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Ready, Set, Edit!

Craig rewiring on the new edit suite.

This is just a little-mini-update to let you know the goings-on here at DGW.

With COVID-19 putting a hold on shooting the feature documentary, Permaculture The Documentary, Regina and I decided to get proactive and make use of our isolation time with our filmmaking and food growing skills to help people grow food at home with a 5 part series online. During editing of episode 3, I came across a big problem that thankfully also turned out to be a solution for making sure Permaculture The Documentary can go ahead as smoothly as possible when editing in the future.

While editing the third episode of the Grow Food Series, I soon hit a snag at about 15mins into the edit. The editing software suddenly fell apart. Even at low quality video proxies (lower resolution video files), the video refused to play back smoothly and it lagged so much it was like editing with a strobe-light on during playback. It turns out, this software is great at handling short video projects, but anything complex beyond 20mins and it literally loses it's mind. Files were becoming un-linked and behaving weirdly. Parts of clips were playing at odd points I had not indicated and everything was unravelling. Panic set in and I was really doubting I could pull together any feature film with what I had at my disposal. Permaculture The Documentary has over 20 hours of raw footage and there was more to come. How on earth was I going to handle all of this and a 60 minute edit when this program was loosing it's marbles at a 20 minute edit with 4 hours of footage? This is an editor's and filmmaker's nightmare. The thought that all the ideas and dreams of having the creative freedom to bring together the complex scenes and narratives into a single vision could need to be outsourced and another cost on-top of production. Although it may seem worrisome, in many ways I am very grateful this happened.

After pulling my hair out and running out of curse words, I embarked on what I call a 'Googerney' (A journey of scourering google for answers). After two days of full-on sifting and forum searching, I finally came to a conclusion that the software just wasn't a reliable tool for long-form films. Instead, I found an editing suite up to the task of handling the hours of footage and is tried and tested throughout the film industry. I won't name names here as I don't endorse products willy nilly.

So I installed, transcoded and transferred the half-a-dozen edits from the old software to the new one and jumped into start editing. I clicked here and there and tried dragging things around like usual, but I soon realised all my editing knowledge and know-how meant nothing in this new serious software. Suddenly, I was back at square one in terms of making movie magic. The simplest of tasks became a burden. I knew what cuts I wanted, what shots to splice in, but I was buggered if I knew how to perform them. My excitement soon deflated, and I forcibly pushed my ego aside, turning to tutorials to watch and learn.

As each video went through each process, I realised everything I thought I knew about editing was a lie. Sure cut here, cut there, add shot, take shot, L-cut, J-cut, these are all technical tools to help the creative expression of a film, but the technique of editing soon became apparent that this was very different to what I had learned.

It dawned on me, that possibly my editing habits had been wrong all along. Sure, I got from A to B and everything I was doing worked physically, but it was like I had been riding a bike by turning the wheels with my foot and then finding out that there were actual pedals that make things easier and more efficient. You will eventually get to where you are going, but you had to do a lot more to get there. Not to say it was entirely my doing. The software I had been working on not only allowed the freedom to create these bad habits, but it also encouraged them from the get go.

So, a week-on from the first days of discovery, I'm back in the editing suite - rewiring the habits to better ones and am excited to begin a new chapter in learning and move ever closer to creating this passionate story of Permaculture through my eyes and bring it to the world.

So, for this next episode (Ep3. Grow Food From Scratch) I am embracing on this journey of rewiring my brain so future films will be not only more editingly-sound, but hopefully I can become even more efficient in the future and deliver to you more content more often!

So if you are hanging for EPISODE 3, hang in there. It's coming!


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