Monday, February 14, 2011

The Little Things

You might start seeing more of these pop up on my blog. They are from and I think they are hilarious.

This one is particularly meaningful. I have realized that my hatred for details is causing me more and more grief as time goes on. Let me explain what I mean. It is not that I am not a perfectionist--I most certainly am. A client recently told me they did not want their seminar DVD's to be good, they just wanted them quick. Well, I don't know how to do that--and believe me, I would love to learn because I really need to be on to something else rather than spending an extra week perfecting something that doesn't require it. So, it is not that my end product is not good or that I don't care how things turn out. That is not my problem.

My problem is in the details to get there. I am the type that does not have time to read the instructions, so I spend twice as long each time I put a bookshelf together. When it comes to video...
  • I don't have time to import all my assets into one folder, so when a client needs a re-edit six months later I spend hours finding and reconnecting (sometimes even recreating) media. 
  • I did not have time to reorganize my equipment after the last shoot, so on this shoot I am missing something (usually just something small--like a way to power the camera, for example).
  • I did not take the time to white balance every shot, so now I have to do all kinds of funky things to get my colors to look right.
It is really quite easy to make a huge amount of work for yourself through one simple mistake. A videographer I used on a recent shoot selected the wrong setting while capturing in Quicktime. He has been shooting for a long time and knew what he was doing, but just overlooked that one particular setting. When he checked his recordings afterward, they looked great in Quicktime. However, when we tried to transcode them later, we could not get them to play without considerable jerkiness (looked like it was playing at about 3 fps). After several days of three of us trying every possible solution, including all of the major encoders (Squeeze, Compressor, Media Encoder, MPEG Streamclip) and a dozen others, we all came up empty handed. What seemed like it could be fixed simply turned out to be a nightmare.

This is only the most recent example. I could cite many more. My point is that we need to pay attention to the small things before they become big things. There is a balance here, by the way. I have another friend who does work for me that takes it to the other extreme. He would plan for three days to shoot an interview if I would let him. I usually have to tell him, "good enough," so we can actually get some work done. So there are two sides to the coin, I guess. Whichever side you are on, try to "move a little more to the center" (I never thought I would catch myself saying that).