FORUMS: list search recent posts

College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!

COW Forums : Art of the Edit

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Andrew Migliori
College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Feb 22, 2012 at 3:19:38 am

Hi all!

I've been turning to this site a lot more as I've been getting more and more into filmmaking and its whole creative process, but now it's my turn to look to you for help! I'm a rising senior at the Rhode Island School of Design, majoring in Film/Animation/Video (with a focus in live action). This summer I am applying to loads of internships, but most of them are for post-production houses. I've reached a sort of Catch-22 because I am looking forward to internships to generate quality content, but I need quality content to get an internship!

I'm looking for any kind of advice as to how to best show off editing abilities and WOW an interviewer as fast as I can, since I don't have a lot of content. I do feel I have the expertise and the knowledge, but am just lacking in a consistent stream of example work (only about two years of stuff to show). If anyone can offer an words of wisdom, (especially actual interviewers!) please let me know what it takes to really show what you can do, regardless of whether it is the most beautiful footage in the world.

Thanks for your time,

Andrew Migliori


Return to posts index

Andrew Rendell
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Feb 22, 2012 at 1:11:26 pm

Yeah, it's a catch 22 that we all had to go through. I don't really have much to say about a reel because in 20 years of cutting I still haven't got around to making one for myself yet, other than: keep it short, to the point and be absolutely clear about what you did to meet the brief. If you sell yourself as "gods gift" then you better be able to deliver amazingly good stuff staggeringly fast, because you won't be able to hide it if you can't. It might be better to sell yourself as a team player who'll fit in with whatever way of working they happen to use and do whatever they need to get done (because, frankly, that's the kind of person that most places want to have around).


Return to posts index

Mark Suszko
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Feb 22, 2012 at 2:46:25 pm

By definition, interns are not expected to be fully competent editors; otherwise, they'd be applying for full time paid jobs as editors.

That said, you have to show some minimal competence with the tools and especially the concepts as a base to work from. The most typical job an editing intern would get is to do the work others don't like to do: digitizing clips and logging footage, so the actual editor can walk in and start working. To that end, you need to communicate an ability to organize and BE organized. To know how to set up projects for importign and logging footage, to understand frame rates and resolutions and codecs somewhat.

It's not about knowing everything about a specific platform; you will be expected to learn whatever the "house" system is, quickly. The good news is, a bin is a bin and a timeline is a timeline in most every editing system: you cut pretty much the same, with minor changes in the keystroke commands and things like that.

The more important thing is to learn and understand when where and how to cut, rather than which button to push. You need to understand and use cut-aways, L-cuts, timing and rythm, Crossing the line of action, setting up establishing scenes and then choosing how and where to go in tighter. How to overlap dialog. How to fix bad audio. How to color-correct. How to composite.


A reel?
Concentrate on one, short piece that showcases the aforementioned skills. It needs to tell a complete story, no matter how short.


Return to posts index


Andrew Migliori
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Feb 23, 2012 at 2:29:41 am

Thanks for the wise words! I'll get to work on putting this together—I don't have one scene that can capture all of those skills, but I do have two! I'll see what I can do and I'd greatly appreciate your feedback. Thanks again.


Return to posts index

Andrew Migliori
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Feb 23, 2012 at 2:33:28 am

One more question: when you mention having it short, I can very comfortably do so in about 2 minutes, is that too long?


Return to posts index

Mark Suszko
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Feb 23, 2012 at 3:51:19 am

No.


Return to posts index


Andrew Migliori
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Feb 23, 2012 at 5:26:46 am

Hi Mark,

Here is my first stab at this. Thanks for being so generous!

<iframe width="533" height="300" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/tftQeMYFHIo?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe>


Return to posts index

Mark Suszko
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Feb 23, 2012 at 3:20:37 pm

Shorten the first piece a little bit. Cut out of the first one right at the end of the title: the scene with the guy pulling the suitcase is irrelevant and steals power from the title frame. Take the squish of the knife down a notch, it's too loud. Also, removing a heart isn't that easy or fast, you have bone to get around first, unless you come in from lower down.

Magnolia's audio is poor, try to enhance it. Every damn time, it's the audio that's weak in these things. The director couldn't afford 2 mics!?!? Also, the grading and balance of the lighting could use some work there, where the contrast ratio and backlighting are a problem. Tighten the sequence going out the door and re-thinking something, there's a few beats that are too long all thru the sequence. Work on the sound design to add some appropriate ambiance underneath everything.

