First PITA Moment

Dave Business, Cracked Up (Blog), Creating, Music/Audio, Tech 2 Comments

In my continuing saga on scoring a feature, I bring to you today, a tiny slice of technological hell and kind of an example of when to just say … “ah, f*#k it!”.

I just finished a first pass on the film’s spotting notes, and I gotta say, there HAS to be an easier way to do this.  I’ve found spreadsheet templates, online services, specifically developed software, but there’s always a technological decouple from documentation and reality.  You never have a system where you can have a “master” area or application that drives all the appropriate documentation.

I come from a software development background, so I know this isn’t a new problem with a bunch of failed solutions.

Logic: a Love/Hate Relationship

I thought I was being smart…

I’ve typically done things somewhat manually when I prepare Spotting Notes, and I have to admit that my cue lists have been a bit shorter than this one.  My initial list of cues is 64!

So I thought … “Hey, why not use the Marker List that Logic has as the basis for my spotting notes?”

My thought process kept on that track:

  1. You can set up areas in the “Markers” track of Logic to indicate specific sections in a timeline.
  2. There’s a name, time location (even translated into SMPTE) and duration – heck, that’s half the battle right there
  3. So… if I have this list, I can then export just the text and fill in the rest of the required stuff (cue ending SMPTE, scene description, music notes) … right?

Well, that last point is where the “logic” in Logic ends.  The answer to the question is a big fat … NO.

I swear, I was sitting there dumbfounded with a “WTF” look on my face: “What do you mean, you can’t export the text of the marker list?”.

After I posted my frustration on Twitter and Facebook, I got a helpful response back from Stephan Andrews – a fantastic composer here in Vancouver, to try out an application called EdiMarkers.  It looked promising – you export a MIDI file from your DAW and import it into EdiMarkers so that it can extract the marker information from the MIDI.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work as apparently it couldn’t decipher Logic’s tempo field in the MIDI file.

Back to the drawing boards … I remembered that AIFF files also keep some of the marker meta data in them as well.  So I tried that as well and found out that all I could get was the Marker Names extracted in Quicktime 7 (higher versions apparently did away with seeing/editing metadata).

By this time, I essentially figured that I’d wasted enough time trying to find short-cuts and that I probably was quickly approaching the “you’re-spending-way-too-much-time-on-this-with-nothing-to-show-for-it” threshold.  So, I took what I could get – MANUALLY copied start/duration times against my extracted Marker Names in an Excel Spreadsheet.  It was kind of ridiculous having two applications opened beside each other, reading one and TYPING the information from it into the other. {face palm}

I thankfully have a repository of formulas for calculating SMPTE timecode that I didn’t have to re-invent the wheel, but suffice it to say, a snarky “Feature Request” was sent into Apple regarding their Marker List.

Spotting Notes were double-checked and sent off to the director last night.  We’re having a web-meeting later this evening to spot the film.  Hopefully, GoToMeeting won’t cause any headaches…

Comments 2

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Dave. Of course, now I’m wondering if I can export the marker list in Digital Performer.

    I heard you on a panel/podcast a while back and the other members of the panel seemed downright hostile toward Logic. Any idea what their major complaint was?

    (Of course, if you don’t recall any of this, please disregard!)



    1. Post

      Hey Chris!
      Yeah, this has definitely got me asking the same question. I know that Stephen uses CuBase, so I’m wondering if he has the same problem there.
      Yes, I DO remember the comments – although, I don’t recall the HRS episode that they started diss’n on Logic. I have no idea what the beef is – they still haven’t given me a proper explanation! Probably has something to do with legacy stuff in pre-version 8 when you had to be familiar with the “Environment” … a very scary part of Logic indeed. 😉

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