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Struggles Of An Editor

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Marina Wahba
Struggles Of An Editor
on Jan 5, 2011 at 5:32:01 am

Dear Editors out there ...

This thread might not be a specific question but it's more about Editing as a career.
I finished my Film course a few months ago and I got a job as a freelance editor in a small production house.
In my course we learned FCP, AE, Color, Soundtrack Pro ... Now that I started working I can't help but think that we learnt them in a very superficial way.
So my dear fellow editors, the following are some questions that comes to my mind while editing and I wonder if all editors struggle with my same problems or if it's just me.


How do you manage your speed?
How do you know if you're fast enough in doing your job? My boss always gives me a To Do list and sometimes I feel it's unrealistic. Sometimes I feel I'm falling asleep. Sometimes I get distracted.


How do you avoid distractions?
How do you avoid wasting your time on forums, facebook, email ... while editing. Specially when you're researching for something and you know how easy to spend time on this a bit more than what you should.


Multi-tasking:
How do you keep it organised in your mind and not lose it while multitasking (between converting, ripping, burning, ...)


How do you explain to your boss the time wasted on technical problems and computer freezing and conversion problems...


Are you ever satisfied with the final edit?
So I finish a project and then I watch it and always feel there's something I could've done differently, better, cooler, ...


What do you do when your taste is "simplicity" and don't get so impressed with texts exploding or all the fancy effects. Even with movies I don't get that impressed with VFX. I focus more on storytelling. How do you deal with clients who judge your work based on the principle of "the more cheesy effects you include the more work you've done"?


How to become more technical, what to read, what softwares to use?
I've always considered myself the creative type not the technical, but don't get me wrong I am willing to be technical. But how? with all these codecs and formats and errors ... ARGHH!!


Motion graphics ....
Can you be an editor and HATE motion graphics and graphic design in general. I just don't have the passion, patience and creativity to animate a title from scratch. If I have a good concept, I'm willing to try but it's always too hard for me. It's a world in itself and I have no time to explore. How can I make up for that? Is there a software/website where I can download or use their templates? (non-cheesy ones)


What's the average hourly rate for editors in Sydney and when do I know if I deserve an increase?


Where can I ask my silly questions about editing without being judged? like ...
Why FCP is better than iMovie? I know it gives you more control but it also makes life harder in everything. And frustrates you with rendering just to preview a simple effect that you just added.
Why does AE has no audio? and how is it possible to animate to music when you can't hear it? And how does hollywood fit 3 hours movies on one disc?


And the most important question of all...
HOW CAN I BECOME A BETTER EDITOR?
How can I become more quick, knowledgable, creative and technical?
What do I need to read, edit, watch?


PLEASE HELP!!!!


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Fernando Mol
Re: Struggles Of An Editor
on Jan 5, 2011 at 7:04:57 am

Humbly:

How do you manage your speed?
Experience.

How do you avoid distractions?
I don't. I get distracted all the time, but I try to get back to work a minute later.

How do you keep it organized in your mind and not lose it while multitasking.
I don't keep organized in my mind. I keep track on paper.

How do you explain to your boss the time wasted on technical problems and computer freezing and conversion problems...
I never explain myself unless asked to. If asked, I tell the truth. Never explain a failure, because you're not allowed to fail. Giving an alternative solution it's better.

Are you ever satisfied with the final edit?
Always. Maybe because I love my work.

What do you do when your taste is "simplicity"
I never use my taste in a job. I try to use what it works for the project (and consider myself lucky if that's also the client's taste).

How to become more technical, what to read, what softwares to use?
User manuals are great. Following threads in forums like HERE and always trying to answer them it's a great way to be ahead of problems.

Can you be an editor and HATE motion graphics and graphic design in general?
You are allowed to love. Or learn to love.

Where can I ask my silly questions about editing without being judged? like ...
The COW forums.


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Brian Mulligan
Re: Struggles Of An Editor
on Jan 5, 2011 at 1:26:05 pm

How do you manage your speed?
Experience and knowing your software inside and out. It is your main tool.


How do you avoid distractions?
Sometimes distractions are good, but save them for when rendering happens. Focus.


How do you explain to your boss the time wasted on technical problems and computer freezing and conversion problems...
You have to work through that. There are still deadlines.


