February 28, 2005


HOLLYWOOD, CA - "The Aviator" was recognized with five Oscars last night, including the one for "Best Editing." The feature was cut by Thelma Schoonmaker on a Lightworks nonlinear editing system, a systems she's been using exclusively for the past ten years.

"I am very thrilled to have been part of such a wonderfully collaborative film and to see it honored last night at the Oscars," says Schoonmaker. "Many fantastic individuals created this movie and the award is theirs as well as mine. We all worked out of a passionate devotion to Martin Scorsese. If I could transform this Oscar into his I would do it in a heartbeat."

The award is her second, having captured her first Oscar in 1981 for "Raging Bull." She has been nominated five times, the first dating back to 1970 for her work on the documentary "Woodstock." Nominations followed in 1991 and 2002 for "Goodfellas" and "Gangs of New York" respectively.

Schoonmaker has been working on Lightworks since 1994, when Scorsese decided to switch to digital editing for Casino. Lightworks editor Scott Brock had just finished training Sandy Morse for Woody Allen in New York and was sent back there to train Schoonmaker. Brock assisted her on Casino and has remained her assistant on subsequent films. "What I like most about the Lightworks system is the controller, which is so similar to working with a flatbed machine when we used to edit on film," says Schoonmaker. "I hate relying on a keyboard stroke to do most of the editing work - moving forwards, moving backward, adding or removing footage. The audio scrub capacity of Lightworks is also very important to me and is not available on other digital editing machines. It is critical to be able to creep forward listening to the sound at slow speed when making delicate audio edits.

"One of Lightworks' strongest features for me is that it provides an immediate indication on the side of each timeline exactly how many frames picture is out of sync with track," Schoonmaker continues. "I use this feature all the time so that I can have the flexibility to experiment and cut out of sync and then go back and make the correction when I am ready to commit to an edit, by simply opening up my cuts and clicking on the number on the right side of the timeline, which immediately corrects the sync."