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Old Editors vs New Editors

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Roy Schneider
Old Editors vs New Editors
on Oct 14, 2009 at 12:30:33 pm

Hi All:
Over the years there has been numerous threads about Old School Editors vs New School Editors. The following is a link to an article that may sum it up the best way possible. Enjoy!

Roy Schneider
Long Live Da Cow!

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Jason Jenkins
Re: Old Editors vs New Editors
on Oct 14, 2009 at 6:42:46 pm

Great article!

Jason Jenkins

Flowmotion Media

Video production... with style!

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Micah McDowell
Re: Old Editors vs New Editors
on Oct 14, 2009 at 7:31:49 pm

I guess I'm fortunate that I started in the non-linear days, but I have tons of respect for the "old school" editors.

Only time I touched a linear edit suite was in college; we had to edit on them for the first semester and move to Avids later on. The linear systems were so decrepit and unreliable that I secretly snuck all my tapes home and edited on FCP, and dubbed them back later. I spent about 2 hours editing each of my projects, while it took everyone else about 6-12 hours if they ever finished. Of course the quality of mine was a couple generations better, so it might have looked suspicious, but I made straight As on all of the projects.

I do certainly appreciate the artistry and pre-planning necessary for a linear edit. I wonder if there would be no such thing as modern reality TV if everything had to be edited in linear sequence instead of whittling down hours of random footage into a story in a non-linear timeline. Maybe we'd be better off that way?

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Rocco Forte
Re: Old Editors vs New Editors
on Oct 14, 2009 at 9:37:35 pm

Let this be a warning to all "new" editors out there today: this will happen to you, soon. I don't know in what form it will take, (possibly an internet-based process where anonymous editors and amateurs all over the globe log on and crowd-source low-rez dailies, uploaded straight from the camera, and the Producer pulls his favorite cuts) but technology evolves fast into the most efficient model. Don't be bitter, evolve with it.

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Mark Suszko
Re: Old Editors vs New Editors
on Oct 14, 2009 at 11:17:27 pm

I place myself just after the apotheosis of Quad tape and hand-cutting by razor, in the middle of the type-C one-inch heyday. I trained on EIAJ porta-packs, editing manually machine-to-machine with a grease pencil, stopwatch and a pot of coffee. I also worked in radio in the days of reel to reel, editing by cutting tapes with a razor in an aluminum cutting block, splicing with clear tape or glue, and Spotmaster cart machines (ruggedized eight track decks) were "high tech". Just to get a time picture of where I came in.


The inevitable end of this is that once the video is in packets, it no longer cares if it is being cut in Bangor or Bangalore. The trend will be towards ever more commoditization of the editing function, as it is everywhere else in the industry. That's even MORE depressing to me.

Really, a guy standing around lecturing to powerpoint slides... anybody can hack that together if they can read and speak the language the guy is talking. I expect simple business video will be cut like that by people who could be anywhere nationally or internationally, across time zones and who bid against each other online to do it cheapest. Not unlike world or warcraft gold farmers in some one-bulb mud hut owning nothing but rags and a laptop with wifi access. And you thought YOUR edit bay was nasty... I like to think I bring added value to those simple kinds of jobs, but not everyone would care, if the cost and delivery time were right. "Gold Farmers" will someday take all of that work away.

Only the high end, the "artistic" and bleeding-edge stuff can survive commoditization for a time. Still, the commoditization puts an ever-downward pressure on our fees and prices anyhow because there are so many editors out there and more every year. I didn't say they were all good, necessarily. But clients don't always pay for good.

Will we still be able to make a living at it? For a time, yes, and for some, always. But its a field suffering a glut of practitioners and a contraction of customers so that living will more often be on a shoe string unless you are working in the top layers of the biz, or become your own client and create your own job.

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Kai Cheong
Re: Old Editors vs New Editors
on Oct 15, 2009 at 12:16:54 pm

I told myself that if and when I finally become a 'true editor' (I am not worthy... Yet), I'll tattoo an FCP logo - because it's the EDL of choice that enabled me to get into editing, on my own terms.

Looking at the trend of things, perhaps I'll tattoo the FCP logo to commemorate its RIP day - even before I attain the Holy Grail of Editorship.

FCP Editor / Producer with Intuitive Films
Now 'LIVE'! Check Out The Intuitive Films Blog @

At Intuitive Films, We Create: TV Commercials, Documentaries, Corporate Videos and Feature Films
Visit us @
MacBook Pro 2.4GHz | 4GB RAM | FCP 5.1.4 | Mac OS X 10.5.2

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Alan Lloyd
Re: Old Editors vs New Editors
on Oct 15, 2009 at 2:11:12 pm

Very good article.

I stopped cutting for years when digital came in. It had stopped being fun. Seeing how fast I could drive an interformat Sony BVE-910 room, making tape changes into an athletic event, telling clients to quiet down as I cut a word out and replaced it to cover a script error that was voiced as written, ahhh, the old days.

Oddly, the thing I missed most was the weighted jog/shuttle dial. Go figure...

Now, I have an edit machine and an edit laptop. I cut for clients and my own stuff. With a Wacom tablet instead of a shuttle knob. And I hop among Premiere, Photoshop, and sometimes After Effects.

The thing I see yet that I don't like is that there are a lot of "operators" out there, and people who can sling filters and effects like there's no tomorrow, but still not so many editors - because at the end of it all, editing is not operating, it's storytelling.

And one final observation: If your cut piece feels shorter to watch than it's real-time duration, it's a good edit.

