"Art of the Edit" Training???
Could anyone point me in the right direction towards some good training? I am not looking for Avid training, FCP, or any system specific training, but rather a way to polish my editing skills and technique. So far, the only place that's been recommended is the "Workshops" in Maine. Any other ideas? It would also be helpful to find some good training to improve my overall production skills at the same time.
Besides the Rockport workshops, Sony teaches some as well, using all Sony gear of course... they do a big deal over the balloon festival out West every year.
I find the best free editing tutoring comes from renting a DVD of a really good classic movie or TV show and listening to the commentary track or even just playing it with no sound, calling out the shots aloud to yourself, making notes on the number of cameras, the setup, the coverage. Watch the best sequences in slomo.
I recently had some AMC channel on in the suite while building and rendering graphics, and I would steal glances at the film "In the Heat Of The Night" witht he sound off. MAN, the chase sequrnce where the good ole boys chase Poitier into the warehouse... it was gripping, even without any sound. Had to go home and watch the whole movie again.
Walter Murch's books on editing are popular.
Michael Wiese Productions web site has many books on directing and editing skills, some good info in there...
Look over places like the AFI and Director's guild web sites...
Book by Woody Allen's early editor: "When the Shooting Stops, the Cutting Begins."
I hope this jogs someone's memory, there was a documentary series about editing that aired recently. I missed it totally but know it's out there. I've been lusting to watch that...
My favorite thing to do is tap out the edits to the beat of music. Often, I time and work things out to the beat before I even lay down a video clip. When I watch TV/Movies/"videos" etc, I do this. My wife absolutely hates this. I like to guess the suspense moment when the lurker strikes, I like to be surprised by the clever cutaway during a sequence. Two of my favorite shows recently have been "Boston Legal" & "Lost". The recent run summer music reality shows have been terrible. I really hope they were shot live to tape because if they were edited from ISO cams then I would be screaming for my money back. Just a thought or two. I really do learn from the good works of others. FWIW YMMV
Fiddler's Ridge Productions
Excellent, thanks for the insight guys.
In the Blink of an Eye by Murch - there is a great article on the Quicktime website about how he edited Cold Mountain on FCP - he edits without audio initially.
When I am watching concerts, I try to predict where the cuts will happen, sometimes they do it to the beat, sometimes to the lyric, sometimes it seems unmotivated.
Interesting.. Murch has a quote somewhere that he says he was editing, and noticed that everytime a particular actor blink, he had an edit there. :)
I personally choose my cuts due to various factors. Timing them to a musical beat is almost never one of them unless I'm cutting a music video or an action sequence. In the event of the action sequence It's rare that I will use music as my guide as to when to cut from one shot to another.
I like to let the footage tell me when I need to cut away and why. A typical Dialogue scene is usually cut a certain why because of what the actors are saying. It's always more powerful to see someone say something than have it play on the person listening. Of course there are exceptions to every rule. In fact there are very few rules, because its ultimately a matter of tastes.
In my opinion the best way to learn to edit is to acutally get some footage and do it. There are different types of editing, I don't go about cutting a narrative story the same way I would a music video or a comercial for instance.
I think the most important part of my job as an editor is to tell the story by connecting the characters with my choice of takes and edit points. It's often knowing when not to cut away that makes the difference. Our job is all about building performances. It's about finding the best parts of each piece of the puzzle, and putting them to use for over all betterment of the film.
Editing is a craft that takes time to learn and get a feel for. The only way I ever learned was to cut scenes together, show them to people and then change them. Ask yourself before you even start what the purpose of this scene in the story is. What are the key points to the scene? Are there any moments in certain takes that will bolster these purposes? Should you favor one character or another?
Too often people equate pacing with the idea of a metronome or music. In my opinion they are missing the point. If what people are saying or doing in a scene flows naturally and the characters are pasted together in such a way that it creates an emotional hook within the viewer, then the scene will play well and hence be thought of as well paced.
Walter Murch may choose to work at first without sound. If that works for him so be it. It's most deffinately not my starting place. At times it does help me to look at a cut or series of cuts without the sound but it's rarely the way I work. Everyone has a different way of finding the right pieces and putting them together in the order they think is best. Knowing what things will cut together easily and finding those points comes with time.
It seems that earlier in my career I was way more worried with matching than I was with other aspects of the formula. As I mature as an editor I find it's just one small part of the puzzle. Here is a typical delima? You have two different setups. A master two shot of two people at a dinner table talking while they eat. In the two shot master the main character is holding his fork while he speaks. In three of his close ups he is using the fork but in one of the takes he is holding a spoon. You like the spoon take better for his performance. Which take do you use? The better performance or the one that matches? These are questions that you will have to answer for yourself and the director every day as an editor, know how to answer them and feeling confident and comfortable with the answers comes with time and experience.
Okay I'm getting off the soap box. What a fun job we have!
Alan Edward Bell
Discreet Combustion Co-Host
LA Combustion Users Group Co-Host
I'm with Alan. Edits will work both with and without sound if they are good, solid edits. If an edit is hard, it will be hard even if it hits a music beat or not. If a sequence isn't working even though it is "timed" to the music, turn off the sound and watch it. How does it play now?
I don't always like to edit on eye blinks or things like that...once a viewer catches on to you they will be distracted by your technique. I like to watch the story unfold...it should seem natural, and since we control the pace of the edits, we can determine when to kick it up a notch.
Music can be then manipulated to fit the edit. But I don't usually like to use it as a guide unless I am building an animation that has a predetermined track and has critical timings.