Smile Through It II: The Next Chapter

Chasing dreams, because I can

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I remember learning curves now

Posted by Oli on Monday 24th September, 2007

I’ve spent most of my day today sat in front of my shiney mac edit suite working on cutting together a pilot ad for Live Life Then Give Life.  I’ve been working on it, on and off like most things, for the last few months and we finally got all the footage in the can last week, with thanks to the wonderful Rheya who shot all the video for me.

This is the first time I’ve used my Final Cut Pro system to edit anything with a purpose, beyond toying around with it.  And boy, is it a steep learning curve.

The whole thing comes with bundles of documentation to go with it, ostensibly a guide-book, but it’s the kind of program where reading the book actually doesn’t do a whole lot to help you get to know the software – the only way to learn it is to just throw yourself into it and see what happens.

Patient as I am with technology(…), it’s managed to make even my cool-headed, even-tempered approach a little fraught at times.  It’s hardly surprising, though, since the whole edit suite is a package of 6 different programs, with an instruction manual 4 VOLUMES long – and that’s just for the video editing program.  All the other programs, like the soundtrack, titling and colouring software don’t have hard-copy manuals, only electronic copies within the software installation.

So I’ve been bumbling and fumbling my way through the most basic of practices, quickly establishing that everything I do has a) at least 3 other ways of achieving the same thing and b) they’re all quicker and easier than the one I tried first.

I’ve also discovered that a) I don’t know as much about this software as I thought I did at first and b) my brain isn’t big enough to learn all the things I need to learn in a single day just to keep up with the pace of the work I’m trying to do.

Similarly, it has emerged that a) everything in the instruction books is written into progressive lists of steps from A-X and b) it’s really hard to shake the habit of working through a whole day in list form.  And c) my brain is still at overload point.

Still, the ad is looking pretty good.  I had a bit of a mad one this afternoon, when I frantically text a bundle of friends for suggestions as to what music track I could put underneath it, which yielded some interesting results – anyone else keen on hearing ANOTHER inspirational clip backed by M People’s Search for the Hero?  Didn’t think so.  Nor me.

My music knowledge is pitiful, so I always fall back on asking the people I know who know their music and they all came up trumps.  The annoying thing about it is that I know all of the tracks (or almost all of the tracks) that they came up with, it’s just that my brain doesn’t work musically, so none of them occurred to me.  It’s an interesting side-note, that: if anyone wanted to think of a film-clip or quotation to fit something, I’d be right there, but asked to find some music to fit something, my brain draws a blank.

Amusingly enough, I had been cutting the piece to Mika’s Grace Kelly as a temporary fill-in with the right mood, and as I was getting my replies in, I finally managed to make the piece work with Grace Kelly underneath it, so as it happens I may not have needed the musical SOS anyway.  Still, it’s nice to know I’ve got people who still reply to my text messages, I suppose…

Tomorrow I’m off to Oxford in the morning for a quick once-over (nothing dramatic, I hope) and I’m hoping I’m not too tired to get back on with things in the afternoon.  That said, I’m not sure my brain can take 2 straight days of new information – it might over-heat slightly.

Full to the brim with new software knowledge I’m off to a) grab myself a cuppa and b) take myself to bed, where c) I hope to stop thinking in lists.


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