The saga of the Debue DVD is nearing its end. It began almost a year ago. At that time, I accepted some video tapes from the band, agreeing to transfer them to DVD and return promptly. Why did it take a year?
For starters, I had already accepted a similar project from my friend Gabe. He had shot The Casket Lottery and Small Brown Bike in Chicago in the summer of 2003 on Video8 while simultaneously DAT taping the audio. My task was to synch the two sources, create some menus, and burn to DVD.
Beyond that, I had a number of DVD projects already on my hard drive, waiting to be completed. There was the Cleary Time Is My Crisis music video, the 727 Records showcase concert at The Center for Arts in Natick, a new The Moon Is No More music video, and a bunch of old skateboard videos that needed to be edited.
Basically, when I agreed to do it, I already had six or seven projects in the queue. And then there were the technical issues...
Any non-DV sources, such as Gabe's Video8 and the Debue camera angle that was shot on VHS-C, were going to be captured through my ATI All-In-Wonder card. Well, it turns out the quality wasn't that good at all. The best quality was the lossless setting, which resulted in files roughly 30MB/minute.
First, I purchased the ADS Tech PYRO A/V Link box (at about $250) to convert the analog sources to DV on the fly. This little number was flawed from the start. The chip in the box couldn't lock onto anythign but perfect analog signals, and basically couldn't capture more than a minute or so of any source. It took me a couple months to figure that out. ADS support was non-responsive (Finally, in the last few weeks they have agreed to replace these units with functioning ones).
Finally, I purchased the Pinnacle Studio MovieBox DV (for another $250). This baby worked like a charm right away, and I started to catch up on my projects. First, Gabe's DVD, since I had his camera for almost a year. I did a sweet pre-menu video with blended, ghosted clips of the band rocking out, synched to a Casket Lottery song.
Even with that out of the way, it wasn't smooth sailing to get started on the Debue DVD. This project entails editing together two camera angles (wide shots on VHS-C, with another doing close-ups on miniDV), on about 20 songs over nearly two hours. My original captures of the miniDV had some nasty artifacts due to a dirty camcorder used to do the transfers, and those had to be recaptured (and I don't own a camcorder, had to borrow all the way). I thought I had a good VHS-C camcorder to do the transfers, but realized that it didn't have any outputs. I guess they expect you'll always have one of those convertor cartridges around. I didn't. So, I had to buy one of those.
Anyway, that's where we are. I did some tests earlier to make sure the whole thing would work, but the bulk of it begins now. I need to do at least two songs a night to get this ready for the DVD release party that's scheduled for August 6. I'd love to run the finished edit through Magic Bullet, but it would take about four weeks to render, according to my calculations. Maybe I'll keep the footage around and run it through when I get a faster processor.