Vegas-edited doc hitting film festivals

larry-peter wrote on 6/22/2013, 11:05 AM
This post is 40% shameless horn-blowing and 60% a plug for Vegas as a “professional” NLE.

Our 105 minute feature documentary, They Wore the Red Suit, was given a great screening slot in the Indianapolis International Film Festival, and is currently the documentary with the highest “buzz rating” in the festival. It was edited, color corrected, and mixed totally in Vegas. Not without a few hitches, but we got it done in VP11.

The editor I brought in for the project had never used Vegas before – Avid and Final Cut were his expertise. I asked him to try Vegas first and if it didn’t work for him, I’d set him up with whatever he wanted. After a few days of grumbling about media management, he said he wanted to give it a shot. A week later said he wouldn’t be able to match the daily progress he was making in Avid or FCP.

In full disclosure, we did lose several days of progress battling the replaced media bug when we were about 70% done. Timeline Tools plus manually correcting the file paths of hundreds of clips saved us from ditching.

Because of some last minute shooting, we missed a bunch of early Festival deadlines this season but it looks like we have more late-season fest screenings upcoming.


john_dennis wrote on 6/22/2013, 12:20 PM
[I]He who tooteth not his own horn, the same shall not be tooted.[/I]
rmack350 wrote on 6/22/2013, 1:51 PM
I think it'd be a great idea for SCS to offer a few finishing grants every year to get the story and feedback for bigger projects like this. It could be a combination of cash and support to stay in constant contact with a project.

Congrats on getting into a festival, by the way. Let's hope you find a distributor too!

larry-peter wrote on 6/22/2013, 3:10 PM
Thanks for the good wishes, Rob. I put myself, family, business deep in hock to finish this. I do think it will break even - eventually.

And, SCS... there's still time!!! Big EDITED ON VEGAS in the credits. Full screen if you like. Hold for 10 seconds. Just need a little cash pop. Anybody....
VidMus wrote on 6/22/2013, 3:15 PM
How about a little 'Sample' or 'Preview' of the doc?
rmack350 wrote on 6/22/2013, 5:50 PM
The couple I work for here in the SF bay area make docs as their labor of love. We do corporate training and communications as a labor of labor and this pays the bills.

They've done enough of the docs now that they start to bring back a little money. Several are sold in educational markets, some have had theatrical runs and then went on to sell DVDs or run on Netflix. I have the impression that they do, in aggregate, come close to paying for themselves. All but one have been self funded.

I see under the "About Us" link on this page that there's a Showcase link. SCS never seems to promote other parts of their site in this forum but that would be a good place to try to get your project showcased. There's even a link to let SCS know about your project. If their showcase article were good you could then link back to it on your own page.

In addition, there's the regular SCS newsletter where you might be able to get your project featured.

We had gotten a bit of this type of exposure from Media100 several years ago because we were using their 844X system, which was a new product for them. They were able to show someone using it for a feature length project and we were able to get their ear and influence development and bug fixes.

If I were making the suggestion to SCS I'd say to look for a few projects to adopt that are likely to make it to completion and into festivals or better yet into distribution. Provide some grant payments for editing stages (or maybe equipment loans) but more importantly provide for platinum support and also several site visits to come to the filmmaker and talk about the editing experience with Vegas.

Grants or equipment loans could be funneled though grant making organizations that have a bit more experience judging projects, which would put SCS more in the position of helping the funder rather than helping only the filmmaker. They might get more mileage out of something like that.

farss wrote on 6/22/2013, 7:25 PM
[I]"Grants or equipment loans could be funneled though grant making organizations that have a bit more experience judging projects, which would put SCS more in the position of helping the funder rather than helping only the filmmaker. They might get more mileage out of something like that."[/I]

That's a very difficult road to go down.
We have one such organisation down here. Company xyz kicks in a lot to help movies get made. If one makes it big time (rare) then there's no certainty the producers will continue to showcase company's xyz gear, in fact very likely not.

Simple example, Panasonic had lots of traction with the Indie film makers. Those that made it big time then have the budgets to shoot with the best cameras and Panasonic got left behind.

On the other I do agree it would benefit us all if SCS got "out there" more.

musicvid10 wrote on 6/22/2013, 10:03 PM
Project/operating grants, Capital improvement grants, and loans are rarely (never?) comingled in my experience, due to the complex nature of accounting for restricted assets. And the funding arms for each are often separate entities.
larry-peter wrote on 6/22/2013, 10:06 PM
Hey Rob, you found it! I just had to upload a trailer for the fest and I'll link to that as soon as they have it up . The one on the site was done early in the fundraising for production and obviously isn't color corrected. (I do need to update the whole site now. Hasn't been touched since we were begging for money.)

I do the same as the folks you mentioned. My commercial gigs allow me to do the things I really love to do. One of these days I'll learn to stop spending more on my passion than I make with my business.

Bob, I agree that when a filmmaker hits it big they'll usually go for the high-end equipment. But there are so many doing what I'm doing, any company could generate a lot of good PR and loyal customers from the rest of us 99.9% who will keep on chomping at the fringes of success.
TheHappyFriar wrote on 6/22/2013, 10:19 PM
Not without a few hitches, but we got it done in VP11.

