The Apple Store Event

13 02 2009

I’m going to speaking at the San Francisco Apple store on April 4 at 12noon. Not sure what I’ll be talking about, but it will be referencing my book THE LEAN FORWARD MOMENT, which has been getting some awesome reviews, even the ones that my mother didn’t write.





The Eddie Awards

13 02 2009

This Sunday is the annual Eddie Awards, where the American Cinema Editors hand out their yearly awards for best editing in varying categories of film and television. Don’t forget to watch it on television.

Oops, you can’t. It’s not on TV. But to get up-to-the-minute results, I’m going to try and Twitter the results as they happen. Come and follow me on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/schnittman.





Edit Fest is August 8th and 9th

22 07 2008

A.C.E. (the American Cinema Editors organization — there the three letters you see after the names of a lot of editors out there) is running what looking like an incredible event on the second Friday and Saturday in August. Its called EditFest and will give you an opportunity to “Learn about the craft of editing from the working experts.” It start on Friday evening with a welcome reception at Universal Studios with the ACE board members and ACE Interns. The next day is split between Saturday morning, where top television editors will be on a two-hour panel, and the afternoon, where there are three events — Editors of Summer Blockbusters, Animation Editing, and Cutting for Comedy.

It looks like an amazing event. “Tuition” is $349 and looks well worth it.

You can see a few more details, including contact information, by downloading this postcard or going to the ACE website.





Coolest Final Cut Pro trick!!

8 07 2008

Larry Jordan\'s tip about patching tracksOne of the reasons why I read Editwell and virtually anything that Larry Jordan is a part of (here is a link to Larry’s website) is that the man not only has the smoothest voice of any tutorial host/radio host, but that he is among the clearest (and most enthusiastic) FCP teachers around.

That puts him in some incredible company, by the way. I learned an amazing amount from a three day workshop that Diana Weynand taught a year or so back. And her books, along with Michael Wohl’s, are an invaluable addition to my library.

But Larry is amazing. Check out his tip from a recent posting on “Larry Jordan’s Tip of the Day” from his engaging web site. It gives a great way to repatch the track assignments from the Patch Panel at the left of the timeline (see the image at the right).





Avid Editors in Lebanon

7 07 2008

When I’ve worked in the Middle East, I’ve noticed that many of their editors use Adobe Premiere. Certainly, the area is largely PC, so Final Cut isn’t really very popular (though that is changing, as Apple begins to penetrate the area a little more). But we’ve taught there, primarily because it’s what we knew and we were teaching storytelling anyway — not just technology.

Still, it’s cool to see that there is now a Facebook group titled AVID EDTIORS in Lebanon (this link won’t work right if you’re not a member of Facebook), led by Mohamad Zoghbi and Dany Abi Khalil Aljabai. Started at the end of last month, the group boasts 80 members now (including Harroot Kasparian who has a picture of Jim Morrison as his ID picture).

Exciting!





I’ll Be At LAFCPUG

15 06 2008

Whatever that means.

Actually, I’m assuming that most of you do. For those who don’t, it’s the Los Angeles Final Cut Pro Users Group, the largest users group in the world, as far as I know. It’s celebrating it’s 8th anniversary and I’ll be speaking there this coming Wednesday night, in my attempt to dampen the enthusiasm of these great users.

Not really. Mike Horton was kind enough, after my appearance on the show that he does with fellow LAFCPUG maven, Larry Jordan, to invite me to speak about the Craft of Editing. Here’s the general announcement (you can see it, and more details on all of the guests at the LAFCPUG Meeting Page.

Join us as we celebrate the eighth anniversary of the lafcpug. Scheduled to appear will be veteran film editor and Associate Professor and Head of the Editing Track at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, Norman Hollyn. Plus, the brand new soon to be shipping Video Recorder/D.264 encoder from BlackMagic Design will make it’s LA debut. Plus, the brand new Focus FS-5 Portable DTE Recorder from Focus Enhancements will wow all of you who hate tape. Plus the FCP Tip/Trick of the Month, Stump The Gurus, Show and Tells and, if budget allows, Balloons, Circus Clowns and Pony Rides. And of course, World Famous Raffle. And MORE!.

A $5.00 donation will be requested at the door. Doors open at 6PM. lafcpug meetings are open to the public. First come, best seat.

Here is their description of my talk:

9:00PM – 9:35PM – The Craft of Editing – Norman Hollyn
It isn’t enough to just know the tool. Anyone can learn Non Linear Editing tools. But can one learn the craft of editing? Can one be taught how to edit? Most editors when asked the question, “How do you edit” generally reply with the answer, “I dunno. I just uh, do it. When it feels right I make the cut.” Then there are the editors who can articulate the craft of editing.
Norman Hollyn is one of few editors who can do just that.

He is a long-time film, television and music editor (HEATHERS, THE COTTON CLUB, SOPHIE’S CHOICE, Oliver Stone’s WILD PALMS), and is Associate Professor and Head of the Editing Track at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. He is an author of nearly 100 articles and his book, THE FILM EDITING ROOM HANDBOOK, has been internationally translated. His new book, THE LEAN FORWARD MOMENT, comes out from Peachpit Press/Pearson in December. lafcpug is honored to have him take the time to teach us a bit of what we need to know.

The good news if I have to finish by 9:35, so I can’t be too long winded, can I?





Amazing Amazing Amazing

13 06 2008

If this is true then there is proof that there is a God.

Wes Plate, the innovative maven behind Automatic Duck, did a demo of the soon-to-released Pro Export FCP 4 (due, according to the video, sometime this summer). In the video, which you can see at the Film & Video web page where I found it, actually shows ProExport 4 changing FCP media into MXF files that the Avid can actually read. In addition, with the effects that are in the demo, the program translated the FCP effects into Avid effects, and translated an FCP marker into an Avid locator. This is in addition to the already valuable function that the program performs in version 3 of translating project files.

