Feb 6, 2014

Author Interviews: Behind the Scenes from a Tech Perspective

Manzin filming Scarlett, Yvette, and me with the Flip

When Scarlett last came into town from France we had an excellent opportunity to get both us authors on film together since we’re rarely on the same continent. We had little time or money, but big visions!

Once we came up with a concept we needed a cast, crew, equipment, locations, props, and costumes. We scoured the town for deals and called upon friends for favors. (Thank you Jeremy, Marnie, Yvette, and Manzin!) Thankfully, I already had a couple digital cameras lying around: 2 Flips (remember those?!) - one with a wide angle lens attachment - and a Sony Cybershot, as well as some lights (Strand Pulsar 500 watts).

Jeremy and I had purchased the Flip cameras on a whim awhile back shortly after the company, Cisco, who had acquired them from the original makers, announced they would shutter the doors on the versatile, yet single-function camera due to the rapid rise of advanced video camera functions available on nearly every smartphone (source: NY Times "Cisco Shuts Down Flip"). They were dirt cheap, so we snagged two plus a few accessories. However, we barely used them. Finally, here was a chance to bust them out and see how they fared compared to smartphones or more advanced digital cameras.

We found them easy to use, but limited. Jeremy said he would specifically recommend them for daylight use, adding that they were super handy for that and less noisy outdoors, but he found them to not be great in lower light. Also, I felt that the footage from the Sony CyberShot was crisper and the colors bolder.

Ambidextrous Jeremy filming with a Flip in each hand.

For our actual interview footage, which we shot at night, we decided to use his extra light kit (while he was off lighting vampires or some-such somewhere). Thankfully, I was once a grip/electric so I knew how to use them, otherwise we might have been SOL! I thought those shots came out fairly decent, after dropping a couple scrims in front of the lens so that our faces weren't completely blown out. (Though a little blow out smooths out the skin nicely.)

Fast forward to after the holiday hiatus and now I was presented with the ultimate challenge: edit all that damn footage into a cohesive video. Crap.

Scarlett and I had already released a video (see below) that was edited on my PC with a purchased program from CyberLink and it was such a pain in the ass trying to get everything to sync up properly that I wanted to murder everyone within a 3 mile radius of me. (It would look one way on the timeline, but then after rendering, clips would shift one way or the other and audio tracks would slip out of sync for no apparent reason. OMG it was so annoying!)

So, I knew that if everyone I loved was going to survive this next editing attempt, I would need to finally admit that Mac was better than PC at something, open up my cobwebbed wallet, and give Apple all my money.

My new favorite thing.

And now after having completed my first edit on a Mac using the software that the damn thing came with, I have to say that I am now a little bit in love it.

Despite a few minor complaints with iMovie (that are really complaints about the most recent version of iMovie which is apparently stripped of some of its more advanced (yet I feel necessary) features from previous versions (the bastards!)), not only did I not want to murder anyone while editing, I actually enjoyed it and found myself in the zone a number of times.

I'm pretty proud of the results and itching to shoot and edit more. If you haven't viewed our Author Interviews video already, check it out below, wherein you'll the discover, among other things, the inspiration behind the infamous snake sex scene (or 'snex!).

Maybe now I’ll finally shoot and edit my post-apocalyptic short,  Gas Mask. But first I need a cast, crew…. Shit. Maybe I should just use Barbies…

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