Are you ever satisfied with the final edit?
You never finish editing.. you just run out of time. There are always things as you look back that you will hate. But you know every frame... the viewer doesn't. If the end product is good that's all that matters.


What do you do when your taste is "simplicity" What type of projects are you editing? Motion graphics work is and isn't editing.
If you are more of a long form editor... spot work may not be your thing.

How to become more technical, what to read, what softwares to use?
Follow the industry and find a few good forums online. There are better resources than the COW.


Motion graphics ....
Spot editing does demand some motion graphics work. See above.



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Mark Suszko
Re: Struggles Of An Editor
on Jan 5, 2011 at 3:34:18 pm

How do you manage your speed?
Speed comes from being decisive as well as being practiced. The NLE lets you try a dozen variations of how to make a cut. You don't always have to try every such possible path, before deciding which is "the one". When over time you develop a sense of pace and story, you also develop an intuition for what's going to cut together best. Cutting news under deadline perssure is, I feel, a very good exercise for building this skill.


How do you avoid distractions?

....What was that? I wasn't... :-) This is a challenge for me as well, as I have a slight case of ADD that wasn't diagnosed in childhood, I just grew up with it and more or less developed management of it. By the way, ADD isn't all bad: while it makes a person somewhat distractable, for things they truly love, people with this issue can bring a manic, unwavering, laser-like focus to bear on their work. But I fight distractions every day, when the task at hand is boring. Typically, what happens is I'm working my way thru a timeline, lining up shots, and one of them will cry out for an audio tweak or a color correction. Sometimes you can just say to yourself: "well, I'm already here, why not fix that right now, rather than in the dedicated audio pass". There's no one right way to go, you have to decide for yourself what the most efficient process is for what you need to do. But since story has to come first, my goal is to cut the story first, then go back to tweak other parameters like color grades, levels, audio, etc. My motto in most technical issues, from editing to audio setups and lighting setups to set construction is: "First make it WORK; THEN make it pretty."

I try to use the distractions of the day as little rewards: I must first get to point "X" in the work before I can take a break for whatever. Setting a beeper timer on your watch or a stopwatch can also help your time sense. When the work seems overwhelming, compartmentalize it, and work on the small compartments one at a time. This gives you a sense of progress and completion, over trying to tackle the whole thing as one giant organic whole. If email and facebook and etc. are big time sucks for you, you should schedule dedicated time periods just for those. For the weak-willed, there are even programs for the computer that block your web access for set times to help keep you from going astray.

Multi-tasking:
How do you keep it organised in your mind and not lose it while multitasking (between converting, ripping, burning, ...)

I try to predict what process is going to take the longest amount of time, say, a render, and I try to arrange for that to happen just before lunch, before some meeting, or overnight, so I have something else to do while it runs. When I get back, everything (hopefully!) is done and ready for the next step. Another thing is to prepare your elements in a way that supports more efficient overall progress. People HATE logging tape, but if you log it with a lot of attention and love, that investment pays off later in a faster and better edit, because you really KNOW what you have to work with, can find it fast, and you can do a rough pre-edit just in the way you pick out the raw elements as you log them. I have had fast sessions where I did very good and accurate logging, and I was able to just dump the entire bin of selects onto the timeline and immediately play that to air, without further cutting, because I *knew* I already had everything in order and just right.

I'm not always that disciplned: for some projects, usually smaller ones or less well-developed ones, I'll just digitize the whole tape as one lump, and then cut it up and re-assemble it on the time line. It depends on the nature of the specific project and how complex it is, and what the available time and goals are. But here's the truth: you can end up spending about as much thinking and trying time, doing that one way, or the other, either logging little individual clips, or razoring up one massive clip on the time line. They both get you to the same place in the end, but one method may suit your particular nature better, or suit the process better, if for example you have a good script that's well-anotated. In that case, conventional logging-centric workflow is probably better. When there is no script, as in some documentaries, you might have to treat the clips like a picture puzzle that's been dumped out on the floor to sort and assemble into a meaningful image/story.


