Final Cut

So the video announcements plan goes like this in shortform for our 50-minute period:

20 minutes: film it.
20 minutes: edit it and add titles/music
10 minutes: finish it and ready for tomorrow’s day-long loop

We’ve made it about halfway through step two so far, and I’ve learned a few things that have surprised me a bit.

1)The filming part is pretty easy. Once the shots are framed correctly, getting a workable feed to edit is pretty quick. Anchor issues aside, this is way smoother than I thought it would be.

2)The editing part isn’t so bad either. We don’t have a clap board, so we instead flash a copy of Hillary Clinton’s “Living History” in front of the camera when restarting if a mistake is made to make the editors’ lives easier. Don’t ask.

3) The pictures and titles are the hard part. We have some pre-made LiveType transitions that are easy to throw in, but dropping titles in will take a little bit of technique work to get our rhythm down. It’s getting there, but I’ll be convinced when we actually finish a whole segment.

4)Having a student director is crucial to the process, especially if the goal is a self-operating broadcast. The director has to drive everyone to get the job done in the above allotted times.

5)I need a 36 hour day to figure out a good method for chroma keying, and then I’ll be happy with how the set looks. More on green screen and iMovie 09 later.

6) A student is currently serving as the manager of the studio. This is essential to me, as I can have this aide get the studio up and running while I’m teaching MT upstairs. Plus, any technical issues can be solved without me having to ignore the other groups. Absolutely essential.

While all this was going on today, the mobile team was interviewing the principal for an early run segment on school rules per his request.

While the studio team is doing the news, this team will be upstairs editing the 10+ minute interview into something under 2 minutes for mass consumption. I get a good workout running back and forth between the two teams.

What’s cool is that the teams are just now starting to gel as far as the individual jobs go. What we’re still working on is this entity running itself on a day-to-day basis. Maybe Hillary has some tips for us…

Global Media

This year I’m in charge of the TV studio at LHS. Here’s a rundown of the changes I’m making to the production process.

First, I love the guy who used to run the studio, so this isn’t criticism – I want to give background on how the studio used to operate. I’ve made changes based on my personal preferences and needs, not out of spite for the old methods (which worked pretty well for him).

From the camera and mikes, they ran into a Mackie mixer and a Streamgenie computer. The Streamgenie served as the video mixer as well. Signals were mixed from live camera feed with a DVD player which held all transitions. Music was cued live. Everything was cued live. A student sat at the Streamgenie to cue titles and overlays, and the whole thing dumped to a DVD recorder’s HDD. The HDD would loop the final product all day until the next filming and blasted out to the closed-circuit system in the school.

I prefer having a little more room for error. I remember having a discussion with Jorge, the man in charge before; he said they do it all live to avoid having to do post-production. For my style, I felt that a little post would be better than having to get it perfect live, so here we go – this is what I’m thinking will work for me:

From camera and mikes to digital mixer and Panasonic DV bridge (that is made for this camera). FireWire to a MacBook running Quicktime for A/V capture. Camera operator and director leave room in the shots for stuff like titles and overlays, and silent time for editing in transitions. Total time after we get good should be about 20 minutes before post work.

Post work includes throwing the clips of each news segment into an iMovie project, then overlaying the titles and pictures for each story. Transitions will live in the media library after we make them in LiveType to be easily thrown into the timeline as needed. Music the same – added during post.

Movie gets exported, played back in QT and looped until next filming.

Post process should take about 20-30 minutes (just enough time to fit into a class)

We’re about 2 weeks until we go live. Here’s what we’re doing: Every day we are going to produce an announcements that will get thrown away and never seen. Today we burned a bulb out and had a delay, but the ideas is this week it will take 1.5-2 days to get a segment done, and next week it will be close to the ideal time. If we get our rhythm right, we can come out with higher-quality clips with fewer errors in the same amount of time. Let’s hope my idea works.

Also, it turns out most students have no idea we even have a studio. They must have thought the announcements were just done in a regular classroom.

To raise awareness, I drafted up a logo for the (now) combined Music/TV studio at our school. It’s going to go on a sign outside the studio as well as on T-Shirts,paraphernalia, etc.

(the school is on Drake road get it?)

Oh yeah, I also added a mobile reporting team…more on that development later.