The third piece didn't do much for me, though it has a TMBG feel to the music. I think the wide shots are up too long without a cut-away, and while I like the 2-box, I'd rather see one box have the side view and another a head-on close-up, or more cut-away stuff, like exteriors of the car or others ont he road reacting to it, stuff like that. But that's just me. I think overall I'd lose the music video piece altogether and concentrate on improving the first two, which have some decent elements to build from.

What might be a fun alternative presentation, depending on how you're marketing your skills in a reel, is to do a split-screen of before/after, to show your audio and grading improvement skills. You might tack that onto the end of the fitst two, instead of the music video. A lot of editing work is repairing or enhancing what wasn't done right or at all in the shoot, and a guy or gal with those skills will get some attention.


Return to posts index

Andrew Migliori
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Feb 23, 2012 at 3:40:17 pm

You've got some great points. With regards to the heart, as I understand, it was actually intended to be a liver, creating a pun with the title and somewhat explaining the ease of removal.

Haha, unfortunately the director got stuck using one mic for the Magnolia scene so I will do my best to work that up.

Good guess! It was actually TMBG, and I think you're right about losing it. I'm a sucker for threes so I felt one more piece was necessary, but a correction split screen is a very nice idea that I will totally look into.

I can't thank you enough for your advice and I'll have a new version up soon.


Return to posts index


Mark Suszko
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Feb 23, 2012 at 5:08:35 pm

Good Luck with it, you have a decent foundation to start from, at least. Really massage that audio, though; people forgive lighting and framing errors and bad acting for good content, but they will NOT sit still for crappy sound. Moreover, you WANT to get a rep for being able to fix crappy sound when nobody else seems to be able to figure it out. That's a very useful skill to have in any editing shop, and a major selling point. AE compositors get all the acclaim, but it's wasted effort if the audio isn't rock-solid.


Return to posts index

Andrew Migliori
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Feb 24, 2012 at 6:27:23 am

Round two! If you still think the Magnolia scene's audio is still rough (I might agree myself), do you have any advice on sharpening the dialogue? I tried manipulating a Parametric EQ as well as Compression and Noise Reduction but it's quite a piece of work.



Return to posts index

Renato Sanjuán
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Feb 24, 2012 at 1:26:18 pm

Hi Andrew,

just to add up on what is already good advice…

Your sound comes in with a straight cut and is kind of jarring. You could use a short audio fade in. A few frames might do the trick, try different lengths and see which one you like.

The New Urban Arts titles are way too long. They break the rhythm between the two shots.

Some foley would help also. I miss the sound of the guy lying down and also some ominous footsteps from the guy with the knife. I can hear some on the live sound but they lack weight. You could carry them on to the second title.

I believe I saw some kind of hose attached to the wrist of the guy with the knife. If you're able to erase it it would be a good thing to showcase at the end.

The sound of the knife is kind of bland. A more tearing/breaking kind of sound would be good. You could also add breathing and grunting sounds for both of them, especially at the end when the guy looks at the liver. The music is also a little too loud at times.

At 1.10, right before "I gotta go" I can hear the reverb of another word. I also see the end of a hand gesture from the actor.

I would overlap the end of "a cup of coffee" on the girl instead of cutting right before she talks. I think the dialogue is too much in favor of the guy, I'd like to see a reaction from the girl. I'd also loose the gesture after "I've seen too many of those" as it doesn't look natural. You could squeeze in a shot of the girl there.

I´d also tweak the color grading on both scenes a little and think of another way to show it off, such as a horizontal split or a repetition of the guy's face. The left of the shot is the back of her head and the difference isn't really that obvious. It will be easier to notice on the face.

I don't know how much of this is feasible with your footage, gear and whatever other constraints you might have. Everybody's a critic when it comes to editing. It's fun to play the critic every once in a while though ;-)

Cheers.


Return to posts index


Mark Suszko
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Feb 24, 2012 at 2:34:41 pm

Magnolia's audio is still too hollow. Any chance you can get the actors to come in and loop just these parts? That's the ultimate "fix", and pretty common in the biz. If you can do some great lip sync on the looping, it would demonstrate strong editing skill. Once again, the director and audio man on the set should get a slap for letting this happen in the first place, they saved a buck and a couple minutes on the set, only to blow hours in post repair.

When it comes to audio repair, I'm not as good as someone who does it every day. I'm not as scientific at it as I should be: I tend to throw random plug-ins at it until I like what it sounds like. I dunno, maybe some downwards expansion on the higher frequencies? The room is too reverberant and "live". I think adding more ambient street noise or a continuous low-level "rhubarb" of dispatch gabble over the cop's radio, might help, kind of in the way the pine tree air "freshener" improves a car interior that really needs the carpets deodorized. Anyhow, it's more realistic.


