Thursday, June 07, 2007

all not lost









After returning my $28 Circuit City 6pin-to-4pin firewire cable, I went in search of a 6-to-6, which would enable me to connect two computers directly and hopefully rescue the video project from a dying hard disc. I initially paid $14 for firewire at the Apple Store, and I thought that was a pretty sweet deal, but later the same day found a CraigsList seller with cables for seven dollars a pop. I bought a 6-to-6 and another 6-to-4. (Holy profit margin, CircuitCity!)

The good news doesn't end there. Next morning, I jacked the MacBook into the iMac, booted up (nervously), and transferred forty gigs of data in under an hour. Effortless. This is the part where I express my gratitude to Apple for designing products that work. My goodness. Then I installed Final Cut on the MacBook and attempted to open one of the transfered video project files. These project files are pretty simple, I guess. Each one is just a timeline, not actual video, and the timeline points to specific moments within the raw video files. I had my doubts that the timeline would be smart enough to find its video, now that nothing was in its place any more. But no--project opened as if nothing had happened.

I'd been advised by a "MacGenius" at the Apple Store that, while the iMac hard disk could not be "repaired," I might have luck doing a system "restore," formatting the hard drive, re-installing the operating system, and returning the computer to its factory settings. Maybe the hard drive wasn't, in fact, bad? With all my files backed up, I went for it. It may have worked.

Computer is running and not crashing. Re-transferring the files back via firewire is slower than the first transfer, however. I started the transfer, ran some errands, came back many hours later, and it still said "3 hours remaining." So I cancelled it. Haven't had time to try again.

I forget the specs, but I think the desktop processor is a little more powerful than the laptop. Not sure. Don't want to deal with a bad hard drive. I'll proceed with editing on this machine and fiddle with the iMac when I have time.

The weather has been incredible, and I find myself using my designated bike time for riding instead of editing. I guess that's a good thing, on some level. After eight months riding pegless, I put just a front left peg on for hang-fives, and I was amazed to find that my body knew the balance point. It must have something to do with all this coverage of Josh Betley.

Rolling on the front wheel is an incredible sensation. If I get this trick locked down, I could see myself becoming a dedicated flatlander...

Friday, June 01, 2007

Every single thing.

Last post, video production was stalled, waiting for three things:

1. Capture cam from Ben, because the one I bought broke.
2. Final Cut disk from Ben, because the application spontaneously stopped working on my computer and needed to be reinstalled.
3. Firewire cable from Ben (to connect camera to computer).

Ben and Atika came up for a visit, and Ben remembered the camera, but nothing else. We visited them in St Louis, and I remembered to grab the disk, but not the cable. So I bought the cable from Circuit City, intending to return it once I'd captured everything--thirty bucks for an item that could be had off ebay for fifteen shipped.

First night I had everything together, I started capturing right away. The problems began promptly. For a select group of tapes, the cap-cam absolutely refuses to play back sound. All the tapes from Ben's trv950, I think, maybe seven in total.

The trv950 was our longtime workhorse, the camera that documented our hardest years of riding, right up until last year, when Ben got married and we began to film a lot less. When we go out filming now, it's always for bangers, but those occasions are fewer and farther between. The trv950 footy is the stuff I had in mind for the video all along, and I've been working with everything else.

So, I captured everything I could, and I gave Ben back his camera.

Working with this small amount of footage, I edited and re-edited, tried out lots of different things. I have this dogmatic belief that focus and detachment are the essential state of mind for writing and editing. And with the right editing, anything can be made to work. After a million painstaking re-edits, I have almost seven minutes that I'm totally happy with. I guess you would call the video a "mixtape." No rider gets his own part, no names on the clips, just super tight, watch it, get fired up, go ride. That kind of thing. I even know exactly where the remaining footy will go, once I figure out how to get it captured.

However, night before last, the computer acted up, taking longer and longer to boot, and crashing sometimes, which never happened before, finally refusing to boot altogether. I suspected a bad hard drive, took it to the Apple Store for diagnosis yesterday, and my suspicion was confirmed. We were able to pull some test files off of the computer, so maybe I'll be able to back everything up. Maybe not. All I need is a six-pin-to-six-pin firewire cable, and I can use the MacBook as an external hard drive.

I went to Circuit City last night with this knowledge, eager to return my useless video-to-computer firewire cable, get my money back, and buy the new computer-to-computer cable.

Denied. Fifteen days past the limit for money-back returns. Blew that one. Well, at least I was still eligible for store credit and could exchange for the new wire.

NO. Circuit City does not stock a six-pin-to-six-pin firewire cable.

So, thirty dollar gift card! That's the update. To recap, I must now

1. Buy computer-to-computer cable.
2. Back up data.
3. Repair or replace hard drive.
4a. Best case scenario: captured video still viable.
4b. Alternate scenario: re-capture and re-edit all footage.

That would bring us back to where we were. Still need to
5. Acquire capture camera.
6. Capture remaining video.
7. Finish editing
8. Figure out how to burn a dvd.
9. Get dvd's duplicated, distributed, etc.

Part of me is surprised at how short this list is, and part of me thinks that the list is impossibly long. Again, it had been my intention to finish this before the baby's birth. I don't mind continuing to work on the project, except that our footage continues to age...

Finish on a high note?.. All of the sudden, winter is over. It's 3 a.m. and seventy degrees out.