Tuesday, January 14, 2014

How could someone still be editing video from 2012? - slow software

There's so much other stuff to do. If you want to get good video, and quick video you cannot beat a LIVE SWITCH event. You have to setup a camera and a live switcher and edit on the fly, like a TV station would do. That's the fastest way to produce concert content. I know because I used to do that. But in 2012 and 2013 I just did a few shoots and this was with camcorders that were not connected to a switcher. I didn't have a switcher, and I don't have a crew, so I can't do things the fast and easy way. And my nice old analog switcher, I loaned to a friend, who lost in in his cluttered house. So I don't even have the switcher setup to do it, if I could find one I'd still need a volunteer crew, and those are even harder to find. As far as switchers go, the current hot item is the ATEM TV switcher by Black Magic. But I'm getting of my topic. I'm editing video, on and off, and it's taking a long time to do this. Why? Well there's plenty of distractions and normal work to do, so I'm not on a quick schedule. I'd like to get these done, but I'm not in a rush as if it's a paid job. So I can take my time. But besides taking my time, I have to spend money and a lot of effort to edit this stuff quickly and efficiently. I don't know if there is a way to do this quickly. I'm trying to find faster editing solutions for my setup. I know I can't beat a live switch and record of an event. I used to do that and it's speed can't be matched by any editing system. A live switch is an instant edit if you take the time to record it. There are other things in life besides editing. Using newer "multi=camera" or "multicam" software features, editors are supposed to be able to run an edit like a live switcher. This concept has been around for some time. AVID had a multicam option back in the early 1990's and it cost something like %$30,000 for that feature added to the price of a Media Composer. I asked for and specifically stated the needs and how to create an efficient MULTI cam system for Media 100 back in the mid 1990's. I wrote them a detailed letter explaining how this could work. Media 100 finally implemented Multicam, about ten years after I outlined how it would work and how we needed it. They did a really good job implementing that. Boris FX pulled it off. And it's no surprise as Boris was one of the original programmers of the Media 100 when it first started and his offshoot company Boris FX bought out Media 100. Boris knows how to create a good program, with Media 100 Suite. I only wish Boris FX was easier to run. Red to me is a deep mystery and a night mare by comparison. So even a Macintosh programmer can get things wrong. But I'm getting off my "LONG RAMBLING SUBJECT" which is below. You edit a few bands which you wanted to edit and the others were not recorded as well or you had some technical difficulty, so you delay editing those bands. Video from one of the bands you wanted to record turned out very badly, and you cannot get rid of the excess camera movement. These are all some excuses I could use. Also Cornerstone Festival is not continuing, unless you count a small offshoot festival called Audio Feed Music Festival. This festival is still happening and there are possible performances to edit from that festival that can be used for promotion, at least You Tube documentation. But the biggest reason is: The Media 100 Suite system has to import every piece of camera footage and convert it from AVCHD to Quicktime, and that is a slow process. Each piece of video has to be re-encoded into "large" quicktime files. These files are bigger and have less decompression to play, they require less work by the hardware and you can use older computers and older software to run and edit the programs with. I've been using technology from 2009 to edit the Cornerstone video stuff with. An old MacBook which cost me $1000 back in 2009 and Media 100 Suite, which ran $1000 to $1400 depending on when one might purchase it back then. I think I paid $1400 for it. In any event, that's a $2400 computer to edit video and it does a great job, but importing takes time and since I record as much of each set as possible, or concert on each camera angle, as one continuous clip, once it's transcoded for editing, I tend to want to edit the entire concert. This takes time. It should be maybe a week a band, but because I have other things to do as well, it turns out that it takes a month per band or concert. That's to long when you have 12 or more bands recorded with multiple cameras. There are other excuses of course that I could make. But in the end it comes down to trying to figure out if I'll bite the bullet and get better faster editing equipment to do this hobby. Now I'm trying out a newer computer and different piece of software. This software is very deep, and has a lot of features. It's called Edius by Grass Valley. Grass Valley makes production and TV studio switchers and other equipment. Grass Valley has a nonlinear editing system that has been out for a long time called Edius. Edius has a ton of features. But for the few features I really want, I have to navigate around all those other advanced features and try to get the program to run in a graphical modeless way, with the program getting out of my way. You'd think I could configure that system to run in a "light" manner and do multi-cam editing. But that is not the case. Edius is deep. By deep I mean it has a lot of features and a lot of features that are showing up in options and check boxes which reminds me of the Windows way of doing things. Yes there is everything in there but the kitchen sink. It's a wonderfully powerful program. But unfortunately that power, and all those strange options get in the way of an older guy who needs a much bigger computer screen to see all the fine fonts for example. The screen is filled with buttons and little drop down dialogs can appear covering almost every feature a professional editor would ever dream of. It reminds me of some professional computer software on the PC that I've seen. Very deep and full of features. But those features get in the way of "speed of editing". For example I'm just learning and trying out the multi-camera timeline. I want to be able to just do a few things that I could easily do with Media 100. With multiple camera, that is with many multiple camera events, the goal is to have a set of cameras all running at the same time. They are all put in sync with each other as if it's a live switch and you will just cut between them. There are two steps. First you align and sync up the cameras. Then you get to choose the audio you want to use and line that up as well or choose that from one of the cameras. And you turn off all the other audio and let all those cameras play on a modern "MULTICAM" layout. This will play all the cameras at once, on a screen display that shows all of them as if they are TV monitors from a multi-camera shoot. You will choose the cameras by just pointing to them as the program is playing. And the cameras I chosen by pointing an clicking a mouse on any angle while the program is playing. Media 100 does all this. And it does it very simply. Using an older system with limits on the speed of the video, causes some stuttering during playback and dropped frames occur. This happens naturally inside Media 100 without it failing. And the biggest problem I have is sometimes the audio would seem to drift or not be aligned for a camera angle. And that would cause a slight delay. I'm not even sure why that would happen. It's almost like a camera was recording at a wrong speed, but that is not possible with the level of equipment I was using. So Media 100 is simple to use and very graphical. There are almost no dialog boxes to get in the way. But importing the video is slow. . . really slow. Because the the power required to decode and use AVCHD video which Sony creates in a HD camcorder now. This creates highly compressed video that can't be played back from the source video file inside a Macintosh system. A PC system with Edius (or Sony Vegas Pro) can use AVCHD directly and play the video immediately with a very fast or almost instant import. This makes a huge difference in the cost of doing projects as well, because you don't have to buy more and more disk space to store intermediate source files for your Media 100 Edit. So now I'm trying Edius on a new laptop computer. This is an ASUS gaming machine, known as "Republic of Gamers" machine. It's found in more powerful varieties off the internet or in a lower end but still powerful configuration at Best Buy. I bought the Best Buy "cheap" version of this gaming machine, which is one of the most powerful laptops that Best Buy sells. At least the most powerful PC laptop. So I have this Asus ROG laptop. It has a few "drawbacks" and Windows 8 and the strange over gestured touch pad are a part of this. Windows 8 is slowly being tamed and setting up and turning off most of the ASUS gestures helps a lot to begin with. Upgrading to 8.1 will likely help a lot as well, but that won't happen at first. There are a few strange things that have happened, but that's geek stuff with Windows 8 so I'll leave that out for this post. Let's get down to an Edius review and some of the things that are a pain with it. If they would just make it simple or have a simple menu that acted more like Media 100 I'd be very happy. You can apparently customize the menu, but there are strange things that happen inside Edius which are geared toward very advanced and perhaps strange edit practices. You can do maybe 9 times more things, but most of those things you don't want to do. So you end up bumping into those "features" which just pop up and do things to your timeline/program, that damage it while your editing. It's strange and I suppose an advance user will find a way to work through those features and run around them. I'm going to give you an example of an Advanced feature, inside Edius, that needs to change in my opinion. They have a configuration for "how many cameras" you want to have in your "multicam window". This makes sense. But Edius is not limited to merely 16 cameras, although I can't imagine having to cut with a timeline with more than 16 cameras, apparently the interface can handle more than 16 camera angles. But that's for advanced editing, not basic editing and basic multi-cam editing. You don't need to worry about more than a half a dozen cameras for many shooting situations. Now I selected 4, 5 or 8 cameras in the Multicam dialog and I thought Edius was broke or crippled as I'm using the demo version. Because Media 100 has you pick a number of cameras in a dialog box and once you pick that each program has that many cameras in it that you create. With Media 100 we have an 8 camera timeline for example and new programs will just have a space for eight cameras. And I can "hide" the cameras an make the timeline less cluttered during the edit, but the camera angles will stay there. When I create a new timeline I don't have to add cameras to the timeline, they are already there. There is space for them because the dialog stays setup the way I used it last. Because of that, I can add programs and create new ones, in Media 100 and actually have many of them open at once as well. And I can quickly create a new scratch program and it will have the right amount of camera tracks automatically. It's a one mouse click command and that's efficient. But the Edius way, I select add cameras to multi-clip, and that should give me a new program sequence or timeline with that many cameras in the video channels, right? Nope. They are not there, there is only two video channels to begin with. So you have to find the hidden command, which is a right mouse click, another thing to do, and Add a channel above or below every channel that is already there. This is extra mouse clicks and extra things to do. I already know I have a three or four camera video shoot to do for my events. Each program I create or sequence, should already have four channels of video or AV channels appear automatically. But Edius cannot do that. I have to do more work. And I know this is nit picking, but creating an efficient interface, that doesn't require a lot of typing in dialog boxes, is what makes Media 100 Suite, so elegant. You can do almost everything you need with the mouse and that's something that most PC programs cannot do. It's because they are poorly designed and PC software makers are used to seeing huge dialog boxes appear with a million options and check boxes in them, with places to type, answers to make and of course little boring buttons that can barely be read. The more complex and feature rich