Exercise in Frustration

September 29th, 2018

This month, I experienced the greatest frustration that I have felt in a very long time, but thankfully, it came to an end after about a week.

I’ve always been a fan of Pinnacle Studio Pro Ultimate and regularly bought upgrades and several times now bought full versions when moving from one computer to another.  Well… no more.

Pinnacle Studio Pro is a pretty good program when used lightly in small videos, however, it has always been plagued with random freezes, lock-ups, crashes.  Now, for low quality 3-5 minute videos where I record myself, it works acceptably, but when pushed even a bit more like when using it for green screen or clip-wide changes, it is often not a pleasant process due to long slow waits and rendering with every minor change to a transition done a snail crawling speeds.  Exporting was the worst.  A 5 minute video often took me 2-5 hours, depending on the quality of the export, but even at that, it was kind of acceptable because it was easy to learn and use and did cover my needs at the time and it was a fairly good application and had a fairly low price… but now totally unacceptable for my increased needs.

A couple of weeks ago, I captured about 2.5 hours of high quality 1080P HD video from 2 camera angles during the Cory Pesaturo workshop at the New England Accordion Connection and Museum. I tried using Pinnacle studio for this project, and THAT is where the frustration started.

First the files from 2.5 hours of 1080P, 60FPS and 48khz video just destroyed Pinnacle Studio.

The program lagged and froze interminably and was terribly slow in responding, but I fought with it for over 20 hours over two days and after a full weekend, I got it to a place where I thought I could export a measly 720p video for YouTube use.  That file ended up being 12GB in size, but took over 44 hours to export!!  On top of that, the export failed at the 99% mark and was not usable because there were some serious issues with the quality.  A full weekend (and most of Monday and Tuesday for exporting) were nothing more than lost time and an exercise in futility… yet I tried again.

The results remained nothing short of “lets bang our heads in to the wall once more” levels of horrible. Crashes, failures, multiple freezing for hours on end… and the pressure to get this done was set to high as I knew that there were people waiting to see the results of my work.

At the peak of my frustration, I decided to stop playing with toys and move on to the tools that the professionals used.  I was a bit concerned, as I was definitely not in the mental state to tackle re-learning a very advanced video editing program from scratch as the app I was considering was very complex, definitely not made for the beginner masses, but I was just too tired and fed up and sucked it up. I pulled out the credit card and paid for a year’s worth of access to Adobe Premiere Pro video editing program.  I was not happy about this because with this app one has to pay on a monthly or yearly basis, and that from someone that is not getting any money back doing this, yet I had to complete this project!

I sucked it up, did the payment and installed it… Visa is nice to me like that. So what were the results?  It was surprising to see that relearning the basics again was not as difficult as expected, but it was very slow going.  Not because of the application, which worked wonderfully without (many) crashes, lags or issues, but my own lack of knowledge in looking for the simplest things to do.  Every time I needed to learn how to do something that was mindlessly easy in Pinnacle Studio, I became (as my friend once said), a student of YTU… YouTube University!

So I had to stop and learn almost everything on how to do something specific on YouTube, but in the process, though I am still just a beginner with this application, I covered the basics and was able to complete an acceptable video.  The quality was nowhere near as good as I could have done if the project was a small one in Pinnacle Studio, but Pinnacle was not letting me do ANYTHING with these huge files.

Now, this is not to say that Premiere Pro never crashed, as it did a couple of times for me while using it.  The important thing was that I did not lose any work nor lose much time recreating things after a crash.  Exporting times were so much faster and it worked more effectively that it made up for those couple of crashes.  We are talking under 3 hours (versus 44 hours) for the same project!

I look forward to learning more about this application and using it more in the future to help me make my little videos.  This does seem to be the tool that everyone is using and I knew that one day I would need to dive in to it, but Pinnacle Studio just pushed me to make this change a lot sooner than I wanted. 

Oh well, at least my blood pressure has since come down and the chest pains have stopped… haha.