I figured with my nearly one-year absence from DredditMOT and doing Eve videos and the tease for a return that didn't end up happening in April, I owed a bit of an explanation to people. Hopefully this doesn't end up being paragraphs of excuses but rather a little glimpse into the process of making videos/editing.
First, there is only one released video on DredditMOT that took more than 24 hours to edit. That video is Of Fountains, Clowns, and Birthdays ( Of Fountains, Clowns, and Birthdays
). It took about a week to make, and about 80% of the time on that video was spent on the first minute of footage. The system map in that minute was actually something silly like 8000x8000 resolution. Each system, system name, and connecting line was an individual layer. This was before I won the Eve Is Real video contest and my computer was pretty pathetic, unable to comfortably edit 1080p video without sounding like it was going to kill itself. Each frame took about 10-15 seconds to render in RAM preview mode (about 25% quality of the 720p the final version ended up being). Animating and previewing the camera moves was tortuous and doing it took several days, all in the name of the final zoom into the 6VDT system not getting insanely pixelated. I know there are a dozen other ways to do this kind of thing in After Effects, but frankly I had no idea what I was doing.
The editing together of Eve footage itself is relatively painless. Every other Eve video I've done has been put together in an evening or two in terms of actually sitting at the computer in After Effects. In other words, I don't count the weeks of poking through Youtube looking for music that works and isn't blocked in a dozen countries or playing Eve and recording footage, because I'd probably be doing that exact same stuff anyway. I love music and I love Eve, for better or for worse.
Before I get on a tangent about the entire process of choosing music and deciding a theme on a video, I'll get to the point: It isn't that I rarely spend more than a day on a video and do nothing in between, it's that I have an unbelievable number of videos on the cutting room floor that I wasted days or weeks or even months on that I eventually scrapped because I couldn't get the result I wanted, couldn't get the specific footage needed, or Eve politics moved too fast and made the video out of date or inaccurate. While my 'hiatus' from DredditMOT did include a three month period where I paid zero attention to Eve, the rest of the time I was plotting, editing, agonizing, and then deleting and starting over with something new.
Such is the story with "The Return" which is the video teased towards the end of April this year ( The Return
). At that point I had spent about three weeks on the video and hating myself for not having finished it. I posted the teaser as a self-imposed deadline; I had to finish the video in the next seven days because after that I was moving and then taking a trip to New York on the 30th; if I didn't finish it before then it would be another couple of weeks before it could be finished.
Naturally, the day after posting the teaser I woke up sick as a dog. I spent every free moment in bed or with my face in the toilet. I tried a few times to force myself to edit but to no avail. The week passed, TEST leadership changed again as Ingen Kerr stepped down as CEO, and I spent a hellish weekend moving. Then it was off to New York. By the time I was back, TEST had reset the Honeybadger Coalition and reset many allies; the political table so to speak had been flipped over and a large part of the video I had been slaving over was now useless. Frustrated, I deleted the entire project and started brainstorming something new.
Dust 514 'launched' shortly after, with a big upgrade in visuals. This was something I was waiting for because doing a video with both Eve and Dust footage had a treasure trove of possibilities, and Dust now looked presentable enough to splice in with Eve footage without hitting the video over the head with an ugly stick. The original concept involved a one-minute intro that bounced between Eve and Dust footage, followed by a 'proper' Eve video.
And so I spent another week and a half with my months-old footage and new music, piecing footage together. But something didn't feel right and I couldn't put my finger on it. It bothered me to the point of making me almost unbearable to talk to. It wasn't just that the footage was old; I've used outdated footage before and even though Eve had gotten some significant revisions since I'd last recorded anything and the footage didn't have anything glaring in it. Something about the video was completely wrong, and I was nervous about releasing something I wasn't happy with.
Finally, yesterday, it clicked. The video didn't work because the video was stuck in the past. I was trying to play to my supposed strengths in terms of music and cut style, but those videos were from a different chapter in Test's life and a lot had changed. Just that simple realization brightened my spirits. I could stop wasting time on this abortion of a video; I was starting over again, but I Was starting over confident that I was finally going in the right direction. I logged in for fleets and took new footage to give myself some more flexibility. But what music could I use that would fit?
Fate was looking out for me, it seems. The song in the newest video first popped up in Google Music radio on my way home from work. My first thought was that it could work for the video, but I wasn't sold on it. When I got home, I started up Netflix to find a movie to watch. I settled on God Bless America since Netflix seemed determined to get me to watch it. Lo and behold, the song is in the movie's opening. Two separate occurrences in less than 30 minutes? I decided that was enough of an excuse to give it a shot. Aside from the transitions between Eve and Dust, I'm pretty pleased. I wanted to get some new shots specifically to make the transition fancier, but Eve is currently offline and I had gathered too much steam to waste waiting. The itch was back, the video felt right, and I was terrified of squandering it over two seconds of a four minute video.
I put the video together in about five hours, with another hour tweaking some effects and timing. As usual, the right video produced itself in less than a day rather than spending weeks trying too hard. Lesson learned. Sorry I was gone for so long, I'll see you in NOL-M9 with a figurative camera in hand.