Tags: work


How to build lots of video files and still sleep

So, circumstances mean that I'm using the Beast to create lots of video files for the show on Monday/Tuesday. Unfortunately, this means using an old version of Premiere on a very slow computer, which means that most builds (even of only about 10 seconds) takes on average 13 minutes to render. Horrendously slow, but my faster machine just won't output the codecs correctly.

I got a lot of files to render and another downside with the software is that I can't set up a render queue and just let it build all of the files I need at once, not without having to hack them down into smaller chunks again which would be equally tedious and annoying.

I needed to keep building through the night otherwise I knew I'd never stand a chance of having the videos the way I wanted them on time. So...

Having resigned myself to losing a lot of sleep anyway, once I started building I went into Olympic-grade powernap mode. I would set the build to start, set my timer to roughly the estimated length (they usually render in just under the estimated time) and then go to bed and shut my eyes. When the alarm went, I'd get up and set the next one to render. It was a mixture of joy and disdain to see a chunk estimate 30+ minutes. On the one hand, I'd get a larger block of napping, on the other hand it meant the project would take even longer to finish.

I cannot believe it, but I actually found myself browsing Intel core Apple Macbook Pros last night, also. I need a Windows laptop, but so long as I keep doing work for St David's Hall, a Macbook might well have it's advantages. The Intel core OSX 10.6+ Macbooks can be set up to dual boot with Windows, which gives me the best of both with the only downside being the annoying single button so probably needing an external mouse for any serious Windows work. The only downside is that the cheapest one I can find is £800+, though that said, if I want to get a suitably powerful laptop I'm looking to pay at least that anyway.

It'll be a long while before I can afford that, I think.
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The Long Week

It's going to be a long and exhausting week for me, that much I know for certain.

It's nearly 3am and I've only just finished spending the day building four video elements for a show I'm working on with Arts Active at St. David's Hall. My history with them tends to have a certain pattern to them, that pattern being a tendency to pull all nighters in order to get the work done on time. This is in no part due to laziness on my part, simply due to the nature of the products and the tight deadlines. It's crazy, it's hard work, but it's fun to do, so I'm not really complaining too much.

Unfortunately, this latest project is happening on the Monday/Tuesday immediately following IndieCon, which means the usual working through the weekend is out and, frankly, any hope of being ready for the tech/dress rehearsal is probably out. This is not so unusual. The past two shows on which I've done video editing for them has usually ended up with the final A/V only coming together for the show itself. This time, I fear, I may be less prepared, however. On the plus side, this is a repeat of a show I did last year. On the down side, I only really get to use, um, two video elements from last year. The nature of the project means that it may as well be a new show from my point of view with me recycling some footage.

I'm getting up in about five hours for a 9am meeting at St. David's Hall to go over the project, then at 11am we're filming the core footage for the show, which then needs to sequenced and edited where needed. That'll probably take me until very late at night. Depending on how I feel, I might do a little more work on Thursday morning, before hopping on a train to IndieCon.

After a weekend of the usual lack of sleep I get at conventions because I'm too busy having fun, it's an earlier than usual return on the Sunday to probably get home and carry on working, possibly even late into the night in time for the, presumably, 9am call on Monday. One long day later, I'll probably need to pull an all-nighter to get everything ready for the show, which I'll then have to operate half-asleep. As usual.

I can sleep when I'm dead! Which at this rate might not be long coming.

Qin Bestiary

Here it is! This is the first release of a book I edited and the book that actually began my current freelancing.

This was actually supposed to be the first book I was going to work on, but when we both knew I'd likely be doing several projects another book got bumped before this, so this became my second book, but the first to be released.

I had fun working on this book, so I look forward to getting my copy.

It's currently available on DriveThruRPG/RPGNow: http://tinyurl.com/397gtoo and will be available in print in the next week or two.
Invader Nim

Unadulterated joy

Oh yes.

Firstly, I want to apologise for people still waiting for me to write up the review I promised - I've written about half of it, but I keep getting distracted with my busy, busy, busy at the moment. It's coming, though.

Secondly, I also need to write up a report for Conception - I know, but this, also, is something I'm procrastinating.

Thirdly, last night I told another story at the little storytelling night. That was fun. I wasn't quite as drunk as I was last time so the nerves hit me a little stronger but I got lots of good feedback again which was nice.

Fourthly, I've worked out where all my precious money has been disappearing. My crappy token meter has been eating up gas like it doesn't care. I've been pumping in on average about £20 a week. Last month cost me £100 in gas which is the sum total of my electricity bill for the last quarter. This is pretty damned fucking stupid. Obviously at summer I'm more likely to be spending £20 a month or something because I won't be using the heating, but that and the cost of Conception has royally screwed my financial comfort zone. I'm not quite in dire straits again, but it's looking potentially nasty again. A man from British Gas came out to have a look at the boiler yesterday and he told me that currently I'm losing about 25% of the money I put into it due to inefficiency mostly due to sedement in the boiler (yay, magnite). On the plus side he told me that the solution to my low hot water pressure would be to get a combi-boiler installed and then I would have a decent hot water pressure and I could have showers again (genuine yay). The only snag here is trying to convince my landlord that this is needed.

