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Russ’ Top Ten Things to Do While on a Render Bender

No honey, I’m not squandering my day on Xbox! I’m rendering.

All work and no play makes us dull.

All play and no work makes us broke.

So…. Since we all work with media that needs rendering, what are some good ways to spend that time while our computers chug and smoke away on a render?

Assuming that you don’t have a dozen video projects on the go and a surplus of willing machines, render time can be a nice time for quiet reflection, meaningful introspection, or just watching Transformers.

Here is my list of things I like to do while my computers are doing all the work:

1. Play video games – ok, I’m a grown-up. I make dinner every night, try to exercise, walk my dogs, spend quality time with my gal, but I own a lot of video game stuff. I’ve always loved games, but when the heck can I play them? During renders. That’s when. I’ll take a little bit of GTA V midday, any day.
2. Shoot videos. Why not? Chances are there’s a camera floating around your edit suite somewhere. I like to get outside and take some sweet slider shots. If I fluke out and get something great, I might even sell a bit of stock footage. Put that time to work!
3. Take up drag racing. Just kidding. I don’t do that. It’s irresponsible. I might watch a little of it on TV.
4. Get away from screens altogether. If After Effects says I have an hour, I may or may not have an hour, but I like to take one anyways. Getting out and going for a walk or jog can really clear the cobwebs and recharge me for more work.
5. Learn something new. I’m terrible for this, but lately when my machine starts makin’ bacon I like to bust out one of those books about color grading I’ve been meaning to read, or I try to hit up or FXPHD and add a new skill.
6. Call my parents. Not because I have to, or because I need something. I do it just because. It brightens their day, and mine too. Family feeds a part of our soul that needs feeding. It’s the part that makes me worry a bit less about things like money, or little squabbles at home, jerk clients, whatever. Trust me – Just call them. Better yet, take a parent out for a coffee. BONUS: they usually buy the coffee. If you don’t have any living parents, why not take a few minutes to reflect on their amazing impact on you. I lost my mom a bunch of years ago and sometimes when I get an hour away from my machine I sit in the cushy chair in my office and I’ll kinda tell mom how things are going at work. Usually I end up ranting about something, but she’s down with that.
7. Read a magazine. I have a zillion subscriptions and they end up mountaining on coffee tables, my desk, and – until my wife freaks and gets rid of them – on the back of the toilet. Sometimes reading a magazine really gets me excited about the nerdy (read: fun) part of our job. Learning tiny details about a certain way another pro shoots, or how changing a setting in a program can help my productivity is cool to me.
8. Catch up on the PVR. Right? When else can you sit in a quiet room and watch whatever the heck you want? From February to November I PVR my Saturday night or Sunday NASCAR races and watch them on Monday while my computer works.
9. Get organized. Ok, so I don’t always love doing this one, but it’s worthwhile and I’m so happy once I’ve done it. I chuck papers from my desk I no longer need. I update my calendars. I file things. I catch up on billing, or on collection calls (you know who you are), and I love projects like unplugging everything (except equipment involved in the render, of course) and routing my wiring. Maybe I can zip tie some wires together and add a new power bar into the mix, or maybe mount a power bar in a new spot that makes it easy to charge my devices and then I can…. Sorry. I get carried away.
10. Start dinner. I love to work from home. I have an office, but if I don’t have to meet a client I’m not squeezing into my skinny jeans just for nothing. Anyways, a big reason I like working from home is that I can work on food during the day and reap the rewards at dinnertime. If you want to try doing the same, add the All Recipes app to your device and search for something you’ve always wanted to make. Today I made scalloped potatoes, calico beans (email me for a bomb recipe), and a Caesar in advance of Sunday dinner so all we did tonight was grill up some steaks, trout and scallops to accompany. It wasn’t groundbreaking, but it made Sunday dinner a bit more fun, plus, because I overdo things I have breakfast and lunch for tomorrow as well.

I’m sure we all have our own ways to kill off a render session. Tell me in the comments what you do with your longer renders!

Until next time, get that computer on a render bender and have a bit of fun!

Russ Fairley

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