View From a Director

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View From a Director

Postby Fluxmeister » Mon Sep 13, 2004 9:23 pm

With the recent completion of the Retro Video Game Project I was planning to post a journal entry about how the project went from a technical and administrative view. I figured it might be more interesting to make a post... as it’s more likely to be read and may be of some interest to others who have coordinated projects, or those who are curious about all the things involved.

NES/RVG were both designed to be modular. The video order is not set at all until the end. This has advantages and disadvantages over projects like DDR.

Advantages:

1) Drop outs only affect one thing: The credits.

2) The project length can be changed if necessary for con showings.

3) Easy to insert extras... like NES commercials.

Disadvantages:

1) Credits have to be made after track order is determined (and all videos are done... tough task to complete at the last minute... two years in a row :P)

2) Consistency goes out the window. Even with documented and blatant requirements... not knowing the exact frames of the audio to export from/to ... inevitably means someone will pick something odd. (ie 15 frames of black... nooo how about 4 seconds worth so the audience gets confused) :P


NOTE: By not being the DDR project, RVG fell victim to editor preference. Editors will flock to DDR... but can't take any time for RVG :( :P (haha this is by no means a serious comment... OR IS IT?)


The Retro Video Game Project went very well this year. There were some issues that arose... but I will save those until later. First off, the project was the natural successor to the NES Project 2003.

NES Project idea: Take some video game footage and match it with an anime... however you can.

Shouldn’t be too hard right? Not exactly...

So now I present... Lessons learned from the NES Project:

1) "Title Safe" isn’t some made up concept to keep your titles safe from thieves. (unless the thieves are the edges of a television) This not only affected the mtv-style title cards, but game sprites etc.

2) Make it very clear what the expected final revisions of videos should be. Random lengths of black space before/after videos... or strange encodes... field order etc. certainly don't make for a consistent project.

3) Editors don't like to communicate. If you expect them to do it of their own free will... you are dead wrong. (haha) While this isn't always true... you definitely need to maintain regular contact. I spent the final 2 months iming/emailing in a frenzy of "are you done yet" messages.

4) If you have expectations for the editing quality of a video... make them clear.


For RVG we took the lessons we learned from NES and applied them. When I say "we" I mean the coordinators of the project. Unlike last year, (and MJ admits this) I wasn't working alone. Let me introduce the coordinators and explain their main role.

MexicanJunior - Producer: Final word on decisions. It's nice to have someone who just declares a decision. Fortunately we didn't really have any arguments... persuasion was the key on most matters :P

Castor Troy - Editor Coordinator(and The Voice): Castor Troy played the all important role of the lead in communication. Whether it was monthly whippings for updates or quick responses to questions on the yahoo group... Castor was the man.

Fluxmeister - Director: Me? I didn't do a thing. :P My main responsibility was compiling and verifying the project. (tv testing.. track order.. commercials.. etc.)

While most of the lessons learned really did improve the process of the project... problems still came up.

Lessons learned from the RVG Project:

1) Assume nothing when it comes to who will be doing what. Even if they tell you it will be done... don't believe it until you see it. I think we had about 20 people drop from the project (probably a high estimate...)

2) Make quality of footage requirements blatantly clear.

3) Near deadlines be sure you can spend a lot of time at your computer iming with 15+ people. Castor and I lived at our computers from friday to sunday last week.

4) Be prepared for the worst. We ran into a number of last-minute issues that were not expected at all. Fortunately we were able to deal with them in a timely manner. With AWA near I am planning to take the mpeg2s on a DVD in case the project is magically lost... I figure "better safe than sorry."

5) Complete any administrative/organization tasks well before the deadline. (ie. prepare anything that does not require other's project submissions)


The project was a real joy to work on... at the end. I must admit that my own passion for editing (like many others) was almost dead from October 2003 - June 2004. This isn't to say that I did not edit at all, but nowhere near as passionately as last year. The biggest problem I had with motivation was not seeing progress made around the project (other editors). For many months Castor Troy(and later myself) was the only editor with a completed video.

For a couple months I felt that this may well be the last project that I would work on for some time. Now the exact opposite is true. I am quite excited for the project continuation next year. I have to thank the editors who pulled through in the last few months and literally "Rose from Their Grave" to submit greatness to the project.

