Construction Time Again

Well, back to editing. I've been putting together more and more of the short we shot. It has taken me a lot longer than anticipated with moving house, work, and everything else in between (that, and fixing the computer problems... I'm still waiting for the Corsair guy to stop trying to debug my system and just give me a goddamn RMA number so I can ship the bad stick back to him... still, can't blame the guy too much - he's just doing his job).

So it's all coming together now. Getting the right export settings from Premiere Pro is a bit of a pain, but I'm finally starting to understand After Effects and its slightly clunky UI. (One thing I'd really like to be able to do is create a matte on the fly over the top of the footage I'm compositing into, and see the result at the same time - either in a preview window, or on the image itself - maybe something like the Photoshop Mask tool, with its slightly pinkish hue to indicate what's showing through where. That, and being able to zoom in on the image and scroll around it would be nice - at least that way I could do fine detail work using the mouse).

One rough cut coming right up. I'm over halfway through the film now. The scene that pushes our homeless guy over the edge, and the final scene that comes after it are all that are left to put together. Alas, I managed to misplace my firewire cable in the move, so I need to go out and get a new one to capture the last of the footage to my system.

I'm also discovering that video formats really need some standardization. It should be possible for me to input my source material, output it to the DVD creator and burn it to a DVD without worrying about what format it ends up in. All I should have to say is "This project is for 24 frames a second" or "This project is 60 fps interlaced" and everything should automagically make it so.

(Yes, I know, it's not all that simple... and some people will need finer control over the elements and how they're conformed to the specified video settings... but still, I can dream, can't I?)

On the plus side, I finally got my compositing done on one of two sfx shots in the piece. I also added in a possibly completely overkill hamming-it-up lens-flare style "starburst" effect to one of them... that may need to be cut out. Might want something a bit more subtle in there.

So, it's getting there at least. I just wish we'd recorded clean audio... as it stands, I can't use any of it, so it's either going to be a huge job foleying the audio back in, or we'll just go with a purely instrumental soundtrack. Sheesh.

New rule: always capture clean audio, even if everyone is saying "we won't need it!" unless the people saying "we won't need it" are seasoned professionals with years of experience under their belts. Well, that and have confidence enough to tell people when you think they're smoking crack - before it's too late.

About the author

Simon Cooke is an occasional video game developer, ex-freelance journalist, screenwriter, film-maker, musician, and software engineer in Seattle, WA.

The views posted on this blog are his and his alone, and have no relation to anything he's working on, his employer, or anything else and are not an official statement of any kind by them (and barely even one by him most of the time).

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