How do you explain to your boss the time wasted on technical problems and computer freezing and conversion problems...?
If there are machine problems that are not your fault, you should be letting the boss and the engineers know right away. If you are just experimenting, give yourself a cut-off time by which if it isn't working to your satisfaction, you're going to dump the idea and move on. I like to experiment when there are no clients underfoot. I have the worst time when I'm trying to learn/do something new for the first time on the client's time.


Are you ever satisfied with the final edit?
Someone once said: "For artists, a work is never really finished, only finally abandoned at some point". I feel like that. I could keep tweaking the work forever if there was infinite time to do so, but ultimately it is the best you can do, in the time they gave you to do it, and that's it. I often hate my older work, even a week after I did it, I think to myself that I have gotten so much better since then. You want to really hurt your own ego? Look at your first demo reel, ten years or so later!

What do you do when your taste is "simplicity" and don't get so impressed with texts exploding or all the fancy effects. Even with movies I don't get that impressed with VFX. I focus more on storytelling.


This is kind of what they refer to as "the art of the cut". There are well-paid high-end editors who specialize in nothing but that. Others are shall we say more well-rounded in the jobs they do. Myself, I love all the attendant skills around editing, and I consider them all to be part of what makes a good editor: not just the cutting, but compositing, graphics design, sound design, color grading, audio mixing, animation.... all tools, all part of the pallette of the artist to shape a singular vision. Video/TV is a funny kind of trade, in that you can at the same time work on it all solo, like a hermit, but also as a team-centered collaborative group effort. Some of us are better in one of those arenas than the other. I don't mind working in a team but I have to say I most enjoy being the "auteur" and one-man-banding it as much as possible, so as to make fewer creative compromises to my artistic vision. As pretentious as that sounds, I like the project more, the more I have personally invested in it. it is nice to be a part of a larger effort, but I admit I like playing God with a project even more.
:-) When it succeeds, I know I can take all the credit.

How to become more technical, what to read, what softwares to use?
I've always considered myself the creative type not the technical, but don't get me wrong I am willing to be technical. But how? with all these codecs and formats and errors ... ARGHH!!

Sign up for all the free industry subscriptions you can find. Try to hit the library once a month. Watch a lot of TV and movies with the sound off, try to predict the cameras, lighting, and edits. Don't just look for industry reading materials though: this is a very multi-disciplinary field, and you can put to use all manner of things in it, from history to art to music, etc. in unexpected ways. One thing that many editors seem to have in common is that they play a musical instrument of some kind. I think that helps develop an "ear" and a sense of rythm that is useful when editing.



Motion graphics ....
Can you be an editor and HATE motion graphics and graphic design in general.

You can hate it all you want, but this economy favors multidisciplinary types who can do five jobs in one. I am slowly getting into more motion graphics work, and I am fascinated by it at the same time my slowness frustrates me. Skills come with practice over time. I don't know if this will depress YOU, but it excites ME: after going-on-22-years of working in this business, I feel like I'm still just a rank beginner, with a world of stuff to learn, and lots of potential as yet unrealized. It is one of the things that makes it interesting to get out of bed every morning.


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Nick Griffin
Re: Struggles Of An Editor
on Jan 5, 2011 at 3:00:21 pm

Fernando's reply is a good start, even though I disagree with some of his points. So borrowing from his use of the original format, here are some of my thoughts.


How do you manage your speed?
We get faster with experience. A good editor is in many ways like a professional musician. An amateur operates in starts and stops because he or she needs to figure out the next step. A pro already has the next several steps lined up in the mind's eye or ready to happen if by reflex. The amateur's performance is halting. A pro's is fluid and flowing. Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes.


How do you avoid distractions?
How do you avoid wasting your time on forums, facebook, email ... while editing.


Simple. DON'T DO IT when you have work you should be doing. Call it discipline, maturity, whatever. Children are easily distracted. Pros maintain their focus.

Multi-tasking:
How do you keep it organised in your mind and not lose it while multitasking (between converting, ripping, burning, ...)

Same answer as the first question basically.

How do you explain to your boss the time wasted on technical problems and computer freezing and conversion problems...
Here I am in full agreement with Fernando. Don't explain problems. Offer solutions. If your boss doesn't know that computers crash (and that the more complex the computer and peripherals are the more prone the system is to crashing) then he or she has no business supervising people using some of the most complex systems in the workplace. This stuff isn't Microsoft Word and nobody should think it will be that straightforward.

