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Assistant editing question

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Erin Rakestraw
Assistant editing question
on Jan 5, 2013 at 4:09:07 pm

I'm going in to work as an assistant editor at a post house temporarily and have worked as a freelance editor for a year or two, but haven't actually assisted. I wanted to know what technical skills I need to brush up on before I go in to work as an assistant editor. Can anyone tell me what an assistant editor typically needs to know before beginning?

Thanks!


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Sascha Engel
Re: Assistant editing question
on Jan 5, 2013 at 9:44:25 pm

First I would check, which NLE System they are working on.
Then make sure you know all about the skills in Logging, Capturing, Transcoding, labeling and naming.
Quiet sure this will be a big part of what you do.
Also I'd check all the basic editing operations.

I think, you also should not hesitate to simply ask them, what will be your main work there, so you can prepare yourself.
It's ok to ask, it doesn't make you look bad, but shows you are into it and you really want to be prepared.


Greetings,


Sascha


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Assistant editing question
on Jan 6, 2013 at 6:21:40 pm

Sasha is right on.

I would definitely call them and ask which NLE, and what duties you'll be expected to perform.

But beyond that, get to know their systems and workflows to understand the whys of the way they do things. It will help you with those duties...

Jerry


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Erin Rakestraw
Re: Assistant editing question
on Jan 7, 2013 at 4:03:00 pm

Thanks guys. I know they use FCP 7, which is what I've always used. I just have always worked alone and never had to use any XML files or EDLs. I'm assuming these are a couple things I would need to refresh on, but the rest I'm sure will be okay. Thanks for the responses!


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Assistant editing question
on Jan 7, 2013 at 5:49:35 pm

Like Sascha said, definitely ask them what they need out of an assist because it can certain vary from place to place. I assist as well as edit and, honestly, you need a much larger knowledge base to assist than to edit, IMO. An example I use a lot is that an assist is a race car mechanic while an editor is the race car driver.

As brief run down I'd say AE's are typically responsible for the following things:
1. Organization. The AE creates & maintains the organizational structure for the edit. This includes everything from how the projects are laid out (track assignments, bin/folder structure, naming conventions, etc.,) to where and how media is stored to what the backup and archival process is.

2. Ingesting footage. No matter how the footage comes in the assist needs to know the proper workflow for getting it into the NLE so this could mean anything from wiring decks to capture from tape to working with RED footage to using Sony's 3rd party plugin to bring in XDCAM EX media.

3. Prep. The assist needs to prep all the media so it's ready to edit. Is there DSLR footage that needs to be transcoded into ProRes? Is there 24fps footage that needs to be turned into 60p? Is there a four camera multicam shoot plus 8 tracks of dual system sound that need to be put into sync? Are there 90meg PSDs that need to be converted into a more edit friendly size?

4. Exporting footage. The assist will be responsible for knowing how to create media files ready for up load, DVDs and possibly tape outputs.

5. Collaborating with out of house audio mixers and color facilities. When it's time for the finishing touches the assist will be responsible for getting all required assest to mixing and finishing facilities. Knowing how to make OMFs, EDLs and guide videos (most likely with burned in TC and split audio) will be required.

6. Trouble shooting. Last, but certainly not least, when workflows fail, software glitches and/or the editor complains that XYZ isn't working it's the assist's job to know how to fix it and fix it fast.


-Andrew




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Sascha Engel
Re: Assistant editing question
on Jan 7, 2013 at 6:01:12 pm

Amen to that - all that needed to be said. Sounds scary and a lot, but it's true.
The metaphor with the race car I like a lot. So true.
It's like being a DP or a CA - eventually the CA has to know, how to build all the stuff together, the DP does the art ;-).
But it's good to know the tech jobs, makes you appreciate own assistances a lot more!

You might get yourself into a very stressful zone with this job, but you will learn a lot and you might get nerves of steel.
Good Luck!

Sascha


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