For the Buffalo 48 hour film this year I had someone else help out with camera work. It was great! She had access to a Panasonic AVHD (or whatever) cameras.

Got home and found out she forgot to flip the switch for the audio from "rear" to "front" so we had no audio on that camera, and we basically had a unit 1 & 2 setup. So, now (as in RIGHT now) I'm getting e-mails of VO's done by people so I can sync them up. :)

Always a few hitches! They make the job EXCITING! (I with it was less exciting atm!)
rmack350 wrote on 6/23/2013, 12:31 AM
It's not my job to figure out the details of an imaginary grant, but the main thought was for SCS to get involved with several real long form projects in a way that would improve Vegas.

The thought behind "gear", like an edit station, is that it's there for the duration of the project, whereas a 5 or 10 thousand dollar grant gets used up and the recipient's enthusiasm dissipates. The idea is to have a reason to keep getting feedback about how Vegas is working all the way up to the point where the DCP gets shipped off to a festival or to the point where you've checked off all the boxes with a distributor (since there are requirements to meet regarding clearing the rights to all your assets before signing a contract for example).

I wouldn't see a grant as a way to build customer loyalty. Doing favors for low a budget production ... I think you know exactly how that goes.

TheHappyFriar wrote on 6/23/2013, 12:17 PM
I'd rather see SCS have monthly/quarterly movie contests. Or, better yet, they get behind some more indie/novice friendly film festivals and give away hardware/software. Get'em while they're still new and you'll have lifers vs trying to convince someone to change what they've been doing for years.
JasonATL wrote on 6/24/2013, 6:16 AM
Congrats, Atom12! I wish you the best with the doc.

Forget grants. I'd be happy if SCS simply made Vegas Pro more robust/stable so that someone does not run into Vegas-indusced glitches when finishing a film (other glitches, e.g no audio, are under the producer's control, in theory). Under the "time is money" theory, having a more stable Vegas Pro would be like giving everyone a grant. Moreover, it might cost less to SCS than it would be worth to those receiving this "grant."
rmack350 wrote on 6/24/2013, 1:23 PM
I'm becoming sorry I brought it up. My thought behind the grant idea was entirely to make Vegas more robust/stable and usable for long form. That's it, that's all. It was engineering centric, not marketing centric. However, of course both could be done. More likely it'd be C: none of the above.

Long form projects stress an NLE in a way that short form never will. It's a reason why my place of employment uses PPro for projects under 10 minutes and FCP for long form. FCP can do the job, and the editing talent is available to hire.

The idea of a grant was really as a mechanism to encourage hiring an experienced long form editor who would have lots of perspective and could give good feedback to SCS engineers on Vegas in comparison to other NLEs.

However, thinking back to our experience with Media100 and their 844X product, I think what we got was constant support and a direct phone number to an engineer in trade for them using us for showcase articles and press releases. That seems like a pretty good trade. A grant to hire an editor just gets them (hopefully) better feedback.

Of course I'm making an assumption that long form would be something SCS cares to go after. It's not where the money is for any consumer priced NLE but it's conceivably a selling point for people with aspirations of making a feature film. So stability and functionality does become a marketing issue.

michaelshive wrote on 6/24/2013, 2:58 PM
" place of employment uses PPro for projects under 10 minutes and FCP for long form. FCP can do the job, and the editing talent is available to hire."

If you're talking about FCP7 I would argue just the opposite. FCP7 is only 32bit and can only access 2.5gb RAM. This makes working on long projects with a lot of media burdensome. Any time I've had a large project in FCP7 the memory issues caused a lot of problems. PPro is 64bit so it can access all the RAM in the system. This makes for a much better editing experience on long form projects. But to each their own.
larry-peter wrote on 6/24/2013, 3:35 PM
Rob, I understand what you meant. I'm a little debt slap-happy right now, so my earlier comments were mainly in jest. My ideal situation would be for a company (like SCS) who wants to viewed differently in the professional world, to loan a system for selected low-budget projects - along with a constant communication line to support/engineers (Media 100 did the same for us back in 2001). And I mean one that would fill the bill - storage, HD-SDI i/o, broadcast quality monitor, etc. Not only could they prove a stable configuration could be built, the input from an editor working on a long-form could possibly provide solutions for issues that beta testing never will.
rmack350 wrote on 6/24/2013, 7:36 PM
Media 100 did the same for us back in 2001

We're on the same page on this. I actually came on board here in 2001 but I know the relationship with Media100 was very close here. I think it was their culture to do that. Media100 was a popular alternative to Avid in the 90s.

rmack350 wrote on 6/24/2013, 7:54 PM
If you're talking about FCP7 I would argue just the opposite.

Since I'm not doing the editing I'm mostly going on overheard conversations and the frequency of groans when things crash. All the work is happening about 30 feet away in a space with no walls, so I hear most of the conversation.

Yes, I'm talking about FCP 7. While FCP crashes a bit, I don't think it's enough to make anyone here walk away from it. What I'm assuming is that it meets their needs for long form, and it meets their need to play well with people who'll do color finishing, music, audio finishing, etc. This second thing is really important.

Also, there's crashes and then there's crashes. Even with a few crashes a day I don't think there's any fear that they won't finish a project.

Of course one big problem with FCP7 is that it's a dead end.