an interface, the better it is, or so these PC developers believe. They think having a million boxes appearing and a million buttons, makes a better user experience. What happens is the programs get to complicated an they get in the way of the user. With an aging populace this even gets worse for older people. Because they cannot see as well and don't want to look at small dialog boxes. The fastest way to use an interface is to have one that is modeless, and doesn't get in your way. By modeless I mean it lets the user approach the problem the way they want to, not in some predefined procedure, which is the AVID way. By not getting in your way, I mean an interface that has a few buttons to press and things to do to slow you down as possible. The software is designed in a graphical method to allow you to slice and dice your way through the problem, very quickly with a streamlined interface. That is what Media 100 has, and that is why it is faster (once you have the video in the system) than any other system on the market. Some can edit with keyboard shortcuts very quickly and supposedly advanced editors that do nothing but edit can do this, but it's like using keyboard shortcuts on Word Perfect, and old program and old way of doing things. Typists could learn all the keyboard shortcuts and secretaries could do a letter very quickly on Word Perfect, but when Microsoft Word came out it was graphical for the Macintosh computer system. And with graphics it was easier to do things, less keys to learn, exotic key presses. With Edius, we see a kind of mix, between the "new way" which is a graphical modeless way of working, which has only been reached by Media 100 as far as I can tell, and the old keyboard shortcut way of doing things, which I'd like to call the Word Perfect way. Sure Word has keyboard shortcuts if you want them, but who wants to waste their time to learn all those. Advanced editors need those perhaps, but most people don't have time to be only an editor and they want a simple interface that just does what the want and doesn't get in the way. Now for some early criticisms of Edius. As well as creating a track a track can be deleted very quickly and easily. Apparently the track can be deleted or a part of the track, (the video part) when moving and sizing the height of the track for display purposes. This apparently happened to me in my latest edit. I'm trying to edit four cameras and line them up. It's taking a LOT LONGER on Edius to do this, because I'm still learning it's quirks which are kind of like a mini minefield for me. Now some editors may want to drop in video and have ripple cuts and replacements. I know that they may want to insert new video that is unrelated to the other video. I know that happens, it happens with montages, and with many news stories. So I know that they need that feature. But I can't easily lock down the interface and I can easily start to ripple cut and replace video that should be locked down for a multi-camera edit in Edius. Most people use multi-cam video to just cut between many cameras of the same event. That's the definition of multicam. Media 100 Suite has a special multicam timeline, and it locks you into that mode. Which is where you want to be 90 percent of the time. You can edit the other way as well, but multi-cam has a separate easy to understand graphical time line that opens up. With Edius the Multi-cam works on the regular time line. And for example I just found out that when trying to move and expand the tracks to show better and bigger images and expand the size of the waveform, I grabbed the video track by mistake apparently on a few tracks and deleted the video from the audio. Now I have three tracks of video lost because of this "advanced" feature. And because this happened with this strange interface and I can't clearly see or figure out what happened, now I have to go back and figure out a way to easily get the video back where I want it. And I already synced the audio and video. I completely deleted the video clip from one of the cameras. I also by mistake deleted part of the video I wanted to keep at the beginning of a program. And that clip was locked an synced in place. If I "cut and deleted" this as I would normally do in Media 100 it would require discrete steps, not an automatic process that happens because some ripple cut button was pressed and setup wrong. I didn't even see what caused the thing to be deleted. It's because the program has three or four different ways it acts in Edius. And it reacts differently depending on how you set it up. So to fix this, in Media 100 I'd just select all the tracks in the program, move them to the right and open up a space in the timeline. Then grab the missing track info, that that was cut away from the track that was shortened and make the clip long again. It would literally take three mouse clicks and one drag or two graphical drag actions. But with Edius I could not do that. I had to grab the clips and past a copy in a later portion of the timeline. . . there may be some exotic thing I could do, but I don't know what that is. And I had to actually drop a new piece of video on a new track and line it up with the old one. In the course of doing that, I inadvertently deleted another video channel from the multi-cam timeline (the regular timeline as they are the same). I tried to go back but then had to do it again. Then I started up the multi-cam after having adjusted and synced the videos. I had to expand the tracks vertically to make the audio waveforms bigger, to help align up the audio. That worked out, but then all but one of my video channels was black in multi-cam after I was done syncing 4 video tracks, which became 3 without my realizing it. So I had three tracks as I lost one of them. Now what? I should have selected all the tracks and made a composite track as a safety, but I didn't. Maybe that could be re expanded easily, but I doubt it. With Media 100 I can select all the tracks and create a composite clip by dragging them into a bin. I can then take that composite clip, which is a graphical program, turned into a clip and drop it on a new program with the same number of tracks or a greater number of tracks and the clip will turn into a new program with all the settings from the last one. This is a two step graphical process. It's genius, and it's brilliant and fast. And I don't think Edius can do that. This is why Media 100 is not updated much, you don't have to update a product that basically got it right the first time. It does what most editors want to do quickly and easily. So back to Edius. So now I'm playing the multi-cam and three of the camera channels are black and dead. There is only one channel of video showing, but they all appear in the timeline. Then I realize they are their, but only the audio. The video portions were deleted, by accident apparently during the re-sizing of the channels to do the edit. Yikes. I just finished setting up the sync and now my material is missing from my program. Can I go back to a backup save I made? There are a lot of backups, but of course it doesn't have the one I want or can easily find. So I'm left having spent and I know I'm still learning a lot of hours and occasional sleeping episodes in this late night session, trying to get a quick four camera switch session going with multi-cam. Think about it, multi-cam is a mode that mimics a live switcher. Grass Valley makes switchers, that's what it's supposed to do, 90 percent of the time. Why can't I simply do this. I can't because all the extra PC features that are advanced keep getting in my way. So I'm trying to learn how do to this the slow way. And the "way" that we are notified and change the features are related to little graphical buttons on the interface that are pushed or not pushed to set up settings for the timeline that will allow ripple cuts and deletes, etc. I'm hoping that I can get a simple interface configured and simple setup. I hope I can figure out a very quick streamlined way to edit with this system. I'm still learning obviously. What most software developers don't realize is we need a simple interface and simple way to get the majority of things we need done. I don't care if Edius has 1000 feature, in it. If they all randomly get in my way or pop up and cause confusion with all the extra clutter, they are useless and just something to slow me down. I want a fast quick interface with defined features, a simple interface and they can bury all the advanced features in a deeper level for the advanced guys who use this stuff, 5% of the time. That last 5% those extra features ruin the experience for the majority of us. This is the problem with many software designs. Edius isn't the only problem, we see it in Microsoft Word, and many advanced versions of software that have evolved in to huge bloating behemoths, like a huge person needing to go on the biggest loser weight loss plan. They become bloated down with features you don't need or want. It's filled with more features, so it's going to cost more right? Meanwhile the majority of users, turn to alternatives, like cheaper low cost programs like an Apple Word processor on the Ipad, that can do all the things most people need and it can create a Word document. Pages, is 90 percent of what I'd ever need from Microsoft Word and it costs me $10 on the ipad. Why would I pay $300 to Microsoft when a basic word processor is all I'll every need most of the time. I know it has indexes and footnote capability and can create an index or do mailing lists address printout form letters. . . but who needs those? Most people don't need those features. The same holds true for nonlinear editing. What is needed is a three level system with three levels of complexity in the same program. A lite and easy to use graphical system that doesn't get in the way. This is needed for senior aging populations as well. We need simple smart phone interfaces, not a cluttered interface full of boxes, like Windows tries to push as being simple. Simple doesn't mean less graphics, it means more simple and easier to use. So now I'm trying to use a Windows program under a cobbled together OS 8 and this thing has really small fonts and a really large and cumbersome feature set that gets in the way more than it helps. I just want to throw four video tracks and a few audio tracks and do a simple mix, like I'm using a quick video mixer. You'd think Grass Valley could create software to let that happen. . . please. I don't think most of these software manufacturers will listen. The best development for new software is simple to use software, often found on an iPad now a days. Apple has a version of IMovie for the ipad and iphone. It costs $5. It's a step in the right direction for sure. I can edit and shoot a single camera video, a movie really on a simple Iphone and edit it together. I actually shot a full length movie which was simply self viewing dialog for a comedy routine I was trying to work on, in a couple of days. This may have been the first movie to be shot and edited on an iphone in a couple of days. It's possible to take something like an iphone and make a documentary movie, without a computer. It would be basic and would not necessarily have all the sound features you'd want, but it can be done fairly quickly and cheaply. That's why Apple is advancing, they have one thing figured out. They build ergonomically correct hardware and software, and nobody does it better. Well it's early in the morning now and time to post this long diatribe. I've been editing and napping in a lazy boy. I found some Youtube videos showing how to use Edius, and those gave me some hints and ideas. I hope I won't be losing a lot of video tracks in the future, because of some weird backward interface. I hate having to navigate a program as if I'm walking on eggshells, with random hidden commands firing off and destroying my project, without me even knowing it. Maybe I'm just to tired to get it right, but I should not have to fight an interface to edit a video. The software should be easy and elegant. Edius is not really there, it's only maybe 30% there. Don't get me wrong I'm amazed at the raw power of the newer hardware, it's just the software that is lacking. The laptop may work out and I may keep it and use Edius. I'm hoping that I can do one band at least one song of each band per day. I'm going to shoot for that. I want to have a twelve song documentary done in a couple weeks time. That would be a decent pace and goal.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Editing The Choir video from Audio Feed Festival

In theory the quick way to get through this is to import the footage and edit one song per band, not entire concerts. That is the goal.

