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Focus

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Mike Cohen
Focus
on Apr 27, 2011 at 4:44:07 pm

How do you maintain focus? In a world of distractions, assuming you are not in an edit session with a client or producer, but simply you in a room with a task.

My office is a corner - I have a window with the blinds mostly closed except for a sliver of sunlight coming in. The men's room is on the other side - luckily we only have a few people who use it. To the 3rd wall is the adjacent office suite which is a sports massage studio - occasionally you hear some grunting over there but it is usually pretty quiet.

I recently discovered that I was leaving my editing CPU running just for the white noise. Today I googled "white noise generator" and found numerous sites which will generate white and brown noise for you. I just had it on for 2 hours, got a lot of work done, and when I shut it off just now I was amazed at the quiet.

Some people listen to music - I can't do that if I need to think very hard or refer to notes or textbooks for reference.

Ok - sounds like the next customer just got on the massage table. Think I'll try the purple noise, whatever that is.

Mike Cohen


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Focus
on Apr 27, 2011 at 5:56:01 pm

"I recently discovered that I was leaving my editing CPU running just for the white noise. "

Wow. Is it really that noisy? My Mac Pro is so quiet I sometimes look through the fan slots with a flashlight just to make sure all the fans are working.

"I recently discovered that I was leaving my editing CPU running just for the white noise. Today I googled "white noise generator" and found numerous sites which will generate white and brown noise for you."

Some researchers say that listening to white/pink noise for long periods of time can desensitize your hearing. What you are doing is training your brain for a new threshold of what 'quiet' is.

I know what you mean about listening to music while you edit, there are a lot of times that it's distracting. I have found that talk radio in the background is not as distracting as music. I actually have a desktop SW receiver and sometimes listen to foreign language broadcasts as well.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...


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Chuck Pullen
Re: Focus
on Apr 28, 2011 at 1:23:30 pm

I can second what Scott is saying about retraining the “noise floor” in your brain. I recently started to discover that all of the “background noise” in my day has caused me to have a lower “signal-to-noise” ratio in my head. For instance in the very rare instance I am in a completely silent room, or occasionally when I wake up in the middle of the night and there is absolutely no other noise, I hear nothing but “white noise” maybe my hearing is going, maybe it’s my new “noise floor”?

As for white noise, I bought this small “waterfall in a box” that streams water down a color changing wall. It also has a built in sound generator (jungle, beach, storm) I find when I’m totally stressed and can’t focus, can’t wind down, nothing else works…it does the trick.

Chuck


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Glen Montgomery
Re: Focus
on Apr 27, 2011 at 9:33:19 pm

Here is a fun little app that can be helpful if you find yourself wondering off to random internet stuff, for me it is mostly twitter. You set it to run for an amount of time and then an alarm will sound which will give you a little break to go explore the web or go for a walk. True self control should be enough to combat this ADD but Ill honestly say I don't have it.

http://www.focusboosterapp.com/live

Also there is a wonderful podcast called "Back to Work" that I highly recommend along with all the other podcasts in the 5by5 network that deal with productivity and creativity.

Editor / Motion Graphics Artist
http://www.GlenMontgomeryIII.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Focus
on Apr 28, 2011 at 2:02:25 pm

I love having my choice of music on in the suite when I'm cutting pictures or working on graphics and compositing. Generally, it is an instrumental mix for when the work is intense, and a more eclectic mix for noncritical work.

I worked with one of my kids on a science fair experiment a few years back, on the effects of music on learning and memorization. Her data led to a conclusion that instrumental music can help, or at least not hurt, your ability to memorize things, but working the same test with songs containing vocals show that vocals bust your concentration more.

This matches well with my college experience of typing papers in my room with WBEZ's Jazz Showcase playing softly in the background.


