Tuesday, September 09, 2008

In and Out of Consciousness

Consciousness permitting, I may shoot part of a story today for zootoo.com, a pet-related web site that also includes video news reports. I still haven't settled into a sleep schedule working the morning shift and some days I leave the station with the singular ambition of driving home and falling asleep in that order.

The story is about Southeastern Guide Dogs School which is near Bradenton but as part of teaching the dogs to help their human partners navigate real-world obstacles, they come to downtown Tampa where they encounter revolving doors, escalators, and city streets.

Otherwise, the plan is to shoot the story on the school's campus -- 23 acres! -- tomorrow. There ought to be enough there to fill a 2-and-a-half minute long story.

Yesterday afternoon, I finished shooting a story for the Dodge Sports Report, the Florida High School Athletic Association's television show that airs statewide on Sun Sports. It's about a volleyball player at Academy of the Holy Names in Tampa. She's also an aspiring journalist who edits the schools yearbook, works on the student paper and contributes articles to Volleyball USA magazine.

I had shot the team's match Friday in an experiment of sorts. The Dodge Sports Report stories air in standard definition but I decided to shoot this one in high def. I can downconvert the final package into SD.

I had done only one other shoot in HDV before and things worked great. But that was before I got my new computer. When I loaded the video into the computer, the file didn't work properly. Adobe Premiere, my video editing program, is supposed to save it as an m2t file. But it saved it as an mpeg and the audio and video were out of sync.

I checked to see if the plug-in Premiere needs to work with video from my camera was installed properly and it was. Still no go. So I put the new computer back in its box and pulled the old one out of the closet.

Same result! Ack! It used to work fine. What's up with this?

On an Adobe forum someone recommended a free program called HDV Split. It's amazing how often I use freeware to bail myself out of problems that my expensive allegedly professional software can't solve. Amazing.

I tested it yesterday; the m2t files that HDV Split recorded worked flawlessly in Premiere. I was satisfied that it was safe to shoot the rest of the story in HDV. Just in time to go to the school to shoot the interviews and video of the girl typing on her laptop, shots of her articles and some of the team's practice yesterday.

I haven't loaded all the video into the computer yet. I did spot checks to see that it would load and to make sure the audio came out right. I didn't get home last night until after 8 p.m. and didn't want to stay up too late.

Then, of course, I couldn't fall asleep until 10 p.m. anyway. And the cat decided to join me in bed around 12:40 a.m., which she announces by crawling across me. The alarm came like a hammer blow at 3 a.m.

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