It would be nice however to keep the imported clips and do more extensive edits for the bands, at least those which I have decent video clips of.

The Audio Feed Festival video was different than the Gallery video. Arkansas Stage vs Gallery stage.

Arkansas stage:
Smaller, but in a building
Lower cost lighting, which was better for 3d cameras to eliminate rolling shutter.
More bright spots from par lights being to bright especially on the main singer location.

The Gallery Stage:
Better acoustics for recording because it was in a tent
This is both a blessing and a curse, being in a tent. It's better because there are less sound reflections, it's worse because you can pick up more outside noise.
Better lighting, better fill light control.
However LED lighting which had much more effects was causing rolling shutter problems for my Fujix 3d camera and some other video shooters out there. Fortunately for me, the Sony camcorders in 2d didn't have a problem with the led lighting. This is because high frequency led lighting for video costs a ton of money and many cannot afford to use that for concerts.

That's about it for the comparisons.

Now for the editing issues.

First my video clips are far from complete.

My biggest problem was not getting to Audio Feed Festival early enough, missing the first official day and only being there one day definitely didn't help. Not actually talking with the other guy shooting video for the festival didn't help much. I had to take a leap of faith and hope he got the variety video clips I could not get due to the commitment to multi camera with a crew of one.

It's difficult to get interview and behind the scenes video if you are on a rush deadline, and not having sufficient power adapters messed up my equipment setup and left me with a battery shuffle and charge situation.

So those were the excuses for not having more video.

I know at least one videographer who took video from his own fan experience point of view, so perhaps some of that video will work well for promo video. He shot a lot of video. He's a great shooter getting a lot of footage. I kind of envy the freedom of being able to run and gun as I've done this myself at times. But when your anchored to a bunch of equipment for a multi camera shoot you lose those freedoms.

The video is a bit of a challenge to edit with the Media 100 v1.13 on the Macintosh. The editor is not bad, it's rather fun to edit with and it has great audio controls and the ability to color correct.

The biggest problem is it cannot ingest and edit with Avchd video directly. I have to do an import and to make things easy at least for me, I've found that importing through IMovie works best, then I quickly import the QuickTime file into Media 100.

The problem is a QuickTime file to edit with at full hd resolution takes up a ton of space compared to compressed avchd Sony video clips. The Sony Video clip might take perhaps 2 gigs for an hour depending on the resolution setting and compression settings. I use the mid level hd resolution for the files, which is hd but not as high a data rate as a full 1920 by 1080 recording. To save space I'm recording at 1440 by 1080. Some might wonder why not full hd at 1920. Well I'm not actually running the cameras with a crew, and I don't really have all the control necessary to get a very good shoot done, I'm kind of hacking through this with unmanned cameras preset and fixed. Without a known quality going into the below line production, it's probably a waste of space and power to run full hd at the highest quality and data rate.

Also most of my video is for a very few clients, I shouldn't even use that as a term as I'm not charging them and I'm not hired by them. It's free video for the bands and promotors. It will probably be used or viewed at normal sd 720p resolution, of a normal DVD. You will not be seeing me burn a blue ray disk at full hd from this, because frankly the Macintosh is not setup for blue ray unless you are playing around with very expensive Adobe software.

Now the files become huge as QuickTime files for editing. They take up close to 200 gigs for four cameras for a short one hour concert. "The Choir" four camera sources become something a little north of 200 gigs in size. I need those files to edit quickly in Media 100.  They also take time to "render" to quicktime, and are converted in roughly real time on my MacBook to the QuickTime files. This means four hours of video from three or four cameras shoot will take four to six hours to import.  That's four hours just to get ready to start editing.   So you can imagine it will take maybe two weeks to just import all the video I shot, and that's if  have the disk space.

Imagine something like 3 terabytes of source video on one or two USB drives connected just to start editing. Also if I "color correct" video, the intermediate files will have to be rendered as well. That could easily take almost as much space as at least one source angle.  If the clips are split and trimmed and rendered from the timeline, they will take up as much as at least one additional camera angle.  This depends on the resolution setting for the rendered video as well.  One can get by with lower resolution or different compressions and the end user will likely not see a difference.

SOME DETAILS WITH MEDIA 100 and Macintosh (skip this section for a quicker read) Certainly you don't want to use high end Apple Pro Resolutions for the color corrected clips.  With concert video the entire clip may be color corrected.  I'm not talking about sophisticated grading of each take, but just basic correction for overall lighting for the entire camera angle.  Any color correction will require a rendering of the entire clip.   (In the old days, earlier Media 100's could play out the video as if it was going through a "pro amp" color correction system.  If the computer was fast enough you could play out and master you video without rendering, but you might get stuttering with the added color correction overhead.)   The earlier years of editing we often put out a clip and ripped it to tape.  So we would perhaps even play out the video from the Media 100 and needed no dropped frames.  What's surprising is, we needed faster and better throughput for "real time" playback performance in the old days.  Nowdays the drives can be faster and have more throughput, but they don't have to be faster.  They may be faster, but we can get by with slower performance and basically with the Macintosh and Media 100 use basic USB drives.  The reason is we end up rendering out the final result, so we don't need real time performance with multiple HD streams.  We can edit many streams of HD from a basic laptop and USB drive with Media 100.  The video may stutter a little during editing, but the Media 100 will keep working and you can make your trims and edits and then render it out without stuttering to the final quicktime file, which plays fine.   I really enjoy the stability and ease of use of the Media 100.  The Multicam feature lets me edit very quickly, but unfortunately there is a bit of a glitch at times in lining up all the video, sometimes one of the clips audio channels will go out of sync in Multiclip mode.  I don't know why, but I'm able to work around this by editing video only and not cutting audio while making multicam edit decisions.  The audio for a concert comes from only one source anyways.  The audio in Media 100 for multicam editing comes from each camera or one of them.

BACK TO THE GENERAL TOPIC - Disk Space, and editing speed (Media 100 vs. Edius)
I edit to a full 1920 by 1080 frame anyway. So the video looks stunning on an hd when I play the QuickTime master output. I edit to this just in case I want to do a blue ray in the future.

Here is what slows down my editing. I'm trying to keep a copy of the earlier editing source. So I currently have four portable USB drives that are full of Cornerstone video from previous edits.  And each time I edit two bands another 1.5 or 2 terabyte USB drive is needed.

I can put the files on another permanent drive at home and have a few 2 or 3 terabyte desktop sized drives for that..  But those drives run out of space and I still have to buy drives to save the Edit source files which were rendered.  I can rerender them and start all over if I want to, but that would make future edits take longer.  

So let's imagine we go to the store and purchase a USB drive.  A seagate 1.5 or 2 tb  drive costs $140 or more depending on when you buy them.

So it's costing me about $40 to $50 per band just to have disk space for all their raw footage.

(Of course it's convenient but expensive to acquire on SIMM chips as well, that's another topic.)
It's cheaper than the old days to shoot the video, SIMM chips are cheaper than tape and take up less space, but they still cost some money.   What I really like about the new digital technology is I can store all my SIMM chips from a shoot like this on a fairly cheap $50 USB drive.  That's a lot cheaper than spending hundreds of dollars for tapes and takes up less space.  (I can store the USB drive in a safety deposit box if I want extra security and a great safe data storage site.)

- Editing in Quicktime however is a pain (in drive space and time.)
The acquisition of the video  is performed from SIMM chips and the original source is much smaller in Avchd format. I have all of the Cornerstone source on one 320 tb drive. Cheap really for such a large amount of video. It's easy to hand that drive to JPUSA and it will take up a lot less space than a box of video and audio tapes.  I have all the Audio Feed Festival video on one 500 tb drive but it could be much smaller under 150 tb drive.

Now if I was to add up these bands. Let's say I have 10 acts from Cornerstone and 5 from Audio Feed, I actually have many more but let's just say we shot 15 bands. Those fifteen bands will take $750 in disk drive space.  This because of the old MacBook and Media 100 editing system and the need for the quicktime intermediate work files.  I'm on that path right now.  And you can imagine, if it could cost you $700 to $1000 in added equipment for flexible editing of a couple of festivals.  Well that cost is a significant expense, especially for "free video".

