Friday, October 31, 2008

#118 Lame Excuse

It's been a while and I've been working, I really have, and it's going to be great, you're really going to love it. 

Give me a few more days.

Thanks. You're beautiful.

Monday, October 13, 2008

#117 Looking back, moving on

I've been spending most of my free time completing the transcription process. This is critical for me to figure out what remains to be shot in order to complete my film, as well as speed up the editing process.

Transcribing is boring, tedious work and there's not a lot of stuff I can say about it, though I try my best. I've tried to speed things up by using transcription software. I started out with iListen from MacSpeech and then, when they came out with Dictate I switched to that, Dictate uses a vastly improved software translation engine that was licensed from Dragon Naturally Speaking on the Windows platform. I think I will have to look into using Dragon on my next project and see if that tops them all.

I've also been using my time to talk with instructors and get critiques on how well my film works. I know it needs improvment. I've spoken to a number of film faculty at CDIA. It's interesting to see how each person views the essentials of filmmaking.

One instructor, who is not a documentarian, emphasized the story elements and how the story is presented. Franco Sacchi, our resident documentary filmmaker was all over the structure of the film and how to use visuals to connect the ideas. I have another critique coming up soon with an instructor who is a strong editing and sound person, so it will be interesting to see how he views the needs of my film.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

#116 Do I like Avid?

It's been a couple weeks since graduation, so I've decided to catch you up with my plans for the coming year. I've got some additional podcasts in the works as well as ideas for this show. you can look forward to more interviews in the near future.

This is an unusually long show and I'm loading a lot of news on the front end, so if you want to skip that, jump to 10:40 where I start my eval of Avid.

My film, Handmade in America is still in process. I'm screening it with a number of people at school over the next few weeks, to find out how I can make a good film look and play better. I'm conscious that meeting the graduation deadline required me to skimp on some quality features, and while I don't want to dedicate the rest of my life to this story, I do want to look back on it knowing I did the best I could given my current abilities. I already see the need to do some pick-up shooting.

Even though I'm out of school, CDIA has a very open approach towards it's alumni, encouraging continuing connections and mentoring between former students and faculty.

I can spend a lot of time validating the time I spent in school, learning this craft, but I'll put that off for another time. I do want to bring to your attention a series of articles by Mike Jones of Digital Basin about whether it's worth your money to go film school at all. His first post was dated Monday Sept. 08, 2008 and continued for 4 more posts up to Wednesday Sep 17, 2008.

In the show, I mention a video host called Vimeo that I'm considering using to post screencasts. Blip TV is similar one that comes to mind. Anyone had experience with either of those, or recommendations of others?

And as far as a host for future sites and blogs, I've committed to BlueHost, a name I've heard other podcasters refer to positively. I've looked at a lot of different hosts, read comparative reviews and I feel that, at least on the basic level, they're more or less the same in terms of features offered. So, in the absence of any clear direction, I'm going with what's appeared on my radar.

Check out the Ruff Cutz Film Festival. I submitted and have recently been added to the films screened at this event, taking place at the Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University in Waltham Massachusetts, in the middle of November. I don't know much except that CDIA is a sponsor, they're encouraging films that are rough, which mine is, and it's inexpensive to enter. I'll be there and let you know about it.

The remainder of the show is spent sharing my thoughts about the pros and cons about using Avid.

Bear in mind, I'm approaching this from a beginner's perspective. As far as I'm concerned, I'm standing on the edge of the learning prairie, the mountains are nowhere in sight and I have no idea if I'll reach the sea on the other side.

So a lot of my concerns and ideas are limited by my exposure and use of this program. I don't think this negates the usefulness of what I've got to say though. I think this program is really, really weak for the beginning user. There was a time when the only way you could learn this software was from the cocoon of the production company that had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for each Avid workstation. Anyone who was chosen to learn this tool had the benefit of a seasoned professional editor, as well as their own years as assistant editors, watching in the shadows.

Experiences like that can still be had, but they aren't the norm anymore. At the midpoint on the user curve are people such as myself, people who want to produce their own independent films with a small team of people. Bootstrap filmmaking. This is where Final Cut Pro and Premiere have taken the lead and Avid is lagging behind. I think Avid has a lot to offer today's independent filmmaker, but I think they're shutting people out by raising the learning bar too high at the point of entry.

I'm going to check out the book by Diana Weynand, Final Cut Pro for Avid Editors. I haven't been able to find any books for people who use Final Cut Pro and want to use what they know to learn Avid, but I have found a few sites. Avid's site has video tutorials geared towards FCP users, Editing Organazized has a useful blog post about how specific editing actions are invoked in either program, Final Cut Pro to Avid and the Avid Community site also has tips and tutorials.

I'm committed to this course regardless of wolves, snowstorms or bandits, so any helping hand you can lend would be kindly appreciated. Thankye.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.