FORUMS: list search recent posts

Mike Cohen's Blog

COW Blogs : Mike Cohen's Blog

Pulling it all Together

Workflow is everything. As described since the inception of this blog, how you go about getting the job done can, in fact, decide how and when you get the job done.

I spent this past weekend gathering images for a textbook on pancreatic surgery. Approximately 200 frame grabs from video were needed to illustrate the surgical procedures described in the book. Some chapters included stills and/or illustrations, but others needed some further visual enhancements.

First, I printed out the current build of the book, and while reviewing a PDF on my laptop, marked up the printout with locations for images, and the video clips from which they will be generated.

Next, I confirmed that the videos are correctly numbered. I do this either by reading the text and viewing the videos, or simply checking the layout against the online content management system we devised for this project and ones like it.

Next, I locate the hard drive containing most of the videos. Yup, it's a eSATA internal drive in an external bay - great for sneakernets and great for collecting dozens of drives - usually one per project plus backups. Sometimes the best solution is whatever is simplest.

Each chapter has a folder, including word docs, videos and premiere projects.

Open the premiere project, or make a new one as the case may be.

Now, looking at the content of each paragraph in the book layout on one computer, I locate the associated video clip, drag to a sequence, then scroll quickly through the clip to get a sense of the content.

Then, move the cursor to the approximate frame I want, then use the arrow keys to find the exact frame. Given the nature of the subject, surgery, the appropriate frame is somewhat subjective, and somewhat dictated by the video itself. If we are looking for a shot of an anastomosis (joining together of two structures, such as a hollow viscus and a solid organ, or two hollow viscus segments - me smart, use big words!) then we may get a clear shot of applying a suture, firing a stapler or simply the end result. The available frame decides what will be used. The thing is itself.

Then hit ctrl+M to export a TIF. There have been numerous discussions around the COW about how to get print quality images out of video - SD, HD or DSLR (usually also HD). Well, we simply take the 720x480 TIF and print at its native size of about 2x3 inches within a 300 dpi document. The printer's pre-flight check will flag any non-300 dpi image - but we tell them in advance what is coming their way.

Naming convention is vital. Never, and I mean NEVER, should you name something Slide 1.TIF, because inevitably there will be other files with the same name elsewhere on your computer.
In this case, my naming scheme is:

ch_vid#_# (chapter_video number_image number from that video).

Since the video numbers are already listed in the chapter, the layout designer need only locate the video number in the layout and insert the images with the correct name.

Exceptions to this are if there is more than one image, there MAY be a directive to place the images at particular points within the text. However usually there is simply a reference to the image inline with the text, and all of the images live below that paragraph.

Periodically it is a good idea to browse through what has been captured to make sure I have not mis-named anything.

tick tock......time passes........a few breaks to watch Meet the Press (a show I always liked but especially now that a fellow alum of U of Hartford is the director of the show) and a This Old House episode...

8 hours later, with just a few chapters to go, my eyes bleary, watering and the 3rd cup of coffee sitting cold on the desk, it is time to call it a night.

Tomorrow, I need to save a backup copy of the raw images (raw meaning original, not raw meaning RAW. If anyone can tell me how to get RAW images out of DV I'm all ears. Actually my friends tell me I'm all nose.). Then all images go to photoshop for deinterlacing and color correction, cropping and the occasional cloning tool or other touch up. The danger here is that sometimes when you grab a still from interlaced video, it cannot actually be deinterlaced due to the particular type of motion involved. So then a decision has to be made - live with it, re-do it or discard it.

Finally, pass images off to layout, and then check everyone's work.

Gotta go watch True Blood and Being Human - we like Vampires around the Cohen household.

Thanks for reading.


Posted by: Mike Cohen on Aug 15, 2010 at 6:36:39 pm workflow, photoshop


This past week was a perfect example of contrasts in my job duties. I often say that I wear many hats, that every day is different, and that my job entails a wide variety of activities.

