last minute rush to finish post production

i pulled an all nighter to finish editing on tuesday for the wednesday contest deadline. i don’t remember the last time i stayed up all night working on project. even in college i’d go to bed for at least a couple hours. but not this time. i didn’t get tired or sleepy, but i knew my mental faculties would slip as the night wore on. i tried to do all the creative decision making early in the night while i was still fresh, and leave the more mundane repetitive things for later if and when i went into zombie mode.

the composer had issues with his computer so he couldn’t finish the score, but luckily he had older songs that were already recorded and so i got to use that instead of having to find and buy royalty free music. i listened to the songs over and over while watching different parts of the movie until i could decide which songs to use where. i think the songs fit nicely with the visuals, and the timing of the songs happened to fit where there would be transitions in the music to match what’s was going on on screen. i’m very happy with how the music came out.

i replaced most of the audio for the dialogue with the new files that the dialogue editor fixed. there were a couple lines that weren’t able to be finished, so i just turned the levels up on those lines to try to match the rest of the audio.

i didn’t get to do any real sound design at all.

i color corrected some of the scenes that needed it the most, where the lighting was just too dark or if there was too much of a color shift from shot to shot. the last time i did any color correction was 2 years ago on an avid, not on final cut. i need to familiarize myself with final cut better. maybe i’ll take a class or something.

after working all night, i was done and was ready to output everything. my plan was to set my computer to render the movie using compressor. that would take maybe 3 hours or so. i would go to work and it would be done rendering by the time i got home around 6:30pm. then i would bring this movie into dvd studio pro and burn the 2 dvd’s i need to send to the contest, so i figured worst case scenario, it would take an hour or so. i was wrong.

when i got home and tried to burn the dvd, i got an error message saying the bit rate was too high. so now i had to re-render the movie, but i wasn’t sure what settings to use. i didn’t want to set the quality too low and have it look bad, but i didn’t want to set it too high and not have it work. i only had enough time to do it once because i had to get it postmarked by that night before midnight. i always forget what settings to use for compressor to downconvert HD to SD, and i don’t know dvd studio pro that well either, so i decided to use idvd instead.

in the idvd help guide, it said idvd can import any quicktime movie with some limitations, one of which was , so i exported the movie as a quicktime file in the h264 codec instead of the mpeg2 codec, and burned the disc using idvd. that was much easier. it still took over an hour to render the movie, and it took idvd a while to process the file, but i got everything done and shipped the package out at 11:30pm.

my lesson learned for next time is i need to master how to output everything. i have to learn the workflow from final cut to compressor to dvd studio pro. i don’t want to be guessing or reading the manual as i’m working against a deadline.

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