the giddy edits
Have I ever mentioned that I love editing?
I sure do. It hasn't happened many times, that I have obsessed over one piece. I can honestly say that most of the time I just don't have the time to. I'm kind of a drive through of post-production, the final product(s) in days, if not hours. I've been having a blast on a side project I hope to be able to focus on more and reciently engulfed myself into one 5 minute piece that I just couldn't get right.
I was very close to the project. I lived it, shot it, saw a finished piece in my head and simply had to get there. Man, it'd get close. Sometimes better than what I imagined in certain areas but killing a crutial point elsewhere. It was a wonderful puzzle and I pulled whats left of my hair out finding the proper spots for all of the pieces. I cussed my gear and myself many times and (and these are just too rare in our worlds) I jumped straight up outta the chair more than once with a loud "kick ass!" I freakin love those moments. It's why I'm here.
taking time with our craft.
Like you, most the time I edit these shows with tight deadlines and no story (the company prefers FLASH and PIZZAZ over content most the time....but not all the time...depends on the producer) and those can be tedious, but every now and then a great project happens along and I am in bliss. But if I am stuck in the middle of a "bad" project, I tend to shoot something for myself and edit it.
Editing is my life, I am so glad I get paid to do it. Although it can be tough when your career is also your hobby...
[grinner] " I jumped straight up outta the chair more than once with a loud "kick ass!""
Yeh, I fully understand the feeling you are saying. Then you get teh project finished, you finally turn it loose. Days later you see it either broadcast or however it was intended to be used, and you keep saying to youself, "damn, if I had only done this, it would be so much better."
I have always said if I was ever totally completely satisfied with a project I had done, it was time to quit, cause undoubtedly my standards of quality had gone down.
I love this game we play. It can be so fulfilling, and at times depressing, but the good times far outweigh the bad.
ProductionKing Video Services
Unmarked Door Productions
Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel
Las Vegas, Nevada
Yeah, I call that having a "real good day", when things all fall so tightly into place, you're yelling at your screen: "WHO's your daddy NOW?"
OTOH, let that tape age a year or so on the shelf and revisit it, for a whole 'nuther kind of feeling.
Client just asked me to update a program from six years ago. Watching it again now, I'm at once amazed an appalled. Amazed at how good some of it was, how I had really pushed the edge of what I knew how to do, adding in 3-d Lightwave animations and compositing it with graphics and intense layering. I loved the topic and like Grinner, was very much one with the material, I threw everything I had into it the first time, for love... and I'm appalled now.
Appalled, among other things, that since that high point, few of my edits have been as technically demanding, meaning my clientele has trended down-market, and some of that stuff I did ten years ago, I have to scratch my head and try to remember just how I DID those, and what tools I could use to match or improve on them today. I have gotten so rusty on Lightwave from lack of opportunity to use it, I might as well be starting from scratch on it, yet again. Also p.o.'d I didn't save out the elements back then, because a lot of stuff needs new v.o. and music, and the source tapes and original separate tracks are long gone. I hadn't consistently picked up the trick of saving out separate audio tracks on the back of the master yet. Bet your mouse I do these days, though. Even for the ephemeral stuff, like this was supposed to be. It's maddening how it always seems to be, that the little throw-away projects you do for people suddenly take on lives of their own all out of proportion to your expectations, while the stuff you thought was going to be big and important just sits on shelves unwatched.
I now am trying to reconcile mashing up a number of varying visual and narrative styles between three versions of the old show while sythesizing a new one out of it. I might just wind up trashing 90 percent of it and taking a fresh direction, just to escape the limitations of the old materials. The office is dark all week, I'm the only one working, so this will also be a good time to brush up on my FCP skills without clients breathing over my shoulder while I hash this out.
One thing I find myself doing is watching the program I spent 5 weeks editing as it airs on TV. I must have seen the darn project several dozen times...to a point where I could quote it front to back. I went to the color correction (or did it myself), I attended the mix and gave notes...and watched it both as it was output for color and output for sound. Yet, when it airs, I not only get giddy when I see it (and my name...I'll NEVER get over that) but I find myself watching it all the way thru. Just to see how it airs, I suppose.
And yes, I too think "Man, I could have done that better," or often I get struck with an amazing storytelling device...as it airs.
It is tough when you work on a show with 3-6 other editors (as I often do) because you see something and go "I wouldn't have done that." Or better yet, you go "I wouldn't have thought of that...COOL!"
Where do you work that you off-line (with 3-6 other editors) yet go to the on-line color correction and the audio sweetening sessions? I often work on a series with other editors, but I never go to audio or online sessions, even if I am the sole editor on the show.
I also like to watch my shows air. Not only to see my name, which these days is only on for a nanosecond, but to see how it came out after onlining and audio sweetening. I've had a couple of unpleasant surprises when watching shows air due to changes or mistakes made in online. But the one that really made fire shoot out of my ears was on a show called "Behind Bars". It was a reality show that used re-enactments. I was one of the re-enactment editors. I cut a sequence that was one of those "giddy" moments that I live for. It not only made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, but it made me yell out loud, "Yeah!" That's when you know you've really hit paydirt! It was a sequence where I drew out a suspenseful moment in which a woman who has just been raped tries to shoot the rapist but finally can't bring herself to pull the trigger. They took this re-enactment and edited it into the show with the interview with the real rapist. But the way they did it, they tell that she didn't shoot him before we see it, thereby removing all that glorious tension and suspense. If I'd had a gun, I think I would have pulled the trigger on that producer. But I realized that suspense is not what many reality shows are about, they just tell facts (booorrrriiiinnnngggg!) So I'm moving into narrative.
Bottom line is guys, you have to have emotion in your show in order to have those giddy moments. Flashy trash won't do it. And I feel sorry for you guys who have to edit with a client breathing down your neck. Thank God I don't.
Only one place I worked had the Lead Editor (finishing editor) go to the color correction and final mix. But they did it with good reason. Often the "look" we gave to the footage wasn't done correctly at the online, or a chyron wasn't done right...and the associate producers don't know this, and the main producers are busy, so we get one paid day to attend the online layback.
We also get a day for the mix, where we make sure all the music hits right and the SFX are all present.
This company does shows for Discovery Channel, National Geographic and the Travel Channel.