Also, that scene where the woman is backlit; horribly blown-out, and contrast ratios are all over the map, still. If it was me, I would play with additional layers and some masks to bring her up out of the mud and knock the blown-out window down a little.

Do you have the raw footage to re-cut the scene? When they stand up out of frame I'd cut out of that sooner and match to the next shot better. The actor's performance timing is laggy; if you have reversals, you can speed up the exchange and add the woman's reacting back in at the same time, using her cut-away.


I like the before/after demos, I would put a hard dividing line thru the split to make it more obvious. The lower-third info is obscured there for a short bit where it'
where it is white-on-white.


Return to posts index

Mark Suszko
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Feb 24, 2012 at 2:39:04 pm

On the split-screen; wipe the split in and stop it in the center for a few beats, then finish wiping it across to reveal the corrected version full-screen for longer. And make the dividing line visible, as I said before.


Return to posts index

Andrew Migliori
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Mar 5, 2012 at 1:35:09 am

Hello again!

I've taken some time off to work on some other projects and have just finished revisiting this reel. I totally redid the audio for Magnolia, as well as remixed Deliverance a bit and I've made some video edits to both. The editing breakdown now has a wipe that reveals more, too. I've done my best with the backlit Magnolia shot and am afraid I've coaxed it out as best I could. Renato mentioned a hose in the killer's sleeve, but it is just the cuff of his shirt.

Please let me know if you think anything else major should be changed, but thanks to both of you I feel a lot better about it!







Return to posts index


Mark Suszko
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Mar 5, 2012 at 2:55:48 pm

Audio WAY improved, but that backlighting remains a problem. Roto-mask the girl and bump her up, while lowering the BG some more, and I think you've got something. Stick the contact info slate up at the end also. Artists sign their work.


Return to posts index

Renato Sanjuán
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Mar 6, 2012 at 9:29:18 am

The audio and the reediting are a big improvement, so is the split screen. Like Mark says, if you can do something for the backlit shot of the girl it would be great and also very nice for the showcase.

Congratulations and good luck.


Return to posts index

Mark Suszko
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Mar 6, 2012 at 9:22:56 pm

When it's blown out to white, there is no detail left in the white areas to retrieve, is his problem now. Again, the guys shooting this at the time need a slap upside the head for missing this when it was easy to fix on location.

I threw a still from that scene into photoshop, split the lady into her own layer, and separated the room behind her into a layer with the door frame as boundary. Turned off the back layers and her layer looks pretty well-exposed now. But how to fix the room behind her? If there was a still of the room available from another scene, a good compositor could use a track matte to replace the blown-out background with a better-exposed version of the room, with the actress layered over the top of that. Even then, it still might look "funny" unless all the perspectives match up.

Yes, you can often "fix it in post", but in this case, it will cost much more time and money than doing one more take on location with attention paid to overall exposure.


Return to posts index

Andrew Migliori
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Mar 7, 2012 at 6:34:04 am

Hey guys,

Here is what I hope is the last installment. I spent several hours roto-masking the woman and I think I was able to bring her up enough as well as bring out what detail remained in the overexposed window. After all that work, I'll definitely give the director a slap, Mark! I'd love to hear your thoughts, since I feel I have made as close to a definitive version of that scene as I could.

(still processing as of 1:30 AM EST)






Return to posts index

Mark Suszko
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Mar 7, 2012 at 7:55:24 pm

Bravo! A clear before and after distinction now, with key skills demonstrated. You have what I think is an effective demo now. It shows that you have some grasp of the tools and how to achieve a desired result.

I think a person learns more from repairing what is broken, than from just playing with perfect things. You get more insight into the internal workings with flawed materials that must be repaired. As well, you appreciate a thing more, the more of yourself you put into it. That's the extra rush a pilot gets from flying a plane he built himself, where he knows, intimately, every bolt and wire and piece of metal, and he knows it was his skill that put it all together into something that's carrying him a mile high and keeping him alive.

Good, now go out there and knock on those doors.


Return to posts index

Renato Sanjuán
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Mar 8, 2012 at 11:26:15 am

Mark's right. Definite improvement.

I hope this helps to open doors for you.


Return to posts index

Andrew Migliori
Re: College student looking for advice for Editor Demo Reel!
on Mar 19, 2012 at 8:35:39 pm

Thank you guys both so much for all of your guidance! I have finished sending in my applications and am now waiting for the door to start knocking back.

Thanks again,
Andrew Migliori


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]