An electrosmog ghost is haunting me (120 Star Community Sum of Best Backstory/Rant)
Wow. I like to think of myself as being a person that doesn't complain too much, but I have no idea which cosmic arrangement of stars has led to this video being such a pain to make. It's normal to encounter some issues you have to deal with when working on something, but I have had such a difficult time making this video I don't have any other explanation but to blame a supernatural entity messing around with me. I just recently had my SSD die with all of my projects, including a pretty much finished EP with a friend and my headphones break in the span of a few days for no comprehensible reason at all (which is another piece of evidence of evil spirits fucking around with me), but even those things do not compare to how gear-grinding the process of creating this video was. These Community Sum of Best videos are generally kind of tough to make for me, especially the 120 Star one. Since my own laptop is not really good enough to use something as taxing as a program like Adobe Premiere, I do all my video editing at work, but even the laptop there can barely handle it. Even just skipping from one part of the video to another can take several seconds. Just skipping a single frame can cost a lot of time. That means proofwatching is only really possible after exporting, and I am also unable to experiment around much - I need to ideally make sure everything is working as I go through the process of making the project. If that sounds like it can cause trouble be assured that it usually does. I honestly feel like this is part the fault of Adobe Premiere being bloated software because I don't understand why it is this taxing but I neither have proof for that, nor do I have any comparisons to other software (I did try Sony Vegas, however it wasn't capable to import .webm, which is why I discarded it, we'll get to this in more detail later...).
So let's go through this development chronologically. First, I downloaded all of the clips with yt-dlp, which by default downloaded some of the videos in .mp4 format and .webm format. I didn't initally think much about this perhaps being an issue and retimed all of the clips with Avidemux as I usually do. I was able to correct some wrong retimings which is always a nice feeling and double checked everything because the old 120 Star Community Sum of Best video was such a disaster and I wanted to make sure everything is correct this time.
After that I opened Adobe Premiere and started importing all of the videoclips. Apparently Adobe isn't able to import videos in .webm format, which kind of surprised me given the popularity of the format. Anyway, I looked up a plugin for it and was able to find it quickly, so I installed the .webm plugin and imported the rest of the clips. I started trimming all the clips and everything went fine and dandy (as fine and dandy as my slow laptop at least allowed...) until Weegees BitFS clip. For some reason, everytime I skipped too many frames on that particular clip around a specific area, Adobe Premiere crashed. So I had to reopen the program all the time to move on a bunch of frames and trim. Very strange. Eventually I was able to trim the clip to the correct size and moved on with no further issue in that regard. I already felt like this could cause trouble and should've taken the hint here and redownloaded the clip in .mp4 right away, but my impatience got ahold of me.
The next step was to create the Background with the additional info, so I went through each gold and wrote down some thoughts that could be interesting to point out for the viewers, I did this on another PC in Corel Draw and exported it into a shared Network Folder. No problems here. This does take a considerable amount of time but no further issue was caused by doing that, so everything is alright here.
So now I am starting to merge everything into a video and add the images. Keep in mind, this is super slow on my laptop already with all the clips loaded in and with each .png it gets slower. The reason why I use .pngs and not Adobe itself is because of that exact reason, it would be insanely slow to do in within Adobe that it's a better idea to prepare everything externally and just import.
After this I finally add the timer. I will be honest here, I used Livesplit and simply recorded it through OBS. I probably should've used Adobes Timer function but it's so shit and I was too lazy to figure out how to set it up properly, especially given how slow it already is. I messed this up one time because I pressed Win+D which minimizes all windows and therefore of course also Livesplit which causes OBS not to record it anymore. Annoying but okay, I gave it another shot and it was done.
By this time three days have passed and I am now finally ready to export the video. So I try doing that and at around 3/4 of the way through the export, which takes several hours until that point, I get an error. No specification or anything that could help me. Just an error that the export didn't work. So I am now thinking that it could be the .webm clips that fucked me over, but first I try to update my drivers and give it another shot. I leave my laptop on over night, come back the next day and am greeted with another error message. So now I am really thinking that it has to have something to to with all of that .webm mess and that Weegee BitFS that always crashed the program.
At this point I am done with Adobe and pirated Sony Vegas to see if it works in there. After downloading it, I tried to import the .webm clips but it wasn't able to do that. There wasn't even a plugin for it. So I discarded it.
So fuck it. I scrap the entire cut, redownload every clip new with yt-dlp and specified in the command line only to download in the .mp4 format. After that, I painstakingly edit the entire video with my slow laptop, not being able to skip around without waiting forever, recheck everything, and after a bunch of hours I am done again. At this point I feel like the piss in my bladder is simmering on a constant temparature from the stress this situation is causing me. Cold sweat is emitting from my body. Anyway, now I am thinking that it simply must work. In order not to wait too long for a check, I exported the video in the worst possible settings which still takes over an hour for me. 45 Minutes later, I get the same error message again. At this point im starting to become really frustrated. I have this finished video here that I want to show the world but I just cannot get it out of there. I really wanted to have it done by now because I would be gone for a week, but it wasn't possible. Maybe I needed that break anyway to come back with a clear mind and some more energy.
Okay, so in the meantime of that week I was thinking maybe I should update my Adobe. I was a bit anxious about doing this because the project might suffer from that for some reason, but at this point I didn't have anything to lose anyway. So I pirate Adobe Premiere Pro 2022, which by the way was really easy to get to run, open the project file, and think to myself that it could indeed work now. So I am exporting the video again and at around 75% I am yet again greeted with an error message. However, unlike before, this time there was a code specified. 'Error Code 1609629695'.
