I started post-production supervising by accident. Most of us do. This is because producers of indie projects will often hand over the responsibilities of post-supervising to the the editors their projects. The smaller the project, the more true this is.
In the future we are likely to see more jobs created in the industry which combine the role of editor and post-production supervisor, especially as expectations of an editor’s technical knowledge increase. Other jobs in this industry have had similar consolidations. The first that comes to mind is the preditor, or producer + editor combination.
This article addresses two main points. First, that editors need to acquire at least some post-supervisor skills if they wish to remain relevant in the industry. Second, that technical expertise encompasses only a small part of what post-supervisors do. In actuality, post-supervising involves a variety of different skills in the same way that a good soup needs more than just the broth.
The Ingredients of “Post-Soup”
I’ve created a formula to help guide producers in deciding whether to hire a separate person to post-supervise or to hand over those responsibilities to the editor. I’ll use experience points (“EXP”) to measure a post-supervisor’s essential skills because I think it’s funny. If the editor’s ‘s skills add up to greater than +100EXP, the producer should feel comfortable allotting post-supervising responsibilities to them. If the editor’s EXP points fall short, the producer should hire a separate post-supervisor: Read more…
Six weeks ago, an excavation team in Santa Monica unearthed an ancient artifact: a 1993 Lightworks Users Guide. The year that this manual was written is significant. Just one year later OLE, the company that invented Lightworks, was sold to Tektronix (wiki). Soon after, Lightworks began its slow descent, as Avid’s Media Composer rose to prominence. Still, in this short time period (1989-1993) Lightworks made major changes to the strategy of film editing that would shape the next twenty years of editing.
According to the California Department of Education, students should have learned basic word-processing by the 6th grade (P.34). The reason is “reading, writing, listening, and speaking are related processes.” In other words, in order to learn how to speak, a student must learn to listen as well. Very humbly, I’d like to add one more skill to require students to learn: how to watch.
Childish Editing Tools
I think it’s fair to say at this point that over the next ten years, children will be expected as early as middle school
to know how to edit video at least in some simple form. It is similar to the way they are expected to know MS Word, Power Point, and Google Docs (we’re a long way from the days of poster-board and scotch tape). By high school knowing how to use FTP file sharing, blogging, and basic web development will be as commonplace as knowing your way around a TI-83 calculator.
“Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” So said the 16th century artist Michelangelo. Our block of stone is the footage – that much is clear – but what we need to learn is how to to find the statue.
While Putting Together a Puzzle, Start With the Edges
The goal of a rough cut is to make the best possible version of the director’s original intentions. That is, the editor does not yet have permission to run wild with the material. That comes later in the process. Here are simple rules for a rough cut:
1) You MUST use all of the coverage.
– Including at least once instance of each angle, all designed camera moves, and planned shots like rack focus’s and dolly shots.
1) You MUST NOT remove any script lines or scenes.
2) You MUST NOT change the order of any lines or scenes.
*Warning: Violating these rules (even the tiniest infraction), will be caught by the director and they will ask you to put them back anyway. They have planned these shots and should see them in the cut anyway. Read more…
*This article was originally publish in the 2010 Supermag which can be found here.
AVID AMA with XDCamHD and the Canon 7D
Production from an editor’s point of view: a guide for the Weekend Warrior.
Classical Post Production
It’s hard to imagine that only a couple of years ago, production and postproduction were considered two separate realms. While an editor would begin cutting during production, it was rare that he/she was ever on the set. Editors didn’t really have much to do during production because dailies needed capturing, files transcoding, and projects organizing. However, with the digital revolution and tapeless cameras, editors have an increasingly important role in production. Read more…