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Rick Turners
Re: Old Editors vs New Editors
on Oct 15, 2009 at 6:29:41 pm

It's a double edged sword.
Software developers are helping current editors do the job better and easier.
but at the same time making it easier for everyone and anyone, driving down the value of the editor.

And yes, Final Cut Server is already allowing editing to be done remotely. In fact, on the apple website there is a team of editors using FCS in Singapore or something, for a company in the US, for a client in the US.

The people who will succeed are the ones who take advantage of this, aka start producing, if you cant beat them, join them.

It's either that or start communicating with major software developers and tell them to stop making things so damn easy, give us back some mystery. Of course someone will see that opening and a third party will fill the gap to make a buck.

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Mark Raudonis
Re: Old Editors vs New Editors
on Oct 16, 2009 at 4:08:03 am

I know Jon, the author of this article. I worked with him back in those "glory days" at KABC-TV in their
hybrid 3/4" to 1 inch rooms. He was a "rock star" editor then, and he still is today, but he's just doing different things.

The funny thing about this article is that he comes off sounding a bit bitter. He's NOT! He's forgotten more than most will ever learn, but he's still in the game... just a different kind of game.

The only constant in life is change. If you're not learning new skills, new workflows, new software, you might as well hang it up. I'm not bitter about it, I welcome it. It's exciting. It's new. It allows us to do
things that just weren't possible even a few years ago.

Mark "always looking forward" Raudonis

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Steve Kownacki
Re: Old Editors vs New Editors
on Oct 16, 2009 at 11:11:00 am

I'm appreciative that my electric bill is down! A/B/C roll was a mountain of gear. Of course now we have to turn on the heat in the winter.


Jump to the FFP Website

View Steve Kownacki's profile on LinkedIn

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Marcello Mazzilli
Re: Old Editors vs New Editors
on Oct 16, 2009 at 1:58:32 pm

I started on linear editing weddings and was a very good way to start in my opinion. You have to plan everything. All the camera men of our facility were trained to shoot in a certain way so we, editros, could expect the footage to be roughly on the same area of the tape. The owner of the place had started with film.. and at that time.. for weddings budget.. there was NO editing at all ! Everything had to come out good from the camera !!!

Now I happily work on digital and appreciate all the possibilities. But I would like to talk bout something else...

Has somebody worked on Matrox Studio? I did for 2-3 years. This system was an in-between system. You had a PC with a timeline and clips with a frame on top so you could understand what it was. But the actual clip was just a reference for tapes. Nothing was really in the machine.. a part from the first clip! It was a uite intelligent solution... It enabled you to easiy do changes in the middle of any job, including complex fades or audio mix. But obviously you will be asked to insert tape A21, tape F34, etc.... (Here I learned how important it is to name tapes correctly).

Once we had to do a 3 monitor movie for a preentation so I had a 3 layer timeline to edit but I was editing completely blind. I had "captured" hundreds of 1 second long footage and almost edited like we do today.. but blind (without seing the result). There was not much matching to do being short clips.. it was more a thing of rithm. Finally.. I had to print the three layers of the timeline separatly on thre different masters. I was inserting tapes all night !!!

The funny thing is that sometimes I keep working at night to keep on schedule.

siRoma di Marcello Mazzilli
Corporate video productions in Italy

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grinner hester
Re: Old Editors vs New Editors
on Oct 17, 2009 at 3:35:41 pm

he seems bitter. lol

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Matthew Brushinski
Re: Old Editors vs New Editors
on Oct 21, 2009 at 4:13:56 am

I had to do the tape to tape editing in college (and didn't cheat like the previous poster heh.) It was definitely rough and I totally respect the 'Old-Schoolers'. There's just one problem I have with a few editors around me, who think since they were around during the late part of linear, that I must bow to them and repeat the chant of thank you god of editing. It's awfully painstaking at some points. I do, however, thank the linear editors for getting us to where we are now. Couldn't be here without the invention of the deck.

-Matt Brushinski
"We're not here for a long time, we're here for a good time."

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adam taylor
Re: Old Editors vs New Editors
on Oct 27, 2009 at 1:55:39 pm

Its an age old discussion that will probably never fully resolve itself - Experience or Enthusiasm.

Personally - i want both in an editor.

i think what a lot of "young'uns" don't realise is that linear maybe an outmoded methodology but it taught you lots of skills and techniques that are still vital parts of a good editors toolkit. It certainly taught me to think ahead. To use my eyes and mind together to quickly analyse the shots, to do a mental edit before i begin cutting because a linear suite doesn't have a bin full of pretty little reminder icons, nor does it have multiple undos.

Cutting news, i developed the ability to analyse a betacam tape whilst it was in quick reverse shuttle. By the time the tape had rewound, i had a damned good idea of what the cameraman had shot, and also how to structure the edit. I also knew whereabouts the shots were on the tape.
Nowadays, I work in advertising, on non-linear kit, so that particular skill is hardly used, but the ability to quickly plan out an edit mentally, to have logged the shots in the mind, to scan quickly through rushes picking out relevant details that many would miss... all these skills still plays a big part in my edit decision process.

There are good and bad editors from all eras.
The real trick is to find the right editor for the job, with the right skill set, right outlook, and yes...i'll say it - the right experience.

Sadly enthusiasm will only get you so far before a lack of experience will become obvious.

Experience is what it all boils down to. Experience to provide a solution, whatever its origin, is really the only thing that matters.
Who cares if you cut on linear or not? nobody !
Can you deliver the right solution to the current edit? Now thats the real question....can you?


Adam Taylor
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
Oldham, UK

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