Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Having Fun?

It’s been a day.

This morning I awoke to find my missus had already left. I won’t complain about this too much because there’s a chance she actually tried to wake me up and couldn’t. Basically, I was looking forward to spending her birthday with her and going to see Kathy and the new baby for the first time.

Instead I was awoken by Barney standing at the foot of my bed barking. Basically he’d decided he wanted to get up onto the bed (which is a gigantic no-no, he’s lucky I occasionally let him on the furniture to sit on my lap), and because he couldn’t get up that high…he’d decided that if he couldn’t sleep up there, I shouldn’t either.

Well, I got out of bed and I really felt like sitting down and working on my book for an hour or so. I had the house to myself so I thought, why not?

So I turned on the computer, opened up my manuscript…and the six thousand words I’d written the night before were gone. I checked my working copy and my backup and couldn’t find it.

This has happened before and usually I just tell myself I’m going to re-write anyway, but I really couldn’t face another few hours work to get right back to where I was the night before…and I didn’t want to ‘write ahead’ because I’ve found writing out of sequence does not a good story make.

So my writing went out of the window for today, so I consoled myself with a little web-surfing.

About an hour later I hear Barney start to heave and he throws up on the carpet. I clean it up, check him out and he seems to be his usual self, so I just decide to leave him alone but keep and eye on him.

About fifteen minutes later I hear him start to heave again. I look around my desk, call his name to see where he is…then feel something warm and wet hit my feet. Yup, I had Barney puke on my bare feet.

So I walk carefully to the bathroom, start the water running in the tub and clean and dry my feet.

On my way back to the living room I discover that Barney’s left me a ‘little present’ on the carpet. I discover his little brown jewel by standing in it…in my bare feet. Back to the bathroom I go.

Ten minutes and two spotlessly clean feet later, I arrive back in the hallway to clean up the mess. As I scoop it up, the smell hits me full in the face, and feeling queasy already…I just make it to the bathroom in time to throw up.

After all that Sunny arrives home and I wish her a happy birthday and we go out to eat…and the meal was very good and about the only good thing to happen to me today.

After the meal, I arrive home and Sunny hands me a sealed pack of 5 DVD-Rs and asks me to put the video she took of the new baby onto DVD for her and a few of the family. Of course, I agree to, because it should only take a few minutes and it is, after all, her birthday.

So I get in front of the computer again, download the video clips off the camera, convert them to DVD Video files and burn them to a DVD. I put the DVD in the player to check everything came out ok, and seeing the video start with the proper aspect ratio and clear, in-sync sound, I sit back at the computer and burn another copy.

It’s only as I’m burning the second copy that I realize that the DVD in the player has ended far too soon. Out of 14 separate video clips, the last four (the ones of the actual baby) haven’t played. I’ve made a DVD of people waiting for the baby to be born…without any footage of the actual baby.

So the one in the player becomes a coaster, the one currently burning also becomes a coaster and I try and work out what went wrong.

I figure I just missed those last four video files. I wasn’t really paying attention. So I get them off the camera again, making sure I have all 14, convert them to DVD Video files, making sure I have all fourteen, and burn them to the DVD…again making sure all 14 are on there.

I have three blank DVDs left, and I need three so that everyone promised one gets one. I burn the first one and decide to check it out before burning any more.

The last four video clips are missing.

This is the worst kind of computer problem. A messed up aspect ratio I can fix. If the sound’s missing I know there’s probably a codec issue. However, this is one of those cases where everything should work, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t…it just doesn’t.

I decide the best path to follow is to link all the videos into one continuous file before burning. I have two options with which to do it.

Option One is an absolutely ancient copy of Ulead Media Studio. Option Two is a slightly old version of Adobe After Effect, a special effects editing suite that’s pretty much industry standard. The same package they use for TV shows like Stargate, Star Trek and any number of high-end commercials.

You can guess which one I chose.

Unfortunately, even though all I did was drop with videos into the timeline and export them as an AVI file…it took well over five hours to render.

Finally when it was done, I played back the video…

One of the things I forgot is that After Effects does not handle low quality, compressed audio very well. Every few seconds the audio would skip and repeat. I didn’t think anyone would appreciate a video where people where saying things like

“O-oh wha-what a lov-lovely ba-baby.”

Five hours totally wasted.

On the verge of giving up I started Ulead Media Studio. As I started it I remembered why I stopped using it in the first place. It had a tendency to crash randomly. With no other choices I used it anyway.

It did the whole thing perfectly in under ten minutes…which is surprisingly annoying when you could have done that in the first place instead of wasting five hours.

I’ve not actually tried to burn it yet, for the simple reason I don’t have enough DVD-R’s left to make enough…and I decided to quit while I was behind.

How was your day?

1 comment:

OzzyC said...

Ugh. What a pisser.