MIAMI - What most concerns top professional editors about
their work? What's most likely to elicit a cringe? If you were a fly on the
wall at the recent Editors Retreat, here, one gripe that kept coming up was bad
See, it's a known fact that viewers will watch a program
with superior audio production longer than they'd watch the exact same show
with inferior audio. As Microsoft's Ben Waggoner phrased it, "People will stop
watching a clip that sounds horrible quicker." (Waggoner's presentation was on
encoding video for the iPods and the very small screen.)
It was also brought up at this convocation that, when
consumers are asked to choose "which video feed is in HD?" they will most often
overlook the true HD and pick the standard-def feed if it has better audio
The moral - to look good you have to sound good. And
that's what talented video editors are being asked to do today - make their
work sound good as well as look good. One speaker at the Retreat was Sound
One's Coll Anderson on the topic "Sound as Character - Sound Design."
The Editors Retreat (www.editorsretreat.com)
was the first such production in a few years for Future Media Concepts
(www.fmctraining.com), a company which had staged Avid Master Editor programs
in the past and rejuvenated the format this year by embracing Adobe and Apple
along with Avid users. (The three companies were also sponsors.) FMC also produces the Post Production
World Conference annually at NAB.
The Retreat's aim was to bring in speakers who are
specialists at the top of their game and have them present to seasoned editing pros
with at least five years in the business. Speakers included Stuart Bass, ACE,
who deconstructed an episode of his work on Arrested Development; Chris Franklin, who picked apart his recent
composite-heavy job for American Express starring Ellen Degeneres; Abba Shapiro
on editing an idie film; Steve Audette on editing WGBH's documentary series, Frontline; and Rich Harrington of RHED Pixel, speaking about
how best to start up and successfully run a small post business. Alan Heim,
ACE, who won the editing Oscar for All That Jazz, also spoke.
Another big topic was the pressure brought to bear by
producers looking to get the most out of their editor and their edit
sessions. Shapiro spoke on the
topic "The evolving role of the editor" and rattled off an ever-lengthening
list of tasks, both highly sophisticated and mundane, that editors are now
expected to provide.
One, as presenter Oliver Peters told the group, is color
correction. All "the three A's"
(Avid, Apple and Adobe) have editing systems with useful built-in color
correction, he says. Peters likes Colorista, a low-cost FCP plug-in from Magic
Bullet (www.redgiantsoftware.com), but warns, "the more you stack, the slower
it gets, and you have to render."
FMC's Ben Kozuch says that the event went well enough to
begin planning another for next year. But sign up early; FMC will accept no
more than 75 attendees at this affair, and your reel needs to pass a peer