Are you ever satisfied with the final edit?
Here is where I completely disagree with Fernando. Certainly not on every little detail, but I can't think of a single major project that I can look back on and not come up with ideas of how I would do something differently or try to improve. Call it personal growth or professional curiosity, I think this is essential to moving forward, getting better and not getting bored.


What do you do when your taste is "simplicity"…
Do what the job calls for. You can never go wrong by starting with solid story telling and using efx that enhance, not distract from the story.

How to become more technical, what to read, what softwares to use?
You're already using one of the deepest resources available anywhere -- the COW. Spend as much time here in the forums, tutorials, magazine, DVD Master Series, etc. as you can spare, preferably nights and weekends, NOT time you should be working.

Motion graphics ....
Can you be an editor and HATE motion graphics and graphic design in general?

Get over it. Do several of the tutorials and you may find that it grows on you. Motion Graphics uses a very different skill set than does editing and both are valuable. Push yourself. It will be worth it.

What's the average hourly rate for editors in Sydney and when do I know if I deserve an increase?
I'm in the states so my answer is I don't know. Make friends and network wherever possible. This is the kind of thing you pick up on over the years, not as a simple, one shot answer.

Where can I ask my silly questions about editing without being judged? like ...
Why FCP is better than iMovie? I know it gives you more control but it also makes life harder in everything. And frustrates you with rendering just to preview a simple effect that you just added.


That's one of the many reasons I use Media 100 even though we also have FCP and Premiere Pro (un-opened). Everything has its strengths and weaknesses. The more you know, the better you can do your job.

Why does AE has no audio? and how is it possible to animate to music when you can't hear it?

Huh?? After Effects has audio. It's just a pain to use because playback is from a preview, not real time. Spend more time with After Effects and you'll find many things that it can do sooooo much better than editing software can. You may also find it useful to display the audio waveform to get a sense of beats and music cues. Again, spend some time with the tutorials.

And how does hollywood fit 3 hours movies on one disc?

Magic. And a deep knowledge of the use of compression markers.

HOW CAN I BECOME A BETTER EDITOR?
How can I become more quick, knowledgable, creative and technical?


Again, the COW is an amazing resource.

What do I need to read, edit, watch?

Read as much as you can, practice what you learn and watch everything.


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Fernando Mol
Re: Struggles Of An Editor
on Jan 5, 2011 at 3:42:27 pm

[Nick Griffin] "Here is where I completely disagree with Fernando. Certainly not on every little detail, but I can't think of a single major project that I can look back on and not come up with ideas of how I would do something differently or try to improve. Call it personal growth or professional curiosity, I think this is essential to moving forward, getting better and not getting bored."

I totally agree with you, Nick. It's just that years ago I got frustrated all the time. Now I made peace with the process and learned to love the finished product. It helps to sell it!


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Scott Cumbo
Re: Struggles Of An Editor
on Jan 5, 2011 at 4:31:19 pm

my 2 cents,and maybe a little harsh:

How do you manage your speed?
speed is practice, experiance and work ethic.
if your not fast enough now, you have to work harder at it.


How do you avoid distractions?
work ethic, you are being paid to do a job not play on the internet.
it's pretty simple

Multi-tasking:
That's just a skill and if you can't remember, write it down.


How do you explain to your boss the time wasted on technical problems and computer freezing and conversion problems...
Just tell him, but remember odds are he dosen't care, you still
need to finish the job.

Are you ever satisfied with the final edit?
Sometimes, but that's not important, what is important is that
your client is satisfied with your work. Because they are the ones
who are paying for it.

What do you do when your taste is "simplicity" and don't get so impressed with texts exploding or all the fancy effects.
If your client wants it simple than your fine, if they want
exploding text or whatever, learn how to do it (on your free time)


How to become more technical, what to read, what softwares to use?
read everything you can, experiment with codec, programs etc.. LISTEN
to people who know what they are talking about. Don't act like you know, if you don't. ask questions to more experianced editors/engineers.


