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VFX heavy job: offline editor refusing to cut to length until the director has seen the cut?

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Roger Bolton
VFX heavy job: offline editor refusing to cut to length until the director has seen the cut?
on Dec 26, 2012 at 10:55:29 am

We recently did a job on a 60 second TVC. The director turned up a day late for the offline putting the schedule back, so we tried to push the AVID editor to create a 60 sec version with lots of alternate takes on the timeline so we could at least start some of the roto and other vfx work. We were willing to take the chance of redoing shots if the director used different takes, we just wanted a headstart as it was very tight delivery with a lot of greenscreen and other VFX.

The editor flatly refused to create an edit less than 2 minutes long until the director arrived, explaining he couldn't possibly make those decisions. The way I would of thought he would approach it is as I suggest, make a timelime with variations of takes thats at least to correct length, or even create alternate completely separate 60 second cuts.

Whats your opinion on the editors behavior, is this normal or unacceptable? I've never ran into an editor refusing to cut to length in many years in the business.

-
Freelance: Flame - Smoke - Resolve - Nuke - VFX Supervision
Owner / Director: CoreMelt Plugins


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Jon Zanone
Re: VFX heavy job: offline editor refusing to cut to length until the director has seen the cut?
on Dec 26, 2012 at 2:37:04 pm

Were you going to pay him for the work?

If so, it sounds like you need to find another editor...

I remember Avid's marketing line from a few years back - "change your mind without losing it", or something like that?

Sorry for for my lack of post-Christmas charity...

Be curious, not judgmental.
Walt Whitman



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John Pale
Re: VFX heavy job: offline editor refusing to cut to length until the director has seen the cut?
on Dec 26, 2012 at 2:54:04 pm

Without knowing a few details, it's hard to judge. Offhand, I'd say the editor might be out of line...but having been in a few bad situations like this over the years, I'm inclined to play devils advocate..

Who is paying the editor for this? Does he work for you or the director?

What is the nature of the footage? It sounds like you think he can just whack something rough together for the VFX to get started....but are you just looking at it only from your perspective? Does it require a a great deal of editing to make this piece work correctly to the time you are insisting on? Are you asking him to spend a lot of time and effort making something fairly polished that the director is likely to abandon due to his lack of input? This doesn't matter if you are paying him..he should cut whatever you want, even if its a potential waste of time....but if he's making a flat rate on the job and you are not directly paying him...he could end up taking a big hit doing a lot of extra editing that's never going to see the light of day.

What does the director have to say about this? Does the director have a working relationship with the editor?


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Roger Bolton
Re: VFX heavy job: offline editor refusing to cut to length until the director has seen the cut?
on Dec 26, 2012 at 3:31:29 pm

The editor was being paid by the Director, the Director bought the editor him them on the job, we weren't paying him. Yes I understand the editor not wanting to waste time, however he finished his rough 2 minute cut a full day before the director showed up, as the director showed up a day late as I mentioned before.

So there was one full day where he could have made a 60 sec edit, but didn't, just continued to tweak the two minute edit.

Personally if I was the director and showed up and my editor didn't have a cut to length with alternate takes I'd be annoyed. However yes this Director and Editor have worked together many times, we weren't in a position to demand he do anything which is why I'm interested in people's opinion of this as professional or unprofessional behavior.

-
Freelance: Flame - Smoke - Resolve - Nuke - VFX Supervision
Owner / Director: CoreMelt Plugins


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John Pale
Re: VFX heavy job: offline editor refusing to cut to length until the director has seen the cut?
on Dec 26, 2012 at 4:35:40 pm

You make some good points, but I think the editor was trying to preserve his relationship with the director.
If a lot of work is invested in a cut, the director might feel compelled to stay with it, even if he would have preferred something else., etc. it affects the decision making process in unintended ways. I don't know these people, so it's hard to say whats going on. Speaking for myself, I would more enjoy being creative (most editors like editing) and do a cut like you suggested rather than tweak a very rough 2 minute edit...staying in holding pattern... but if the director I work for regularly might be displeased, I'd be inclined to wait anyway.

Anyway, this isn't really an Avid question, but an interesting discussion.


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Roger Bolton
Re: VFX heavy job: offline editor refusing to cut to length until the director has seen the cut?
on Dec 26, 2012 at 4:58:53 pm

Yes its not about AVID but this sort of situation is most likely to come up on higher end jobs with a distinct offline / online separation, and a lot of those level of jobs are cut on AVID. In addition this job actually was cut on AVID, so I've posted the question here.

