Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Pinstripe Screen of Death

And other fun stories from the Mac editing room.

Now, I know some of you are viewing this from a Mac right now, 35% of you actually - someone from their iPad, even. No hate on Mac, I'm an apple girl in my dreams. But for now that $999 eludes me.

For those of you who aren't familiar, let me recap on my Women's History Project. At the beginning of the semester, in my honor's Women's History Class - 117U, we were assigned a multi-media project (or deathwish, however you'd like to look at it). The goal was to interview a women's advocacy organization and weave a tale of the past and the present on any contemporary women's issue of your liking.

Women's Sports it is.

While I wasn't thrilled with the topic selection, I went along with the group decision and my opinion ended up being abashingly wrong - our video allows for energetic music, a fast pace and believe it or not, fun.

Filming interviews was an adventure of its own. Who knew of "the rule of thirds" and the fines imposed on  late flipcam rentals? Now, I will say, I had heard of the imfamous fines but those warnings didn't serve me well when at 9:17 I remembered the flipcam in my bag... due to the library that closed at 9:00, sharp. Needless to say, Penn State charges hourly late fees even if the library is closed and the next morning I reluctantly paid the $19 fine for my easily-avoidable mistake.

Lesson 1: Bring the FlipCam back on time.
I was never late again.

Then came the famous "Pinestrip Screen of Death" incident. For those who are not Mac-savvy (like myself.. and all three of my team mates), such a "catastrophe" left us paralyzed in fear, searching for the computer tower (which was nonexist) in an attempt to manually reboot. Little did we know...

Lesson 2: The tower and the moniter? They're one in the same.

Comparable to a "Blue Screen" but no one I spoke too had ever seen one - perhaps the pinstripe screen will join the ranks of Nessie and Sasquath? Perhaps.

While no one had bothered to tell about that computer-engineering feat, I had heard all sorts of rumors on the "saving" concept. Apparently, Mac didn't feel the need to save. Now, you can hear that hundreds of times, and it will never make any sense until you encounter a computer-crash-catastrophe-of-monstrous-proportions. I know it doesn't seem like a big deal but when you fear that you've lost five hours of editing... your heart stops. So, to get to the point. We restart the computer. We sit in anticipation as the log in screen loads and our files are being found on the hard drive. And, there it is.

Lesson 3: Mac saves for you. Really.
You can say goodbye to your "I-only-had-mozilla-itunes-aim-and-my webcam-up-why'd-it-crash" blues.

Depsite the culture shock, I've learned to love iMovie and it's basic "point-and-click-or-drag" editting features. The part of this project (technologically) that really gets me is an old false-friend, a tried and true research method, one of few sites that most of us visits daily - good ole Google.

In the video montage which begins our video, we really tried to be forward thinking and include all types of women athletes - African American, disabled, lesbian. We wanted to show that we as women make up one strong, unified group despite our differences. During our first video critique the only criticism we received was for not included an Asian-American woman athlete in the opening montage. That's when we learned that no matter how you try to word it...

Lesson 4: Your search for "Asian-American College Women Athletes" will yield inappropriate results involving beds and school girl uniforms.
Since when is THAT considered a sport?

Searching for women athletes as a whole isn't much more effective. And maybe "minority track stars" wasn't a great idea either (but we had exhausted every other approach). Apparently, in North Jersey, prostitution is being hurt by the economy as men try to receive "recession deals" because they have mouths to feed at home. While I had to drop my jaw and gasp at such an idea, the article was truly enlightening on the idea of sex trade and its correlation to poverty and drug use. I can't say as much for the original google search...

Lesson 5: Sometimes, you learn what you didn't mean to but you end up all the wise for it.

The search for women wasn't much better... but I'll let the "hot search topics" speak for themselves.

Giving birth? Wrestling? Body parts? Who searches these things....?

Despite the long hours and cramped necks, this project has truly been enlightening. Maybe not the on the topics of Title IX legislation or women's role in sports but in life lessons and in learning the world of Mac. I can't say that it hasn't been the most frustrating experience of my college life, or that the 20 by 20 editing lab with it's stiff wooden chairs isn't getting to me but it could be worse...

I could be editing the video on Windows.

Tell Me About It: Are you an apple or a PC? (I know you've seen the commercials..) And for all you Apple boys & girls out there, what lessons has your Mac taught you?

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