Friday, May 8, 2015

Less than Hollywood

I've previously mentioned that I transfer video for a living. It's nothing spectacular or special. I'm "the memory keeper", as my boss jokingly describes my title. I take people's home movies -whether they are on 8mm movie film, VHS, camcorder or any other tape type video, and put it all to DVD. It's either done via Pinnacle Studio 18 Ultimate running on a Dell Inspiron 3847 i3847-2770BK Desktop (in the case of movie film) or via a VCR plugged into a DVD Recorder (in the case of tapes and camcorders).

The problem is, our clientele think we do Hollywood type video production, using "state of the art" recording programs and equipment. We don't. It's a mom and pop business here, and video transfers aren't our main focus. We "over charge" and "under promote". Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. It's a job that is allowing me to do something every day and have something to look forward to - albeit a crazy something, as not every one knows our service and the ones who do, don't want to pay for analogue video. Nothing is "digitized" / "cleaned up". It's as grainy on a DVD as it was when previously recorded. Like I said, we are not Hollywood. You can not ultra zoom into someone's nose hairs and see they recently cut their nostrils.

So what's my point?

My point is:

Number one: We live in such a techno savvy era these days, that anyone can hook up any and all recording devices to any and all means, capture whatever they want to capture, then edit what they just taped. It doesn't mater what you are looking to do, there's a machine that can edit it. Hell, smart phone apps now have the ability to mix, master and produce top notch videos and music. The world is literally at our finger tips and those not going head first into mobile technology, end up wanting what they can't have. It's jealous greed multiplied, in a way.

Number two, and the main rant: I had a customer approach me asking the flicker rate of our 8mm movie transfers. He's looking for very specific information - like having the ability to count blue cars on the Expressway during non peak hours. It's craziness, as his questions are big production type of questions, for videos over 35 years old. When I described the process to him, he plainly stated "oh, I already do that at home. I thought you'd have better equipment". No, we don't. It's pretty much an automated movie projector plugged into the Studio capture device and computer. He told me he has the same materials at home - including Studio, but hoped we did better than he could. Sorry, pal, maybe a bigger city than here has what you're looking for, because no one locally does pristine work like that. Think of us like an expensive hobby place. You give us your reels and we charge you hundreds of dollars for the originals on disc - grainy, antiquey, looking like you shouldn't be playing a 1960s video on a 2015 device.

I didn't say that, but it's essentially what we do. Sorry (not sorry). It's the way of the land. You have the ability to do it at home, by all means, be my guest. I am perfectly fine not doing the work you think you can do. If you screw up and end up wanting us to do it, I'm fine with that too. But at least you know we don't do anything amazing... (my boss' motto is "I don't suck" because she thinks that highly of herself. I've seen better work from a 7 year old).

It is what it is, and I suppose I'm rambling now. Guess I should get back to work!


Pictures or I make shit up:

edited to add:

More reason technology is quickly on the side of mobile devices: I produced the following 6 second video on my laptop, using PowerDirector. I had gotten The Who's Behind Blue Eyes and snipped it down to off kilter sync with the video. No, I do not own the rights to the song, nor the old woman, although she's a bit of a silent slut. I then used the magic of Dropbox to upload it to my iPhone. From there, it went on Instagram.

Sounds like a mess, but only shows what you can do with a little creativity and software!