Sunday, March 14, 2010

Journal #2

This week was very much like last week. We all at the Giants editing suite are still trying to slog through all of the Spring Training footage. As a result, there hasn't been a great opportunity for me to really sink my teeth into Avid.

However, I have gotten a lot better and faster as creating headings, transcribing and subclipping footage. So, while I still only have a handle on the most basic of the program's functions, I have a much better understanding of them. That, and I've have a greater grasp on everything within the program ties together and just what exactly it's capable of.

Avid is extremely intuitive and smart. One problem we have in our business is time code breaks. They're errors in the timeline of the footage. Thus, instead of having one clip with the timecode assignment of 16;32;42;28, there could be two or three clips with that same timecode assignment depending on how many timecode breaks there actually are. This problem is easily fixed manually, but it tends to freak out most editing programs, especially when you try and search your database for the footage. Avid not only isn't freaked out whne you try and search for a clip that shares the same timecode with another, it recognizes the problem when you first start importing the footage on the database and automatically corrects it. The end result saves all of us a ton of time and frustration when we're go back through the database to try and find a specific clip.

I'm hoping to have a greater chance to really get some exposure to the programs video effects menu shortly, but that won't happen until after we get through all the Spring Training footage. I'm hoping to have my part, logging all of the interviews, done by Wednesday this week. That still leaves a sizable amount of BRoll still to be cataloged, but I feel we're in the home stretch there. Everything needs to be logged by the end of March so that the full-timers can get all of their videos done by the home opener on April, 8.

Once the season is underway, that will free up more time and workstations in order for me to play around and possibly create some extra stuff for the web.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Two on a Party" Problem: Punctuation

I had several difficulties in reading Tennessee Williams’ short story “Two on a Party” and the majority of them had to do with the author’s form. The dialogue was initially hard to follow because it was written as though we are taught dialogue should be only without the quotation marks. However, after a few pages, I got used to it and didn’t have to pause or reread those sections. However, the one thing that I never really was able to get used to was the punctuation or, more accurately, the lack thereof.

There were commas missing on countless occasions and plenty of run-on sentences to boot. Perhaps the best example is Page 53:

“Loneliness discovered any reserve and suspicion, the night was a great warm comfortable meeting of people, it shone, it radiated, it had the effect of a dozen big chandeliers, oh, it was great, it was grand, you simply couldn’t describe it, you got the colored lights going, and there it all was, the final pattern of it and the original pattern, all put together, made to fit exactly, no, there were simply no words good enough to describe it.”

I had to read this particular passage four whole times before I eventually said, “screw it” and moved on. It’s 69 words. It’s 10 different independent clauses separated by commas instead of periods or colons. And the cherry on top of this grammatically-incorrect sundae sprinkled with comma splices? There’s actually a comma missing between the words “warm” and “comfortable.” I realize that few works of literature adhere completely to the rules of grammar and that it is often chalked up to artistic expression. Yes, a writer is entitled to write however he or she feels is the best, most appropriate way to tell the story, but upon reading the passage above, the copy editor in me was dying.

I suppose that, in and of itself, is a rather personal problem. After editing newspapers through college and strictly adhering to Associated Press style since I was 21 (I’m 25 now), I find it hard to read things and not want to correct them. So rather than try and quell that now natural urge, I chose to embrace it.

I went back and put periods in the appropriate places in the sentence. Since it is merely pen marks on paper instead of the sentence being completely rewritten in text form, the revised passage is still a little tough to read. However, it certainly doesn’t have me pulling my hair out as it did before.

Here’s the passage rewritten with my corrections:

“Loneliness discovered any reserve and suspicion. The night was a great warm, comfortable meeting of people. It shone. It radiated. It had the effect of a dozen big chandeliers. Oh, it was great. It was grand. You simply couldn’t describe it. You got the colored lights going and there it all was: the final pattern of it and the original pattern, all put together, made to fit exactly. No, there were simply no words good enough to describe it.”

As I moved forward throughout the story, I continued to add and remove commas and periods as I saw fit. Again, it’s not the perfect system because I still had to pause in order to make the corrections and then pause again when I came upon them while rereading the piece, but it is still a vast improvement. It at least gives me the peace of mind of not looking at the story and thinking that some publishing editor just took the day off. I know, I know. It’s artistic expression and artistic expression is always up for interpretation. In fact, I used a comma between two independent clauses just two sentences ago. But when the artistic expression gets in the way of my ability to read a peace, especially one I have to get through for a class, I found it easiest to just tweak the original script to one that was more manageable. The final step would be to go back and rewrite the story with all of my corrections included, but since this is a PDF and I’m not capable of selecting and copy the text into a Word document, the hand-written corrections will have to do.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Journal #1

It's been about two weeks since I first got my hands on a version of Avid's video editing software. At this point I feel like I know what I need to know and not much else and what I need to know isn't much to speak of.

Here's how business is running at the Giants Edit Suite:
- Three guys are down in Spring Training with the team in Scottsdale shooting video
- That video gets dumped on to giant hardrives
- The hardrives get sent to us at the ballpark
- We catalog all the footage and transcribe all of the interviews

It's tedious and boring, but completely necessary. The guys in Scottsdale are shooting what amounts to be a season's worth of footage or close to it. They're shooting all the content that will run during our between inning features on the stadium jumbotron and interviews for online only features and two separate 30-minute shows to air on Comcast in the coming weeks.

Here's where I come in. I along with two other guys are coming through the footage as fast as possible and cataloging all of it so we know exactly what each clip is, how long it is and where to find it to make it easier for the editors to find stuff that is applicable to the various projects they're working on. As such, I've learned the basics of how to play/pause/rewind/fast forward and how to navigate through and create the various headings we need to properly catalog the footage. I've also learned how to use the script function, which allows us to actually include the transcriptions with the video clips themselves, something we've never done before. However, there is a huge flaw there, something which I discovered earlier this week. The script function only allows you to write 1026 characters, which means many of the interview responses don't fit. Thus, we're back to the old system of doing everything in Excel.

Slogging through all this footage should be the pattern between now and the end of the month. Hopefully, I can sink my teeth into the actual editing aspect of the program at that point.