Motion graphics ....
You need to learn at least basic motion graphics work. or at least how to accomplish things. it also depends on what kind of work you do. I work on a lot of Broadcast spots, so we have other designers who do most of the endpages or more indepth GFX, But i still know after effects and can pull off GFX work when i need to. Watch tutorials and practice. Remember you are trying to make this a career, not a hobby. If it's a hobby you can do as you please, when it's a job you need to be able to do the work the person who is paying you asks for, just like any other job. If you work at mcdonalds you need to learn how to use that french fry machine, this is no different.


What's the average hourly rate for editors in Sydney and when do I know if I deserve an increase?
I'm from NYC, sorry can't help you

Where can I ask my silly questions about editing without being judged? like ...
creativecow.net

And the most important question of all...
HOW CAN I BECOME A BETTER EDITOR?


HARD WORK.

Scott Cumbo
Editor
Broadway Video, NYC


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Juris Eksts
Re: Struggles Of An Editor
on Jan 5, 2011 at 7:08:11 pm

Hi Marina,
welcome to The Cow, and congratulations on getting a job so quickly.
But I suspect that may be part of the your problem!
Most editors will have spent years as a runner or assistant before becoming an editor, they will have sat on the shoulder of an editor watching and learning.

I would recomend trying to meet other, experienced, editors in the area, see if you can sit in with them whilst they're working.
You'll learn a lot.

But keep asking those questions, - the only silly question is the one that isn't asked.

And Good Luck


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grinner hester
Re: Struggles Of An Editor
on Jan 6, 2011 at 3:09:08 pm

How do you manage your speed?
Think non-liniarly. Do one task first then go on to the next. ie: rough cut/tell the story, then cut it down to time, then go from the top with b-roll, then go from the top with music, then hit it with graphics and transitions, ect.

How do you avoid distractions?
How do you avoid wasting your time on forums, facebook, email ... while editing.
You dink witht hat stuff in your off time. You don;t have time to play when doing your job.

Multi-tasking:
How do you keep it organised in your mind and not lose it while multitasking (between converting, ripping, burning, ...)
By doing one task at a time.

How do you explain to your boss the time wasted on technical problems and computer freezing and conversion problems...
You don't. He made time for this in his bid or has a space for it on your project sheet. He's a big boy. He knows how it works.


Are you ever satisfied with the final edit?
It aint done till you are, man.

What do you do when your taste is "simplicity" and don't get so impressed with texts exploding or all the fancy effects.
I skip the cheese.

How to become more technical, what to read, what softwares to use?
You just master the tools required, man.

Motion graphics ....
Can you be an editor and HATE motion graphics and graphic design in general.
No.

What's the average hourly rate for editors in Sydney and when do I know if I deserve an increase?
You'll know by your needs and your worth. Don't strive for average.


Where can I ask my silly questions about editing without being judged?
here.

And the most important question of all...
HOW CAN I BECOME A BETTER EDITOR?
By spending time in the seat. Experience will always steamline any operation.



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Carlton Rahmani
Re: Struggles Of An Editor
on Feb 28, 2011 at 4:17:16 pm

I'm relatively new--only a few years in--to the field, but your questions are pretty relevant to anyone whose curious. Here's my two-cents:

How do you manage your speed
I work in broadcasting, where speed/output trumps artistic merit (though I still love it when it all comes together); and it doesn't matter how big or small my load is--it all has to be done on time.
Something I do which I think would make every other editor cringe is that I do just about all my trimming on the timeline--I put the whole segment of raw video down--using the trimmer window as only a space to preview the raw footage to see if there's anything I want to use. Keeping usable footage on the time line gives me a handy and accessible scratch bin nearby, rather than having to re-sort and review all over again.
It might look messy as a dumpster, but it's the final outputted project, not the timeline visuals, that count.
Also, at the beginning of the work day, I warm myself up with the easiest segments on the list, or what I feel is the least challenging part; that way I'm still accomplishing something off the to do list without overwhelming myself at the beginning. Then when I get my rhythm going, I go for the headier stuff. It feels less like 'work' this way. (The nice thing about non-linear editing is you don't have to do things chronological order.)
Aside from that, I almost never allow myself to stress out on the job. Having a sense of urgency is one thing, but stress will interfere with your ability to perform.