- The 3D option.
I wanted to shoot and edit 3d video this year.  I almost shot the Audio Feed Festival in 3d this year. That would have required a pretty large camera expense, so I didn't do it.  Also 3d is different than 2d and if you shoot in 3d but use 2d techniques your 3d video will suffer and probably give your viewers air sickness when they view it.  So you really can't shoot exciting 2d video for cutting and artistic editing and they use that same video (recorded in 3d as well on a 3d camcorder) for 3d use.  You have to actually shoot more boring video for 3d because that depth will add something and you don't want background horizons shifting.  So to do a 2d and 3d shoot and pull both off.  I'd really be even better off shooting with both sets of cameras.  Have a setup for 2d and a setup for 3d.  Imagine manning those.  Let's imagine that for a moment.  Let's say I have 6 camera operators and helpers as well.  That would be perhaps three 2d shooters and three 3d shooters.  And I'll need to have backup folks that can man a camera as well to give them a break.  Nobody can expect others to do the amount of grueling shooting I'd be doing alone for the love of it, even if they were being paid top dollar.  Most camera operators will not do a 12 hour shoot with most of that time doing the shooting.  How many bands would play a marathon 10 hours?  If the bands won't do it, then the video people won't likely do it.  This is different than a guy with a camcorder on a tripod who sits for the entire concert.  I'm talking about active camera operators and really the style which we developed or tried to required a lot of creativity from each camera operator who shot independently of "direction" from a director.  We didn't have a director who "directed what each operator should shoot" but rather had each operator work independently and have a "goal" to cover certain aspects of the show.  So for a 3 camera shoot I'd really need more operators than six if I was shooting 3d and 2d.  Now I'd rather shoot with two good camera operators than ten lousy operators who don't know what they are doing.  The worse thing you can do is shoot a ton of footage and have all of it bad.  It makes editing a depressing nightmare and you often can't get even decent memory video.  This is one of the problems with a typical trained "public access" cable camera operator.  They are trained to be robots and do what they are told.  They have no creativity or independent thought, indeed if they had any it would be drummed out of them with commands from the director.  Videographers or camera operators or even band members can shoot better concert video than a typical "camera operator" trained at a cable station for "public access".

Well obviously I can't get decent video without a team.  And I couldn't even drum up one of the old team for the Audio Feed Festival.  Even offering to pay them didn't work.

- LET'S pretend I shot the festival in 3d with a bunch of 3d camcorder and good tripods.
To edit in 3d I need to use a PC or run software on windows. I could use Sony Vegas Pro or Grass Valley Edius to edit 3d video.

In looking at the two and doing a little bit of research, I think I'd go with the Grass Valley Edius approach. It can edit 3d and seems to have a very fast intuitive interface. It may be a little more clunky than Media 100 but it's pretty close. So I could pick up Edius and it will edit natively with avchd video and import this basically using the same video file, not rendering out a huge QuickTime work file.

Edius 6.5 is about $700, so it would be cheaper to get Edius and work with that than buy disk drives. The problem however is I'd have to get a PC laptop, with an i7 processor. Above 3 gigahertz in speed as well and likely with 8 or 16 gigs of memory. These computers cost $1200. Why a laptop? Well I know a desktop is more flexible and you can use cheaper drives, build drive arrays and have a full production setup at home. But my house is a mental mess with many demands from sick people here. I can't really concentrate on editing with an edit suite at home. So I often edit at a coffeehouse or place where I'm eating at. It requires a laptop.

So the Edius "solution" is about $1800 more.  I'm rather doubtful it would run on my cheap $350 windows PC I use for Astrophotography.  Keep in mind this is theory.   I'm not writing this to say I will do this. And the move to 3d, if I was to purchase a few 3d cameras would cost me at least $3000 without accessories(extra batteries) for three cameras. Add batteries and that's probably another $1000 or more, if your doing remote shoots. Add other equipment like wireless mics or interview mics and that costs more. I have the microphone things figured out for interviews.  So to do the Festival right, and do it quickly in 3d without a ton of disk space necessary we are talking about spending $6k to $7k for equipment.  And even SIMM Cards could be more expensive depending on the choice of 3d cameras.

Then I'd have to probably hire a crew to do the shoot as all my old friends are too old and tired of shooting Christian festivals for free or most Christian festival promotion, at least that is what they say. So we are talking about a $10k investment for video for a hobby event. Well needless to say, as the total receipts of the Audio Feed festival are probably less than $40,000 at $40 per head with 1000 people, I could spend as much as 25 percent of the gross receipts of the festival just gearing up for a "hobby video shoot".   And this is with "low end" equipment.  This is why most videographers are broke, especially the low end (hobby) videographers.  There are cheaper ways to do the event.

I can use basic Sony 2d camcorders which are cheap. I can edit in 2d and I can take my time editing.

If the lighting guys could be controlled a little bit perhaps giving them a video monitor and monitor feed so they can see what the video looks like, then we'd be able to get better results without expensive camcorders and it would improve fan video of the concert events.

The "data" edit approach to use for the festival would be to take short clips of each thing and only digitize the short clips.  Maybe a two song clip instead of a full concert clip.   Unfortunately for long concert video meaning making a video for the bands, I tape as much of each concert with full clips as possible. Long clips mean I have more to work with and I may capture something magical that would have been missed by only taping part of the event.   Also if the band is bad or out of tune for some of the songs, if we tape them all we can select the best clips.  This is not possible if you're choosing a song or two to record on the fly.   The challenge of course personally is to stop the flow of many songs out, and "not publish them" or not use them.  People will beg and ask for video clips or full concert videos and you have to keep your priorities straight and show restraint and respect the artist and labels rights.

WITH TAPE we could capture a "part of the clip"
With tape based systems in older nonlinear setups, we would digitize a part of the clip perhaps playing the tape and recording only a part of it into the nonlinear.  It was easier to do a "live" or after live event mix with a mixer, to get full events.  You cannot beat the speed of a live mix for multicamera events.   Nothing beats a good video mix.   For careful edits and product afterwards an editor of course is much better.

(In the old days of tape and nonlinear I could just digitize one song from each camera.  That takes less disk space.  There were other limits as well.  Often times the length of the clip you could digitize was limited by the size of the files.  So it's a lot better now for nonlinear systems and it's tough to beat digital system.  What is amazing is I have maybe 25 gigs of drive space maybe as much as 40 gigs of drive space for my old nonlinear systems and they could hold a lot of video.  But each time I did a long project I would often create a master output of the project and just go back in and erase all the source.  It was kind of freeing, a sort of housecleaning to start over.)

Also if I edited in lower resolution I could save space and also perhaps digitize the video quicker.

Because my approach is to get video I can give to the bands this hampers a quick edit of all the video. By trying to give nice long event recordings to the bands, I've handicapped my ability to get a fasted edit completed.

That's the nature of budgets.

Now in the old days I used to have a nice high paying job in the IT field. But I decided to take an early retirement and help at the house with sick people with long term illness in the family. This is both a blessing, well it's mostly a blessing. I'm able to help out. But I'm on an extremely fixed budget now. I don't have an extra $1000 each month to throw around on equipment or give away to ministries.

Unfortunately the retirement life, for me is much less relaxing than it should be. In theory I should have a lot of fun, but I'm hampered by major health issues which is like running an ICU at home. With only two care givers it basically stopped our small family from most normal life.

Well enough venting. Things are really going well with The Choir edit. I almost have a decent full length edit complete. It's a little rough especially with some of the blown out lighting from to intense a par/spot light effect at times. It kind of reminds me of some of the poor video I shot of Adam Again back in the early 1990s at Cornerstone. I have some early Choir and Adam Again from 1992. And that stuff is pretty bad. That due to my having poor exposure and blown out faces. And I've seen that problem with some older main stage video we shot as well with two spotlights on Mike Roe for example blowing out his face and making it difficult to get an exposure that showed the band the what it should have been.

Our video crew used to curse spotlights. For video lighting you need even lighting with 30 levels of contrast. The human eye can see 110 levels of contrast. Film can see 100 levels. Video only 30 levels.

If the video guys are not in the loop for lighting of an event, the video of concerts or most things will suffer.

If you want professional video of course the video director has to come in and exercise creative control over more of the event. This happens with concert videos shot for co medial productions. We can't get to that level, without a budget. We can at times get closer to that level and provide a friendlier event for those with cameras or camcorders if they are allowed.

One way to do this is become a part of event video process and use live giant screen projection. When the lighting guys see the effects of the lighting for the live video they may modify their lighting setups without much begging or discussion.

Humans more often than not don't notice the difference at an event that is properly fill lighted verses a complete visual range done on the cheap or for the naked eyes.

Below, the drives for Cornerstone and Audio Feed Festival editing.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Kind of stalled in editing this weekend.