Once again, if this is true — there is a God. Or, at least, the Holy Grail. For years, that unattainable goal was to easily move a project and its media from FCP into Avid, because most people felt that the finishing tools there were better. Or, perhaps, you’re moving from one facility to another.

Wes Plate, you are a God!!





Fun Red One Demo

12 06 2008

Red One cameraTed Schilowitz, public face of the RED CINEMA Digital Camera, knows how to put on a show. He, and Michael Cioni (Plaster City Digital Post), put on a short demo of shooting with the RED, and playing it right on a Final Cut Pro system.

There’s nothing really special about that.  FCP can do that with the P2 cameras. Avid can too. But the way that Ted does the demo is really fun. He and Michael have two red cameras (take THAT, Red Camera fanatics) and shoot a little mini show called “Mythbusters.”  While still rolling both cameras, they walk into the next room, which has a spiffy 27 foot screen, plug one of the cameras into a second Mac (eight-core) system, and immediately project the footage onto the screen.  Frankly, it’s a demo that Sony and Panasonic could do as well, with their technology.  The cool thing is that Mike is demonstrating it using the 2K movie files right out of FCP (something that Ted advises you not to do, by the way). And there are some occasionally funny titles laid over the picture.

There are 4K and 2K versions of the film posted on the Red Cinema bulletin board.





Great Do-It-Yourself Podcast Tips

10 06 2008

There are two really great sites that I like to tour around to get tips and technique tricks for FCP and Avid.

First, David Forsyth, over at Amber Technology in Australia, does a podcast called “Avid Tips and Techniques” which has featured discussions about the Audio Mixer, Animatte, the Super Bin, and more.

One or two Final Cut sites. My favorite are the series of tutorials about the entire Final Cut Suite from VASST, a company that does training videos. If you look up their store using the company name RHed Pixel in iTunes you’ll be treated to a great series of excerpts from those videos. I like the one called “Total Training for Final Cut Help – Final Cut Studio.” A warning — VASST’s free tutorial website hasn’t been updated in a very long time.

Another good FCP podcast, though it hasn’t been updated since early March, is Creative Cow’s podcast “Creative Cow Final Cut Studio Tutorials Podcast.” Creative Cow runs those great web forums on practically every production and post technology known to mankind (and womankind too).

A cool series of short tips and tricks from the people at Digital Heaven, who make some really neat plug-ins for Final Cut (including a large timecode window, for all of you Avid editors who miss throwing that up during music or sound spotting sessions). Their podcast of video tutorials for FCP can be found on YouTube or at this address in iTunes.





Feature Envy

9 06 2008

ScriptSyncOliver Peters, in his blog Digital Films, has a posting about Avid’s ScriptSync, the technology that allows somewhat automated connection between the script inside Avid, and individual takes. This allows the editor to edit in the lined script mode and, as for me, I often look at the script supervisor’s lined script when I edit. Once I finish my first cut, I’m rarely looking at the script — by then, it’s all about what the footage says, not what the script says.

But I often refer to the lined script (and the facing notes pages as well) to find out what has been shot for any given line of dialogue or bit of action. When I worked with the extraordinary editor Gerry Hambling on FAME, I saw that he did his own lined script, even though he had received one from the set. This is actually even doubly cool, because it means that the lined script will reflect what was actually in the dailies (even great script supers can make mistakes) as well as forcing the editor to really examine the footage that he or she has received.

So, in the scheme of things (and despite its shortcomings) this Avid Media Composer feature is A Very Good Thing.

But “more features” is not always A Good Thing.

We are all aware of Feature Bloat, the natural tendency of software programs to grow more features as they get older and need more selling points for new versions. Microsoft’s Word is often trotted out as an example. This program has gone beyond its 1981 origins (as Bravo) and its 1983 release, into a program which now takes 20 megabytes at its core (not including its countless ancillary files). I remember installing Word back on my early Mac, and it took about eight floppy disks to get it on my drive. Now, I look back fondly on those days. There are features in Word that, I’d bet, less than 1,000 people use on a regular basis.

The real problem is that one person’s useless, memory-hogging feature, is another one’s must-have.

Right now, I’m writing my new book (THE LEAN FORWARD MOMENT, coming in December from Peachpit Press, buy early/buy often) and, this morning alone, I’ve used the following features:

  • bookmarks
  • cross-referencing
  • index
  • table of contents creation
  • image resizing
  • image cropping
  • split screen editing
  • separate section styling
  • borders and shading

and many more.

My guess is that most of you who use Word don’t care about half of those, and that a large number of you have features that you would care about far more than I. Those of you who use other word processors will feel similarly, I’m sure.

I’ve been involved in a group that has been presenting Avid with feature requests that we absolutely need. And while the list has been arrived at by consensus, it is amazing to me how many people have different opinions about what they can’t live without. I’ve also seen how one person’s feature must-have, is another’s oh-I-just-use-this-workaround-and-I’m-satisfied. And, while I’m not involved in anything similar for Apple or Adobe (not because I don’t want to — I’ve just never been asked), I’d be shocked if they don’t go through a similar prioritization over everything.

[And that doesn’t even take into account the issue of how expensive or how much time it will take to effect these requests. There is the issue of ROI — Return on Investment — all the time in software development. Do you want to spend $100,000 software dollars on features that won’t matter to most people, or on features that will?]

So to my mind, ScriptSync is an awesome new tool that everyone should want (especially documentarians who can afford to get transcripts of their shoots), but I’m not brazen enough to think that everyone will want it.