Why Video Editors Try Not To Make Declarative Statements

Okay. I think it’s getting here for real. I’m about to finish all the non-PoPS video work (NPVW) I had outstanding. That means I FINALLY get to start editing episode 7. Finally. I thought I finished all the NPVW on New Year’s Eve, but the next day I found a tape that slipped through the cracks. Tonight…I finish. Or maybe, I mean, I hope I do.

Here are some examples of why video editors try not to make declarative statements. I was editing this video that I had shot on tape. 14 hour-long tapes, 13 of which I had imported piecemeal over a series of days so that the computer wasn’t just sitting there for 14 hours straight. Over the New Year’s four day weekend, I suddenly decided that it was going to be me or this project. It was time to battle to the end. I had about 16 hours of editing left to do and one tape left to import. So Sunday, I sat down and edited for 14 hours. Once I had finished all the footage I had previously imported, I was feeling pretty good about myself. I was dazed, my eyes were tired, and my head felt really heavy, but I thought–Final round. I’ve got this thing on the ropes.

I decided to import the last tape and call it a night. Then the rule of video editing happened. Whatever you thought your easy last step was going to be is going to fight you tooth and nail. A long editing project is like a wounded animal. It knows it’s cornered and if you’re going to finish it it wants you either wounded or run ragged to the point of exhaustion. Victory must be earned.

So how did the wounded NPVW enact it’s death throes? The external hard drive wouldn’t recognize the camera. Fine. It must be tired from a marathon day. I tried to eject it, but it won’t spin down and eject. I verified that all programs were closed, still nothing. So I shut it down cold and took the “you must eject your hard drive first” slap on the wrist from the computer. I swear, it always makes me feel like child protective services is sweeping in to let me know that my child might have brain damage from then on. Mixing metaphors now, but why would child protective services be interested in my wounded project-animal? Just roll with it, guys. I turned on the video camera, checked the connections, restarted the drive, and opened the project. The camera was recognized, the final tape loaded, ready to go. I started the capture process only to find over the course of many minutes–it was about 1 a.m. now–that the tape recorded glitchy. Luckily, it was only B-roll. Very important B-roll, but this project involved a lot of subject interview. If any of that had been missing we would have had to re-record. Instead, I just had to hover over the importing process. When the timecode gapped, I jumped in, stopped importing, and re-started importing after the gap. For awhile it would only import footage in alternating 6 second and 9 second increments. I thought I was going crazy. This method of import then caused the program to crash. I restarted the program, continued on, and eventually the glitches stopped and the last 12 minutes imported as one stretch.

The next day, I cut the remaining footage together and declared victory over the project. Something felt off though. I began exporting the video sequences as dvd files. It’s the equivalent of field dressing the now dead project-animal, the hunt complete, preparing for delivery.

The next morning, I realized that one hour of footage was missing. The project limps on. I found the tape, imported it, and got a half hour locked up last night. I should be done with the rest tonight. Still, I hesitate to count on that. I wonder why.

Thanks for reading, guys.

–Jarvi

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