My weekend was split up with some normal duties and some fun. I went and checked out a local art fair in Wyandotte. Near the end of the week actually. Saturday I ended up chatting with a friend who was meaning to go to Cornerstone, but never could get enough of a reason to go against his family outing all the past years, at least this was his latest take on it.

He said he might like to go to audio feed festival and wanted to know a bit about it. I told him a little bit about it but he was getting ready to practice for some kind of church band thing with some other guys. One of the other guys knew me from the old Michigan Mosh festival, or at least that what it sounded like, with cell phones it's difficult to hear all the conversation sometimes.

I decided to go out to a Astronomy event out a ways about an hour away out past Novi Michigan. For me this outing at Island Lake State Recreation area would be pretty fun, a chance to see a bunch of members of the Ford Amateur Astronomy club. I've missed a bunch of club events and my mind was on how to get better video from audio feed festivals in the future and how to get better overall video for the festival.

And about video equipment gearing up a little better and how to network with some fan video shooters to get perhaps some pooled product something basically for the festival organizers. A challenge is how to get all the footage together and how to convince people to work together to do this.

Another challenge of course is to figure out what is the role of budgeting, pricing and the strange topic that crops up from time to time regarding these festivals and all nonprofit concert events really. These problems are really perception and at times reality problems that people have. It stems from a bunch of questions, but some of these are really difficult to answer and there are no clear answers that will please everyone.

Here is a sample of questions, perhaps a subject for an outline and perhaps some kind of video or blog topic.

Here is the kind of questions that come up from time to time and points that could become a real issue at times for some who might want to help, but become unsure or perhaps just look for an excuse to bail on these events.

Here is a sample of questions.

1. Is it valid to entertain Christians? To do retreats for Christians? This is kind of a question that pops up indirectly. Because sometimes people get into a Ministry question, in other words. How effective and how do you measure metrics to determine how to sell a ministry outreach, or event.

In other words, if I'm donating my time effort and talents to something, why? What is the payback? Is it to just entertain Christians or build up Christian bands? Etc.

These are themes I hear as excuses to say no to Christian events, by some. They almost want an alter call count or something.

2. Profit, vs. Non profit vs. No profit ministry. This opens up an entire can of worms because non profits do a variety of things to get financial advantage and offer financial incentives for donors to get involved. And this involves trying to get as much donated to the event as possible, as a form of high efficiency ministry, you will seem to be more efficient if you get more donated services, from businesses or others. I've seen this with large local non profits, where the goal was to get as much donated for free vs paid for as possible. It's stretching their budget and something they are often bound to do to pull off large events.

Profit enterprises, are often businesses who have to make a profit to be sustainable. Even the parable of those working with their talents was abheir from their talents. Profit exists in the modern society and is necessary to sustain projects. This means a long term goal of repeating projects needs to have profits. Or even sustained giving which is another kind of profit. Without a positive balance sheet the festival or event will be in for a difficult precarious future.

No profit giving is just the attitude that you want to give toward some ministry or event without pay back, consideration, good will or anything. You may not even pay by check and may not put your name on the offering envelop for example. You don't even want non profit gift rewards, because you give in secret hoping that God will reward you. This is pure giving.

I have had some say, I didn't give to that event to give to that organization, but to give to God with that attitude and if it was efficient then the organization was doing well, but in any event, even if they blew it, the gift was to God. But reassessment often happens after giving over and over again, and we often ask ourselves is it really worth it?

Here is the question that we often will ask. And I don't know how to respond to this because at times I ask these questions myself as well. It's a question about "counting the cost" and "is it worth it?" There is always demands, but usually in the way of a quick dollar donation to a "non profit" ministry or some fund raising project. And these compete for limited resources that families and individuals have.

For those who end up doing what they must do or seem to enjoy doing, a second work perhaps but toward a "ministry project" they have to weigh the cost of the volunteerism. What can they reasonably afford to give and what is the payback. It may at times be on the verge of something a friend coined as a term, which he called "ministry addiction". He coined this for a local "missionary" who was a college missionary who was called to go to local colleges. This missionary had a feeling and drive toward saving the lost in the local colleges. But his approach was getting support spiritually from a church but not fully financially. Eventually the church pastor and this guy had a quarrel and the entire thing blew up in a meeting of sorts. I was present and saw this and the questions started to be asked by the pastor if this guy was truly called to be a missionary to the colleges. The missionary was doing tract evangelism and apologetics. Because of a misunderstanding he thought a financial commitment was made, but something went wrong and something didn't work out. So the missionary was abandoned or felt that way, because certain needs were not met. And it was like having the rug pulled out from under him. So the question came up. How efficient is this guy? He had tracts to answer many questions and could "make points" in debating with students and had many answers already. Being a kind of researcher and a nice guy he seemed to have a real love for his ministry. But his ministry was shaken by lack of local church support. I watched all this as he seemed to be abandoned. And the question came up from a friend could this be a kind of "ministry addiction" where he himself wanted to be a ministry person, but without support he was deceiving himself in a way. Because he sought full time support, and I know there are evangelists who are in colleges that do this, I'm not saying they are all wrong or some are not called. But he had this thing he had to do. And the normal college student would probably look at him and wonder what was he doing in college. He wasn't working a regular job, he wasn't tent making. He wasn't going toward a degree. So I wondered if he was being looked at as some kind of lunatic by other normal college students. Because he was so odd compared to the normal college student. Maybe he had lost respect in their eyes right there and it affected his effectiveness. Then again, maybe he was just someone who should doggedly keep going. But for most people I think some of the comments made against him held some ring of truth to them. Was he really influencing others or was he just doing something he thought he must, but so ineffective that he would be "unsent" by lack of support.

Seeing things like that makes me think about big projects like Cornerstone which seemed to fail, for one of many reasons finally, that it was not sustainable. It was a failure due to one of many reasons. It wasn't really a failure, perhaps just something that outlived it's usefulness. Was it effective? Yes, but in some ways we'd have to say due to (fill in the blanks) reasons, it ultimately failed do to it not being sustainable. It didn't have a profit sustainable basis. There is nothing wrong with profit, or a energy sustainable basis, where energy or funds is equal to the need, allowing the bills to be paid. This is in regards to having large expenses for buildings or people who gave up their time working normal jobs to create something different. For the large event, it's getting the funds to pull off the event. The parts that do with expenses are in need of profit or at least a break event balance sheet. There is nothing wrong with making a profit. The servants with the talents were told to go out and earn more. But there is a problem when you try to "charge" for something that was freely given or supernatural from the spiritual perspective.

I like to think of these as being perfect acts, of eternal significance. Those things that the Holy Spirit does in the hearts of man or miracles from Him are not to be sold. There should be "NO PROFIT" in the true gospel. But obviously if you have to have a certain asset, be it a guitar, or a tent, or a sound system those things may cost money. So we need resources to get that money, it could be ticket sales or it could be "pre-ticket sales" or "donations". Even if 100,000 people kicked in $5 to fund a "free event" to get that 100,000 people to "donate" the money requires a kind of profit sustainable motive.

If we are not profiting and sustainable we are dying from a balance sheet perspective and ultimately that is a bad witness of sorts, or at least a sign that change has to happen.

I've heard comments at times when a person was tired in the ministry sayin something to the effect of "why are we doing this?" It was a rational question, which was one that was made from a smart mind, which was tired at the end of an event. The question becomes is it worth it?

I've heard some say they will go to an event, if 100 people show up, but if only 10 show up they don't want to go, because they are wasting their time.

I've also seen some people like Glenn Kaiser travel a long way to give a concert to a very small crowd and this was in the glory years. And he would pay in front of maybe 20 people. So this is the heart of real ministry, that you will just minister because that is what you do, because that is what you are.

The challenge of course is getting those with "less to offer" to sign up and get involved. Because they may not have to much to offer and they may feel that they can't do much and are only doing a little. We shouldn't feel that way but we often do. I want to do so much and be so good in my giving, that it means something and makes a difference. But that too can be a kind of pride. Trying to do more and more. Paul said, he glorified in his lack and inability to excel at times. He said he gave sermons where he stuttered and his speech was not polished and always great. But in those times, "the power of God could shine through". In other words Paul was not concerned with his own ability, but God's ability.

This is where true ministry happens. And hopefully we can be a part of it, but sometimes we are not a part of it, and sometimes it's just God dealing with someone directly.

The work and donation of services by some who are trying to do a small business results in their expecting a good relationship with the non-profit and a hope and desire that they will have some kind of loyalty returned. A kind of gentleman's agreement, like shaking hands. If they help the ministry or event take off, they may be hoping or have an understanding that when the thing takes off they will be paid in the future as more money is available for the event. Sometimes ministries do events and they get hired or supported to pull off even larger events. Maybe a national organization wants them to do something bigger. And when they go to the higher level, they may just go out and buy the higher end service from a higher end service provider. I heard one guy complain about this. He said, one local non-profit, benefited from things his group did for free, and then when a big project happened, rather than consulting with them about the budget, they hired a high end industry professional from another state, to provide a short service for $110,000. So these small businesses or even hobby project folks were doing things for free and once the big budget came, they may have felt like they were stepped over. Climbing towards the top and climbing over others to get there. That being the gut reaction to some, who are in the game for small profits. It can be a source of resentment.