What better excuse than to update my blog with a new post (it has been a while) and share some photos from my week. Sorry to my die hard blog fans - grainy cell phone pictures are a thing of the past.


Spent the better part of the day, until about 1:30am Monday, reviewing a 384 page PDF of an upcoming book about Pancreatic Surgery. I am the project manager of We are about to go to press, but first, we need to do the following:

1. Make sure all the images are correctly placed.
2. Make sure the 100+ illustrations are reviewed, revised and updated in inDesign.
3. Make sure the video references are in the correct sequence - there is an accompanying DVD-ROM containing hours and hours of video and narration.
4. Capture additional video stills to populate image-free zones of the book - deinterlace, color correct, add to layout.
4b. Integrate final changes from proofreader.
5. Lock down the cover design.
6. Get approvals.
7. Send to press.
8. Review proofs (formerly called galleys).
9. Pray.
10. Receive copies - move to secure underground bunker (I am not making this up).

Marked up a printout, sent some notes to the designer and hit the hay.

Monday - AM

Spent a few hours on e-mail and general housekeeping. 11am, leave for the airport. Made good time, no traffic this time of day. Realized I would miss the CT Primaries for Governor and Chris Dodd's Senate seat - oh bother.

The flight was delayed about 45 minutes - what to do with extra time....

I even started a thread using the COW MOBI site, entitled "Sitting Around Waiting" and got some interesting responses:

Monday - PM

Board Southwest flight for quick 1 hour flight to Baltimore. As the only airline that does not charge for extra luggage, SWA is a pleasure to fly - and the flight attendants are known to sing over the PA. I am surprised this is allowed by the FAA.

We arrived just in time for rush hour on the Beltway, but still made it to K Street in about an hour. Hampton Inns are predictably nice - comfy room, free coffee and tea round the clock and usually conveniently located.

We got settled and then took a brief walk around Chinatown, took pictures of the NPR building

(clearly the money I have donated has not gone into the building! But I'll bet Cory Flintoff has a nice cubicle.), and looked for something to eat.

I live and breathe by my black berry phone - and lately I eat by it too. Google maps is not fast, but handy for figuring out where you are and what is nearby. We wound up at a unique Japanese eatery, Kushi Izakaya. It has a sushi bar as well as wood fired grills for skewered meats, fishes and vegetables.

Incidentally, I recently upgraded my pont and shoot still camera to a Sony DSC-H55 - it even has settings for food and pets - custom made for this blog!!!

We ate at the robata bar (presumably the location on K St means that all the tables and booths were occupied by lobbyists)...

...the menu resembles Tapas and so did the check. But the variety of foods resembled the variety of job duties I'm supposed to be blogging about :)


Up at 7am - breakfast buffet - carbs and more carbs - long day ahead (potentially).
We met our surgeon client at his office, changed into scrubs and made our way to the OR. This surgeon is one of the first I worked with early in my career. The case started at 9:30am and went until about 5pm. While I cannot discuss the medical aspects, it was, supposedly, the first time such a procedure has been videotaped.

The case could have gone on until late at night, but what was able to be done was done, and we hit the road around 6:30 for a 9:30pm flight home. A quick stop at Panera for predictably good food, guaranteed to be better than most airport selections - I particularly like their chicken noodle soup.

Boarded flight on time, arrived in Hartford around 10:30, luggage by 11, car by 11:15, home by 12:15am, quick shower to wash off hospital and airport (sorry forgot to take pictures), and bed by 1am.


Returned to office around 10am, spent most of the day on odds and ends. I bought a pack of 100 to-go cups to go with my single serve coffee maker. Today was a two-to-go-cup day.

Odds and Ends

Reviewed a printout of the next catalog we will distribute.

Reviewed a new DVD series we are selling - best sellers in our nursing series.

Collected, scanned and emailed some release forms for a competed project - one can never be too organized when keeping track of such important documents. We also sometimes collect tax forms for consultants, so a locked cabinet for sensitive documents is important.

Reviewed some stills from Tuesday's shoot - since we are making both a DVD and book, some high res stills will be important.

