Hearst Castle Ghost is Batman

Unsung Heroes

I’m just going to get this out of the way up front: video editing sucks.  Don’t get me wrong, my body becomes a huge endorphin factory every time I playback a video segment which I had spent hours or days working on.  That sense of completion and pride in the finished work is just amazing.  But the task?  The job?  Well, that’s the part that sucks.

I’ve been working on a few different video segments based on our time at Comic-Con and, suffice it to say, there have been more than a handful of times where I have been yanking hair from my head.  The sheer amount of time it takes to edit the video portion of some of these clips has had me promising the media gods all sorts of things, including human sacrifice.  Ok, maybe it was computer equipment sacrifice.  Or perhaps it was just me wanting to throw the computer across the room and smash it into a thousand pieces.  It’s all the same thing.

Obviously, one part of the problem is my inexperience with video editing.  It has never been my full-time job, so I have only ever really had to dabble in it. 

A second problem is the footage I am working with.  Yes, I recorded the video but as it was all live and unscripted, we really couldn’t do retakes.  I got what I got.

The third, and most frustrating, problem is the tools that are out there for editing video footage on a computer.  They suck.  The vast majority of software packages are designed to edit videos of your child and/or cat (usually the same entity) doing something that every other child and/or cat does; or, if it is really special, impersonating a dog which, let’s be honest, every child and/or cat does.  Slightly above those software packages in price and usability is Adobe Premiere.

If you have read my previous posts, or had the unlucky occasion to discuss the topic in person with me, you know my love-hate relationship with Adobe Premiere.  It is the best software package on the market for the semi-professional video editor.  It is the most frustrating software package on the market for the semi-professional video editor.  I won’t dive into the wheres and whys at this juncture, but I did become exceptionally frustrated with using Premiere while editing one specific piece of footage for a Hearst Castle Ghost promotional video.

The video was supposed to be a sort of flashback to Brad’s vacation at SDCC2019, highlighting some of the things the Ghost did while in San Diego and how that turned Brad’s vacation into a stress factory.  One of the segments involved the sign used to harass the “Jesus People” across the street from the convention center.  Try as I might, I could not get Adobe Premiere to do what I wanted with this video.  After many long hours of frustration with Premiere, I wound up exporting the frames as jpg files and manually edited each one inside Adobe Photoshop.  Two minutes editing time for each frame.  Thirty frames a second.  It was a 13 second clip.  Do the math.  

After I finished up all of that and several other clips, I ran into audio problems with two of the larger, more important videos and had to scrap the whole thing.  I am not ashamed to admit I cried.

Despite that, I did end up learning a few new tricks in video editing and added some items to my “Things I Have Learned” list.  I also wound up with one video that gave me that endorphin shot when I finished it.  I was (am) so in love with this clip that I immediately shared it out to a ton of people (read: I sent it to my mom). Although the parent video has been scrapped, I have decided to share it out with the rest of the world as well.

I still have every intention of including this in one of the upcoming promotional videos, but it is too much fun not to share on its own.  Trust me, hit play with volume on.

Anyway, I guess the point of this post is to say video editing is a lot more difficult and time consuming than most people believe.  I have only had a small taste of what these people do, but I do know that a video editor can make or break a web series, television show, or movie just as much (or more) than the writers, actors, and directors who get all the huge title sequence credits.  They are the unsung heroes of the entertainment industry who devote countless hours making everything look great long after everyone else has gone home.  Productions are collaborations and we should never forget that. 

Now go outside and play.