So I try to find a fix for this error code and it appears that after some researching the culprit seems to be a dropped frame. I open up Adobe again to fix the error and, low and behold, Adobe has an autofix function included and the error was fixed. Finally. Right? Well, we'll have to see. I am now exporting the video and leave work again to see the next day if it has worked.
Now about two weeks have passed for a project that anyone with good soft- and hardware could've pulled in an all-nighter. With excitement I am coming to work to see if the video exporting was successful. I checked my laptop and there was no error message. I opened up my export folder and there it was. The exported video. I can't express how happy I was to finally see my creation in full effect. Okay. One more proof checking of the video before I can release it. So I open it up and everything looks great, even though I do see some stuff I could've improved and some minor spelling errors. Well, it was just too good to be true to just simply having something work without shenanigans... in the mid of Liams LLL the Audio suddenly went out. There is literally no fucking reason why it should do that. Amazing. Puncays THI and Liams SL are missing completely for some unfathomable reason. Also theres the background fading out into black randomly on one split.
So what do I do? Well, I am opening Adobe Premiere to check on this. Certainly these mistakes must be on my end. Okay, I am looking at everything (which takes long due to loading times). The sound is absolutely there, also the background doesn't fade out. Puncays THI and Liams SL are indeed missing, and I have no idea why. I look into the folder where I have imported them from. They are there. I try to drag them onto the sequence. It doesn't work on Adobe 2022 - I have no idea why. They are all in .mp4 format, downloaded with the same command line. And they were able to be imported on my old Adobe version. It literally makes no sense at all.
At this point I am considering the sweet release of death. Okay, whatever. I am trying out the .webm files from previously. They suddenly work, I don't know at this point if 'ironically' would be the proper term to describe this. Well, Liams SL works. Puncays THI is broken. I am getting several error messages. So now I am redownloading both Liams SL and Puncays THI in another format. I am trying out .avi. For some reason yt-dlp can't do that, so .mkv it is. Guess what? I can't drag it in either. Not because it's not a supported format, but just because.
After some contemplating and being really frustrated I went home and had a new idea. I should try to merge the whole run together at home, export it, and then bring it back to work so there is only one clip, by that I could circumvent the importing problem because there would be no conflicting files. So I did exactly that - imported all Clips again (interestingly even though I used the exact same software and the exact same download settings for the files this time I did not get an error for the import), trimmed them again (for the fourth time now I think), then I exported the video and when I got up I skipped through it quickly before going to work to check if everythings alright and it seemed good. So I packed in my external hard drive and took it to work, there really was nothing that I could think possibly could go wrong.
When I arrived I plugged in my hard drive, removed all of my clips and dragged in the video. Then I used the final star as a reference to fit in the new video. The next thing I am doing is to check if all the transitions are correct. Et voilà; of course they dont match up for some mystical reason. I am thinking if maybe all of my other settings are a bit messed up by switching Adobe versions, so I open Avidemux and retime the entire freshly exported 120 Star run to check if the times add up with the times on the Community Sum of Best sheet and while I do that I make sure that I made no error during the transition cuts, which I also checked in the first process but who knows.
So it does appear that during this whole process the video got faster by 0.25 seconds. I have absolutely no idea as to why this would have happened, since the transitions are all correct. Anyway, I am considering just manually slowing down the video to the correct speed. Now I am checking if the other elements I have added to the video are desynced and indeed they are, for some reason all of my transitions are fucked up by a few milliseconds. So I have two options now. Either I say fuck it and release the video with these small mistakes because they aren't even noticeable or I readjust all of the transitions by hand. I choose the second option and get to work.
After manually fixing all transitions and doing some other small adjustments, I export the video. I don't see any errors anymore. It is done and finally ready to be released.
Now that this rant is over, lets talk about the videos a bit. The old one honestly was a hot mess of embarassing garbage, first of all I fucked up on a text and forgot adding an image. I didn't take my time to proofwatch because I announced it way too early which didn't allow me to fix some errors. I relied on information other people added so a lot of retimings were inaccurate. I am not blaming anyone, I should've checked it myself in the first place. Anyway, this time I made sure to retime each segment by myself and recheck everything twice; everything should be accurate now (well, at least as accurate as retimings can be...). Something else that bothers me a bit is that there is a faster route with a better total time but for some reason apart from Simply and Taggo no one runs it. The fact alone that it is over a second faster in total despite having almost no activity should be enough reason to realize that it's better? I don't understand why people don't use that route. I was able to do it after some practice and I am not a top player. It's not so difficult. Why is that route not on the main tab in the first place if it's faster? Because it's not popular doesn't mean it's not faster. If popularity is an argument, then Tsukishima Cycle shouldn't be on the main tab for BitDW since most 120 runners don't use it. It makes no sense to me. I would have used the faster (and in my opinion better) route for the video, but since Taggos BitFS gold is missing I used the old route. You got away this time, conservative SM64 runners. But I digress.
I hope people enjoy watching it - I tried to make it a bit more engaging by adding some extra information so that both people with more experience and people without any idea what speedrunning is can gain something from it. It gives the video a bit of a more lively feel. I ditched the splits I have previously added into the run and just added a simple timer, I think this looks better and the splits were kind of pointless anyway, since you can see the segment times. It's also less work so that's a nice bonus. I hope the video gets some views. As superficial of a reason this is, I must admit it would be a nice incentive to make more of this.
As a final conclusion I will say that if this doesn't get any attention at all this is the last time I have worked on such a taxing video project unless I am able to acquire a computer with the capability of handling this process. I am neither getting paid nor am I getting any recognition from this. This project took a serious toll on my time and my mental health and I am unwilling to go through something like this again if theres no positive feedback of any sort.