How do you avoid distractions?
Geez. . .are you serious? You know you're having time management issues (as evidenced by your first question), but you're nagging around the net when you're supposed to by on the job? Are you seventeen? I got all sorts of social media I'm on, but to have this be an issue--AT WORK/while at task--is something else altogether. In all honesty, I know you're not the only one who falls for this; I got fellow staffers who are always running late b/c of this kind of thing. So kudos on your courage for admitting this.
More seriously, my best advice (again) is to start with the easier stuff. . .that way you won't get to feeling so daunted that you'll want something to distract you.
(Breaks are necessary, but not frequently so. Two to three a shift is about what's needed to walk around, chat, smoke, etc.)

Multi-tasking:
Keep notes--pen on paper (or even on hand)--of what you need. I've found that just the act--the time and 'effort'--of writing something down help etch the matter in my mind, even if I don't need to refer to the note afterward.
Honestly, I feel kind of rebellious against this term. There's been more than a few studies that reveal that multitasking is actually conterproductive in the amount of time (and materials) that is wasted on botched jobs due to not staying on task. Working previously as a chef--where you can have up to six items on the range, three items in the oven, two in hand, and one proofing in the back--I'm used to this kind of thing. But I also know that any boss who's looking for a 'multitasker' is likely an idiot who knows how to manage only through the use of cliches. Learn to manage your time, and try and keep to two or three tasks at a time, and you'll do just fine.


How do you explain to your boss the time wasted on technical problems and computer freezing and conversion problems...
You've kind of already answered your own question by stating it: You know you can expect technical errors along the way, factor that in your work day. I plan for 5% to 10% of my time at work to be wasted dealing with crashing computers, printing errors, and so on. . .particularly when it comes to crunch time. (Murphy's Law, baby.) There's a great proverb which goes: It's a poor musician who blames his instrument. I take that to heart, and try no to make excuses, and accept my own blame. Otherwise, if it all falls apart, I just tell them: It all broke down.


Are you ever satisfied with the final edit
Yes and no. I can nitpick my own stuff over and over again, wasting hours to 'perfect' a few microseconds worth of work, when you're already finished. Get objective about what you're doing: if you were some ordinary joe seeing this for the first time, would you notice what's presently ailing you? If your answer is Yes, then fix it. Otherwise, leave it alone, see how the whole thing gets you, and try and keep it in mind for future work.
To say 'If you like it (as a whole), just leave it alone,' might sound sort of haphazard and even amateurish, I'm also using this in reference to the whole "For artists, a work is never really finished, only finally abandoned at some point" thing. The only time I ever heard that was George Lucas, ca. 1995, when he was talking about Why he was working on the Special Edition of the Star Wars Trilogy. And many of us know how that worked out--seriously, you want to put in a song and dance number? God bless him.

What do you do when your taste is "simplicity"
I'm going with the assumption that by 'simplicity' you mean simply cutting from one clip to another, with nothing elaborate than a simple fade for a transition. From what I've seen these days, about the only field where simple cuts are utilized is cinema, and perhaps the kind of videos they show you during your orientation at Burger King. Other than that, understand that the technology we're using today all but demands that editors do more than 'cut' footage, since the tactile demands of editors of yore--actually having to cut and splice film, while also having to worry about destroying material in the process--makes 'simplicity' an anachronism these days. Personally, I've never had a producer tell me that they want me to use flashy effects and what not--I have used these in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, previously--but you have to understand that as long as you're working for someone else, you gotta do what they tell you. No one's saying you can't abide by your preferences if you edit your own stuff on your own time.
But don't be afraid to experiment, since this is a way you can get more technically proficient at what you're doing. For inspiration, I love to check out the Discovery Investigation channel. They got the cheesiest stuff going on there!

How to become more technical, what to read, what softwares to use?
Meh. . .this issue is still vexing to me. I go check out catalogs, read forums, go online and check out product demonstrations and tutorials, to see if there's any reason WHY I should want to spend my time/money getting any deeper into anything made by Autodesk, Boris, Adobe, etc.
So far I've come to a few conclusions:
1) That unless I see any need (at the time) for said product/technique, I won't bother myself with it, right then.
2) That as soon as you determine you need Just This One Thing to make it right(!), you soon realize that you're going to need a few other peripheries to actually make it 'work'.
--and--
3) That years and years of complete crap has been produced using the finest materials the industry has to offer.
But if you just want to dabble around, a lot of software companies have trial versions you can download and use for a couple of weeks or so. . .and for a lot of things that you can buy, it's almost guaranteed that someone's made a freeware-type available.
However, the argument 'I'm more of creative-type' is a cop-out if you ask me. Every real artist knows what type or even brand of *thing* they like to use, and can give an explanation as to Why. Musicians, painters, photographers, you name it. . .they can work with anything, but they know what they like. If you got a passion for something, you'll also have a curiosity that will lead you to check out new things.

