Give your dead evil brother a hand.

This video progress report is showing up a little later than usual for a few reasons.

For one thing, Dead Men Walk is an awful, awful film. The bits I chopped up and used to break up the talking work well in the context of this video, I think, but man, did I have to dig deep to find them. It was a chore to even watch the movie to the end. I think it’s the first time I’ve watched a public domain film and thought to myself, “There’s a good reason this thing is free.”

The summary on IMDb tells you all you need to know about the story: “The twin of a kindly small town physician returns from the grave for vengeance against his brother, who secretly killed him because the twin served Satan”. Some of the acting is just brain-melting in its hideousness — especially that of Nedrick Young, who apparently was just fine in other films but here manages to make a desk look like a brilliant method actor by comparison. At least George Zucco does a serviceable job as both the good and evil brothers.

For another thing, I had some trouble getting the video to render after I finished editing it. Long ago I settled on WMV as the best file format for any videos I make. It seems to offer the best balance between keeping the file size reasonable and not sacrificing much of any noticeable audio or video quality.

I’ve never had a problem with WMV files, and ever since I started using Sony Vegas a little over a year ago I’ve never had trouble rendering a video. It was a very different story back when I was using Windows Movie Maker for the first few progress report videos.

This time I found I couldn’t render the video as a WMV file because I didn’t have the necessary audio codec. Or so Vegas told me. I assumed something must have gone wrong with my version of Windows Media Player. Maybe I accidentally deleted the relevant codec while getting rid of unnecessary cobwebs on my hard drive. Nothing I tried fixed the problem.

After a lot of frustration and fruitless troubleshooting, I took another look at the rendering settings and noticed a surround sound option was selected. When I imported Dead Men Walk into Vegas, it came bundled with a number of different audio options I had to collapse into mono for the best sound. When it was rendering time, Vegas decided I wanted to publish the whole video with surround sound. The trouble is, I don’t have a surround sound codec, because I would never have cause to use it.

I switched back to the normal stereo mode, and all was well.

I also spent some time trying to find a better-quality clip of “Out of Touch” without a logo at the bottom of the screen. All the really nice-looking logo-free versions on YouTube must have some sort of encoding that prevents them from being downloaded. Even my old friend Tubeminator couldn’t help me there. So I had to settle for lower quality and a stupid logo. The passion still comes through, anyway.

I think the intro “music video” segment here is one of my favourites out of all the different ones I’ve put together so far. Tim Fort’s kinetic art is wicked-cool, “Knee-Jerk Howl” has always had an autumnal feel to me, and somehow the two things work together, with some strange moments of music/video synchronicity that weren’t planned or manipulated. The only editing I did involved shortening a few things to fit the length of the song and then speeding up the video a bit for the reprise at the end.

I’d forgotten how much I like the song off of WHO YOU ARE NOW… that plays over the end credits, too. It doesn’t sound like anything else on that album. Now it almost sounds like an embryonic precursor to a few of the things I would be doing on CREATIVE NIGHTMARES four years later.

As mentioned in the video, my friend Joshua Jesty is playing at Taloola on Friday, November 11th, at 8:00 pm. If I hadn’t deactivated my Facebook page (a decision I’m not regretting even a little bit), I would be talking about it over there. If you’re in the area and are looking for something to do, you should come out, grab some tea, listen to some good music that you may not get to hear in Windsor again, and support a touring musician.

Elliott’s tender moment in this video is one of the shortest segments he’s ever done, and there’s a marked difference in tone from the rants he tends to go on lately. I think he’s still a little miffed that I haven’t recorded a new intro song for him yet. Still, I think on the whole the video moves at a pretty good pace. There’s even a little callback to a joke that was buried at the end of the second progress report video (if anyone catches what it is, I will bow before you in awe).

At this point I’ve fallen into a pretty comfortable groove with these things and settled back down around the twenty-five-minute range again. Be warned, though, that when I do finish THE ANGLE OF BEST DISTANCE the accompanying video progress report will be suitably long-winded. And I’ve got something big planned for the one that should be showing up around Christmas.

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