Fifthly, I'm about to embark into the world of self-employment again. With the economy at the moment, and it being tough finding any kind of decent (or half-decent) work I figure the best solution here is to make my own. Well, that and if I don't do it I'll probably be assigned to Environmental Task Force (read: litter picking). It's a little sooner than I'd like to be doing it what with me still being unable to do database integration at the moment, but if I can get the work going this could be good. I'm going to be working in conjunction with Guy who will focus primarily on copywriting and SEO while I deal with all the rest of the website side of things. To be honest, websites are not the only focus of our business ambitions but it's a cheap starting point and requires the least startup costs.

Sixthly, there is no sixthly.

Seventhly, I've finally started re-designing my personal website. For the last year or so I've stopped advertising to potential employers that I even have a personal site because I've not worked on it since 2002 and, frankly, it's an embarrasment. It doesn't really use any kind of decent CSS (read: none of any consequence), I did it when I was still learning Dreamweaver and therefore the layout is in tables (which is really not the current techniques), and really everything about my personal site has been annoying me for nearly two years although I've really not had time to work on it. Recently, however, I finally got around to doing up a concept in Photoshop and sliced it into the starts of a CSS display. Now it's just a matter of transferring all the content (which will take a fair amount of time to clean up and re-work but I'll probably look at killing a lot of the content of my site initially just to get it up there and then work on transferring the various areas over time (or not - might just keep them the same as "archives". I'll, of course, post here when it's done.

Eighthly, I'm finally getting myself back to finishing Flatsharing. Realising I need to rebuild the title sequence and add a name that I neglected first time out, horrifyingly realised that not only did I need to hunt down two effects for After Effects that were pretty much central to my sequence, but also that 3 files appeared to be missing but I can't seem to identify what files are missing. Furthermore, in order to add the name I need to remember how I created the effects of the simply text itself, plus what font I used, both of which I have no idea any more. So without adding the name (bah!) I decided to start building the sequence. It has been building now for the last 24 hours and is only just past half way through. This is about as long as it took me last time and then I had a slower processor and less memory. Grr. It's kind of thankful that I have this netbook otherwise it would be no internet for me for quite some time. Of course, it could all be one giant waste of time if the files that are missing are actually essential. Time will tell.

Ninthly, my Call of Cthulhu game is still on hold mostly due to not having the space to run things. With Guy still staying here I can't fit everyone into my living room without kicking him out of the flat for four hours, which I don't really want to do, and we can't play upstairs at the moment because Sam (who isn't playing) doesn't really want everyone around while she's home (until and unless she gets herself work on a Saturday). There's the possibility that she might be convinced to give some leeway and we can at least start it up maybe fortnightly. Truth be told, I'm not even sure everyone will want to come back after such a long gap... We'll see. I still need to work on the "re-introduction" scenario. It was agreed that I would write a prequel scenario unrelated to the campaign in an effort to get the group working together and then if everyone still wants to play then we can go back to the campaign.

Tenthly, I'm starting to get a little pissed off again with RAWSOC but that's another rant which I will spare you if you've actually read all of this. Sorry for the long post for those who don't like them but I can't be bothered putting in any LJ cuts at the moment because really I'm procrastinating doing some other work right now as it is and rather than re-read this post I'd rather just get back to work.

Buddha said: "Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others."

Be happy, people.
Invader Nim


I hate I hate I hate I hate IE6. We hates it we hates it we hates it we do.

My hatred for IE6 has escalated beyond having no limits, beyond the stratosphere into phenomenally incomprehensibly astronomical ever-expanding odium infinitus. It is the bane of all web designers; a burden that we do not deserve that must carry for the next umpteen years until it is as obsolete as Mosaic.

I truly think that I hate this more than anything in my life. Why?

From here, I quote:

1. Bad CSS rendering.
2. - 100. Bad CSS rendering.
Folks, it really is that bad. Using IE6 makes Baby Buddah cry, and all the other Baby Deities spontaneously kill themselves to escape a world in which such evil exists for surly mankind is doomed to have ever been cursed with such a burden. Yet, still must toil and struggle to work around its goddamn quirks because institutions like, say, Cardiff University or even some other office places still use IE6. Not only does that screw up the CSS menu system I have on two sites, but it utterly fucking breaks layout!

So, IE8 Beta has the handy dandy Developer Tools that allows you to emulate IE7 (because IE8 appears to be almost just as broken at the moment) and also run Quirks Mode which is supposed to emulate the quirks of IE5 and IE6. Except that my layout is even more anally raped than in the screen-shot I was given of my layout in actual IE6.

I weep.
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