So the last two days have been held hostage by a video editing project at work, that has led me to several important ratings. To give some context, there’s a national teaching award for Teach For America that Eastern North Carolina has two finalists in. Without going into too much detail, these two ladies are incredible, and are doing even more incredible things for students in NC, which means that despite all the things I’m about to mention, the possibility of them winning this award is totally worth it. That being said, on to the ratings 🙂
This year they’ve adapted the application process so that each finalist has their own Google page which compiles all their required documents and three different videos. One which is a tour of their classroom, one which is a video of them teaching, and one is of several student interviews. It’s my job to compile all their materials, get videos of their classrooms, edit them down to the required size, upload them online, and finalize their applicant pages.
While ideally video editing is made easy by modern technology, one small obstacle after another has made this possibly one of the most difficult projects of my life. The weird thing is, I actually enjoy the video editing/creation part, and I think the idea to present applicants in this way is brilliant. What I don’t love is converting the files from the DV format to AVI so that Windows Movie Maker or iMovie can recognize them. This takes about 30 min-1 hr. per conversion (keeping in mind this needs to happen at least 4 times). And far more than once I’ll wait for it to almost finish converting, and then right at the end I get a ‘Write error or disk full’ message. I’m pretty sure it’s not a write error, but instead a lack of free space on my work computer. Ever since I started working with video files on there a month ago it runs SO much slower, and I’ve gotten this full disk message way too many times.
So I decided the right answer was to switch to using my Mac, which clearly is made for movie editing. THe problem is, I’ve had my Mac for several years now and have really been meaning to clear off some of my pictures and music onto my external hardrive so I stop getting the error message ‘Startup disk is almost full’ (or something equally annoying). It appears none of my computers can handle the size of these files. None the less I finally cleared off enough to get one of our candidate’s videos done last night.
Windows Movie Maker: 4. While overall I was impressed with how easy it was to use, the biggest issue is compiling clips from multiple mini-DVDs from the cameras. You have to import all the files from one DVD at a time, and can’t easily combine multiple clips from different DVDs. Considering this was definitely necessary in this project, I’m taking off serious points. But take this rating with a grain of salt considering I’m already Mac comfortable and this is my only exposure to Movie Maker.
iMovie: 7. I really enjoy using iMovie, and I think it makes the whole process of editing and creating videos easy and user friendly. I even managed to figure out, on my own, how to fix the sound when it was 5 seconds behind on one of the videos. It now matches up perfectly 🙂 I would like it more if it didn’t take up so much room to store the videos along the way…
This morning I was feeling optimistic, and attacked the project again. However this time I really was completely out of space, and my Mac gave up on me. So I decided I might have to bite the bullet and buy some more RAM to finish up the project. I tried to make an appointment at the Mac store, but they were booked until Thursday. COnsidering that these videos need to be finished by tomorrow, waiting wasn’t really an option. So I headed in anyways, hoping my ability to convince anyone to do anything would work today.
I looked pretty pitiful as I approached Colin at the front desk, and when I told him my problem the first thing he asked was “Do you have an appointment with our Genius Bar today”. Just what I feared might happen. But it turns out Colin is my hero, because he didn’t let this phase him and headed to the back to find someone to help me.
Out came Richard who turned out to be the real hero of the day. He had me open up my computer, poked around a little bit, and then told me exactly what I needed to do to get it working again. He let me know that RAM at their store was ridiculously expensive, and directed me to a website that would save me a bunch of money. But the good news is, he fixed the problem so it turns out I don’t even really need extra RAM!
Seriously, I rate my experience at the Mac store today a 10. I can’t think of anything they could have done today to make me a happier Mac user, and get me back on track for this project.
8 hours later I’m now at Panera (my internet connection was being super slow at home), with 5 out of 7 videos uploaded, and almost all the materials.
While it looks like I may have to actually videotape the screen tonight (and hope for the best in terms of quality) to battle an issue with the computer recognizing two clips, overall I would say we’re almost there! (Knock on wood…) I rate that a 10 for sure.