Thursday, July 1, 2010

Let's Take a Step Back

I spoke with Nathan yesterday and he simply told me we weren’t getting together again for the fourth week in a row. We’ve both had circumstances that have kept up from getting together, but he didn’t say anything about his second hard drive failure over the phone. I signed in a bit later to see if I needed to start running my two part post, and I found his tale of breaking another hard drive.

The problem is that Nathan was ready to scrap the whole project the last time this happened, and while he was trying to recover the project over the last month, the fact is we haven’t been getting together.

I know he’s got to feel beat down. I know I would. I would be frustrated and ready to stop, and I know Nathan is too. And I’ll be honest, I do have this part that thinks I should take a “tough love/ suck it up and move on” approach to this, but after venting a little to Miguel last night and sleeping on it, I realize that I would be just as unreceptive to it as Nathan likely would be.

Here’s what I propose from the point of view of actually getting over this hurdle without it stinging as much as it could:

Ten Weeks – The ten weeks ends on July 26, 2010. That gives us three weeks to step away from the project for a bit. I’m sure we have other stuff to work on, and when we get together we can just play some games, have a good time, and breathe deeply for a bit. I’ll make sure I shower so that breathing deeply doesn’t discourage us further.

Encoding – Rather than Nathan taking on the whole of the encoding project, we’ll both get to work on encoding the footage during the new ten weeks. I’m still not sure why Nathan has been doing it all. If I had to guess, it’s because the camera I own wouldn’t encode footage at the same quality level as Nathan’s camera. If that’s the case, we’ll have to figure out how to get past that. If that’s not the case then there is no reason why I can’t take a few of those tapes.

Editing – Again, I still don’t know why Nathan is taking on the whole editing project. As I encode footage I’ll start some of the basic editing. When Nathan handed off Season Two footage to Miguel, he explained how we can keep the files compatible. This is what we need to do. Nathan can do the more advanced stuff, and I can get what I can done otherwise.

Backup – This will be the biggest point of contention in this post, and I probably shouldn’t have saved it for last, but here goes. Nathan’s entire post yesterday can be summed up in this one sentence: “Once again the idea of a one-story line show has caused all this.” Bullshit. Having every bit of your project on one data device in one location has caused all of this. We need to backup raw files. I always asked this anyway for purposes of “Making of…” episodes. It’s time consuming. It’s expensive. But it’s necessary. The fates have nothing against our measly little show, but the fates love anything thing that can be destroyed that can’t be easily recovered. They sniff out unsaved projects and cut your power, so you lose the last thirty minutes of typing. They sniff out large projects, that don’t have proper backup, and demolish them. Project files need to be frequently saved to off-computer locations: flash drives, newsgroups, the website. When there are significant scenes finished, they need to be made into new raw files and backed up.

Perseverance – There is no reason to scrap so much work because of setbacks, even as devastating as they are. But we need to improve our operating procedures. The sad fact of life is that there are always setbacks, and the way that you deal with them is everything. If you give up now then the last year has been a waste of time. If you persevere and bring the project to completion then it was just a project that proved to be more complicated than most, but one that you walk away wiser from.

1 comment :

  1. I think as long as you have something that will play miniDV tapes and a firewire card on your computer, you can encode the footage at the exact same quality as Nathan could. The thing that makes Nathan's camera better is the lens and imaging system. But once the footage exists it becomes 1s and 0s and the fidelity should be the same regardless of which camcorder you run the tape on.

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