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Juris Eksts
Re: Focus
on Apr 29, 2011 at 12:28:41 pm

Allow me to disagree!
Editing is about rythm as much as anything else, feeling the rythm of the subject and the pictures and the feeling you want to convey in the cuts. In that case having an outside source which must influence your internal rythms must be a diversion.

I would only listen to music if it is a part of the subject being cut.


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Focus
on Apr 29, 2011 at 4:24:48 pm

[Juris Eksts] "Allow me to disagree!
Editing is about rythm as much as anything else, feeling the rythm of the subject and the pictures and the feeling you want to convey in the cuts. In that case having an outside source which must influence your internal rythms must be a diversion.

I would only listen to music if it is a part of the subject being cut."


I guess I'm just not all that New Age, touchy-feely about my editing. And there's this annoying little thing called 'the script' that interferes with my ability to feel my way around a project.
OK, seriously.
Sure there are times that listening to music is annoying and occasionally you have to shut it off or maybe listen to something else. Maybe if there is quiet or difficult to hear/understand dialog, or what you're cutting involves music. But most of the time, it really doesn't interfere with my ability to match the action, or knowing when I want to cut. Compared to cutting something live where there's no 'undo' like a hockey game with 6 cams plus replay, listening to the chaos of producers, studio, and AD talking on the intercom at the same time listening to the announcer/color, giving cues and keeping up with the game, sitting in a quiet room editing with a little music going in the BG is no big deal. With the exception of cutting to music or doing a final mix, I have no problem having other sounds going in the BG.
Plus many of us do a lot more than just edit, We build mographs and FX, color correct, build menu's and author DVD's, etc. Doing hours of roto without tunes? I think not.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...


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Patrick Ortman
Re: Focus
on May 2, 2011 at 5:23:45 pm

Also, if you're on a Mac, give the app called Self Control a try. It locks you away from the big distractions online...

Good to hear a lot of us have a bit of ADD going on. Sometimes the best ideas come when you're "wasting time", though :-)

P

----------------------------
PatrickOrtman, Inc.
Los Angeles Digital Agency and Video Production Company


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Mark Stuart
Re: Focus
on Apr 30, 2011 at 8:07:46 pm

Well, Mike, for me it's a matter of wanting the quiet, which I rarely have. Our main edit suite is near the master control room, where basically 2 different people work in during my shifts. One is quiet, the other one is loud as hell. We just replaced the production room doors, which is nice, but they also removed another door that was between that door and MC. So, while having the door closed is usually helpful, if it's loud enough in MC I hear muffled TV audio in the edit suite. If it's open, depending on who's in there, the fans in the racks are quite loud, but I like that white noise to drown out TV program audio.

Two of the most annoying sounds to me (besides keyless entry car horns which are the worst imho) are radio commercials and TV program audio that I'm not watching. The loud guy in Master Control will normally have 3 signals playing at once. To his credit, however, it's been a little better lately, but can be extremely distracting when trying to edit, especially audio.

I usually have music on in my headphones at work as much as possible, especially when editing non-audio and creating graphics. However, I do this not so much because I'm a big music fan (which I am) but to eliminate the MC noise. I also often turn on the Beta deck for white noise as it helps mask out the MC noise.

That's where I edit (which is a different room than what I've posted here before). Then, where my "office" is... first off, it's not an office, well, it used to be ONE person's office, which is now three people's, including me. We have "cubies" which are just little (around 5' x 4') counter areas and a few drawers. Of course, we all have our own PCs which is good. There's just so many people not only in the room but around it that quiet is basically non-existant. So, I have my headphones on in there plenty when writing scripts, making graphics, etc.

I've actually trained myself to do a lot of things I used to not be able to with music on. I personally find a constant flow of sound is much better than the random unforeseen kind such as an active office environment.

For me, there is no such thing as "too quiet". What is this "window" you speak of with "sunlight"?!



Hope you're well,

Mark

Mark A. Stuart
Video Producer/Editor

Art is completely subjective. It's up to the viewer to judge whether or not it has merit. -Ken Danby


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