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Change of Command Video

At the beginning of this month, I got a task: I was to produce a comedic video short, 10-15 minutes long, celebrating the tenure of the BN Commander, to be shown at his outbound Hail and Farewell dinner. One of my peers would back me up, and I’d have command support for getting the filming done, but this was to be my project. I’m still not sure who decided I’d get the job or why, but I’ve been working diligently on it. I’ll probably put it on youtube when it’s done, which’ll be next week at the latest.

Working on this has been an education. I’ve written before, but only short fiction and nonfiction, not comedy scripts. I’ve shot video before, but only in webcam/home movie contexts. I’ve never even attempted to edit video before. All I bring to the table is an active mind, a powerful computer, and a borrowed camcorder that was on the low end of the scale a decade ago.

Actually, those may well turn out to be sufficient. The basic plan was to take five times as much footage as would end up in the final cut, and spend five times as much time editing as filming; so far that’s proving an effective strategy. Still, I can’t help but sense that unless I pull several more all-nighters working on it, this thing isn’t going to be good enough.

As for what I learned today in particular, there are two major points. The first is that even though this ancient video device claims to have native support in Windows 7, it simply doesn’t appear when plugged in. It’s a good thing I have a spare old XP box lying around, or the editing process would be even more painful. Also, while transcribing these digital video cassettes is at least easier than working with analog, they still have a major drawback in comparison to solid-state storage: they only transfer their bits at 1x speed, meaning that every hour of video takes an hour to transcribe before I can begin editing. It’s an anomaly in a world in which everything else digital happens at some high multiple of realtime.

If only I got paid overtime, I could double my salary. At least I can probably show the Army that they’ve got a bargain in me.

[edit 20100531:2152]

Ok, so the actual numbers worked out like this: 2 hours filming to produce 1 hour film. 15 hours of editing later, I managed to complete this 8 minute first draft. Submitted it to the XO for review, and he said that with this quality, the maximum length should be 5 minutes. So: this draft is guaranteed to contain rare material not contained in the final release! I’ll put the final version up when it’s done; the challenge is to use the cutting to improve the overall quality.

[edit 20100531:2250]

Oh yes: I don’t expect this to be comprehensible, let alone amusing, to anyone who isn’t already familiar with the outgoing commander of 2-2 ASLT. 90% of this is in-jokes.

[edit 20100601:0437]

Final cut. If it’s not down to five minutes exactly, it’s at least less than six; it would have been very difficult to remove much else without gutting it. Enjoy!

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