What in the World is with the World of Gamer Zone TV Show? (IE – WTF just happened?)

Wow. I am now of the opinion that someone needs to hunt down that bastard Murphy and shoot him. ‘Cause we’ve managed to have pretty much everything go wrong that could (I did manage to think of scenarios that didn’t happen, just for future damage control and planning. But man those get ugly.)
So here’s the whole tale… snag your favorite beverage, this is interesting but long.
We shoot Episode 2. Looks pretty good. Editing on that one is just about done, and we shoot Episode 3.
Episode 3 looks great, and Meredith walked away from it feeling pretty good (the pilot, episode 1 & 2 she didn’t feel so hot about). I have to admit – Episode 3 felt really good to shoot.
So, Two in the can, one done, and one in edit. Since I had the camera, time to spool Episode 2 off to tape. This is where things start to go wrong. The PowerBook starts getting “laggy” – I was already experiencing some minor problems, but it’s getting really really bad. And then it happens – suddenly the Mac won’t boot.
Using OSX 10.4’s disk recovery system won’t do the job. None of the other little tricks I read about would do the job. It just plain fucked up, badly. There was no choice, I knew what I was about to have to do. I had to reformat and re-install OSX, Without being able to pull off the old data. OUCH. 90% of my stuff is backed up in other places, so, the only really nasty thing to loose is the copies of the show. OK, there was one nastier thing to loose – when I did Episode 2, I also did all of the titles for the show, including all of the reusable cool stuff that I only have to render once. Because of that, I put a lot of effort into making some really really slick looking stuff.
Get the machine back up and running. Time is ticking now – the first airing is Thursday, and it’s taken me most of a weekend to (miss)diagnose a machine, get it all put back together, reinstall all of my software, and get ready to roll again.
But we make it. Thursday arives, and I’m down at the KTQW station control room, spooling the show off to one of thier decks. Vince and I go through about an hour and a half of testing, hitting the right volume levels (+0 db in Final Cut Pro is different than +0 db in the real world of TV , etc., etc., etc. It’s about 5 PM, and we hit record…
And suddenly things start fucking up badly. Seizures, etc. So, I take the machine back to GZ where I can set down and work on it. The OS disappears – NOT a good sign  So my Co-host and I qucikly picked up an external USB enclosure for 2.5 inch (laptop) drives, and throw my HD in there. Lance (her hubby, and IT guy for a living, along with being a good friend of mine) begin to dig in. At first, the drive works… sort of. Then we hear it give it’s last gasp, and say “taTINK taTINK taTINK taTINK” over and over. Crap. That’s the sound of taps when it’s playing on a hard drive. At this point I should probably burst into tears, but I didn’t – I’ve already edited Episode 2. Twice.
At 7:30 PM, I call Vince – “Can you run something else in our spot?’ “Yep, I can come up with something” So Episode 2 doesn’t air on time. 
Now, at this point in the story, someone usualy says “Well, that’s why you should back up frequently.” 
Listen up to all you tech wizards out there who say that – this isn’t someone Excel files. This is DV video files. Unless you’ve got a really good network setup, and a server for the job, you don’t back these things up at random. They are between 25 and 40 Gigs of data PER SHOW. So would you like to sit there and back that up to DVDs for me?  Seriously – the backup process does exist, in a round about way. The shows are stored both as raw footage (IE, the original tapes are kept), then stored again as a finished product after the final edits are done. Two copies of the finals are made – one for KTWQ to air and hold, one for our archives. At the moment KTQW also holds the raws for us, but, we’re slowly getting our own copies of those made too – never know when you want to go back and pull a flub or blooper out of history  
The biggest actual problem wasn’t the lack of a backup – that would have only solved 1/2 of the issue. The biggest problem is a complete lack of a backup hardware plan. IE – what happens if our edit system fails? Well, now we have one – Meredith’s laptop is a temporary backup edit box while I wait for a new hard drive to show up. (Thank ye gods that HD was under warranty until 2010  All the software is loaded on there, and the titles are backed up so all the reusable titles can be loaded in minutes. 
Editing the show, as in the layout and cutting, isn’t nearly as time intensive as people might expect. I’ve got the software down pat, and can already make it set up, beg, roll over, and barf out video at will. But you would not believe how damned much time I spend tweaking, hacking, and rendering the titles for these episodes. But once they are done, no biggie – they get re-used for the next one (tons of it gets reused, but there are episode specific titles that don’t get re-used of course. Those get thrown on DVD still, just in case I need to go back and grab one for later use for some reason. “Back up frequently” my ass – you have no idea how much of a data packrat I really am! 
The credits roll for Episode 2 just finished – which means, I plop ’em in place, and episode 2 gets re-rendered, and I’m bloody well done with editing Episode 2. For the THIRD TIME  
The upside to this whole situation – World of Gamer Zone now has a 3 week lead time (we’re taking this week off from broadcasting, but, will still be shooting Episode 4 – “A New Hard Drive” on this Friday  so that there’s 3 episodes spooled of to tape, just in case we end up with amazing critical failures like this again. I also have the keyboard shortcuts for Final Cut Pro memorized, and a pretty optimized workflow setup now. I could look at everything as just being a colossal set of balls ups, with no benefit. But I don’t – stuff happened, we learned quite a bit about the worst case scenario, and all that good stuff.
Now, at the same time, there’s other really good news. My wife has been living in Colorado for a while now, which has been a real bitch for us – we’ve not had many opportunities to see each other, mainly because round trip from Wichita to her place and back is 18 hours. OUCH! Well, she’s now in KC helping her grandparents – which means we’re now within travelling distance from each other! Woohoo! That’s an amazing, massive improvement on life 
World of Gamer Zone / GamerZone

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