Archive for the ‘Workflow’ category

New Book for Assistant Editors

June 18, 2012

Jonathan Moser has posted a stellar review of the new book “The Assistant Editor’s Handbook” for Post Magazine. Written by Kyra Coffie, the book seems to cover just about anything you might want to know if you’re looking for a job as an assistant editor in an Avid-based editing room. Check out Moser’s review on the Post Magazine site, or take a look at the book at Amazon. You can learn more about it and download a free chapter at Coffie’s site.

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That Post Show — A Little Squirt of Dopamine

January 25, 2012

Last week, I participated in another episode of Kanen Flowers’ “That Post Show” podcast — this time covering the skill-set you’ll need in order to succeed in the real world of the professional editing room. The episode is entitled “Squirt of Dopamine” and also features Mike J. Nichols, Paul Zadie and, of course, Kanen. I think you’ll find it interesting listening. Check it out via iTunes or get it from the shownotes page.

Intuit Relents — Sort Of

December 22, 2011

If you are one of the many people who have been unhappily looking at the end of Quicken on Lion, Intuit’s Aaron Forth, General Manager of their Personal Finance Group, offered you some hope today. The company is working to make Quicken 2007 compatible with Lion, with an expected release date of “early Spring.” How they are planning to do this has been left intentionally vague. I’ve spent some quality time over the last couple of months comparing Quicken Mac, Quicken PC under emulation, and MoneyDance, and I was reluctantly ready to move to the PC version. (I’ve been running it under Crossover, which is unique in that it doesn’t require Windows, but it’s quirky and not for everybody). Now, if you can wait till Spring, you may not have to switch. For details, check out Quicken’s Lion FAQ.

Pre-NAB Editors Lounge Video

April 8, 2011

Video from the Editors Lounge Pre-NAB Panel Discussion was posted yesterday. I was part of it, and we covered a lot of interesting stuff, including the new FCP, the future of the editing UI, 3D, the lack of HDCAM-SR tape stock due to the tsunami, and many other things.

The other participants were Terry Curren, Mark Raudonis, Lucas Wilson and Michael Bravin, and the panel was moderated by Debra Kaufman. It was co-sponsored by Alphadogs and Keycode Media.

The video is in four 15-20 min. segments. So the two hour panel has been expertly trimmed to about 80 minutes.

Check it out at Vimeo.

Part 1 – Final Cut Speculation and Predictions
Part 2 – Evolution of the Editing UI/Editing Outsourcing
Part 3 – The End of Tape/Thunderbolt/Camera Evolution
Part 4 – 3D/Questions and Answers

Pre-NAB Editors Lounge

March 1, 2011

Later this month I’ll be participating in the what I hope will be an insightful and provocative Pre-NAB Editors Lounge Panel Discussion, hosted by Terry Curren and his company AlphaDogs in partnership with Key Code Media. The Editors Lounge is a great place to meet other editors, get questions answered, and generally stay current. And the food ain’t bad, either. This event will also feature a demo of Sony’s new OLED production monitor (list price, just $26,000).

Panelists: Debra Kaufman, Lucas Wilson, Mark Raudonis, Michael Bravin, Terry Curren and me.

Date and Time: Friday, 3/25 at 6:15 pm

Location: Key Code Media, 270 S. Flower St, Burbank, CA 91502

Complete Details are Here

Media Copy

February 26, 2011

With cutting rooms more and more portable, many of us like to take a portion of a project’s media home and work on it from there. In Media Composer this can be a real pain because it’s so hard to identify the media files that go with a large group of clips. There’s a way to do it that I described in a previous post, but it’s complicated, and Avid should have simplified it long ago. Now Wes Plate and his company, Automatic Duck, seem to have done what Avid couldn’t with their program Media Copy. With Version 3, just released, you can identify a bin or bins and ask the program to collect all media files associated with all the clips in those bins and copy them to another drive. That seems simple enough, but we’ve been waiting for it so long now, it seems damn near miraculous.

Fair warning — I haven’t used the program, so I can’t speak for its reliability. But Automatic Duck has made some supremely usable utilities over the years and I suspect this one is no different. Thanks to Oliver Peters for drawing my attention to it and to Wes for getting it done.

Syncing Dailies

January 12, 2011

In 2011, hand syncing of dailies seems downright anachronistic. Doesn’t timecode make all that trivial? Yes, with digital cameras, automatic syncing is standard practice. But this inevitably involves two clocks, and that means they are subject to drift. It doesn’t take much drift to put you out of sync a frame or two. Production is supposed to jam (synchronize) their clocks several times a day, but in the heat of battle that doesn’t always happen. The result is that picture and sound slowly drift out of sync.

In my editing rooms, we always check sync using slates, and resync if necessary. This takes time, but sync starts with dailies. If you’re in sync there, you have a shot at staying in sync further down the food chain.

Media Composer allows us to sync in two ways. First, you can use Autosync to merge audio and video clips. If your clips are pre-synchronized, load them into the source monitor, select video or audio and subclip to separate picture and sound. Then mark the slates and autosync to merge them again.

Second, and even better, you can use the Perf Slip feature to sync to the nearest 1/4 frame. Perf Slip is slick and quick but it comes with some limitations. You have to turn on film options when you first create your project — even if you never plan to touch a frame of film. It only works in 24 or 23.976 projects. And it only works on subclips. It comes with a couple of other minor limitations, as well, but I used it successfully on my last Red show, and wouldn’t want to be without it.

Either way, you’ll have to check every slate by eye. That’s trivial, right? You just line up the visual slate closure with the sound clap and you’re all set. True, but many slates are ambiguous. How you handle them is crucial to good sync. When we worked with film there was plenty of debate among assistant editors about this. Today, it’s a lost art. Here’s my interpretation.

First, you can’t sync properly without checking at least three frames — the frame where the slate closes, the frame before it, and the frame after it. Only with that context can you understand what happened at the slate closure. There are three possible cases.

Case 1 — Normal

In the first frame, the slate is clearly open, in the second it’s clearly closed, and in the third, it’s closed, as well. That’s the standard situation — no ambiguity, no blurred images. We make the assumption that the camera is making its exposure in the middle of each frame. In frame one, the slate is open. In frame two, it’s closed. So the slate hit somewhere between those two exposures. Check the images below (click to blow them up). The waveform of the clap is lined up at the head of frame two. That’s as close as we can get.

Case 2 — Blurred but Closed

Here we see a blurred frame 2. To decide where to put the audio clap, we have to examine that blurred image carefully. Did the slate close while the shutter was open? Notice that within the blurred image you can see both the top and bottom of the closed slate. The shutter was open when the slate closed and the camera captured an image of the closed slate within the blur. The audio clap goes in the middle of that frame. (Click to blow it up.)

Case 3 — Blurred but Open

Here, the second frame is blurred, but if we look closely, it remains open. The camera captured the slate in motion, but not in its fully closed position. The first closed frame is frame 3. So we sync between frame 2 and 3.

Syncing with this kind of accuracy takes work — blurred slates are always somewhat ambiguous. But if you look carefully, you can generally assign all slates to one of these three cases. If you’re syncing to the nearest frame, you won’t be able to achieve this much precision, but at least you’ll know what you’re aiming for.

Keep in mind that in a 24-frame environment, the camera is typically shooting at about 1/50th of a second and that the exposure occurs in the middle of a frame that’s being displayed for a 24th of a second. With that idea in mind, you should be able to sync as precisely as anyone ever did in a film editing room.

If you’re interested in more Media Composer techniques like this, check out my new book, Avid Agility. You can find out more about it here on the blog, or at Amazon.