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Old November 25th, 2005, 06:20 PM   #1
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Editing. What makes is so hard, new?

Well, being sorta new to the whole editing scene,(May 2004) not trying to make a career out of it, I was wondering some ideas or suggestions you guys may have for me when editing to spice things up. Sure I have adapted to some things as my own style, as you probably have, but I'm looking for some new things to try...

Some backround... I got a free Prinacle Studio with my purchase of my canon optura 300 back in May 2004. I learned how to edit, and the basics. I then upgraded and purchased Premiere after about 5-6 edits with Pinnacle.

I now have done over 10 projects with Premiere, and have tryed just about everything, from changing the clip speed, all the transitions, key frames with music, long and short fades, I am leaving tons out....

But when it comes down to it, what am I really missing? I'm pursing a career in Mass Commuications/Journalism, and I know I going to have to learn AVID down the road. But what really makes AVID that much different then Final Cut Pro or Premiere?

What and why do people always say editing is hard? I found it to be very easy and personable.
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Old November 25th, 2005, 07:47 PM   #2
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"Why is it so hard to make a souflee'? It's just eggs..."

Manipulating the software is the easy part to learn. Knowing pacing, timing, continuity... and how to manipulate them is what the craft is about. Remember the vast majority of films in existence... including most of the academy award winners throughout history... were simply 'cut' together with razor blades and glue.

AVID is the 'industry standard' because while not being the very first non-linnear editing system, it was the first effective one. Because it was concieved and designed to be a tool to assist in the CUTTING OF FILM, it operates from a different paradigm than say, Vegas. It is still the best system for CUTTING FILM that exists.Most of the movies being shot today, are still shot ON FILM. It still does it better than FCP, and anyone else.

The paradigm that was created around that concept, is still the industry standard, and even the most recent review of Vegas, as glowing as it is, points out that its workflow will frustrate those who cut from AVID and even FCP.

All of the NLE programs, will do basically the same thing. Allow you to assemble, in a non-destructive manner, various clips to create a 'timeline'. Each NLE has it's strengths and weaknesses. AVID rules Hollywood, Television and to a large extent, Newsrooms. My experience is that FCP rules advertising agencies and small indy procos. Premiere and Vegas are HUGE in prosumer/event circles, primarily because they give good value for low dollar investments.

It is still a HUGE deal when a feature is cut on Final Cut Pro. It's announced with great fanfare and much press coverage. But the vast majority of films and television shows are being cut on Avid.

The old guard will have to leave before the new guard can take over. Will it happen anytime soon? Who knows. How long will film need to be cut? When it goes, will the paradigm still be necessary? How much like AVID has FCP become (Hint, quite a bit) Will Vegas abandon their 'outside the box' approach and adopt the same 'avid like' interface that Sony's high end Xpri uses?

In the end, it's what you know about the craft of creating an edit, rather than the tool you use to create it. Read up on some of the good editing approaches... "Blink of an Eye" and "Transistions" are my two favorite books on editing.

(Full disclosure, I cut on Avid.)
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Old November 25th, 2005, 08:49 PM   #3
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Hello

What Avid are you talking about? Avid Xpress Pro? is that hardware as well as software i am just interested to know why this software or hardware is so good and why so many people use it and what it can do that vegas canít?

Thanks
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Old November 25th, 2005, 09:28 PM   #4
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The big difference?

Vegas doesn't 'cut film'. It's not designed to conform a negative. Granted, very few people on this board will ever 'cut film'. And it's entirely possible, that people who are just embarking on the path, the 18 year olds, will never 'cut film'. They may never ever need to learn what a key code is.

But right now. Today. Hollywood is still shooting film. They are transferring the dailies to tape. And the editor is cutting it together. From his edit, a cutlist will be generated and the negative will still be 'cut' and conformed.

The entire paradigm of Avid, and by default FCP and Premiere and others, centers around cutting LONG FORM film. Keeping track of film in 'bins' and such, is based on manipulating physical pieces of film.(Vegas on the other hand, comes from an audio application background. A different paradigm.) In today's digital world, it's all 1's and 0's of course, so Avid has adapted to become more digital.