But I'd say if your attitude toward giving is it's a free gift, and there are "no strings" attached, even strings of loyalty and good will. Then it's a pure true gift and you will avoid all the mental games and grief if something happens and you seem to be passed over for someone else.

Truthfully we have to look at it from the promotors perspective also. They may not have time to play around and let the lower end companies learn slowly and pull them up to the next level. They may not have time to test and experiment with their next event and see if you can really pull off the "low priced" gift you are giving them.

With enough shared sacrifice the event however can also become a kind of thing that many have a sense of "ownership over" as well. Because they helped make the event possible.

There is a lot to be said for things like crowd source funding. You could almost "enhance" an event by crowd sources the extras and let those who want to be internet angels fund and take an event to the next level.

In the end we have to say, was it worth it? Did enough good come out of it. Good is often the work of man, ordained by God, but a little less than perfect. We are paying for the good, but Christ paid for the perfect. The works in the hearts of men have been paid for, and we shouldn't charge for that.

Well I've put out a rather long post now. There really is a need to perhaps organize and outline some of these topics, because it's a topic worth addressing. Maybe some just look for excuses to do nothing. One friend of mine for example talked about videotaping a school event for 16 weeks for free, but didn't want to video tape an Audio Feed Festival event, because he was unsure if it was spiritual enough or it was worth it. It was worth it to videotape a bunch of football games because his son was in those. But it was not worth it to video tape and perhaps promote a Christian festival. Maybe he was just throwing up smoke and mirrors.

Another question at times is "why do we do this?" and why would we support people who are so strange at times. For examples some seemingly rebellious freaks who dress and act strangely. They may not even be Christians. Maybe they are just rebels, etc. My answer to this would be that we can't always be friends to the successful and to those who are in a certain mode. I used to be a child evangelist, not in churches per se, but in schools where I attended. And I carried my bible and was called a Jesus Freak and teased. I found that some of the friends I ended up having were not the high end successful kids, that had everything going for them. I had some friends who were teased by others, who were the freaks or the losers perhaps. And these were viewed as such by the cool kids. But that didn't matter to me. Because I didn't care if these were the rejected or not. And after all I was a rejected kid also, because I was the "rejected" "preacher kid". So I was happy to be around some who were maybe not the most popular kids in school, because that didn't matter.

And I can remember at The Choir concert a comment made about Cornerstone being a place for kids who were with broken dreams. In other words Cornerstone was a place for those who didn't fit in. That became a kind of place for those strange folks or geeks or whatever to find something in common. And that meant you didn't have to fit into a mold to love Christ or to be loved by Him. So we were a place of strange people and those who may be considered "on the fringe" or different. We didn't have to change to be successful.

Well this is not meant to be a long drawn out write up, but it's turning into one. And I'm going to say that I'll stop writing this now, because I'm writing outside and it's late at night. And I'm not saying that we should be proud of poverty or failure either. I don't think that works out either. We can be proud that we are poor and make that some kind of standard. I don't think that we need to force molds on anyone, but let each find their unique place in the Kingdom of God.

I'll close by saying that I read Steve Camps blog where he was talking about not doing anything for profit or charging. He had an interesting concept. But he kind of hedged when he said, well preachers can charge for their copyrighted tapes, etc. He had a kind of spiritual legalism or at least his version of it. I think he may be confusing the perfect with "the good". Men and mankind makes sacrifices to create works that are "good" and ordained but these are not "perfect" works of the Holy Spirit. We can make sacrifices in time and resources and be expected to be paid for our "good works" and sacrifices of time and effort. There is a lot of skill required and time spent to be a musician. I think they can charge because they made sacrifices for their craft. They are charging us for their "good work" and that is entirely okay. But we don't want to "charge" for the work of God. In other words, I don't charge for "conversions" or for "a miracle" of any gift of the Holy Spirit. Those works are perfect works in the heart of men by God. We shouldn't charge for that.

So there are some of my thoughts tonight, but I'm tired and perhaps can rewrite this and make it better structured later.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I should call my blog editing on the fly

Here is the interesting thing about my editing process.

I used portable USB drives with a laptop to edit from.

Why, you might ask.

The reason is I often edit away from distractions at the house. A lot of distracting demands and moaning happens around here. General griping and complaining.

It's easier at times to set aside some time and edit over lunch or at a coffeehouse. And to do that, you are better off with a smaller more portable USB drive that is portable. Also if the power fails where you are during and edit or while digitally encoding, your small setup will still run without a ups, because you will switch over to battery power in the event of a power outage. That gives you time to recover.

Another interesting side benefit to editing from small USB drives. Although it costs a little more especially if your trying to archive projects And keep the edits on hard disk space, the original files being on a small drive can be safely stored cheaply off site in a safety deposit box. If you have a copy of your recent digital source footage on a small USB drive and it's stored in a bank safety deposit box, the footage would survive even if your house burned down and you lost all your hard drives and computers. The source video would survive as well as any other data you might store off site.

Some might say, what about cloud storage?

The cloud requires a connection to the Internet and you have to pay a monthly fee for storage space. More space requires a larger monthly fee. And that fee will work out to a lot more than a low cost small safety deposit box. You don't own the cloud and if you stop paying your data may be lost. The data may be secure on a cloud but if it's lost the provider probably won't be able to insure nobody else got your data.

Also the cloud takes up a lot of time streaming data to it over an internet connection. A fast connection would be real expensive for a monthly expense. I can drive over to my bank during the opening hours and pull out a hard drive very quickly and have terabytes of storage available right now without any download time required.

The downside to small safety deposit boxes is they are not able to handle the larger drives, at least not the larger sized home desktop drives at my bank. My bank requires a larger box, which might not be available because the desktop disk drives which may hold more take more space.

So I end up using small laptop drives for editing and also for critical offsite backup to a safety deposit box. It's probably cheaper to do this for off site storage which is secure than practically any other method.

Of course I'd be smart to have a copy at home as well of that so I have two physical devices with the data and one off site. This provides physical redundancy as well as security.

If my Cornerstone source video is locked away safely in a deposit box, I don't have to worry about losing it to theft or fire from the house. I took the original storage drive for USB Cornerstone footage and had it out ready to travel to give it to Glenn Kaiser during the Audio Feed Festival. Unfortunately I got there late and missed the first official day, so I missed Glenn. And a second problem was that disk drive was in a laptop bag I left behind, so the transfer of a copy of the Raw video to JPUSA of the source wasn't meant to be last weekend. I still have more video to edit so they will get more edited videos the longer I wait. As the yearly fest and reasons for using that video for promotional reasons are kind of obsolete, with the demise of the Cornerstone Festival, there is less of a rush in getting all the videos edited and to them.

Now the Audio Feed Festival video footage has a more critical deadline perhaps if they are to use it to promote next years festival. It's important I suppose to edit that quickly and get samples of each band edited in a fast manner. The best way to do that is just edit one song per band and not focus on many songs for video for the bands. As it's for the festival a song per band will provide some good samples that the festival may be able to use or edit down into a short promo. The festival will likely want and need more video than I shot because I only shot bands for the most part and have virtually no normal video or even back stage video. I just didn't have the time.


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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

There has been a delay in editing while I recover from Audio Feed Festival

I went to the Audio Feed Festival.  Although I was trying to plan the trip and make it for both days, my goal was to video tape part of the festival (the main stage), being the Arkansas stage.  I was hoping to get stuff together and perhaps even get a friend or two who was involved in past video production to go along.  There  was a lot of planning necessary and most importantly planning for the unknown.  I made several mistakes, perhaps, but these were mostly due to my not having time to actually do the planning and research necessary to gear up properly and perhaps pre-plan a lot better.

It's been a while since I've video taped bands of course, again.  I didn't tape since CStone and that was a rather fast gear up and shoot.  There were several differences, some good, some not so good compared to the Cornerstone Festival.  The stages of course are different, because it's a different location.

Audio Feed Festival, to me. . . and I write this still tired. . . is like Cornerstone Concentrate.  It's kind of like a "mini me" version of Cornerstone.  Being smaller and just starting out it's somewhat like the early festivals in Greyslake Illinois before JPUSA bought the farm, and that was a long time ago.   This festival is actually smaller than the earliest Festival I attended at Greyslake, back in 1987.  My first festival wasn't the first actual Cornerstone.   The first one at the state fair grounds had bands playing in larger indoor buildings and the main stage was outdoors on a field with a large stage.  They had more people at the 1987 Cornerstone than at Audio Fest if I've heard correct figures.  Someone estimated that 1000 people showed up at Audio Feed Festival.  Let me tell you if you wanted to attend another Cornerstone and thought about it, but didn't go, I think you missed something special.  It had that Cornerstone feel, with the same types of bands.  They only had four stages however which is a very small sampling indeed of stages compared to the much larger Cornerstone Festival.   There was so much good, of course room for improvement, but that will take time, more people and more volunteers.  From what I saw it looks successful.

Now for some quick comments on my video attempt at Audio Feed Festival and where I went wrong.  I may start a blog or discussion about that as a separate blog, because it's really off topic.

