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Issue: November 1, 2006

EDITING ADVICE

By: Marc Loftus
Video pros who attended NAB New York were able to check out the latest technology and attend sessions that provided instruction on numerous digital media production tools. The show also presented keynote speeches, hosted by Post’s Ken McGorry, providing insight to the art of long- and short-form editing. One keynote, focusing on the latter, featured award-winning spot editor Chris Franklin, who reflected on his 25-year career.

“I got an apprentice position as a movie editor,” he recalled. “I had a mentor in a small shop and assisted him and then started doing my own stuff.” Franklin said he “embraced digital” and has “no romantic memories about film.”

His first NLE was an Avid Media Composer. He also has HD Nitris at his Blue Sky Edit.

For him, early work came in the form of “horribly uninteresting” pharmaceutical spots, but from them he learned how to deal with dialogue, time constraints and deadlines.
“To spice things up” he dove into sound design. “Sound helps me find a sense of place for the spot. I can get hung up in the first three seconds of a spot for an hour or two.”
Careful use of music is also important. Franklin feels recognizable tracks can distract viewers’ attention. Music libraries, he added, have come a long way and can sometimes be a solution.

To showcase his editing and use of sound, Franklin screened an American Express spot starring Martin Scorsese, who returns to a photo lab to pick up pictures from a nephew’s birthday, only to be disappointed with the results. Franklin explained how sound — and even a lack of it — was integral to setting the mood. Right away he used a bell, off screen, to signal Scorsese entering the store. Then he let the director’s staccato dialogue delivery and the shots of the clerk’s stunned reaction set the tone. Music, he felt, might have diverted the viewer’s attention away from their performances.

Sound also played an important role in the work he showcased from MasterCard, The New York Lottery and Fox Sports.

In closing, Franklin offered editors this advice: “Read, listen and watch. And get a good chair so you don’t screw up your back!”