Whenever someone asks me on the street what I do for a living, I always say I am a video editor. In theory, I could say “film editor” since I have edited many films, but in reality they have all been shot on video, not film. After I say video, most times the next question is “what is that?” Jordan’s Furniture has always been my example to illustrate what I do for those not in the know. Jordan’s Furniture has been a staple of local business in Eastern Massachusetts for a number of years. Their TV spots have changed over the years, but they have always been a cornerstone of their brand.
There are many things that I enjoy about editing Jordan’s Furniture spots. For one, they are always a quick turnaround so they don’t drag on for days. A typical schedule would be shoot on Monday, digitize and edit Tuesday, make final revisions and traffic Wednesday. Sometimes there is another day added onto that, but if it does there are probably at least 4 or 5 spots going to air. There are even times we are trafficking on day 2.
The other reason that Jordan’s edits are great is the client I get to work with. It has, over the years, become a true partnership in the edit and I am sure any other editor out there would agree that is a truly great place to be. The days we edit, the client just comes right on in, sits down, we’ll Monday Morning quarterback about the recent New England Patriots win and then get right into it. Usually by this time I have the footage digitized and edited, sans final graphics. Sometimes they go over well, sometimes they don’t, but they are always meet with a mutual agreement that we’ll do whatever is right for the spot, and everyone’s opinion matters. There is a high level of trust in the edit suite and it just makes the whole experience worthwhile.
All the Jordan’s Furniture commercials are shot on a Sony F900 HDCAM at 1080p/23.976fps. Since all broadcast spots need to be delivered at 1080i/59.94fps, the footage is digitized with a Sony JH-3 with the pulldown setting on, so the footage is in the Avid at 1080i/59.94fps, usually at DNxHD 220-10bit. The exception is when chroma key is used, since keying footage that has pulldown on it creates questionable results. When this is the case, the spot is cut 1080i/59.94fps but a 3:2 cadence motion effect is added after that fact. HDCAM really runs at 135MB/sec, but by working in DNxHD 220 10-bit all the graphics can be at that higher bit rate. Also, since most spots are now delivered digitally it gives the compression step the highest possible quality source to make the files from.
One thing you will notice on a lot of Jordan’s Furniture are deals that includes TVs. All graphics that live in those TVs are done in post-production. If the TV always resides in the frame, the Avid 3d Warp tool and 4 points tracking will usually suffice. When the TV comes from off-screen I’ll use Mocha for After Effects since it is a planar tracker. In fact, now I would even say that I will rely mostly on Mocha since it yields good results. One thing I do have to do is do that composite at 1080p/23.976fps and then import that composite at 1080i/59.94. Trying to do tracking shots on footage with pull down will create bumpy tracks. One thing I do with the track is I track in just a solid color (usually red since it makes it easy to see where in lies in relation to the edges) and then do the graphics in a separate sequence or comp. This acts as my master track and is replaced by the sequence or comp with the graphics. I use this workflow whether I am doing the composite in After Effects or Avid. The graphics are usually what change the most during the editing process, so by doing it this way I don’t have to re-track every time there is a logo or text change.
The above spot was actually moved up a day or two so they could do the shoot at Fenway in the snow. Needless to say that, while it definitely helped for the spot, the on-site production crew wouldn’t have objected to a sunnier day!