Friday, 1 April 2016

Editing Shahjahanabad- An Amateur Director's Confessions on Video I

Dear Editors of the world, you have my respect, hats off to you guys for doing this boring job with such passion!Well, nobody told me what I am going to tell you now- 
Editing Videos is the most tedious job in the world! 

Now coming back to Shahjahanabad, in hindsight it seems it was far easier to just shoot in the crowded market places (if only we could just upload the raw footage), but shot Videos needed editing before public viewing! So, we decided to start with the Sohail Hashmi Sahab's video footage first, and since it was a long video we decided to do it in two parts. One part was the walk focusing on the Shahjahanabad Architecture and the other, the short Jama Masjid narrative by Sohail Hashmi Sahab. My Videographer, was also my Editor, and we decided to start with the shorter Jama Masjid video first. We had a few videos, some images thanks to our brilliant Videographer and Photographer respectively, and the task was to add it with Sohail Sahab's interesting narrative, and Voila, video would be ready for sharing on the site! That cannot be so difficult, thought the gullible me, and I could not have been more wrong!!

 The Videographer, whom I had always treated like a younger brother now in the editor's chair, started by sharing a few of his edited films to watch at home (suitably impressed, but honestly speaking, did not watch any!). The equation was established he was the experienced senior, and I was the junior/inexperienced/amateur! 

We started first things first by inserting the slides with title, logo etc. Now, the narrative started, we heard the narrative and cleared the long pauses, unnecessary details, etc. My homework now, was to go home, see the entire clip, if possible transcribe, see what photo/ video should go where and then come for the next editing session! 
In my defense, my teaching classes were going on, and with mid-semester exams I had piles of answer sheets and assignments to check, thus already overworked, I did not do anything I was asked to do! 

We could only do half sessions on few week days as other half of the day, I was taking my classes,  and the Editor was busy editing other people's videos. I had to take appointments and in our limited time, sometimes the machine would misbehave too (yes, that happens). The mornings were starting too early for me and then stuck in the morning rush hour traffic, it would take me more than one and a half hours to reach office from my home, and if I found out that I had to wait more because machine was not ready or for some other reason, I would get upset! I usually carried some packs of snacks as bribe to keep Editor bhai in good humor, and often finished them myself! At the editing table, I managed to often entangle the wires of the headphone many times, once almost spilled the coffee, I was the fumbling older colleague, who had to hear scolding from the senior!

Sitting and staring at the screen for long hours takes patience along with listening to the narratives over and over again. Often by the third -fourth replay of the video, one memorizes the entire narrative, and it played in the head so much that I even had dreams of messing up the entire thing, and Sohail sahab shouting at me! (Nightmares of an Amateur Director, well that could be the subject of another blog post!)

Next session, I was inquired for the script by the Editor Sahab (Respect, guys!). My reaction was, "What? No way!" I know what Sohail Sahab is explaining, I know all the shot visuals, I can do it! We started putting the images/ videos with the narrative, and the fights started! I was making the Editor sahab go through the pile of images/ videos and then select them, a lengthy process. I would like something, for example, the aerial shot and Editor sahab would reject it, or he would put something to hide the jarring cuts, or some other image and I would dislike it. Sometimes, we argued so much that others had to intervene! Then, Editor sahab gave up, and stopped giving inputs, at first I was happy (no more arguments), but then it started to bother me after a while. What if I was doing it all wrong! 

When Editor Sahab left for his hometown in the Holi holidays, I decided to finish other work like shooting around Jama Masjid for some more of the images with our Photographer, and  putting the captions on the edited photos. I researched where I was unsure of details, wrote beautiful captions (in my opinion, of course!) and dedicated an entire day to it. Finally satisfied with my productivity, I finished 90% of the task in a single day. But SomeOne up at the Heavens wanted me to slog a lot more and so, I accidentally closed the window and since it was a new format for me, forgot to save the work!! Thankfully had a few days off with the Holi holidays and the weekend to shake off the sadma of an entire day's work lost! 

 Post- Holi we were back at work. I was getting teased for my inexperience and also being warned not to turn it into a "shaadi ka type video "! We had become foes from friends' taking digs at each other! The bribe was not working obviously and with my pile of answer sheets to check, I was not getting any time to do any "extra" work. But, we both diligently kept working at it and produced a decent version of the video. We showed it to the rest of the team, who liked/ approved of it with a few suggestions/changes. We thought probably an hour more to refine it and our first Video could go online soon! 

Once you get used to it, the editing process is enjoyable! While finishing a long days' work, Editor sahab finally remarked  at some good sense of judgement that I had shown for some of the images, and said sorry, while I thanked him for all the hard work and apologized for my rude behavior too! We were back to being friends' again (until maybe the next editing session)!
But, he had earned my respect for all the Editor Sahabs of the world for sure :)

Here is the link for Video I

& the Link for the Sohail Hashmi Sahab's Walk 

1 comment:

  1. As usual wonderful narrative style & editing is a pain but the final product is always so rewarding that you forget the process & enjoy the fruit. Hope to see the video soon & show off to other friends.
    God bless!