If you could start your video creation journey again...

OliThompson StaffPosts: 167 Enthusiast

It's interesting to look back at where we've come from and think about how we might do things differently. From unlearning bad habits to reaching out to specific people sooner, hindsight is a wonderful thing!

If you could go back how would you do things differently? What would you learn first? What would you forget altogether? And why? 😁


  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,255 Expert
    edited August 2022

    @OliThompson I would forget completely shooting with 8MM and Super8. 🀣 Also, in-camera editing with a 4 head flying erase head VCR camcorder, using a TI-99 to genrate titles and record them back out in place on said camcorder before swapping tapes in two VCR patched in to the camera for "master" recording. Things would have been so much easier...and BETTER if Hitfilm had been around in the early 80s. These spoiled kids today have no idea of how good they really have it. Yes, I identify as Carl from Up! More and more each day...πŸ˜†

  • Andy001z
    Andy001z Lord EarthPosts: 3,633 Ambassador

    I would have spent less time watching tutorials and more time actually doing it!!

  • OliThompson
    OliThompson Staff Posts: 167 Enthusiast

    @tddavis Haha oh wow! I think it's easy to forget quite how far things have come! 🀯 I wonder what advances we're going to see over the next few years of software development... 😜

    @Andy001z I know that feeling too well!! πŸ˜‚

  • Manhit
    Manhit Posts: 74 Enthusiast
    edited August 2022

    Hi @tddavis ,

    Are you kidding? Every filmmaker or content creator should be required to shoot and edit a Super 8 movie, complete with scratched on FX. Once you finish your linear editing using the equivalent of scotch tape to hold your clips together you will appreciate how magical working in HitFilm is!😁

  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,255 Expert

    @Manhit Been there, done that! At least the scotch tape instead of proper splice tape. I never got brave enough to do the scratched on phasers and such.πŸ˜„

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,410 Power User

    @Manhit @tddavis make em do linear video, too. With physical film you can still edit an early scene without messing up a later scene. With linear video you live with it, or you drop another generation.

    Anyone else ever have to scrape fades on audio tape with a blade?

    @OliThompson I suppose the main thing if I could go back is less about tech and technique (although it's not an exaggeration to say Hitfilm Free can do things that were either literally impossible or would cost a million dollars back when I started playing with audio and video drama back in the 1980's), but more about my own attitudes and actions. It took me well into my 30s before I could even begin to temper my responses and arguments in somewhat neutral and/or conciliatory ways. I annoyed more people than I needed to. A fair amount of my work was from people who needed me because I was the best person for the job - but they didn't actually WANT to work with me. Putting it another way with an example - in film school almost every award winning film in the department during my tenure had my fingerprints on them. Often the award was specifically in the area in which I had input. And I learned a lot from the back and forth of other students and learned a lot from other people's projects and seeing how they put them together. I even figured out some very effective methods for suggesting changes. But, when everyone graduated and many people started net/working together and/or forming companies, no one wanted me. I was too damn abrasive.

    Honestly, something I struggle with now, but I'd give younger me a virtual kick in the pants.

    Terry - after doing in camera cuts on the shoot, then a second VHS to VHS pass to refine edits or put together different takes there'd be another dub - running the audio through a radio shack audio mixer so we could play in the music from a DJ tape deck I had (double deck, would play both tapes at once, had separate volume output for each track and could play either side of the tape without taking the tape out. FANCY!), trigger sound effects with different devices depending on what we had (Hello Casio SK 1 and SK 4!), do Foley, etc. Basically a live performance/mix of the audio. I was fancy on titles. I had an Atari ST with all of 320x240 resolution, 16 colors from a pallette of 512.Currently it's in storage in Cali, but I have VHS of stuff going back to 1988 I WILL digitize.

    Manhit, ironically once of my first digital projects was a "Lucas" remaster of a super-8 film. Tightened up a few things, a couple scenes, and did some spiffy digital VFX (It took hours to build that motion trail). Even did a 3D animated vanity logo in 3D Studio.

