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New Topic - Editing a Project - To Each His or Her Own

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Mike Cohen
New Topic - Editing a Project - To Each His or Her Own
on Jul 7, 2005 at 3:41:46 pm

Given the lively exchanges of the last two threads, here is one that might be enlightening:

As a producer/editor/wearer of many hats, I shoot, script and edit my projects. Thus I use the NLE to log clips, do the rough cut, and then tweak, tweak, tweak until it is done.

In the old tape days, first we would log the tapes from TC dubs, do a paper edit, then go to post with a full paper edit list. Now I just do the paper edit in the NLE.

I would be interested to know the different variations with which others approach a one-man (or woman) project. I do training videos and product promos, just so you know where I am coming from.

Obviously different program types will have different approaches, but since this forum discusses approaches to art and craft of editing, I am looking forward to the responses.


Mike Cohen

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Re: New Topic - Editing a Project - To Each His or Her Own
on Jul 7, 2005 at 10:35:28 pm


I work within a production team, so not quite a one man/woman operation.

Mix of projects: promos, training videos and commercials.

With the exception of the commercials, the workflow gos:

Producer scripts / conceives production
It is shot
Tapes arrive in suite with no log or paper edit
Producer tells me roughly what he wants
i choose shots, brief graphics people, choose music and cut programme
Client / producer review

Turnaround for post is 4 - 5 days for 30 min cut.

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Mark Suszko
Re: New Topic - Editing a Project - To Each His or Her Own
on Jul 8, 2005 at 6:20:56 pm

I've done it the old way as well, and I do similar work to yours now. Mostly I one-man-band it, or let the clients do the paper edit of what I shot using window dubs on VHS on their own time. Since I am generally also the shooter, I already know as the editor where everything is, and pretty much what I have to work with. That's a major time saver right there.

If it's a scripted show, I already have preferred takes marked on my copy of the script from the shoot, so I just mark ins and outs for the specific slated takes, build the batch digitizing list, hit "go" and sit back with a beverage to monitor audio levels.

What I like to do now is to do the "paper edit" as you call it, or the rough cut, at the digitizing/logging stage. When I have the luxury and am not too bored by the material, I find it speeds things up quite a bit to roll and log-in only the best takes, and digitize at full quality right off the bat. For something very linear in style, I can then just lasso the whole bin, drag it to the timeline, and it's essentially done except for tweaks and transitions. Where this can bite you is if you set yor handles too short and need to go back and grab more of something you didn't expect you needed so much of at first.

And there is the serendipity effect of looking thru all your footage while searching. Murch talks about this extensively, and I have to agree with him that it can bring new perspectives and superior shot choices to your mind. Many is the time I was shuttling thru tape or scrubbing thru captured files looking for one thing, only to suddenly glimpse something that would be PERFECT somewhere else in the show, and that's a mental thing that happens on the fly, constantly changeing and constantly refreshed by the shuttling/scrubbing action. I call it the "dictionary effect", I can't just look up one needed word in the book, I wind up looking at many things that pop up next to and around it as I'm flipping the pages. It swells my vocabulary considerably;-)

Other times, I just digitize a whole tape end to end without sitting there, then I carve out useless stuff on the timeline. This is more wasteful of drive space, so I don't prefer it, but does enhance the dictionary effect. It depends very much on the type and quantity and quality of the material, as well as the deadline and available drive space, which way I digitize.

As the shooter/director, I also tend to edit in-camera a lot, particularly if I know the edit is going to be tricky. You edit, in a sense, every time you decide to turn the camera on or off, to roll or not. If you have pre-planned well and know your material, you can save a lot of post time just being picky in the shooting.

Not that I don't sometimes waste a lot of tape shooting, when I think it's advantageous to just keep rolling. Tape is cheap, it's only expensive when it's blank; as in when you don't have the footage you need at 8:30 PM with an hour left.

At that point nobody gives a damn that you saved 20 bucks on blank stock.;-)

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walter biscardi
Re: New Topic - Editing a Project - To Each His or Her Own
on Jul 10, 2005 at 10:20:06 am

Great thread to start Mike! Here's some of my workflows.

For a highly technical or 'precise' training videos I like to bring my laptop into the field and do live captures so we can actually edit as we shoot. This way my client can verify that all language, action and anything else in the scene is absolutely correct while we're still in the field. It's a lot less expensive to re-shoot something while we're in the field than to bring the crew back. This also makes the final edit a snap since the offline was already created in the field.

I've actually taken this one step further now and have a full uncompressed HD editing system on wheels which I'm offering to corporate conventions, independent films, etc.... but I digress.

For general training or corporate image presentations I'll do the NLE logging as you describe, capture and start editing. I'll do a complete 'slap-cut' as I call it for timing with VO, SOT's and music. There will be black holes all the way through, but I'll have the full timing worked out. Then I go back to fill in B-Roll, then create the graphics and then any animations / SFX that are needed.

For broadcast, I work with other producers who generally come in with a full log sheet, the selects already highlighted. So I simply capture and edit. pretty straightforward.

One of the biggest things I do here is work with Producers who are one-man-bands but don't really have the know-how or time to create graphics / animations. So they'll do all the capturing, editing and tweaking on their own Final Cut Pro workstations, then bring the project to me and I'll add the color correction, graphics, animation and do a full sound mix. I even train Producers on how to use Final Cut Pro just for this purpose. While I'd love to get paid for the days of capture and offlining, I think it's a better use of everyone's budget if the Producer wants to do the primary cutting themselves and then I just enhance what they bring me.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Creative Genius, Biscardi Creative Media

Now in Production, "The Rough Cut,"

"I reject your reality and substitute my own!" - Adam Savage, Mythbusters

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Mike Cohen
Re: New Topic - Editing a Project - To Each His or Her Own
on Jul 12, 2005 at 2:37:49 pm

As an addendum, I sometimes log the shots and then digitize (such as when using Premiere), or digitize the whole tape at 20kb in the Media100, make my shots on the timeline and then drag to the bin and rename each shot, basically logging in the computer, where you avoid lots of tape shuttling.
The other type of video we do are surgeries - in this case I digitize the raw footage, sometimes 6 hours' worth, lay it all on the timeline, then cut out the un-needed bits, ripple edit, and 1st edit is done.


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