Confirmed with the surgeon our next shoot - one down, six to go. Our illustrator will join us next time.

Back to the Pancreas project - already discussed items on the to do list.

Also worked with our web designer on some updates to our website. Our site is both an e-commerce site where we sell our books and videos, as well as a newly expanded Services area to help generate new business, a video gallery and improved layout for product display. Launching sometime soon.


I had a client scheduled for an edit session at 9:30am. I made a coffee to go and actually got to the office at 6:30 - tweaked some initial edits and did some further refining to prepare for the client. This is a promo video to be shown at a corporate event in the Fall.

Worked with client until about 1pm, then continued working on audio levels and color correction.

Afternoon conference call and some more Pancreas work.


Spent most of the day refining the video, adding supers and a snappy opening, and rendered a WMV for client review.

Did some more work on website redesign and some more odds and ends.

At the end of the day, packed up my editing computer for some weekend work - you guessed it, Pancreas! Sat in the wonderful daily traffic jam in Waterbury. Got home and discovered that some devilish creature had eaten my 6 beautiful eggplants growing in my patio garden. Blasted!

Well, they were looking good, as were the other plants.

Ode to a Lost Soul

Once you were young, but a seedling from Lowe's,
Then as you grew with your siblings beside you,
I knew you would make me a meal worth enjoying,
And would perhaps be worthy of prose.

As the weeks went by I fell deeper for you,
With your tender skin, your supple feel, your color,
I yearned for the day my lips would embrace,
The taste of your body in salad or stew.

Yet at last came the day my imagination had framed,
The breading prepared, the pasta al dente,
I opened the door to harvest your soul,
And all that I found was all that remained.


But if you leave town for a couple of days during a heat wave, not much you can do about it. Next year - bigger pots and perhaps a trickle watering system.

So to summarize, this week I was a project manager, a road warrior, a food connoisseur, a tourist, a surgical videographer, an editor, a client relationship manager, a still photographer, a poet and a coffee barista. What did you do today?!

Thanks for reading.

Mike Cohen

Posted by: Mike Cohen on Aug 13, 2010 at 6:07:48 pmComments (1) travel, workflow

I have a passion for my job, which entails training for medical professionals such as surgeons, nurses and administrators, not to mention various industries.

Technology is great, but how you apply your skills is what pays the bills.

Years ago I canceled my Media 100 support contract upon discovering what a treasure trove of helpful advice can be found on the Creative COW website. I am proud to be a part of this fantastic community.

In my blog I talk a little about media production, a lot about travel and workflow, and occasionally about cooking, nature and my four-legged friends.

Follow me on Twitter: med_ed_mike

I'm also on LinkedIn if you can't get enough of me!


May 2019 (1)
July 2017 (1)
January 2016 (1)
June 2015 (11)
August 2014 (6)
January 2014 (1)
October 2013 (1)
April 2013 (2)
March 2013 (2)
December 2012 (3)
October 2012 (2)
September 2012 (1)
August 2012 (2)
June 2012 (1)
March 2012 (2)
January 2012 (4)
October 2011 (2)
May 2011 (1)
April 2011 (2)
March 2011 (3)
February 2011 (2)
January 2011 (1)
November 2010 (3)
October 2010 (2)
September 2010 (3)
August 2010 (2)
June 2010 (6)
April 2010 (3)
February 2010 (3)
January 2010 (6)
December 2009 (3)
November 2009 (2)
October 2009 (8)
September 2009 (5)
August 2009 (1)
July 2009 (1)


travel (16)
photography (7)
workflow (7)
business (7)
event AV (5)
teamwork (4)
organization (3)
project management (3)
pre-production (3)
video (2)
cow (2)
filmmaking (2)
memories (2)
sales (2)
marketing (2)
nature (2)
photoshop (2)
food (2)
planning (2)
creativity (2)
planning ahead (2)
3D (2)
effects makeup (2)
interviews (2)
show more
© 2020 All Rights Reserved