Motion graphics ...
I share your pain. I hate motion graphics, and the fact that most people employers are looking for *AfterEffects Gurus* when searching for editors. Not that it's done me any good--because I still don't know crap, and haven't felt the need to push myself to learn--but I've at least stymied some of my resentment and indignation on the matter by making myself learn to appreciate the fact that there's a place for graphic design. We all have that one poster, cereal box, logo (and even font), and so on that has caught our eye and evokes something in us. . .So there's its merit. Yes, most of the stuff done these days is cheesy, but motion graphics existed LONG before Adobe and computers.
Technically, the Warner-Brothers logo zooming up at the beginning of old Looney Tunes can count as 'motion graphics'--not to mention the Star Wars scroll and so on. . .
The job of an artist is to wrestle an emotion (and sometimes though) from the viewer. If it works right, motion graphics can achieve this.
Aside from all this, I'm mostly grateful I got a job where the graphics department is a long walk away from the editing bays.


Where can I ask my silly questions about editing without being judged? like ..
I think you don't have to worry about that. . .I think your question about how to get off facebook so you can work is about the silliest question I've seen in a while. Otherwise, don't worry about it; or preface your questions with something like: "I know this is going to sound stupid, but. . ."
Otherwise, don't worry about it. The only reason why someone might (or should) resent a noob question is that it's reflective of someone who obviously hasn't done enough work or research on their own. Then again, What's the point of having forums?
Personally, the only reason why I hesitate to ask stupid questions is because I don't want a potential employer/client googling my name only to see I got a slew of stupid questions, and for this reason I've CONSIDERED opening accounts on forums under a pseudonym. Other than that, know that probably no one knows everything pertinent to their field, and are ignorant of at least one really simple matter. . .and that the answers that people stick dogmatically to are typically just something arbitrary, and they don't really know why.

HOW CAN I BECOME A BETTER EDITOR?
This might seem a little Zen or something taken from the Tao, but as soon as you figure out how to answer that question, you'll be a better editor.
I'm saying this because, ultimately, it's the editor's job to take all the raw material from whatever sources they have available and tweak and distill it and put it in sequence that makes sense. So, when you find out what you need to know and why--dismissing all the superfluous all the stuff you don't need, or can be cached for later use--you'll become a better editor.
):P


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Kate Perkins
Re: Struggles Of An Editor
on Mar 4, 2011 at 5:44:44 pm

How do you manage your speed?
I work very quickly, or so I've been told by bosses. Learning the keyboard shortcuts helps you work much faster. I use a few tricks that may help you. If you're editing in FCP, you can use the "J,K,L" keys to reverse, play, and fast forward video, respectively. If I'm asked to go through a tape a pull selects, and it's just an interview or B roll, I watch it on double speed until I get to a part that I'm going to select. Also, if you're messing around with stuff in the timeline and the audio gets lost (this happens to me all the time), put the timeline selector (can't remember what it's called) over that clip and press "F". This will bring the original clip back up in the browser, complete with in out point.

How do you know if you're fast enough in doing your job? My boss always gives me a To Do list and sometimes I feel it's unrealistic. Sometimes I feel I'm falling asleep. Sometimes I get distracted.
If you think your bosses list is unrealistic, tell him. (or her.) It would be much better to come in ahead of schedule than to be late with it, so just let them know that it will take you longer ahead of time. If there is a hard deadline though, you do need to be willing to stay late and meet that deadline, as long as your boss is only asking you to do that occasionally and not twice a week.


How do you avoid distractions?
How do you avoid wasting your time on forums, facebook, email ... while editing. Specially when you're researching for something and you know how easy to spend time on this a bit more than what you should.

