all at the same time, but I think the scene works for what it needs to do.

The ‘but’ was when it came to render the gazillion clips of video and audio into a single coherent whole.  My wonderful software wasn’t keeping the audio in sync and by the end of the movie (it’s running 1 hour, 3 minutes and 45 seconds, with the opening and closing credits) it was several seconds off.

After much agony, cursing, walking away only to be drawn back in, I tried something I found via a Google and rendered the audio separate from the video.  I was told I’d probably have to stretch the audio somehow to make it work, but lo and behold, the rendered audio was the exact same length as the rendered video.  I had to have an extra step of re-rendering them together, but, at least insofar as my time is concerned, it’s minor (still takes about a half hour though).

The next PITA was rendering the video so it doesn’t look like crap.  While not huge, there are probably dozens of options to render the video and my research into them made not the tiniest bit smarter.  I eventually came up with a two-step rendering process, where I initially did it ‘lossless’ (a total lie, btw, as I can still see lots of compression artifacts that aren’t there in the original clips) and wound up with a 35 gigabyte (video only) file.  Then I combine that with the audio and tried a number of various options and found one that seems to work OK.  I’m not very happy with OK, I’ve seen what really seems much better on DVDs, which are a lot more compressed than what I’m currently working with, but, hopefully, will look OK to people not cursed with the eye that’s drawn to these artifacts.

I’ve asked for some feedback and because today was a snow day got some right away.  For most of the conversations I just left in the off-screen character’s dialog that was captured by the boom mic from the on-screen character.  I sort of noticed that when I was working on it, but it didn’t rise to the level of consciousness until John pointed it out.  Now I can’t not hear it any longer, so there will be at least one more edit.  My intent, at this time, is to only make those dialog audio changes, though he did point out a few other spots I might tweak. However, I expect the length to stay exactly the same.  I’ve asked the composer if he could give me another run through, hopefully this time coming up with something less… creepy and more in fitting with a romcom.

I believe I see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I’ll probably let this sit for a week or so, to give my mind some distance, then tackle the dialog audio for what I hope is the last effort.  Could it be made better?  I’m sure with a professional editor it could, but not, I believe, better enough to justify the expense.  I feel, deep down, that I have something that’s watchable.  It’s a simple story, but I think the actors, DP and sound guy did a really good job so I had a relatively easy job editing.  If it wasn’t relatively easy, I doubt I could have done it.  I know, for absolute certain, I don’t want to be an editor.  I think writing/directing/producing is enough involvement (though I’ve learned I need a producing partner, as during actual production I can’t be an effective director if I’m also producing), I need to hand the project over to an editor for the project to be it’s best.

Author: mitusents

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