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Why I'll Never Become A Producer

Posted on Wednesday 11th April 2007 at 00:00
Once upon a time, I wrote about how sometimes you set out to do what you think is a small job and it quickly reveals itself to be a big one. I mentioned at the time that I have a lot of experience of such tasks, and so should have seen this one coming a mile off.

On Thursday night I received a communication from a friend of mine who wanted to know if I'd mind helping her to compile a DVD from the recording of the Iolanthe production that she put on a few weeks ago. The job, she assured me would involve nothing more than sticking a few bits of video together and then burning the DVD. Perhaps two hours of my Friday lunch time might be required. Friday being a bank holiday, I agreed and we arranged a time to meet.

It can always be assumed that such jobs will take a little longer than initial estimates might suggest, and so I was not surprised to discover, as two hours came and went that the job was not yet complete. It turned out that in addition to merely sticking the video together, some quite extensive editing was required, taking footage from three of the four recordings and compiling them to make a single problem free copy. After 8 hours we called it a night, happy in the knowledge that we'd got the main video sorted and just needed to compile it and then make the DVD, complete with a few extras.

That night I began the compilation process and when I got up the next morning, ran eagerly to my computer to see the finished result. It started off well enough; the picture quality was good, the sound clear enough to hear, and the opening credits bang on cue. In fact things didn't begin to go wrong until I reached the first cut, where to my horror I discovered a gap between one side of the join and the other. Nonetheless I carried on, only to find at the second cut that the two bits repeated themselves slightly. I kept going right the way through to the end, shuddering at every single cut. I couldn't believe it. Only the day before I'd spent hours pain stakingly aligning all the clips so that they moved seamlessly from one to the next, even making sure that the music fitted to within a semiquaver.

It turned out, after a little experimentation that in Windows Movie Maker, the measure that tells the program where to cut and the one which shows you a preview are not the same, and don't tend to line up. This means that you aren't always cutting exactly where you think you are and the problem gets worse the longer the video is. If you are making a quick 2 minute YouTube video you probably wouldn't notice anything wrong, but when the edit is a 2 hour musical which you want to look professional the software seriously lets you down.

Since then I've spent every free minute of the day attempting to work around this problem, but so far to no avail. The next plan is to use better software which will hopefully prove to be more accurate, but we'll see. After that, it'll just be a small matter of wrestling the DVD maker into submission so that it'll create a decent DVD, and then perhaps I'll have time to blog more regularly again. I've taken some time out to catch up with other stuff today, so I'm hoping I'll punch out another post before sunset.

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