I don't have this particular problem, probably because I really love editing. But, you could create a new account on your computer only for editing that didn't include apps and sites that distract you. But if you're feeling like this happens a lot because you don't like what you're doing... then maybe this isn't the job for you.

Multi-tasking:
How do you keep it organised in your mind and not lose it while multitasking (between converting, ripping, burning, ...)

It's more important to do one job correctly than many poorly. Be honest with yourself, if you can only do one or two things at a time, then focus on those things. May feel like you're going slowly but it's faster than re-doing those things.


How do you explain to your boss the time wasted on technical problems and computer freezing and conversion problems...

Your boss is for answering those questions. Make it his (or her) problem. They may know the answer already and you can both save time. If you don't have anyone at your office to answer those questions, well creative cow is a start but you may also be in over your head. Not because you aren't a good editor but because being a good editor and being a tech guru are two different jobs. Honestly, a lot of people on this website also give BAD technical advice to sound smart instead of just not answering (Sorry CC, but it's been proven true.) We're creatives, not techies. Find some computer geek friends or sites or chatrooms. As far as explaining to the boss, you can say "We're having a problem, I don't know exactly what it is yet but I will figure it out." That is ok.


Are you ever satisfied with the final edit?

Yes, honestly I am always happy. Sometimes you have to rush something for a deadline and then I get those feelings, but I'm usually still pretty proud.


What do you do when your taste is "simplicity" and don't get so impressed with texts exploding or all the fancy effects. Even with movies I don't get that impressed with VFX. I focus more on storytelling. How do you deal with clients who judge your work based on the principle of "the more cheesy effects you include the more work you've done"?
If you're working for a client, you're working for a client. Don't argue with what they want. It's your job to make their ideas happen. If you don't like doing graphics, hire on a second hand to do that part. But if you really really hate working on those projects, find other projects or clients.

How to become more technical, what to read, what softwares to use?
FCP and After Effects will get you jobs. If you're only interested in editing, you should probably become familiar with Avid and Edius as well - I've been asked to edit on both of those. Read the program manuals as a start if you have not already. Wikipedia is actually a great resource for codec info.


Motion graphics ....
Can you be an editor and HATE motion graphics and graphic design in general. I just don't have the passion, patience and creativity to animate a title from scratch. If I have a good concept, I'm willing to try but it's always too hard for me. It's a world in itself and I have no time to explore. How can I make up for that? Is there a software/website where I can download or use their templates? (non-cheesy ones)

You should start working with someone who does this work. Sounds like you have high standards for this and you could offer guidance to someone and the two of you together could make some really nice stuff.


What's the average hourly rate for editors in Sydney and when do I know if I deserve an increase?
I'm in New York so I don't know about Sydney, but you have to include the fact that your hardware has a lifespan. On average, my drives die after 6 years, my computers last 3, and cameras are outdated after 2 years. Include replacement costs in your hourly fee. I have a lot of equipment to do things the right way, but because I'm young it's difficult to explain this to clietns. So I started my own production company - here in America we start LLCs. (Limited Liability Companies.) If you invest in providing your clients higher security or better quality, raise your rates. Do some research on what other people are charging to see what people will pay for. Don't invest in something that clients don't value and therefore won't pay for. And do charge the same rate as other people on your level - undercutting each other hurts everybody.

Where can I ask my silly questions about editing without being judged? like ...
Why FCP is better than iMovie? I know it gives you more control but it also makes life harder in everything. And frustrates you with rendering just to preview a simple effect that you just added.
Why does AE has no audio? and how is it possible to animate to music when you can't hear it? And how does hollywood fit 3 hours movies on one disc?

iMovie is not for professional editing. You do not have control over it. Effects are not "simple" - if you want it to look good, you use good tools. AE does have audio - hit period, then ram preview. Compression is an art form - there are very powerful codecs out there that will allow you to compress footage down to a DVD size and it will still look pretty good.

And the most important question of all...
HOW CAN I BECOME A BETTER EDITOR?
How can I become more quick, knowledgable, creative and technical?
What do I need to read, edit, watch?

Do you really want to be an editor? It sounds like you don't. Intern with an editor and see what their day is like. If it's a life that doesn't make you happy, don't do it. I love what I do. Interning is probably also the best way to learn.


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