Skip to content

Taking the Long Way Home

Last December, I had just gotten home from a gig when my business partner, Scott called me. One of our clients had just been selected as a McDonalds All-American Basketball player and wanted more copies of his promo DVD.

“That’s great! No sweat. I’ll get those right out!”

I fire up the computer and open up Avid Xpress Pro to export the necessary video to burn a few new copies (unfortunately, I didn’t keep a copy of the most recent DVD that I could just duplicate and my 500 GB external is nearly maxed out, so I had no room to save the exported video from the original creation). I begin my export, wait a few minutes, and realize my computer is frozen

… Restart … Frozen startup screen … Another hard restart … Click … Click … Click … Nothing. The hard drive is dead.

Now I start to panic. My computer is my livelihood. Good thing I back up … wait … I just disabled and deleted my backup system to give myself more space on my external. Luckily, most of my important documents are backed up through various emails and really old backups, all my music is on my Ipod, and my raw video data is stored on the external (which is what trumped my backup in the first place), but all the files that reference the raw video are stored locally. In other words, I have video, but would have to re-edit all of it if the files cannot be recovered. Plus, I only have a hard copy of the most recent edition of my feature-length screenplay. It would have to be re-typed. All this a week before I have to fly from New York City to Los Angeles to get married.

Thanks to my amazing then fiance, now wife, Megan, I get my hard drive replaced before we leave so I can at least use my computer while I search for the time and money to send out the bad drive and the next few months are spent getting married, going on a honeymoon, then finding out all the programs I forgot to install before packing everything up. Finally, my amazing wife finds the time to send the drive out right before we move to Las Vegas. I begin to feel better.

It is now 12:12am PST on February 27. Scott called yesterday to tell me our client really needs more DVDs now as he has just made it to the State Finals and is starting to get scouts from high profile division 1 colleges. We have a copy of the most recent DVD we made, but the client wants to swap out one of the games shown. My failed hard drive is currently in Chicago being assessed for a repair recovery estimate.

Luckily, I am able to find the other game in the raw footage on my external, but everything else will have to be extracted from the DVD to make a new DVD with the new game added. In other words, I have to completely deconstruct one DVD before I can construct a new one. It’s like remodeling a house by demolishing it, then building it again using all original parts except in the kitchen.

As Megan watches American Idol and we discuss the state of rock in the 70s …

Megan: There was no good rock in the 70s.

Me: ??? Rock was born in the 70s!

Megan: No, rock was born in the 60s, or even the 50s.

Me: Okay, but rock’s balls dropped in the 70s.

… while I attempt to use Handbrake to extract each video separately from the DVD. Of course, Handbrake doesn’t like me tonight and after about an hour of fiddling, I finally figure out I have to disable the update check before it will work (there is a new update out, which it wanted me to use, but it’s only for Leopard and I’m running Tiger). Finally, Handbrake cooperates and I quickly find out Megan’s computer will do everything much faster (I’m running on a 3-year-old Powerbook. She’s got a first-gen MacBook Pro), so I move the entire project to her computer.

So what should have taken an hour or two, tops, last December is now taking 5 hours and counting (I have at least another hour of encoding before the DVDs even start burning) two months later. On top of that, I have to get up early to package, label, and overnight the DVDs before I head to my gig at 1:00pm. All of this because I wanted to save a few bucks and stretch my external hard drive as far as I could.

As soon as things settle down, I’m buying this and downloading this. With these gems, I could’ve used Megan’s computer to boot my computer on her computer from the external hard drive right after the hard drive failed and saved myself hours and hours of extra work and headache.

Man, I’m a geek.

  • christina

    haha. you are a geek! miss you and megan-face!

  • christina

    haha. you are a geek! miss you and megan-face!