Last weekend I sat at my computer staring at an ftp server waiting for upload %'s to reach 100. I took the responsibility of TV testing the entire project video by video as they arrived. Dying power supplies and field order issues only made the weekend more interesting. What else can you expect when you are two days past the DEATHLINE of the project?

But now all the stress is over. The project plays on my tv without shaking. (haha) The project has been shipped to Quu... (2nd day air as of today) Now I await the verdict as he tells me that all the fields are wrong and the project will only play backwards on a PAL VCR. ;)

I'd like to think that the coordination for the project was pretty good. A lot of various expertise and hard workers.

So here's some Nightowl style self-awards:

Castor Troy - Last year a highly active editor, this year the champion of lashings. I think MJ and I were afraid he might lecture us out of the project for not being done with a video when he was finished with his second! :P Castor has a great amount of initiative and dedication. (dvd work, credits vid, etc.) He's hard working and willing to get the job done right.

MexicanJunior - Mr. Stress-Causer himself. "you guys shipping in 20 mins? I'll finish this vid... right after this football game on tv.... oh and a couple games of madden." Actually MJ did a lot of great editing work, even under the pressure of a deadline. Along with his dedication to editing he's a great producer because he doesn't back down on the important things. "The video is too short, make it two mins at least." ...hahaha (great stress... forced me to battle with extending a video)

Extra thanks to Machine and Castor Troy on their work on the NES/RVG DVDs.

Special Thanks to folks external to the project:

MCWagner - Big thanks for the opportunity to show the project at AWA10. (and especially the NES project at AWA9) We were very lucky to have a prime showtime last year (and con exposure for the premiere) on the first night of the con.

Quu - Thanks for the tech help and letting us slide on the submission date. :P

AbsoluteDestiny - Thanks for handling my occasional tech questions. :)

... and now to maintain an inside joke: WARP AHEAD :roll:
I have sinned. I made a video I wanted to make that was music + anime + sync + action + effects/transitions. Oh lordy. :roll:
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Postby Pwolf » Mon Sep 13, 2004 9:38 pm

one thing that comes to mind... thank god for deadline extentions :P

anyway, it was fun and i'm glad you guys asked me to join, though when you asked me, it wasn't the best time (of course i didn't know it at the time either -_-). but i'm glad i decided to join.


Pwolf

PS: when do i get my dvd?!?!
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Postby Otohiko » Mon Sep 13, 2004 9:39 pm

Interesting. You know, I could say some similar things about the Instrumental Project (and frankly, I kinda hope rose4emily does a similar post when we're done).

I really think projects like this are a great way to get weary editors re-interested in editing, and just have some good communal editing fun. It's probably a very good thing that they're cropping up like mushrooms nowadays :roll:
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Postby SnhKnives » Mon Sep 13, 2004 10:23 pm

I kinda see what you are talking, since i headed ROS.


ROS was by NO means as extensive a project as RVG or NES. however as a coordinator, i see what you mean.


Also i think ROS is sharing a slot with RVG at AWA this year. We need to discuss some things regarding like showings and what not.
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Re: View From a Director

Postby mexicanjunior » Mon Sep 13, 2004 10:39 pm

Fluxmeister wrote:MexicanJunior - Mr. Stress-Causer himself. "you guys shipping in 20 mins? I'll finish this vid... right after this football game on tv.... oh and a couple games of madden."


:lol:

It's funny cuz it's true. :p

Speaking as a producer, I must say it is nice to have obsolete power for only having come up with an idea while drinking heavily. Big props go to Flux and Castor for making my vision become a reality, they did all the tech and coordination while I sat back and gave the :up: or :down: (rarely) on there suggestions. Thank goodness we never really had to argue about anything. Huge thanks go to the entire RVG group of editors, you guys really came through in the clutch for us. For those making it to AWA, I'll supply the booze for the after party. :D
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Re: View From a Director

Postby Hitori » Mon Sep 13, 2004 10:42 pm

mexicanjunior wrote:For those making it to AWA, I'll supply the booze for the after party. :D
Bring some of that to the room! :roll:
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Re: View From a Director

Postby mexicanjunior » Mon Sep 13, 2004 10:45 pm

Hitori wrote:
mexicanjunior wrote:For those making it to AWA, I'll supply the booze for the after party. :D
Bring some of that to the room! :roll:


Will do senor... :up:

You have to do fake Hitori while I am there.
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Re: View From a Director

Postby Hitori » Mon Sep 13, 2004 10:47 pm

mexicanjunior wrote:
Hitori wrote:
mexicanjunior wrote:For those making it to AWA, I'll supply the booze for the after party. :D
Bring some of that to the room! :roll:


Will do senor... :up:

You have to do fake Hitori while I am there.
Sure!


