January 18, 2007


The Class This Week


Assignment for Next Week

Additional Material

Tonight we have two agendas, one having to do with the very real editing issues of conceiving of a style and feel for SHUT UP AND SING, and the other having to do with the very real editing issues of how to communicate with the director's vision.

Let's take the first issue first.

For those of you who want to become editors, your first job in an editing room will probably not be as a full editor but as an assistant editor. For those of you who do end up editing first, most of you will be on films with a low enough budget that you will need to be your own assistant editor. As a result, a discussion of what the assistant does in an editing room and how to organize your material is very important.

Organizing an editing room and organizing your Avid workspace are crucial skills towards removing the barriers that can stop you, as an editor, from thinking freely. The less the equipment and the process gets in the way, the more free your thought processes can be towards creating the perfect cut. We've got some handouts that will help you organize. SHUT UP AND SING is already organized for you -- with separate bins for each scene. That is the normal way that editors and assistants organize footage.

As another part of the task of organizing ourselves, we are going to start working on a viable post-production schedule. To that end, I have put the first version of one up on this site (you can get to it by clicking on the Post Schedule link in the navigation frame on the left). You can also download a PDF version of it here. I'd like you to look it over for two reasons: take a look at what is expected of you from week to week, and (secondly) let's start to fill in the tasks that I've left off of the schedule. What things need to be done in order to get us to the release of this film -- the DVD we are constructing at the end of the class?

The other issue that we'll talk about is the aesthetics of editing your scenes. Our first order of business along those lines will be discussing the script and coming up with a cogent analysis of what the movie is really about. This is akin to the logline we talked about last week. Our next step will be to figure out a style and a flow for the film. Our editing schedule will be to try and put together a first cut of the film within a month, including every scene that was shot, in the order that it was scripted. This will not be an easy task, but with twelve of us working on it, it should be do-able. It is important that we all are working on the same movie, and that is why we will talk the script into the ground tonight. We will discuss why the finished film that we looked at last week was so drastically different than the script and talk about what worked and didn't work in that. This will help set us up for shaping our own version of the film.

As I mentioned last week, once we determine the direction we are going in, I am going to act as a quasi-director, attempting to corral all of the cuts into one coherent form.

It will be interesting. I can't wait to start.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The footage that Bruce has given us to work with in class are their property. They also might contain footage which, like any set of dailies, might be embarrassing to the actors and actresses involved in the film. In addition, the footage reflects the hard work of all of the members of the crew and are the intellectual property of Bruce's company. As a result, I cannot stress enough that this footage is never to leave the building and must not be used in any way other than for this class. The continuation of this class, and the reputation and integrity of USC is dependent upon this. So, please, don't make copies of anything from this class, even for editing reels of your own. This is also why we are signing release forms.

Release Form
Because we are editing material for a film that is still marketable, I am going to ask you to sign release forms.
This is the first continuity that we are going to have on this film. According to our schedule, we are going to have five more. This one lists every scene in the shooting script. Note that I've combined some scenes that make logical storytelling blocks into sequences. This is because that is how we are going to think -- building areas of script.
Post Production Schedule
This is merely the first pass on a comprehensive post production schedule for our version of SHUT UP AND SING. We will use it as a template to see what we need to do in order to make our "release date." Along the way, things will arise that will cause us to make changes in this schedule. However, just like a feature film or a television show (or a corporate video, for that matter), the finish date stays the same. No one can postpone that for us, so we must make the date.
Projects Folder (PDF)
This is a screenshot from the Mac desktop of what a typical Avid Projects folder looks like as one assistant editor has organized it. One of the key tasks of an assistant is to make sure that the editor doesn't have to think about the organization, and can get to anything that he or she needs to edit, without interrupting their thought processes.
Avid Project Folder Screenshots
These four PDF files show the Avid Project windows for several different shows that Jen Harrington, an old editing student here worked on. PL 105, the pilot for Hotel, and How Clean Is Your House? Notice how the assistant names clips and the folders that she has set up for the editors.

Attend one of the tutorials on the LanShare and Avid 10.6
She will work something out that will accommodate you. There might need to be two of them to make sure that all of you are captured. There isn't a lot of major difference between the 7.2 Avids that some of you are used to, and the 10.6 (those of you who have already edited 546s will already be familiar with these machines). The biggest difference, and it's not huge, is the LanShare. There are things that you cannot do on the LanShare that you may have been doing with the Data Docks that could seriously screw you up. These primarily fall into the media management area. As a result, Dana (with or without Elonwy Hickey, our accomplished Avid Technician and Guru) will take all of you through some basics on the system. NOTE THAT BECAUSE OF THE LIMITATIONS OF LANSHARE, we will be working in pairs within a given workspace. Each workspace will, therefore, have two projects -- one for each editor.
Edit your first scene from SHUT UP AND SING
Every one of you will have your own section to edit. The assignments are on the Class Roster page. I tried to divvy up the script into twelve sections of similar difficulty. This means that some of you will have more pages than others, since some scenes are more complex or have more coverage than others. For those of you whose first scene is very complex, don't worry about that, just do as much as you can. Before you edit your scene, come up with an analysis that works within the overall logline and style that we came up with in tonight's class. You will be asked about that analysis before we screen your cut next week.
Look over the Post Production Schedule
Determine what is missing. See what you need to do for next week. When are you expected to have all of your scenes edited? What is happening with you personally that may interfere with that. All of these things will needed to be added to the next version of the schedule.

Avid Keyboard Shortcuts
This four page PDF extract from the Avid 10.0 guide gives you some basic shortcuts that will be helpful to you as you get better and better at using the Avid.
DV and the New Production Methodology
How has the advent of DV changed the way films are shot. This article from DV Magazine discusses that and, in the meantime, provides a decent primer on HD technology. You might need to register for the DV site. It's free and all that happens you start to get a slew of DV related junk email. It's up to you.
San Francisco Post production
This article is more mainstream than what I traditionally put up on my sites, but this San Francisco Chronicle piece does touch on one of the things that the Bay City prides itself on -- its post-production (in particular, sound and effects).
Oliver Peters' Post Production Site
Oliver has a nice site which advertises the post services that his company offers. It also has a link to a rather comprehensive discussion of planning for all of the options of post production.