    Oli - the old school techniques I learned gave me a grounding in techniques that still applies in digital, and, to be grumpy old guy, not having that background hurts a lot of the younger artists. Where I really see that is in responses to tutorials. I lot of "How would I do this?" and the answer is in that very tutorial. An imperfect analogy is someone who has been taught to work a calculator without being taught math. There's a reason so much of the Hitfilm University tutorials start with long sections on background and theory.

    The worst question I've ever seen was on the Iron Man HUD. "How do I make the display from inside the helmet?" I felt so bad the user literally didn't realize it was all the "place graphic elements where they look cool" part of the tutorial without all the tracking and parenting bits.

    That series was one of Simon's best, although he told me it was Josh who figured out the trick to fake a 3D track off 2D data.

  • alaska_vfx_filmer
    alaska_vfx_filmer AlaskaPosts: 562 Enthusiast

    I'm one of the 'kids these days'πŸ˜†, so I dont really have a right to speak to "would've should've", but I can say that I need to get off my tail, and start making stuff again.

    I had intended to do more during covid, but we never really closed down, so I still dont know Blender (one of my potential lockdown goals).

    I wish I had started filmmaking in the 80s, but I wasn't born yet, so it's no good looking back with the "if only I had started sooner" since I'm not a time traveler.

    The real problem now is that I have too many high end tools at my disposal, I feel like I was more creative 10 years ago, when I was a 13yo with a point and shoot digital camera, shooting absurd slapstick style fight scenes and skits in 480p, and then editing them in Windows Movie Maker 6.0 on my parents six year old laptop. I had never heard of a green screen, and the most advanced vfx technique I had was the jump cut.

  • JavertValbarr
    JavertValbarr Staff Posts: 378 Ambassador

    I think the only change I would make in my career would be my choice of university.

    Following the advice of my parents, I went for a more "general" major of Electronic Media, which covered video/audio production, rather than honing in on VFX as a degree. I didn't end up finding it very helpful; we were covering things I learned in high school.

    My parents' advice was totally reasonable but in this specific case I don't think it ended up being the right way to go.

    Looking back now, the change I'd make would be to go to a school more focused on VFX aspects rather than general videomaking so that I could learn the specific industry-standard tools.

  • Stargazer54
    Stargazer54 Posts: 3,967 Ambassador

    Even today, it doesn't matter about the tools. Tools are tools.

    I remember when (briefly) 2 inch video tape was cut and spliced just like film - and the consequences were burned helical scan heads. But, electronic editing of analog video went on to replace film. Rolling A and B rolls back and forth as you laid down another pass at the video switcher was replaced with non-linear editing. Then came the Quantel Harry and Henry. Wow! Now you can do it all - editing and compositing on an (extremely expensive) computer at the same time!

    In the end, technology, bandwidth, and codecs are important, but they will never matter as much as the story. It will always be the story. If you have a story to tell - then tell it. Don't sit around and complain about the tools. Any non-linear editor can do cuts only and that's all you need. Tell your story.

    If I were to start over I would concentrate more on writing. Without a script you are just shooting in the dark (literally). Hone your script, cut out all the fluff until what you want to say is easy for anyone to understand.

    Then, shoot the hell out of everything. Shoot long interviews and cut them down to the essence of what the person is really saying - not just what you find personally interesting. Shoot plenty of B-roll. Edit, and edit some more - until your own mom can watch the finished product and understand what the film is trying to say. As Ryan Connolly says repeatedly - "Write, Shoot, Edit, Repeat" Practicing your craft means telling compelling stories. There will always be new tools and techniques to learn, but the story is eternal.

    How may old films still stand up today? 'Gone with the Wind'? 'Citizen Kane'' 'The Day the Earth Stood Still'? '2001: A Space Odyssey'? 'To Kill a Mockingbird'? ' Dr. Strangelove'? All produced by writers, directors, actors, and editors before anyone ever heard of computers or Quantel.