Processors Are Stealing My Breaks

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My video editing work is usually done on a very tight schedule which means that sometimes I sit at my computer and work around the clock for days on end. Clients are masters of complex revisions, changed direction, and last minute changes so we use all the available hours and minutes before a deadline to polish a project. There is always something to make better, prettier, smoother, or sexier even on projects that have been signed off by the client. Tweaking is endless and complete only when the project is delivered to the client. On the world stage these projects are utterly inconsequential, but in that editing suite they assume epic proportions.

Even working at full tilt 24/7, we used to get breaks - sometimes even a few hours for napping - while video and effects files rendered. During renders the computer is locked into using all its processing power to crunch bits so there is no option to multitask. Render-enforced breaks are critical because if the computer isn't making you stop, you just keep editing until you fall over. The deadlines loom, other projects are waiting in the wings, and there is always something more to do.

So it may be that new technology is killing me. Our massively multiprocessor machines have reduced renders from hours to minutes. "Ah, it's too quick," Rob lamented as an After Effects projected finished before he had fully stretched his back. And forget about working all night, starting a render at 5 am and catching 40 winks until computer finishes and the new business day begins. Our computers are just too darn efficient.

Fast processors should be a blessing but if a 1 hour break is cut to 20 minutes that means no real rest for the brain or body. I can enjoy a cup of tea in 20 minutes, but I can't take my mind off work. And when the mind wanders, that is when creative ideas percolate. I must to try to find a new working pace that combines endurance, speed and time to refresh, too.

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