Sunday, July 20, 2008

Missing Photos and Updates!

I met with my producer/DP on Friday and he's going to be delivering the raw footage the week of August 4th. This pushes post-production back a couple of weeks, but that shouldn't create too many problems. I'll still have about four months to get this thing assembled.

I'm also working on a "coming soon" website for the production. There's a few minor things to work out before the site goes live. But when it does, I think it will look really good. Simple...but good. I hope that happens by next Friday, but that might be wishful thinking. If it doesn't go live on Friday, it will have to wait until the first of August.

Okay, that's the update for now. Until the next update, here are some of the missing photos from our Southern Utah shoot.

Here's the U-HAUL rig we used to capture the close-up handcycling shots.

Chris Waddell using the One-Off. The setup took forever, but the shots paid off.

Stan reviewing shots with Abby Hoffman

Jeff is measuring the distance between the lens and the wheelchair racer, for a technical shot.

Here's the group photo from our last Southern Utah shoot. That's Stan's mom (a.k.a. production driver) on the far right.

One last update: T9-10 Productions now has a logo. Check out these bad boys:

Sunday, July 06, 2008

RAIDing the Tower

If your a hard-core computer geek, this blog entry will be better than internet porn. And a welcome respite from my usual production dribbling. If you aren't a geek, then please bear with me. This won't take long.

Non Linear Editing (NLE) requires a great deal of preparation. Especially when deadlines and keeping track of copious amounts of footage are of vital importance. I think back to my first time editing on a computer. It was a college project called "A Matter of Life and Death". Yeah, heavy stuff...but not really. So, a few days before the 3-minute assignment was due, I lost everything. Poof...gone. I hadn't saved properly and had to go back and start all over. Luckily I managed to finish the project and restore balance to the universe.

For this project, there was no way I was going to go through that mess again. I needed a data storage setup that would do two things: One, backup all project files and raw footage. An exact copy of all files is insurance policy of sorts. Two, increase the efficiency of reading and writing data. I need the machine to save and grab files quickly.

Sure, having enough hard drive space is important. Especially when there's a lot of footage. But I also need to have something in place that will prevent the loss of important files. At no point, during the editing process, can I lose anything. RAID acts like a safety net. So what is RAID?

RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks and it's basically a system for replicating and dividing data across hard drives. Most computers have one hard drive, which is ample in most instances. For this project, I have four internal hard drives and two external hard drives for backup.

Now, I didn't know that much about RAID before I embarked on this journey. Hell, I still don't know a lot about RAID. So please take what I say with a grain of salt. After doing some research, I discovered that there isn't a consensus among filmmakers as to which RAID configuration (or level) works best for editing video or film. So what level was I going to go with? Well, RAID 0, RAID 1 and RAID 5 are the most popular. If you'd like more info. on what each one does, feel free to Google RAID.

Now, RAID isn't an easy thing. It requires a RAID card for the computer and multiple hard drives. Originally I had planned on going with RAID 5, then I decided on RAID 10. Jeff and I chatted and he thought I should go with a RAID 0 setup across three internal, identical hard drives. The advantage to this setup is the amount of storage capacity that I gain: Almost 3 TB (Tera bytes). RAID 0 also stripes across the three drives, making the machine work much more efficiently. The disadvantage to RAID 0 is that there's no backup or mirroring of drives. Jeff and I decided to back all program files and raw footage onto an external hard drive. That way, if anything goes down, I can always re-import footage or grab the latest version of an edit. For extra safety, we are also considering backing up to a second external hard drive, which we can store off site. Overkill? Perhaps. But it's better to be safe than sorry. Especially with a November 30th deadline looming on the horizon.

So there you have it. I've RAID-ed the computer tower and for all intents and purposes am ready to start importing footage. Hopefully that will happen next week.

Oh, one more thing: I've been working behind-the-scenes with Zach Gildersleeve, a talented graphics designer. He's putting together the "Coming Soon" website for this project, which should be up and running within the next week and a half. We will launch the website and finally release the name of our project, both on the same day. Zach's work is amazing and I think his visuals will be a tremendous addition to the project. I'll update everyone on the website prior to it's launch. I'm also going to provide weekly updates on the project starting Mid-August.