L4D2 Action Footage RetrospectiveMy first foray back into video editing has wrapped, and it was a valuable success.
The final product matched my initial expectations and I gained a lot of knowledge about Adobe Premiere; its quirks and its powers.
As with previous projects I used JIRA to track my work-load and time spent; continuing my theory that video editing fits within the Agile programming methodology. From this analysis I can put hard number to mistakes and good decisions made during the editing process.
|I categorized all post-production work into the above JIRA epics.|
Software vs. ArtFilm editing is a marriage between software skills and artistic skills. As a person with a background in both areas, I find this kind of work very satisfying. Roughly speaking, this project involved a 50/50 split between 'software' related tasks and 'art' related tasks.
The reality of video editing is that a lot of my time is spent grappling with the nuances of software. For example, I spent about as much time dealing with importing and exporting footage than I did doing timeline manipulation (e.g. splicing and arranging footage). This is perhaps the most valuable insight I gained from this post mortem review.
This 'non-art' time represents an inherent overhead cost involved with video projects. That is to say, if I expect to start and finish new projects on a weekly basis, I need to factor in a lot of time for overhead.
I lucked out in the sound department. The original footage had nearly perfect audio and I could focus most of my time on the visuals.
Overall my estimations aren't too far off. That is, from a project-level view my overestimates balanced out my underestimates.
The most important metric here is my timeline editing accuracy. Of all the tech area, I believe timeline editing is the area with the least unknowns (for me anyways) and it can be my most reliable indicator for a project's overall complexity and time.
I anticipate that my software related activities should be mitigated or streamlined over time (as I learn the tools better). As for my 'art' related activities, it's less important to reduce the time spent and more important to realistically quantify how long it will take.
My timeline editing accuracy remains strong. Keep up the good work. *pats self on back*
For me it is unintuitive how much time is needed for import/export tasks. Trust my metrics to keep these estimates realistic.
Best and Worst EstimationsTime allocated for normalizing footage between different camera angles turned out to be a freebee. No color balance or audio balance was needed. This actually makes a lot of sense, since raw footage from both camera angles were obtained from the same video capture software (OSB Studio); both using out-of-the-box settings.
- There were a couple work tickets that were originally scoped out for work in every scene that turned out to only need work in one scene (e.g. trim loading screens).
- With misc tech related tickets I tend to bake in time to allow for 2-3 failed attempts. A couple of tickets this project succeeded on the first attempt (e.g. Update version of Premiere).
- All of my worst offenders were import/export related tickets, ranging from 200% to 300% extra time needed to complete.
- Dealing with non-fixed frame-rate footage was surprise for me. I had to tool up on a new piece of software (Handbrake) to tackle this issue.
- Downloading and uploading footage required a surprising amount of baby-sitting. Download of large files failed frequently (~10 attempts to complete) and publishing of large files to YouTube failed frequently (~5 attempts to complete).
There was a fairly consistent correlation between scene length and time spent editing. Sc05 (the final scene) was the best bang for my buck, which makes sense. All the other scenes involved characters running through dozens of different locations, while the final scene only involved action in a single large location. Less time was needed to establish the location for the audience.
My actual time spent per scene was very consistent. However, my estimations varied wildly.
This project was edited chronologically. Overestimation in Sc01 was understandable, since I had no data to base it on. I overcompensated for estimates in Sc02, and so on.
I am stronger at estimating based on technical area than based on scenes' content.
When were Technical Areas Focused?
Again, editing was chronological. First 3 sprints were focused on timeline editing. The first sprint had a lot of import work, and the last sprint had a lot of export work (no surprises there).
The visual effects (none of which were part of the original scope) were applied last. The visual effect ended up clarify some confusing parts of the footage (e.g. text on screen, watermarks), as suggested from feedback from a test viewing audience between sprint 2 and sprint 3.
- The test viewing mid-project was invaluable, and resulted in a much cleaner final product. It also gave me time to pivot.
Product FulfillmentDid I deliver on time?
Yes. It took 4 weeks and I finished 2 weeks early.
|Burndown charts from all 4 sprints|
Quality of life?
Work pace was consistent and there were no crunch times.
I originally estimated that 44 man hours would be needed to complete the project, and I ended up spending 46 man hours.
Did I deliver what I promised?
Yes. Original estimated scope of project was nearly on point; and only 15% of the originally planned work was replaced by higher priority backlog creep items (i.e. all the visual effect work).
When editing chronologically I find it very tempting to get caught up in perfecting individual edits. For this project I did a good job time-boxing myself on difficult edits; I created a backlog ticket for anything that was taking more than 1 minute to do. This resulted in dozens of small tickets in the backlog intended for me to go back later and tighten difficult moments.
Most of the backlog creep remained unfinished; dozens of 30 minute stories. Final viewings of the footage proved to me that all the issues I felt were bothersome during my initial rounds of editing turned out to be non-distracting. Hence, no need to do them after all.
- Backlog any edit that takes more than 1 minute to do. It will likely turn out to be a non-MVP issues.