There were of course a bunch of differences, and some were good for me and some were bad for the video and audio that I captured.  This was due primarily because I was tired to begin with before the trip and I didn't quite plan things correctly.  Because I was so tired I almost abandoned the trip in the middle of the trip out there, because I left a laptop bag with all my important power adapters and chargers at home.  I rushed out and had fewer battery chargers and fewer options for the festival.  I hit construction and got lost, leaving late with some gear thrown together, not anywhere as well planned as the Cornerstone trip I had no idea what problems I might encounter and how I would have to adapt.  I took a lot of extra little items, but forgot the key bag.  Also I bought two camcorders on the way.  One to replace a camcorder I bought and sold at last years Cornerstone.  And another to have four camcorders.  I almost bought a GOPRO but decided the short battery life and limit to three angles might make it less flexible and I didn't have time to figure out the setup and if a GOPRO would really be the best camera for shooting over the back of the bands to the crowd.  I didn't know how the stages would be setup.  I didn't know how the sound would be.  I didn't know if I would encounter lighting problem.   I didn't even know if I'd go and wavered even while driving out there.  I bought a couple of low end SONY HD camcorders to augment my other cameras.  All my batteries were charged.  I even had all the RAW video and audio from last years fest loaded on a hard drive to give to Glenn Kaiser and spent time getting that ready, so JPUSA would at least have all the source video and audio I shot from last year.   But I left late, and arrived for only the second day.

I emailed a fellow videographer who was out there who I met last year.  Jeff was doing video out there and we met last year.  I also met another guy whose name I don't recall and I didn't have his contact information. I tried to message ahead and call ahead to find out what the setup was like, but I couldn't get the information quick enough to make intelligent gear purchases on the way out.   I had a very limited budget as well.

I can't speak for the other stages as far as the setup was, except the impromptu stage which was a small stage under a tent.  I briefly saw the HM tent which looked like a small Encore stage setup.  I saw and watched two songs at the impromptu set during a break in the bands at the Arkansas stage.  Because I was trying to do so much and really too much alone, I didn't have the opportunity to do all the things I would have liked to.  I mentioned I would be coming out to video tape stuff at the fest and provide what I could to the festival. There was some mention of what they would like and things I could do.  A really fast exchange.

One of those things was "run and gun" footage really, a typical event footage where you take a camcorder and do some interviews.  I'd have a chance to interview band members back stage before they played.

The problem with that however is you need to have the time and possibly at least one crew helper to do that, and you need to have your other setup running smoothly.  Unless you're only using one camera and running around getting a single camera perspective, the run and gun style is difficult to add on.  They may have needed that more than what I was doing.  I hoped to network and hoped that others with their single cameras running around would get that kind of video and it would get to the festival.

In a sense I was geared up for something different than what Audio Feed Festival probably had hoped for.  In retrospect I might have been able to give them a good single camera edit with run and gun techniques and they would be much happier.  But I choose to go toward my strength, or at least try to and that's multi-camera event video "on the cheap", meaning free.   And that meant I had to have some gear lined up.

I tried to entice my friends with an offer of a new camera.  Those who helped me shoot before.  I was thinking along the lines of a more expensive set of cameras, which run $900 each or more with extra batteries.  Would I be able to convince one of my past video guys to go and take the shooting risk.  We could get things in the can and at the end of the festival I'd give them a camera.  I knew that we could have worked as a team and got better footage, but it's just a job. . .  it's hard work and I must admit that I turn into a kind of adrenaline charged Dr. Hyde workaholic at these festivals.  Not that I'm trying to be abusive, but I'm just trying to do so much, I tended in the past to just ask others to shoot as much as they can.  And we don't necessarily show restraint and discipline in limiting out video shooting to take breaks, we just shoot and shoot and shoot.   With a full schedule, and not much of a crew it becomes very difficult to get any rest at a festival like this.

What would Audio Feed be like?

The Arkansas tent was my best choice, because it was indoors in a building.  Maybe room for 500 people in it with chair and air conditioning.  The back of the building had a huge garage door that opened and was open.  Because the rear walls existed sound bounced off the walls and bass built up in the rear of the room.

I met Jeff at the Arkansas stage, or at least I thought it was him, but actually mixed him up with the other guy I met from Cornerstone.  I was friendly and chatting with both of these guys at Cornerstone, but got the names mixed up.  So I thought Jeff was this other guy, who specializes more in audio recording.  And I guess I didn't call the other guy Jeff much we just chatted so he didn't catch it and we didn't even re-introduce ourselves.  Things were so rushed for me, because I had all this new stuff and new limitations due to not having battery chargers.  I was literally caught in a marathon of getting to the cameras between acts, turning them off, taking batteries and charging them and even camcorders and charging them and putting them back on the tripods between each set.  And the sets were going at one band an hour.  A 45 minute set and then a 10 minute or so setup for the next band.

I didn't have time to talk to the audio guy.  I didn't have time to talk to the lighting guy.  I didn't even have time to determine if the exposure on the camcorders matched the lighting or make any lighting suggestions to the lighting guys.   This became a bit of a problem for some of the video, because I had the new cameras on "auto exposure" adjustment.  They were set for low light due to the way the average metering works with these cameras and the way the stage was light.   If you have a huge white light shining on the lead vocalist and it's close to him and it's turned up a lot and the other lights are mostly gels, then the difference in brightness will be difficult to overcome with a wide shot and a video camera will not adjust and find the right exposure.  To manually turn down the exposure, for the one bright light on a face will make the rest of the band members be darker and they may be in a dark stage.  The low light capabilities of these low end Sony Camcorders will bring in the low light parts of the stage better than perhaps we would see at the show, overexposure may result.

How was this different from the Cornerstone Gallery stage?  The Cornerstone Gallery stage for some reason with it's lighting setup seemed to have most of the fill lighting further away and the stage lighting was LED stage lights from the back.  It was a more sophisticated setup.  This made the regular video footage shot by normal camcorders better as far as not being blown out with automatic exposure settings.  But the problem with the LED lights for video people was some video cameras picked up a frequency video artifact from the pulsating LEDS which can be picked up by some cameras with their shutter speed picking up the pulsing led lights of some of the lights.  This happened at Cornerstone.   The LED lighting also mixes pure colors giving a  blown out blue tint at times or very much richer colors than the naked eye can see.  LED lighting provides a better show than the old cans, but it's downside is the cycles or nature of the lighting has to be at a very high frequency to avoid problems of flicker on some camcorders.  My 3d still camera that can record 720 video could not work well at Cstone because of the led strobing effects.  With the "old par" lights the strobe effects were reduced to zero as there is no pulsed strobe.  This meant that shutter rates of the cameras were not important and would not show the disturbances.   So I could get 3d video at Audio Feed Festival with the old lighting but not at the Gallery stage.

The LED lighting and how it's handled can be both a blessing and a curse.  Expensive LED lighting rated for video can be used, but that's even more expensive.  With practice and camera adjustments some cameras may be able to be set to shutter speeds that reduce the strobe artifacts which look like lines in the video.

With more time, not running around charging batteries and not arriving about two hours late, I might have been able to shoot test footage and coordinate a little better.  If I had all my equipment I might have been able to spend a little bit of time interviewing the bands backstage.  Another problem for me, which is logistical being a solo shooter is I couldn't hang around at a relaxed pace and chat with band members to get an interview, and sound checks happening so fast between acts, made it fairly noisy back stage.   There is a lot more that could have been done and a two or three man tag team of video guys can coordinate, take breaks and get much more variety in the can.   I'm complaining a bit, about what "could have been" but it's not really a big deal, I'm just a little tired and probably writing to much.  The truth is I did about as much as I could and shot for 13 hours during one day.  That was a pretty good a grueling process to grab some video. Hopefully with other clips from other video shot, the Audio Feed Festival will have some stuff for a promo video.

I've written a post that is really to long and involved.  I'll post it, but I have a lot of stuff to do here and I'm still recovering.  I have less than 187 gigs of video.  I have some video that wasn't deleted on some of the camera chips I used.  All transferred it ends up being about 190 gigs, but I'm sure the source for the Audio Feed Festival will be around 150 gigs of source video and audio.   Not bad for a days work.

Now the process of editing that video will begin as well.  It may delay some of the Cornerstone video editing, but I have a strategy to get that done quickly, which will allow me to get something to the festival promotors quicker.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

After a long delay I'm starting to edit more Cornerstone 2012 video

Next up and digitized. Aimee Wilson and the Factorye. Now to start editing. This edit should be relatively easy to do and be finished quickly. Then I can send the band their gift DVD.

It's amazing how fast a year can fly by.

With family health issues taking a lot of my time and a bit of time spent opening the local observatory for star gazing, the Cornerstone Video editing ran into a delay. Also I was saving money and paying off debts, which delayed the purchase of more disk drives for editing. I've had a goal to leave each edit project intact in case I need to get selects from anynof the projects, which can be an expensive proposition.

Drives are relatively inexpensive and a ton of video should fit easily on today's drives. But the process and editing software I'm using blows up the files to a pretty large size, taking up a lot of USB drive space.

