Jimmy T Tran

April 4, 2021

Post-Mortem: New Professor Um video

One of the reasons I pick up video projects (or any project within my skillsets) is what I could learn from (working on) it. I use Final Cut Pro.

- Asset Management: I learned how to organize my video cuts better, which is actually something I learned when I designed a training booklet last year (managing my Pixelmator/Illustrator layers). Basically: stack your tracks/layers in the linear fashion in which they appear on-screen and re-name them. I was able to create some nice choral snippets in the video because a lot of common phrases were said (Hi - Congratulations - You Deserve This - It's Long Overdue - Thank You)

- Cadence: I internalized and turned this word into a daily habitual process when I (re)learned this word from a personal finance video. Using the Streaks app, I turned this video into a daily practice (30 minutes a day minimum), having this on my Apple Watch turned out to be key, as predicted, because I always look at my watch. It's best to write down reminders where you most look, which nowadays is: your watch, your smartphone, your desktop, your browser. The great thing is 30 minutes sometimes turned into 40 minutes, or 1 hour and 10 minutes, or the rest of the night. Chipping away at this project got me to turn in my first draft cut a day ahead of schedule. Chip away at a project with a cadence of daily.

Everyday I worked on the project (which was funny enough, actually everyday for the past week and a half), I set a work theme for the day. Examples: one day was downloading all the video, the next day was importing all the video into Final Cut Pro, the day after was watching a couple of them to see what categories there were, another day was editing just one choral segment. Clear delineations for each workday gave a clear sense of purpose each day, which helped me organize the project, which empowered me with a peace of mind, as I had the vocabulary and timeline of what I had to finish each day, rather than say to myself (and the client): "Oh, I just need to work on the video..." Naming what I specifically needed to work on what so vital to the mental health of me over the course of working on this video.

Also, I took a tip from Hemingway: I left a little dangling at the end of each workday, to give me something to do the next day. For example, I had about 5 video submissions I had yet to go through and cut out into categorized parts. But rather than finishing the work day by going through all 5 of those videos, I just finished 2, and left the remaining 3 for the next day (as it would be a task that I knew immediately how to finish, and would provide momentum to tackle a new part of the project).

- Kill your Darlings (with multiple iterative drafts): Detachment from one's art is difficult because in order to finish a project, you must fall in deep love with the project, and to fall in love with a project, you must fall in love with all parts of it (like advice I heard about love: you must love the problems of who/what you love). Falling in love with the parts that make up the project creates an attachment that creates tough decisions you have to make when you deliberate on what you have to remove (because do not lie to yourself: you always have to cut footage).

Getting versions to the client was key to getting this video across the finish line. I submitted 5 versions of this video, and doing live time-coding of the client's edits has been key to keeping this process smooth, most importantly, the client was able to kill the darlings for me (and to enforce a time limit to the video). Feels great to trim the fat, but hard to get. Thanks Boun!

The V key in Final Cut Pro: Mutes the video segment, this has now entered my keyboard shortcut repertoire along with the blade (b) and normal (a)

- Shape Mask effect: All videos comes sharp-edged boxy. "Shape Mask" gives you the ability to give natural curves to the edges.