Earlier this week I asked my Twitter editing friends what they would like to hear about next on barryclegg.com, and I got some good suggestions. They ranged from how to make more money without heavy lifting, H.264 codecs, secret Avid tricks all the way to things never to say to editor (with my favorite being “I don’t like the music” or “it needs to ‘feel’ more.”)
The subject of this post actually came to me last night around the 2nd quarter of the Patriots vs. Broncos divisional playoff game. I think the score at this point was 78-0, but I may be overestimating on that score memory. It came in the form of a Twitter response from Steve Audette, former Frontline editor at WGBH in Boston who now works on Nova. We were discussing titles in Avid Media Composer and Symphony and how they can sometimes get corrupt. I asked Steve if he used the regular Avid Title Tool or if he used Marquee. He informed me that he used the Avid Title Tool along with this statement, “Keep it Simple.” Side note, Avid Marquee has not been developed since 2001 and is, in my opinion, a software that needs a massive overhaul or a quick burial.
If you ever get the chance to see Steve talk at either a Rule pub night or Boston Avid User Group meeting please do so, he always gives a great presentation on all things editing, but specifically about the philosophies of editing. One specific concept that both Steve and I share is that editing is telling stories, and you should never let anything get in the way of telling a good one. While I can’t speak on his exact behalf, I think maybe what Steve was saying was why get bogged down making titles that, most likely, don’t add anything to your story. Couple years back I was working with a junior editor who spent the better half of a day making a lower third REALLY spiffy and visually interesting. While I applauded their efforts (the lower third was quite visually appealing) it didn’t add anything to the overall story and it was a half day lost to fine tuning and shaping the story at hand. For me, unless there is some specific brand look, feel and/or font, I go with white Arial fonts for lower thirds, usually with a drop shadow for better reading on screen. My philosophy is that if there is time and the story is in a good place, we can always go back and manipulate lower thirds.
During any edit, specifically ones that involve heavy compositing, I always find myself asking “is this going to be easy to change if I need to” or “will it take me more time to explain it to someone else than just do it myself?” When I find myself in situations where the answers are “no and yes” respectively, I then try and simplify it. There are still many times where it just is not possible to simplify or make more efficient, but I think there is always a time to TRY and do it.
Sometimes it is a scenario of being able to manage your efforts with the time you have. On days I find multiple deliverables due at the end of the day I try and ask to get a synopsis of everything that I need to do so I can spend x amount of time of video 1, x amount of time on video 2, etc. It can be real frustrating to reach the end of your edit session and then hear “oh, we got this one more thing we have to do” and think “man, I could have managed this time much better if I had just known this needed to be done.”
I want to take this moment to also thank those who helped in making suggestions, and hopefully I will get more from all of you out there.
Steve Audette, WBGH Nova Avid Editor. You can follow him on Twitter @stevecutsdoc
Steve Andrada, DP in the Boston area I got to work with a couple years ago. He is also an Avid Editor and all-around great guy. You can follow him on Twitter @steveandrada and visit his website www.andradaproductions.com
Joanna June, Final Cut Pro editor who I just finished a 3 week event project with. Joanna is the hardest working woman in post. You can follow her on Twitter @coffeebooksbeer and read her website www.coffeebooksandbeer.com
Benjamin Eckstein is a Boston based DP who also edits on Final Cut Pro, but I think his heart is behind the viewfinder. You can follow him on Twitter @benjeckstein or visit his website www.benjamineckstein.com
So the question is, how do you keep things simple?