In reviewing the next band to digitize and edit, I was looking at The 77s, but unfortunately I had a big equipment problem and lost a camera angle taken from one of my devices, and much of the video I shot the first day from one camera angle was ruined by the Stedicam JR that I was using. That renders the first days video clips practically useless or much less useful. I can't imagine how much rotoscoping and digital manipulation I'd have to do to get the swaying ship like video clips from the Stedicam video level enough, it would be like a very long animation budget or something. And the results probably wouldn't justify the time, expense and shear magnitude of trying to get that camera angle back. It's a shame because I really like the 77s. So I returned to looking at day 2 through day 4. I was only there for the short four day cook in heat festival. Day 2 had Iona, Aimee Wilson and Aradhna.

I've already edited video from five acts, Iona, The Choir, The Violet Burning,
Trace Bundy, and at The Farewell Drifters. That's a nice amount of edits, but it's a far cry from even one act per month.

I decided to work on the bands from Day 2 or Thursday night that I taped, and that leaves Aimee Wilson or Aradhna. I chose Aimee Wilson because it was a shorter set and the edit should go faster, then I'll edit Aradhna.

I'm working on the multi clip three camera rough mix right now, just started working on it and I'm a little disappointed with the rear camera setup. I had the same unlevel setup for the rear camera that I had for Iona. I was in to much of a rush and perhaps to stale in shooting, since this was my first concert shoot in many years. . . That's the excuse anyways. The rear camera video angle can be tweaked in Boris Red to straighten out the tripod and perhaps frame the view a little better. I can use the same settings or something like the same process I did for Iona.

After Iona I fixed the tripod setup so there was no problems after the Iona video clips.

The first rough cut of the first song looks pretty good. I'm hoping on getting this video edited before next week.

I have to decide if I'm going to attend part of the Audio feed festival next weekend. I would love to shoot video at that festival as well, but I have so much needs here and so little support from family members, I'll be lucky if I can just get there for a day, maybe see The Choir and hand them their Cornerstone DVD from 2012. I'd also be able to give source footage for all the bands to Glenn if I get to that festival.

I've been wanting to go to Chicago and give the source video clips and edits I've done so far to Jpusa, but haven't had the time. I could perhaps kill two birds with one stone and hand off some media and the disk drive at the festival and see The Choir perform. We will see how that goes.

I almost always plan the trip at the last minute. If I go and decide to shoot, I'll probably plan better. I'd love to shoot a 3d video using jvc or Sony 3d camcorders and edit 2d and 3d videos of some of the concerts at the Audio Feed festival but my current finances just don't have the extra bucks for all the gear I'd have to buy. I even sold one of the cameras I bought for last years event to a local Christian DJ. So I'd have to perhaps purchase another one to get even the same coverage I attempted at the last CStone.

I can't imagine going the distance and trying to shoot a dozen acts this year. My mom and dads health have suffered so much in the past couple of months and they seem to be in such need, that I can't imagine wearing myself out for footage that others should be able to get and edit.

I'm not even sure if recording is allowed at the new festival, Cornerstone was special in that regard where small time video guys like me could shoot and put video on cable shows or give footage to the bands.

It's been a long time since I was steadily involved in shooting video of Christian acts. I stopped doing it around 2002. Which is a long time ago. The Cornerstone 2012 was a kind of unique shooting event for me that almost killed me, thanks to the high temperatures and brutal heat.

True to the USA weather of late, they predict high heat for the Midwest and south, so Audio Feed should be a real hot festival. A difficult shoot.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A long pause in the editing process.

I have been very busy with both parents being troubled with health problems. This has caused a pause in almost any normal activity as I'm doing a lot more caregiving with both parents.

Needless to say my going out to observe the stars at the observatory has been impacted. Also I've not made any moves on doing more editing work of any other Cornerstone bands that I shot at Cornerstone. I have a finished Choir edit that is pretty good and I ripped a DVD for them, but I haven't sent it off.

I want to make a quick trip to Chicago sometime and show the edits to jpusa and leave a DVD of the stuff I've shot so far. Unfortunately I haven't found time to do that either. And I'm not making a lot of progress in editing the other bands footage, which is a bit of a bummer, needless to say. You'd think that one could edit a band a month and get twelve artists concerts finished in a year. That even seems slow and a slow pace. So far all I've done is five acts from the gallery stage. I'm even off the pace of editing which is one act per month.

Things like this can happen. Right now my focus is trying to find enough time to get a better setup at the house for mom. She needs a better setup for her health troubles than we've been using for the past ten years. The health problem and coping process has progressed with little things being added and added over and over again, without a reduction and simplicity needed with a more proper systematic approach. Systems design and efficiency are not necessarily a strength to the elderly when coping with chronic diseases and pain. They often end up adding a little thing here, and a little thing there in their effort to make things easier. They end up adjusting their lifestyle and adding little things, usually cheaply and simply done. One ends up with a cluttered mess and approach, that makes perfect logical sense to the elderly person or patient. They end up with all kinds of things in their living room or bedroom for example to get what they need and reduce the amount of walking or travel they need to do. In the case of my mom she has severe foot pain and it really limits her ability to walk. This causes her to have to have everything within reach. But one problem is everything she needs is often not in reach but just out of reach. So she may have 90 percent of what she needs and maybe 30 percent of things she likes and wants, but not 100 percent of what she wants. So she will end up asking for things that she needs but are just out of reach and to difficult to gather. And these things will be needed every ten minutes or five minutes or two minutes, especially during a setup task like getting into a chair, getting out of a chair or going to the restroom. These things and the very difficult environment we've been forced to accept due to the extreme pain and need for cooling of her feet cause a lot of requests and are a severe restriction to the caregivers.

Couple that with possible mental issues or side effects from drugs and it's enough to drive caregivers crazy at times. My father and I end up burned out, tired and hurting ourselves due to the extreme nature of care required. It's basically like running an Intensive Care Unit from your house, with the only nurses being my father and I. Needless to say, some normal things that we would like to do, like vacuum the house more, clean up the house more, take care of the car, just basic things end up going undone, because we are so busy with the frantic and almost constant demands and requests. Most of the requests end up being demands. And that wears on the nerves. At times it seems like the inmates are running the asylum.

In any event it's difficult. And at times of course trying of ones faith. Because we believe and have seen miracles, sometimes we hope for one or wish for one. But what do you do when none are available, or they are seemingly blocked? I can recall one of my friends saying it's easy to have faith when God is working and you are seeing miracles. It's much harder to have faith when nothing is happening. In those times your own faith is tested. Of course caregivers are often struggling with possible emotions and guilt of not being able to do better or be there more. With the nature of these problems, my mom sometimes seems like the most difficult patient in the world. But I know that's just our perspective and there are others out there in worse shape. In any event it becomes a long term test or trial. Almost like your waiting on someone who is injured in the battle field. Or maybe trying to get some relief for someone in prison who is being tortured continuously, The analogies can continue and at times I've used some colorful ones which are both humorous and sad at the same time.

One time I said, it's like I dealing with a terminator of pain. Like she's a machine driven by pain and it's driving all of us. It was a kind of humorous example in a kind of strange way and the guy I said this to busted out laughing and then apologized for laughing at the situation. But sometimes laughing is about all you can do to cope with a problem and get some temporary respite from the stress.

In any event the analogies could continue. I remember watching a show called Battlestar Gallactica which was the new series and they had an early show where the cylons were attacking the fleet every 33 minutes. And the fleet had to respond and hyper jump away to a different location every 33 minutes as the cylon machines kept pursuing them. It was a kind of science fiction story of battle fatigue. What I found ironic at that time was my mother was on half doses of pills and taking them every three hours. And we were in this cycle of dealing with her pain every three hours and responding with a bunch of care and "meals" and snacks that she wanted every three hours day and night, 24 hours a day. This happened for years. And I'm watching this show and watching my dad and I struggle with this crazy request schedule for years and years. And wondering how tough that battle scenario was in this fictitious show when we were undergoing a virtual shell shock of requests for years and years. The reality of the crisis in our day to day life seemed worse than the Battlestar Gallactica episode.

Requests were landing like bombshells in Flanders field in ww1 or something. They were seemingly unending day and night. And of course if your stuck in a chair and can't really get out of it and do much, you have to have everything brought to you. So it becomes of course a real challenge for the person who is sick. And it could likely drive most normal people crazy.

So that's the nature of the ongoing problem at home. And all those years of work have taken a toll on my fathers health. And now he needs more care as well. So now at times I'm trying to help both of them. Instead of two nurses helping my mom, it's one nurse helping two people. It was really difficult and like this for a couple of weeks, but some medications helped my dad get back to somewhat more normal life. Yet he is still having problems and his latest problems have been reoccurring and relapsing.

Needless to say, I don't have time to edit video right now or do astronomy or even spend much time trying to figure out how to dig us out of this hole that we find ourselves in. My sisters come up with quick solutions which are mostly based on moving the parents to assisted living or nursing homes. This of course will destroy any savings the parents have and they don't like the idea of doing that. Also we know the care she would need in a nursing home would not be adequate due to the nature of her ailment.

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