MIAMI BEACH - Future Media
Concepts' recent revival of the Avid Master Class concept of yore scored a hit
with the editors who attended a newly revamped five-day seminar here called the
Editors Retreat. One big change this time around reflected an industry-wide
change: Avid was joined at the Retreat by Apple and Adobe as equal-opportunity
NLE tools, event sponsors, session presenters and objects of scrutiny.
A big draw for this event
(www.editorsretreat.com), which attracted some 68 highly experienced editors
specializing in all facets of the editing trade, was the guilty pleasure of
being able to kick back for a few days with kindred spirits (and kick around
can-you-top-this stories about the behavior of clients, directors and talent).
In addition to the variety of
editing tools on hand at the Retreat was the variety of tasks editors are more often
expected to provide these days. The job isn't just about cutting picture. These
days more editors are expected to say "yes" as color grading, graphics and
audio duties are shoveled together with distribution, multi-deliverables,
duplication, DVD authoring, encoding/decoding, archiving and more.
Affordable NLEs from "the three
A's" along with an expanding base of talented users has created a market where
you have a lot of editors who either toil alone or with only a couple of
co-workers. But these loners are not exempt from providing what today's client
wants: in a word, everything. That's why one presentation, "The Evolving Role
of the Editor," by Alan Heim and Abba Shapiro, rang true for so many attendees
at this "Exclusive Summit for Experienced Editors." Heim is the president of
the ACE and the Oscar-winning editor of All That Jazz. Shapiro is a veteran
editor and head of Shapiro Video & Multimedia who writes, directs and
Adobe, Apple and Avid each had
representatives speak on various mornings at the retreat. Avid's breakfast
speaker was Michael Phillips, who addressed workflow and collaboration,
metadata tracking and Avid's Interplay solution. Apple's Steve Bayes also
helped solve workflow issues in his presentation, including new HD workflows
and X-san's flexible topology and scalability (supporting hundreds of clients).
One Adobe master class,
presented by Marcus Geduld, involved After Effects and working in 3D space.
SOUNDS, LOOKS GOOD
Shapiro also conducted a Final
Cut class in which he demonstrated how he cut a short student film and saved
its audio track in Soundtrack Pro. Its noise reduction cleaned up air
conditioner noise. And Shapiro uses a Soundtrack Pro plug-in, Space Designer,
to recreate on-set room ambience for future use in replacing salty dialogue for
Audio was on everybody's mind
at this event for picture editors. Retreat goers absorbed talks by experienced
editors like sitcom cutter Stuart Bass and spot specialist Chris Franklin. Bass
dissected an episode of Arrested Development and demonstrated how hard comedy
"I was a plumber talking to
plumbers," Franklin self deprecated after delivering nearly two hours on the
editor's life and the efforts involved in making the recent two-minute Amex
commercial starring Ellen Degeneres. The B&W piece (which exists in various
shorter forms) uses the concept "work with animals" to depict the star prepping
for an episode of Ellen in a production completely staffed by animals.
Franklin, of Big Sky Editorial in NYC, credits his VFX supervisor Ryan Sears
with conjuring up ways to comp in all the creatures (great and small) without
the benefit of greenscreen (couldn't fit it into Ellen's production offices).
Sears rotoscoped the dozen or so animals into selects from a total of 40,000
feet of film from two motion control cameras and Franklin preferred that
workflow to outsourcing the job.
Franklin, an Avid editor, is
very focused on audio, too. "Sound is 70 or 80 percent of the job," he says.
"Although nobody notices when it's there, they definitely notice when it's
not!" Working with sound — even just scratch tracks — is a big part of editing,
Franklin says: "I'm constantly adding sound effects, music, soundtrack; it
allows me to hear where I am while I'm working. It's a huge help."
Steve Audette, senior Avid
editor for WGBH's Frontline series, presented his work on a documentary on the
pop music business. He too emphasized the importance of audio. He uses audio to
"suck the viewer into the environment." He adds that "narration is your friend"
but he may also stitch together disparate voices and sound bites to tell a
story. Audette will mix a doc's audio partially in his Avid before sending it
out to a post house for final audio.
"The Editors Retreat was launched to a great success and was
attended by 68 top editors from the US and other countries," says FMC's Ben
Kozuch (www.fmctraining. com), who produced the event with partner Jeff
Rothberg. "Judged by attendees' feedback the event delivered everyone's
expectations in regards to depth of sessions, networking opportunities and
social activities," he adds.
FMC plans to make the Editors
Retreat an annual event and dates and location for 2008 will be announced soon.
"When we talk with other
editors, we talk craft," Franklin says. "You always come away knowing more."