MWSF: Day One

Today was probably the one and only “relaxed” day at MWSF. Any Power Tools seminars you were signed up for started this morning and ran all day without any distractions. Tomorrow, however, the craziness begins and there will usually be about four things you’d want to do all going on in the same time slot. It sure sucks having a million interests… ?

As predicted, I woke up at 5:15 AM (feeling surprisingly rested, actually). Three cheers for the east coast body clock. San Francisco is remarkably dead at that time of the morning, so I had to forage a bit around the nearest block or two to find something to eat. Unfortunately, the best I could do under the circumstances was Carl’s Jr. (also known as Hardees where we live). Oh well… I got some protein along with the grease.


For some reason, the hotel’s internet provider was down when I got up and was still down when I wandered out around 7:30 AM to get to the 8 AM registration. There was already a line, but it moved pretty quickly. We were given PDFs when we registered online that had a bar code on them. Once you made it into the building, they scanned your sheet. I was wondering what that accomplished (since I was still in line) when I heard my name called out from the counter and I was able to skip the rest of the line and head straight to the desk. I think that’s a perk of the Platinum Pass and definitely a nice one.

The other apparent “perk” of the Platinum Pass is the one everybody carrying such a pass was asking every conference staff member (and each other): what’s the deal with my keynote seating? The top two ticket levels for the conference (Platinum and, just under it, Super) claim “priority seating” for the keynote. This is a pretty enticing thing since people are talking about lining up outside as early as midnight and 2 AM. It does not, however, mean “reserved”. It wasn’t until around noon that the staff had been asked this question enough times that they all sought answers and started giving us the scoop.

Apparently, the doors will be opened at 7:30 AM tomorrow for those of us with these passes and we get first dibs on the available seats. What we don’t know is how long this lasts before the general admission opens up. More importantly, we don’t know how many of us there are with the passes that will be competing with one another. Fortunately, the auditorium seats 5,000 people, so I feel pretty confident this will work out in my favor as far as the “standing in the cold in the wee hours” cattle call goes.
That said, I was still advised to get there relatively early. My friends Steve and Shannon arrived today and are staying a couple of doors down the hall from me. Steve wants to head out by 5:30 AM, so I’ll do my best to head out with them.
This is where I hope my body clock is still on east coast time since it will make getting up at 5 AM a heck of a lot easier. We’ll see.

The seminar ran from 9 AM to 5 PM today and was quite fascinating. It’s a master’s workshop on advanced Final Cut Pro Studio techniques and the insights from an industry expert are quite enlightening. I’m plenty comfortable in FCP and have been using it for years… but it’s very much the Photoshop of the video world in that there are zillions of tips and tricks to be learned that have you muttering “oh, cool!” throughout the day.

Lunch, on the other hand, was a bit of a death march. The line was stupidly long but, in the end, moved a bit faster than I predicted when I first staggered into it. I was screamingly hungry by the time we broke for lunch and was starting to get a headache. Thankfully, the headache went away promptly as I ate. My only other complaint is that the wireless access points are not enabled in the seminar rooms. On the other hand, I probably paid a lot more attention as a result. ?

He demonstrated a MIDI control surface at the end of the day (Tascam FW-1082) that I am lusting after. While it would be fantastic for audio, the bigger attraction for me is integration with Motion allowing me to build effects using sliders that I tie to the various numeric inputs. Someday…

I’m eager to put some of the shortcuts and nifty insights he’s presented to good use on the second episode of <a href="http://ewart .sbc.edu”>AHIJAM when I get home.

So as I write this, I’m constantly listening to clanging street cars and a cacophony of street musicians (with various levels of skill). The hotel I’m in is pretty neat but more than a bit noisy. I’m six floors up, directly overlooking the Powell Street cable car turnaround, and I just finished hearing a rendition of Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring hammered out on a steel drum. Now the saxophone guy is at it again and I’ve yet to pick out an identifiable melody. I’m not opposed to street performances, but give it a rest, dude.

I didn’t take any photos today worth sharing. I hope to remedy that tomorrow, especially if I can spot some interesting things in the wee hours as I wait for the keynote.

Here’s hoping…

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