Monday, September 24, 2012

The Devil You Know

Recently I was chatting with a music guy that had been working on the soundtrack for a movie project.

He'd been passed the project in a rather disorganized state. It had been cut in Final Cut Pro 7, but it wasn't clear that the editor had cut many large projects in Final Cut before, and there were some problems with the project that was causing him serious grief. When he got the project it required a lot of re-rendering just to get it to play.

It turned out that the media had been imported in multiple formats rather than transcoding to ProRes. Some of the audio was in MP3 format. These are all things Final Cut Pro 7 doesn't like. He'd also tried converting it from 29.97 to 24, but had given that up when he'd discovered that all the audio got moved around after changing the frame rate. In short, he'd spent a lot of time wrangling the data in Final Cut, and I don't think he was impressed.

As I talked him through it - and it turned out he'd already done most of the things I recommended to solve the problems - I was reminded of the struggles I recently had with my first project in Adobe Premiere CS6: It occurred to me that when using a program, there are three types of skills:

  • Knowing how to use the program
  • Knowing the shortcuts that save time
  • Knowing what to avoid

It's the last of these that you can build up over years of using a program, and not even be aware that you've "learnt" them. Little things you absorb, and often can't articulate until someone draws your attention to it. The things "not to do." You have a problem with MP3 audio; so you stop using that. It's trips up on a graphic file format sometimes; you always use PNGs. And a year from now, you won't even remember why you don't use that file format any more.

This is also known by another word; experience.

No comments: