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College Program needs guidance from the pros...

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College Program needs guidance from the pros...
on May 12, 2006 at 4:32:36 pm

Information needed from the Pros:

I am a director for an animation program at a community college outside of LA. We have an extensive program that ranges from traditional animation to motion graphics, 3D animation and on to TV and editing for both broadcast and film.

If students are being taught the craft of editing (currently using Final Cut Pro), is it important to their entry into the industry to be taught using Avid as well or in place of other software?

(my goal here is not to touch off a software debate, but to get feedback from editing industry professionals who have been through this.)

Thanks in advance for your input.


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Malcolm Thorpe
Re: College Program needs guidance from the pros...
on May 12, 2006 at 7:02:25 pm

My 2 cents worth: Having edited by cutting film, using a GVG editor, moving to Avid, then to FCP, the non-linear theory is what is important (to me). Making the change from avid to FCP was almost seamless for me, but making the jump from linear to non-linear was the tough one. It's the editing that is the important part, not the tool used. (again, to me). FCP seems to be more user friendly and forgiving. We have an internship program where high school kids produce on site. With the exception of missing files because they captured on someone's firewire drive, they are putting out some first rate materia.

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Chaz Shukat
Re: College Program needs guidance from the pros...
on May 13, 2006 at 3:27:52 am

Avid is still the broadcast industry standard, so I would say yes. That being said, is it absolutely necessary, no. Right now it seems like more entry level and low paying corp. & indie films and music videos are being cut on FCP, whereas higher level broadcast jobs are on Avid.

Chaz S.

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Nina Staum
Re: College Program needs guidance from the pros...
on May 13, 2006 at 4:40:18 am

I think either one would be good to learn on. The important thing is to get used to dealing with clips and media, and they're similar enough that you can take the same concepts from one to the other.

One slightly pro-Avid bias... a lot of people find Avid has a steeper learning curve than FCP, so it seems to be harder for people to go from FCP to Avid than vice versa (wouldn't know, started on Avid myself.) I don't know if I'd factor that into designing a program though. If you're going to be an editor hopefully you're the kind of person who wouldn't mind tackling the FCP-to-Avid learning curve on your own.

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Mark Suszko
Re: College Program needs guidance from the pros...
on May 15, 2006 at 3:39:54 pm

I feel to really grasp editing, it is good to start out with a little linear experience, even if it's cuts-only.

A dyed-in-the-wool film editor will tell you, NLE's are nothing new, because film has been cut that way since...always: the NLE get's it's "bins" from the actual bins film editors used to use to hold individual trims or clips (that were held to an overhead rope or wire with clothes pins or clips), and that film editors often worked in a non-linear flow, first on one section of the film, then back or forward to another. The multi-reel flatbeds were the precursors to your NLE stacked timelines. It's only gotten more efficient by becoming digital.

That said, Avid and FCP are more alike than not, and Avid's grip on Hollywood is and has been slipping steadily, as FCP and other systems have matured, they all approach the same point on the horizon. You can configure an FCP system today to use the identical keyboard shortcuts and hot keys as an Avid, or premiere, or Autodesk, etc, to work essentially the same, you can (with some work) transfer EDL's and metadata between the systems, though this is not yet as smooth and seamless as it could be. Really, the key concepts of NLE systems are the same in all brands and makes. Some are stronger in certain areas than others is all. For example, Avid still seems to have a better grip on file structure and databases. FCP may be better in terms of user interface between modal and non-modal. Since every person editing is different, they all tend to prefer a system based on their own needs and styles. The common thread between all of these is *HOW* we cut and why.

The people likely to get hired first would have experience on all the popular systems, but if I was hiring, I'd look at their actual skills, their reel, and hire based on what they do with the system they know best: if they were good editors, but not familiar with my "house" system, I'd likely still hire them and give them some time to transfer their skills over. You are hiring what's between their ears, not what's under their fingers, that only takes a credit card to attain. I'd much rather hire a guy/gal who knows how and why to cut something a certain way, than a person who knows what key to press but not what goes behind that. Hell, NASA trained monkeys to press buttons in a space capsule and get a result, but did the monkeys really understand what they were doing?

Isn't this why the forum is called the Art of the Edit? Artist first, technician second. You can always make a technician out of an artist, but you can't always get the reverse to work.

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Tim Martin
Re: College Program needs guidance from the pros...
on May 15, 2006 at 11:18:13 pm

Software doesn't matter. I'm way more impressed when I meet a potential hire that understands how to edit. I meet editors that don't understand the basics of editing, but can push buttons in software.

I agree that if anything you should learn to edit using a linear editor.


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Del Holford
Re: College Program needs guidance from the pros...
on May 18, 2006 at 4:37:55 pm

I'm glad my Sony 9000 is gone. It was a great 11 year ride (after Epic editing for 8 years and a passing acquaintance with ACE). I knew about non-linear editing toward the end of the Sony days and ached for the abilities a NLE gave you. Pre-read was OK but the ability to move a clip anywhere, duplicate it, color correct it, warp it, add text, stabilize it and key it all within one system is so much better.

Tim and the others are correct, though, when they say editing is between the ears, not under the fingers. Access to linear editors is slipping away so the newbies can only learn on the available toolset.

I encourage those learning to identify and realize the mental processes that editing involves.
Pay attention. Watch hours of old movies (old being earlier than 2000) and see why Clint Eastwood uses Joel Cox, why Alfred Hitchcock could be so scary, and also watch commercials and see how editing moves both of those story types into your head and heart. If it isn't so much fun you wonder why they pay you for it, you might want to find the thing that is.

fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS2
Charlotte Public Television

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