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Editing Soap Operas

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Editing Soap Operas
on Jun 30, 2006 at 1:38:01 am

A friend of mine works in a television network. She told me that they hire freelancers to do editing for their soap operas. I was also informed that they do the editing on an Avid machine (I do most editing work on Premiere). What should I expect? What is the standard procedure? Are they going to give me miniDV tapes, the ones we typically use, or an analog tape? What final output-format is typically delivered to broadcast companies for this type of work? Will they specify which to cut based on timecode? I would like to give it a try but have no idea on how to go about it. Thanks.

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Del Holford
Re: Editing Soap Operas
on Jun 30, 2006 at 4:31:42 pm

While this might appear to be a great opportunity for you, I suggest it could hurt your reputation if you can't perform to network standards.
Your post suggests you aren't familiar with high end equipment. If you aren't currently a blazing fast Avid editor it's likely they won't hire you anyway.

Since you do have some experience, you might want to see if you can get assistant editor jobs on similar projects so you can see how experienced editors perform and the tape machines and storage systems they use. After proving your worth, editors will let you edit some sections as time allows and you'll gain more experience under their tutelage. Best of luck.

fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS2
Charlotte Public Television

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David Jones
Re: Editing Soap Operas
on Jul 1, 2006 at 4:06:36 pm

Unless things have changed in the last.... oops! Things just changed!
OK, the last time I paid any attention to soap opera production, the video format used was dependent on the network.
For example, say network "X" uses Sony gear and is still shooting standard definition.
They would then shoot multi-camera live through a switcher with a director, TD, Producer, Basically a full crew shooting it as a live production,
and mix to a DigiBeta master, with a Beta sp backup, and a Beta sp iso on each camera.
Network "B" might have switched production over to HD using 1080i.
So at any rate, what ever they record to, it's a professional format, and no, you would not be getting a miniDV tape.
From memory, all crew was in-network union TV guys & gals, but if like you say, that has changed to freelance?

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Mark Suszko
Re: Editing Soap Operas
on Jul 2, 2006 at 7:18:19 pm

What I know of this is second and third-hand, but because of the tremendous pace of production, they try to live-switch every scene as much as possible.

Editing would consist of stiching together the live-switched scenes and adding appropriate transitions, fixing bad performances or bad live take decisions by going back thru synch rolled iso shots and doing replacements.

Also you'd be trimming things down to make a certain running time, and occasionally, for things like specialized dream or memory sequences, or music-backed montages, editing from existing tapes of previous episodes. Also there would be promo and bumper editing, using bits and pieces of a week's worth of episodes to make 30 and 60-second promos and the like. That particular task might be the easiest for someone to start on.

This telenovella/soap opera stuff is very specialized work with a BRUTAL pace and deadlines that are not flexible. If you can do it, it should pay pretty well and prepare you for similar work on talk shows and sports magazine programs. I would recommend you NOT try to "fake it" and learn-on-the-job for this one: the stakes are too high.

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