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Editing for Broadcast

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Cooper Bibaud
Editing for Broadcast
on Oct 13, 2011 at 9:12:45 am

Hey guys,

First some back story, please bare with me, (and I'm sorry if this isn't the right forum)

I've been editing with Final Cut Pro 6,7 and X for about 4 years now. I worked on sketch comedy, short films, features, and documentaries where I serve solely as a video editor. I organize clips the way I want to, and arrange/edit them and craft the project the way I see it. I don't use After Effects or any other programs really, typically other guys working on the show have taken care of the other aspects of post.

Typically when looking for paying full-time editing jobs, they usually require knowledge in FCP, After Effects, Photoshop, and tons of other programs. However, I have stumbled across a place hiring for just an editor and it looks relatively like something I could do. There's zero mention of ever working outside of Final Cut and it really does appear to be arranging clips and what not.

The job posting says among other things:

"2 years minimum of broadcast experience cutting short and long form stories"

My question is this....

With my experience in cutting all of these different types of projects on my own, would I still be in way over my head with a position like this? And what kind of workflow can I expect? I'd love to learn this so I could begin applying for this type of work in the future.

My main concern would be their expectations in the digesting phase, capturing the footage and output. I'm confident about the actual editing portion, I'm just curious as to how much responsibility I would have in the entire process and if editing for a broadcast television show (turning out one 3 minute segment per day) is a whole different world then I may be used to.

Sorry this was long but I would LOVE if anyone with experience in this could give me some foresight, and if there is a lot to learn, point me in the direction where I could gain the knowledge.


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Alex Elkins
Re: Editing for Broadcast
on Oct 13, 2011 at 10:21:39 am

Hi Cooper,

The Business and Marketing forum might be a better place to ask this.

My advice would be to contact the company and tell them precisely what you've written here. Only they will know how responsible you would be for things like digitising and outputting.

There are certainly some very important things to learn in terms of broadcast delivery requirements, but remember that all stations will be able to provide their technical specifications. Once you have them, it's a quick search of this forum to answer a lot of specific questions. If you have half a brain (which you must do, given that you're asking the right questions) then it's not too difficult to learn as you're working. Just make sure that the company in question is aware of anything you've not done before, otherwise you might come unstuck.


Alex Elkins
Twitter: @postbluetv
View Post Blue showreel
Shot on RED @ 100fps, Post on FCP/Color: Capoeira Film

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jerry wise
Re: Editing for Broadcast
on Oct 13, 2011 at 3:22:58 pm

I work in broadcast tv in Dallas. Been editing for 35 years. If you are going to be in the news dept. you will be handed the scripts and the footage and be expected to edit the stories for the newscast for that days newscast. If you are going to be editing commercials (like i do) you will be handed the scripts and footage and be expected to cut the spots that day if not sooner. If you are lucky you will cut on your own...otherwise you will have a client sitting next to you.
I have fun all day cutting spots and making the clients happy and making money for the tv station. You will have a good time...just be open for changes and re-edits all the time.

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Shane Ross
Re: Editing for Broadcast
on Oct 13, 2011 at 6:53:14 pm

If you only edit creatively for broadcast...meaning you don't do the color correction, upconverting footage to full res (if there was an offline resolution cut), audio mix, and final graphics...then your job would entail:

- Making sure that the show comes in exactly to time. Meaning that you need to hit the target delivery time. Be it 22:34, or 44:45...or 48:00.

- Make sure that the commercial breaks occur within certain perameters (like the first act must be more than 8 min, but less than 15 min. And no act can be less than 6 min).

- Be able to work with a script.

- Be able to work with temp...or final music. And they want it cut PRECISELY right if it is the final music. NO little crossfades to bury the edit.

- Make sure that you pay attention to the audio track assignments. Meaning only put certain audio on certain tracks, so that when it gets to the audio mixer, they can have an easier time mixing. The track assignments are laid out by the production...they will tell you what they are.

- Be able to address notes from the producers or network.

Now, if you are also responsible for the final color correct and final audio mix...then you need to know how to read a network delivery spec sheet, know how to color correct and stay within broadcast safe limits, know how to mix audio so that you fall within audio spec...know how to properly slate a show, adding bars and tone. This is stuff typically learned on the job.

If they want someone with prior broadcast editing experience...and you have none...don't say that you do. Lying is bad, and can get you not only fired, but not hireable.


Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

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