How did that go again? :P
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Re: View From a Director

Postby mexicanjunior » Mon Sep 13, 2004 10:58 pm

Hitori wrote:
mexicanjunior wrote:
Hitori wrote:
mexicanjunior wrote:For those making it to AWA, I'll supply the booze for the after party. :D
Bring some of that to the room! :roll:


Will do senor... :up:

You have to do fake Hitori while I am there.
Sure!

How did that go again? :P


"Oh wow...never again....why are you calling....oh wow" :P
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Postby Fluxmeister » Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:05 pm

To clarify, the number of video drops was 23 total. In the end we had 17 editors... pretty dramatic hahahaha.

:shock:
I have sinned. I made a video I wanted to make that was music + anime + sync + action + effects/transitions. Oh lordy. :roll:
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Postby Beowulf » Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:32 pm

Fluxmeister wrote:To clarify, the number of video drops was 23 total. In the end we had 17 editors... pretty dramatic hahahaha.

:shock:


Could we have a list of those that dropped so that they may be lined up at AWA and stoned to death?
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Postby Voices_Of_Ryan » Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:39 pm

Beowulf wrote:
Fluxmeister wrote:To clarify, the number of video drops was 23 total. In the end we had 17 editors... pretty dramatic hahahaha.

:shock:


Could we have a list of those that dropped so that they may be lined up at AWA and stoned to death?


Jesus you just have tons of reasons to beat me to death dont ya.
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Re: View From a Director

Postby Wonka » Mon Sep 13, 2004 11:49 pm

Fluxmeister wrote:... and now to maintain an inside joke: WARP AHEAD :roll:


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Cant wait to see this thing in its entirety. Too bad some of the editors couldn't be as timely with their submissions as Beo and I....



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Postby Castor Troy » Tue Sep 14, 2004 12:04 am

After a long 11 month ordeal... I am finally glad RVG is completed, it was a blast yet a struggle to work on.

After calling up mj and the familia at AWA last year, I had tons of excitement to start up on the RVG Project. I volunteered to rally up everyone from NES Project to join us for RVG which earned my place as a coordinator. Being a coordinator for a huge project for the first time was absolutely no easy task.

I would like to congratulate everyone who stayed with us and pulled through. Editors from last year made big improvements and I am mostly impressed by our newcomers because their contributions were absolutely amazing and great fresh additions.

Throughout the entire project, I always kept my hopes up and had faith that most people would finish even during the toughest times. I'm thankful towards everyone for giving me hope.

Working with Flux and MJ was a blast, both always being helpful and informative, keep high spirits for the project. I am definitely looking forward to working with them again :)

I have to admit it was tough being the only person with a completed video for 4 months but each new video that came in always made me believe the project would be finished.

The deadline was probably the most difficult amv related thing I have ever been through. Living at your computer for 3 days was no easy task. Plus I had to get a screener dvd done in time for 2 cons I contacted that are interested in showing it. So just besides waiting for the mpeg2s, I was constantly working on the dvd menus. I have never spent so much time in front of photoshop, premiere, encore, virtualdub, tmpeg, dvd2avi, and wsftp in a 3 day sitting. After a million failed transcodes and 5 coasters due to bad menu and chapter routing (due to my lack of sleep), the dvd screener was done.

I'd like to say thanks to everyone who helped on the project. It far exceeded my expectations and is beyond amazing. :wink: :D
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Re: View From a Director

Postby Kusoyaro » Tue Sep 14, 2004 12:13 am

Fluxmeister wrote:NOTE: By not being the DDR project, RVG fell victim to editor preference. Editors will flock to DDR... but can't take any time for RVG :( :P (haha this is by no means a serious comment... OR IS IT?)


:oops:

I wonder if I should make a similar post about this year's DDR headaches :P
I have no idea how to use this new forum.
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