Yes, yes, the future is HD and all it's various incarnations... images will ultimately be stored on some sort of solid state chip... And Avid has an excellent HD compression scheme.

But it's still film today... and probably tomorrow.

There are third party 'filmscribe' type apps that will help translate cutlists from FCP and Premiere, and even Vegas... but they are not the 'industry standard.' And with millions of dollars residing on the negative... who ya gonna call?

And the industry standard is like a huge battleship. Slow to turn. Are there things that other NLE's do better than Avid? Sure, lots of things. But at the high end... it is still Avid. As a working editor, it is important to learn as many NLE's as possible, so that you can cut on anything a client might require. Avid, FCP, Vegas, Premiere, Liquid... more tools in your toolbox.

People still talk about Walter Murch cutting "COLD MOUNTAIN" on FCP... and that was, what... five years ago? Every now and then, another film is cut on it. In the television world, where less and less 'film' is being cut... the editing systems that originated cutting for video like FCP are taking hold. Especially as editors move up out of the indy world, and add agencies. (FCP caught Avid sleeping, and staked out that territory. Avid didn't want to undercut it's high end hardware suites with a low end software only solution... it cost them the indy and ADDmarket share to FCP.)

The high end hardware/software suites of course do much much more than cut in realtime including color correction and such. But XpressPro will still cut film and generate a cutlist. The media management is still superior for long form in Avid. (Just as pro's will readily concede that Vegas has ''great audio apps'... they will also point out that for media managment, it's avid all the way) Cut your film on your Avid laptop. Take the project file directly into a high-end avid suite and conform it. SEEMLESSLY. That's priceless.
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Old November 25th, 2005, 10:09 PM   #5
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wow. great infomation.

but what else i wanted to add was, what can I do to step things up a big with my editing, what kind of new techniques/features should i try?
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Old November 26th, 2005, 06:31 AM   #6
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Hey RIchard, What's a keycode?

And Patrick, The message here is that editing is part craft and part art. Once a painter knows a bunch or brush techniques, the rest is art. If you know a bunch of editor techniques, the rest is art. Looking for "editor tricks" is in the past, although you will still pick up new ones. Now you need to study what other artists (not craftsmen) are doing. Get yourself a DVD player or Dish/Tivo that does slo-mo, and start studying how great scenes and stories are put together. Music, Visual Effects, Sound Effects, Foley, ADR, Timing, wide/close/eyeball, every aspect of it. Then you only get better by doing and studying and doing more. When you get your first Academy Award, you can stop studying (but you won't).
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Old November 26th, 2005, 06:33 AM   #7
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Another thng you can do is post up some work for peer critique, and then keep your ego out of the way.
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Old November 26th, 2005, 08:18 AM   #8
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What Bob said.

I'll add this, don't confuse technique with technology. New technologies come on board everyday. It's important to stay abreast of new formats, new systems and such. Of course, you can't buy every new toy that comes out, but you can subscribe to the trade journals and magazines... and great boards like this one... and read up on what's new and great/or new and bad.

TECHNIQUES are the individual approaches to the craft. I hear that that is what you are asking about. Again, some good books can help. Watching your favorite movie with the sound OFF, so you are only watching the images... and how they cut together. (Of course, much of the craft is spread between the directors vision and the editors.. but that's for a different post)

I am NOT primarily an editor. It is a skillset that I struggle with. I think I've done a good job, and then realize it's only passable. An adequate series of choices. I realize that I would rather have someone whose true passion is editing, sit by my side and suggest better choices... choices I couldn't imagine or be afraid to try. The craft for me is a slow and painful process. But I continue to hope for improvement.

I consider myself, first and foremost a 'storyteller'. I'll learn what I can, and do what I must to tell the story. IF I can find someone who can do the job better (especially in a craft at which I don't excell) then I try to do what I can to bring them on board.


Oh yeah, key code.... go google up 'edge numbers'.... (evil grin)

Read IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE and "TRANSITIONS: Voices on the Craft of Digital Editing" for some direction on technique
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