ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

Timing —

One of the more tedious but important jobs with regards to my film is that all footage is kept on two hard drives, and additionally burned to two DVD-ROMs. This takes a lot of time but gives me a lot of grab-it options for the footage. Remember that 4 gigabytes of disk space gives me 10 minutes of HD footage, and we see what a mass of space/backup requirement is at stake here; a typical interview I conduct with someone relatively talkative will be about 30-50 gigabytes. On two drives, and two DVDs. Times 12.

While I burn this footage out, it’s not too good to excite the machine too much with other tasks. I occasionally do anyway, since I’m here, but often I answer e-mail, do artwork, write weblog entries… you know. Stuff.

I tried the last couple of days to throw some footage together from the clips library I’ve been building for GET LAMP.

This is not what I did with the BBS Documentary, but things are a little different this time around, if for no other reason than interviews are paced out by the week instead of the day, and I’ve been trying to live a full life along with doing the shooting, so I don’t feel at the end that I missed out on my late 30s. It’s a little strange to spend 3 years recounting 30, but that’s how it goes and I minimized the life impact this time around.

So what I did last time was shoot ALL the footage, then spend 5 months culling clips out of the footage, and then 3 months editing these clips into episodes. This time around, I’ve been doing culling while interviewing, so I have a pretty OK clip library so far: 520 passages from 14 of the 50+ interviews. You can do a lot with that, although obviously right now there’s a bias across whatever these 14 people said.

So I started throwing like-minded clips together, and I’m reminded, after a couple years since I did this intensely, how important timing is in editing. Like, down to individual frames.

With the Frontalot video, I just synced up 4 layers of him lip-syncing to the song to be able to turn on and off various layers at will. In other words, even though I did have to pay attention to these spans, I could choose half-phrases or middles of words or whatever I wanted and it’d match up; the soundtrack was already done, and these additional video streams were augmenting that. Not so with the footage.

With these clips, I can wait too long to cut and you hear the person breathing for the next word. You can cut too short and the person is right there, in your face, no split-second for the eye to adjust. Knock it over a frame and it’s perfect.

It helps that my clips are filled with smart people saying brilliant things. BBS Documentary had that too, but this time, even more than BBS Documentary, nearly every interview is brimming with brilliant statements made within a section of history, theory, implementation and philosophical musing. In many cases, it’s obvious I will have to decide among a not-small-set of stupefyingly insightful comments and choose the one that flows, rhythmically, with what comes before it or after it.

Everyone should have my problems.

Dates on this production are slipping, mostly because of finding those last few folks I want in on this, and making sure I don’t randomly miss huge names for no reason. A couple names are not interested and while I wish they were, footage has been shot to allow working without them. The amount and variety of folks who are either interviewed or signed up is still quite something, and I have no complaints.

One frame forward, one frame back. I’ll get this right.

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  1. Shawn Fumo says:

    I can’t wait to see it… This should be a really interesting documentary. But having said that, take your time. I’d much rather slipped dates and it be the best it can be. 🙂

  2. corq says:

    Considering the remarkable detail and attention reflected in BBS: this will be pretty cool. I have some younger pals just starting out in C programming, writing text-based games for class projects. I’ve introduced them to Diku MUDs here and there and those still seem to hold an allure.

    Really looking forward to seeing this.

  3. How interesting that some people are not interested in participating in the documentary. You would think people would look forward to having their achievements documented and archived.

    If it will help you make your release date I would be glad to put on a disguise or costume and pretend to be one of those people for the film. I may have to wing a few of the details, though.

  4. Matt Wilson says:

    Have you ever seen this guy’s setup? This is what you need if you had tons of cash.

  5. Stefan Didak says:

    Thanks for the plug “Flack”. I noticed some traffic in the logs originating from this URL. You don’t really need *tons* of cash, though. 🙂

    Of course the funny coincidence is that when I checked what blog/site this was I noticed the BBS documentary and guess what, I saw those a few months ago. Really enjoyed all episodes and certainly brought back a lot of memories of the “good old days” and “haydays” I had back then.

    Definitely looking forward to more of it!