In the shadows – work in progress

Yesterday I visited St Peter’s House Library with a borrowed Sony camcorder and tried out various ideas in order to work on my film project, In The Shadows. I managed to put off going to the library until 3.15pm. However, I was feeling frazzled after writing about vulnerability, watching short films at South East Dance and feeling unsure of my next steps. Some meditation helped. The allotted space given to me on the university network is about 1 gigabyte. That’s not a lot of room to make a film in. There’s more room to maneuver on the computer desktop but, if I want my work saved, it must fit into the 1 gigabyte or onto another piece of storage. Recent trips to Jubilee Library have concluded with the loss of usb sticks (where’s my head at?). My mobile phone has 6 gigabyes of space available so I tried out ways of working with that.

I recorded the six clips of footage I had previously determined I would work with to the destop as iMovie events. I copied the events to my phone memory. I deleted the events from the desktop, rebooted and then copied the events from my phone memory to iMovie. It recognised them. Phew. I tried copying them to my student space on the network. The files were too big.

I played around with putting the clips together into a project and saving it. iMovie doesn’t recognise a project saved onto disk space that is not formatted for Mac OS. Hmmm. I left it there and wandered home. What about if I work linearly? Take the music track and insert the first clip and save that to my student space? I could try loading the source files (iMovie events) from my phone into the desktop area and the project from my student space into the desktop area and see if that works. My sense is that it won’t and that both project and events have to be stored in the same place.

I notice that while I’m working on the project at the library I feel fine and I am engrossed in what I am doing. But once I’m away from the library it feels hard to go back. All my insecurities kick in. And my vulnerability. I don’t know what I am doing – I have a vague sense of the direction I’m going in and I know my next steps but I don’t know if my work will be any good. Not that it matters really. I’m learning and that’s the main thing. I’m learning about iMovie and its foibles. I’m learning that I’d like my own Mac and that once I’ve made a movie in iMovie I’d like to make a movie in Final Cut Pro so that I can learn it and compare the software.

I’m also noticing how the limitations are making me consider what else I could do. How can I make this movie? There are always solutions. One is on it’s way to me. I’ve ordered an external caddy (£3.60) for the hard drive in my bricked Mac laptop. If the hard drive itself is in working order and the caddy is in working order and they work together, that will give me 30 gigabytes of external storage that will be recognised by the Macs at university. Enough space to work and breathe in and… make films in.

Filmmaking involves a high degree of uncertainty. While I am okay, mostly, with uncertainty, sometimes I feel utterly frustrated and drained. I’d like to be more embracing to uncertainty and less controlling. I initially approached this filmmaking exercise in the way I’d been shown at Varndean College: use a tape camcorder; record the whole tape onto the hard drive; begin a process of elimination; edit the bits you’re left with. Long winded. I recognised at the time that I would rather have selected the bits I wanted and worked with them. I think I need to tighten up the bits I’ve selected. Cut them to a size that will fit onto the space available so that I can work without all these fiddly, draining niggles.

There’s another conflict: I have some footage that I shot using my mobile phone. I started working with it using Video Maker on my mobile phone on Friday night and tried rendering it on Saturday and it wouldn’t render properly. iMovie recognised my mobile phone as a camera and saw all the footage I’ve taken with it. Which footage shall I use? The editing I was doing with the mobile phone footage was quite intensive: lots of cuts and transmissions. I wanted the footage to move with the music. The music inspired me. I need to be able to hear all the changes in the music properly and respond to them with the footage. I like both sets of footage. They’re different films. I want to work with both of them. So, perhaps one will be in iMovie and the other in Final Cut Pro. I’m going to begin from the song in iMovie by adding it to the project first. Next I’m going to add the first clip and work them into each other.

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