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Help Jason Scott, creator of the computer history documentaries "BBS" and "GET LAMP",  produce three more documentaries at once.
Help Jason Scott, creator of the computer history documentaries "BBS" and "GET LAMP", produce three more documentaries at once.
573 backers pledged $118,801 to help bring this project to life.

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The Reserve

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Progress And Goals

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Just to stick my head in for a moment:

Documentary editing is now humming along, and plans are being made for backfill interviews and a finish date. My hope is to have sequences that you can (optionally) watch in June. I'm mostly trying to keep it real with goals of having watchable films by the end of the year, without committing to the physical copies issues - not surprisingly, physical manufacturing becomes harder and harder to predict in this world, and their deadlines are not anyone else's deadlines.

To stress this - as I drop sequences, you can wait until the movies are done and see them in final form - these sequences are mostly for you to see in-process how things are going. I'm sure sound and image will be not perfect (you want to wait until everything's done before you do CPU-intensive noise reduction or complicated exacting fixes.

You've all been very patient. As my life is changing so radically in 2017, it'll be nice to share these movies with you.

A Small Issue of a Heart Attack

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So, I had a heart attack a little more than a week ago.

A poetic, introspective update is here:

http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/5139

I just wanted all of you to know this doesn't affect production in the least. I was not lifting anything heavy and editing a film and prepping more interviews are absolutely stuff I can do. In fact, there's very little I can't do except to keep an eye on my numbers to a much greater degree. 

I was in Australia when this happened, and it delayed my flying back. I'm back later this week, and we'll go from there.

A Little Bit on Editing

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I just wanted to share some quick thoughts on editing.

Vanderslice Mini-Doc Edit Bench
Vanderslice Mini-Doc Edit Bench

The image above has the final editing cuts for the Vanderslice mini-doc, pulled from a single interview I conducted in 2012. Besides some illustrative shots of very old studio setups, the whole mini-doc comes from the footage shot across a straight hour and a half at Tiny Telephone. It's got a couple hundred "edits" of various types, ranging from audio and video through to transitions and text overlays. It took me a few days, with a break to get some distance and to go back in.

If you watch the full 45 minute interview, you can pick out pieces of what I used to construct John's statements. It's a difficult but necessary job to take the essence of what he is saying, and cut it together so he says it better and in less time. Coughs, long considering pauses, and repeating an idea as it gets worked through are all refined out.

This is why you have B-Roll, the illustrative shots of the person not talking, so the edits are not as obvious. For example:

It helps to see the bench as a camera pointed down - whatever visual clip is in front will be the one on the screen. We see how I have layers of images that are being swapped behind. So after that first couple seconds, we have four image shots (one of which, based on the squiggly line, has been stretched out because of a camera shake or being too short to begin with). Meanwhile, John's statement underneath has 7 cuts (including the ends) and has had two pauses placed in it.

This is the least enjoyable part of the work, of course - doing the shooting is pretty fun and variant, but in something as simple as this interview being cut down, I might listen to this clip over 100 times and then a dozen or more after it's "done" to make sure I didn't mess something up.

The result, ideally, is something both watchable and informative, with enough variation (even in such a relatively small content set) that you don't feel you're watching a repetitive set of shots or ideas. I could make it shorter, or add a few other interesting things said, but that balance of fun-to-information is critical for people to come away from a viewing (especially in today's world) feeling they got just enough of what they needed, while others who want to dig deeper can be given access to the raw stuff.

Notes on a (Cancelled) Tape Documentary

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