Thursday, February 10, 2005

At Their Mercy

If you know me or have been reading this blog for very long, you'll know I work in the television business. Like nearly all industries, more and more of our work involves computers. Ninety-nine percent of what we produce is done on computers. Everything is digital, the video we shoot and the audio we use. Yesterday, in post-production for our weekly TV show, the digital gods reinforced that it's truly their domain, and we are all at their mercy. Murphy's Law really applies, with extreme prejudice, in the digital world.

When problems arose in an analog editing suite, they were generally easy to diagnose. In our digital suites... forget about it. Digital routers, video with embedded digital audio, serial interfaces, digital-to-analog converters, analog-to-digital converters, AES/EBU, SDI, 4:1:1 and 4:2:2 compression, bitrates, firewire, RAID storage, high definition... there's too many places for problems to lurk. Yesterday, we were reminded that the digital world is different.

And now, we're preparing to move another step forward. It's called Final Cut Pro, and it's apparently the hottest thing in digital editing. The movie "Cold Mountain" was edited using it. The TV show Scrubs is put together with it. Exciting sure, but after a day like yesterday, excitement tempered with great fear. Don't upset the digital gods!