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Re: Quick questions for editors...

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Mark Suszko
Re: Quick questions for editors...
on Jun 22, 2018 at 2:54:32 pm

If you're talking about how to present editing concepts to non-editors, I would start by putting them at ease with a few analogies.

One, that editing video can be just like editing a word processing document. Your goals are to fix mistakes, take out everything extraneous, and shape a narrative of your choice. Show how a typical paragraph can be improved with editing, using group input.

I'd explain that NLE editing is non-destructive; the analogy I often use is that of a iTunes Playlist: you can shuffle the order of the songs, even duplicate some and take out others, but none of this changes the actual *songs* - the only changes are to the pointer information the device uses to play them in the order you wanted.

Timeline interfaces are strange to newcomers. An analogy here might be to shoot some model train cars on a section of track, showing how they can move left to right and right to left as a unit, or that cars can be uncoupled, yanked out, and placed in a different order. As a bonus, you could lay a second, parallel track, with more cars, some of them flatcars, others box cars... and show how, when you line them up and put the camera lens at their height, the flatcars can reveal other train cars *behind* them on the next track. Another way to do this without the model trains would be to use clear sheets of plastic or glass, and show how images can be stacked together in the layers to have a base image, a key effect, and a superimposed graphic over the "top".

Next I would lay out the major features of NLE's that are more or less common, and discuss what they are called. Bins, tracks, viewers, meters. I would, in your place, first show some examples of old fashioned "bins" as used by real film editors, back in the hand-splicing days; cloth bags with stands of film hanging in them to keep them organized, and how an editor would take a clip from the bin and bring it to their Moviola or Kem and "audition" it, then make a splice. Our NLE GUI conventions came from the film editing world and the icons and skeuomorphs of our editing interfaces come from that world.

Now it's time to walk thru the editing process in a logical sequence starting with the ingest and logging part, principles of organizing your raw footage to make editing easier and more fun, then the initial laying down of images and sounds on the tracks, how to make gross adjustments like trims with the i and o keys, audio level changes, and the most common shortcuts like JKL transport controls, the space bar, and etc.

Explain the "grammar" of editing: when and where cuts are used, what fades, dissolves and wipes traditionally "mean", in terms of implying a change in location or time. Explain the main types of framing; xcu, cu, medium shot, wide shot, and how we choose to use them to establish a location or action, to orient the viewer, then to "punctuate" dialogue, action, or plot.

Advanced editing "grammar" would include the principle of the 180-degree line of action, matching cuts on action, parallel action, slo-mo and fast-mo, flashbacks and flash-forwards, "en res media" storytelling, POV shots and choosing the angles to serve the story. Demonstrate L-cuts and J-cuts, where sound and image do not change at the same time but one leads or follows the other. Demonstrate the importance of B-roll, master shots and how even supposedly useless bits of footage can be used to save a shot. Demo the use of a clip of "room tone" to fix an audio edit, and a b-roll cut-away to cover an awkward transition, remove a sound bite that's too long, or shorten perceived passage of time.

Then comes effects like keys and supers and color correction. How a chromakley is set up and executed. How a luma key works. The importance of white balance and how to correct everything to a basic standard. What scopes are for and how to read them. How altering the color correction can drastically affect the storytelling: demo a day-for-night shot, a tri-tone blue- tinted shot for a music video, a black and white, "noir" effect, and selected color effects, AKA the "Pleasantville" effect.

Then a section about audio in depth. Not just levels, but sound design, reverb, compression, EQ effects, foley, adding music and effects cues. Show an edit cut to a pre-made audio track. Show a foley session to add footsteps and a door hinge and gunfire. Show how to record good clean audio narration,. Show how ADR looping is done. Show what audio "stems" are. talk about sample rates and levels, clipping, room tone, and how to repair common audio problems that come in from the field.

On day TWO... lol

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  • Quick questions for editors... by Tom Laughlin on Jun 19, 2018 at 8:41:54 pm
    • Re: Quick questions for editors... by Mark Suszko on Jun 22, 2018 at 2:54:32 pm

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