23 Sep Unrestrained

Where’ve I been? At the computer having my ego reduced to the size of a shriveled raisin. I decided to tackle video technology. People talk, you slap a few clips together and voila, video! How hard can it be? Very. Oh, sure, video might look like a single benign entity, but it’s really a hostile gang in disguise. The camera beat me up while Final Cut stole my lunch money and Vimeo gave me a wedgie. The audio just stood by and laughed.

Before sending my pride to the emergency room for stitches, I spent two Saturdays in Toronto’s famed Distillery District. I wasn’t wandering the cobblestone streets, sampling the artisanal fair or hobnobbing with celebrities at TIFF. Nope, I had the audacity to think I was up to learning the craft of multimedia story from the internationally acclaimed, multiple-award-winning photo journalist, Brent Foster. While Brent  introduced us to the concepts of wide, medium and tight shots, various software components and the importance of audio, the best piece of advice he could give us was, “Fail!”

So I did.

I winged the practice shoot on a borrowed camera with no external audio. While Andrew talked, the air purifier chugged softly in the background and the cat made increasingly fervent overtures to the tripod. I ran down the battery, filled up the memory card and quickly learned those funky tilt-angle shots that look so cool on rock videos make people talking about whisky look drunk.

Fail, indeed.

The only thing that saved my first effort from the trash bin was Andrew’s charm and the background music. One of the tricks Brent taught us was to edit the video to music for pacing. Remove the music when you’re done and the video will flow. I edited to Adrian Raso’s The Drunken Midget, chosen for its fun name and lilting energy. Upon removing the music, I quickly realized the music carried the piece.  (Note: I did not pirate the music. I bought the CD at a concert and asked permission to use it like a good little blogger. Although Adrian doesn’t know me, he generously allowed me to use his music and asked for nothing in return. That doesn’t sound fair. He deserves something. So here’s a shout out to Adrian and his sponsor. …. Adrian Raso is a wickedly talented Guelph composer / musician who plays guitar faster than I can listen and wears funky Biltmore hats, which are also locally made. If you like Adrian’s music, buy it. Like the hats? Buy them, too. There. That’s the best I can do. Back to me.)

The minute-and-a-half piece took all day to edit. A full eight hours. That’s 11.25 seconds of finished video per hour. Glaciers move faster.

Once I finally manged to string together 90 seconds of plotless footage, rendering and uploading proved equally challenging. Rendering to an Internet-friendly format not only requires you to follow the export specifications, the process can take an hour. Uploading? Added at least another half hour, but don’t get excited just yet. You get dumped in a cue while the video “converts.” Add a good hour for that. When you return to the computer all eager to grab some code and post, you’ll  then learn embedding Vimeo to WordPress requires a “workaround” — a workaround your preview mode can’t translate. So, I’m hitting “publish” with no idea whether or not you’ll be able to see the video. (Here’s a link to the Vimeo version just in case I messed up. Which is very likely: http://vimeo.com/15221119)

All I can say is, Joe, rest easy. Rouxbe Online Cooking School has nothing to worry about. You won’t find me making my own cooking videos any time soon. I’m sticking to words and the odd still shot.

Think I’ll join Andrew in a drink.

Unrestrained from Charmian Christie on Vimeo.

No Comments
  • Cheryl
    Posted at 15:03h, 23 September Reply

    I love it! Love it, love it, love it. Love the music, and love especially that you ended as you began. I got a little chill with the full circlishness of it all.

    Bravo Charmian, bravo Andrew. Bottoms up!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 16:37h, 23 September Reply

      @Cheryl, thanks so much. That full circlishness is an old writing trick. Who knew those skills would be transferable?

  • Brent Foster
    Posted at 16:15h, 23 September Reply

    Great post Charmian. It’s great to see you got so much out of the course, and learned the #1 lesson when working with video:)
    All the best in your future attempts!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 16:38h, 23 September Reply

      @Brent Foster, thanks for teaching me so much in such a short time. Imagine what I could do with a microphone, a script and a cat-free location?

  • Andrea the Kitchen Witch
    Posted at 08:59h, 24 September Reply

    Great job Charmain! You are brave, video editing has proven way too complex for me to do time & time again. I love the end where you began trick – I use it often :) Nicely done.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 22:28h, 24 September Reply

      @Andrea the Kitchen Witch, thanks. I’m not sure I was brave so much as naive. It was fun (when it wasn’t frustrating)!

  • Renee Redding
    Posted at 11:37h, 24 September Reply

    I think the video was great. I too liked that you began and ended the same. And it can only get easier.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 22:29h, 24 September Reply

      @Renee Redding, you’re right. It CAN only get easier. I did learn a lot from my mistakes, though. Fail early, fail often. That might be my new motto.

  • Joe Girard
    Posted at 11:52h, 24 September Reply

    Nice job Charmain. Wow. Who knew.

    Great capture and edit job. Like Renee, I too liked the start and how you finished it. Looking for a job?


    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 22:32h, 24 September Reply

      @Joe Girard, thanks. While the different angles were fun for interviews, I love how Rouxbe shoots for clarity. Some of the artsy cooking shows drive me nuts since they’re so busy entertaining, you can’t learn anything from them. As the song say, “Don’t go changin’!”

  • Miranda Merten
    Posted at 21:20h, 26 September Reply

    You are way to hard on yourself! The editing was great. I just recently (literally, this weekend) started dabbling in video for my blog, so we will see how that goes. I also like the ending tying back to the beginning. Kudos!

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