Maybe its better off for the "Business and Marketing" forum?

-
Freelance: Flame - Smoke - Resolve - Nuke - VFX Supervision
Owner / Director: CoreMelt Plugins


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Hampus Lager
Re: VFX heavy job: offline editor refusing to cut to length until the director has seen the cut?
on Dec 26, 2012 at 8:46:03 pm

It's hard to say when you don't know the details. Speaking as an editor for a recently founded production company by a music producer who wants to break into the business I'm always fighting to not hand over the AAF for the audio until the cut is done. The moment the rough cut v1.1 is done he wants the audio, but I try to tell him it's not done, the timing is going to change.

This happens on almost every project with a strict deadline and my colleague who does all the audio mixing is pissed at our boss as well, because it's extra hours we (mostly him) don't get paid for (small company = fixed budgets).

Once it was the other way around and I learned that the hard way when editing a concert to unmixed audio and later after locking the edit and grading it I watched it with the real mix and find out the've done loads over dubbing in the studio and I had to open up the project, re-edit and do the grading again.

But the guy should at least have asked the director, I would have loved to get a little creative on my own and cut it down in length and give you VFX people a head start if that's what you wanted.


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Alain Dessauvage
Re: VFX heavy job: offline editor refusing to cut to length until the director has seen the cut?
on Dec 26, 2012 at 11:03:00 pm

Honestly, I sincerely believe an editor's loyalty lies with the director, especially if he or she is being paid by him. You did the right thing asking him if he would like to do 60" cut to make it easier for you, but if he didn't accept, he probably had a good reason to. As an editor, I also encountered some situations where I delivered some 'temp' shots that ended up in the final cut, because the post on those shots was already done. And that annoys me to the point I would also refuse this kind of requests.

But what I don't understand is that you didn't start to work on the 2' version. IMHO that would 'be been a good compromise.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0220918/


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Roger Bolton
Re: VFX heavy job: offline editor refusing to cut to length until the director has seen the cut?
on Dec 27, 2012 at 2:30:39 am

The 2 minute version had more than twice as many green screen shots, we needed some input on which ones would be most likely to make the cut. But yes we did actually start rotoscoping based on the 2 minute cut.

Ok fair enough looks like people think it's not completely unreasonable thing to do, sure surprised me.

-
Freelance: Flame - Smoke - Resolve - Nuke - VFX Supervision
Owner / Director: CoreMelt Plugins


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Alain Dessauvage
Re: VFX heavy job: offline editor refusing to cut to length until the director has seen the cut?
on Dec 27, 2012 at 7:26:22 am

It's a question of priorities. You want the keep your schedule, the editor (and director) doesn't want to feel pushed by the postproduction team. Also, an editor thinks in terms of a movie being much more than just a collection of shots. Every shot is related to the one that comes before and after and it's his job to make sure everything is cut together in an organic way. So if a certain shot ends up in the film and not the alternate take, there's a reason for it. Whereas postproduction tends to think more in terms of individual shots that make up a film. Especially if a whole team will be working on the film.

But unless everyone is stubborn as hell, there's always a compromise to be found.


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Pat Horridge
Re: VFX heavy job: offline editor refusing to cut to length until the director has seen the cut?
on Dec 27, 2012 at 10:16:11 am

I guess the line I'd have taken was to ask the editor as you did.
If the editor wasn't prepared to go that route then speak to the Director and suggest he/she instructs the Editor.
If the Director and editor aren't prepared to go that route then it's not a viable creative solution for them and you have to accept that it may have been an effective post workflow solution but that's no use if it doesn't work creatively.
If the jobs been quoted and an expected workflow and the Directors lateness impacts on costs (and the Director has declined offers to mitigate those costs) then the Director will expect to see a bill that reflects those additional costs.

Pat Horridge
Technical Director, Trainer, Avid Certified Instructor
VET
Production Editing Digital Media Design DVD
T +44 (0)20 7505 4701 | F +44 (0)20 7505 4800 | E pat@vet.co.uk |
http://www.vet.co.uk | Lux Building 2-4 Hoxton Square London N1 6US


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Juris Eksts
Re: VFX heavy job: offline editor refusing to cut to length until the director has seen the cut?
on Dec 29, 2012 at 1:32:00 am

I don't see why you're hassling the editor, just sack the director.


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