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it's all about the art of storytelling


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Psychology of Seeing

This is the book by Walter Murch – In the blink of an eye. I believe it is a MUST READ in all film editing class. I strongly recommend it.

It is also a compulsory question I will ask in class – do you know why “In the blink of an eye?”

Walter Murch (WM) explains very interestingly  in his book. Recently, I came across an interview of WM with a visual artist Josh Melnick. The conversation reveals the story behind “in the blink of an eye” with added dimension on the  psychology of seeing.

A little excerpt from the final paragraph of this article :

” It’s part of a general acceleration of the world that started in 1830. In 1830, give or take a few years, if you wanted to displace yourself or information, you had the same abilities and tools that somebody in 1830 BC had. You could run. You could walk. You could ride a horse. You could take a ship. Then, suddenly, the pace picked up. We invented the telegraph, and we invented trains. Then we found out how to manipulate time, and we invented sound recording and film recording. Then we invented automobiles and powered flight, and radio, television, computers, jet planes, rockets. You could write a history of the last 180 years as the obsessive devotion to manipulating time and space.”

In short, an editor’s job is one that influences how we all see space, time and therefore emotions.
If you like to know more about what we can learn from the psychology of seeing, attend my upcoming creative editing workshop in april.
Sign up early! Click here to find out more.
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Walter Murch

Walter Murch is the most celebrated film editor in the movie industry. He has edited many award winning films who were directed by other celebrated directors.

The most fascinating thing is – Walter Murch is not merely a film editor, he is also a pioneer in the concept of sound design, a crafty technician, a translator for italian poetry and a philosopher.

His book “In the blink of an eye” is a must read for anyone who is keen in understanding more about both the art and the technical aspects of film editing.

I remembered myself watched in awe about the story of how he experimented with sound in the analogy era.

If you want to get a glimpse of why some editors are simply more outstanding than others? You should read this article he wrote for new york times in 1999 titled- A Digital Cinema of the Mind? Could be

His curiosity about how we see what we see and in what circumstances changes the way we see is awesome. I figure that is how one becomes good in their craft. isn’t it? Stay curious.

If you don’t have time to read, here are more videos of Walter Murch talking about mainly technical aspect of editing.

I had conducted many of my editing classes and workshops based on his philosophies. There are a couple of editing workshops in the upcoming months of 2012. Please check this website for more details.


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ARCHIVE?

This question was raised by a fellow filmmaker friend recently. It has also been one of the thing that bugs me for a long time – How do we archive our digital videos?

I came from the traditional video making world where we always have a tape to archive to. When digital video making came along, i can’t help but wonder how are we going to ensure all the “01010101” stay long enough in the external hard disk? What will happen if we accidentally drop it or forget to eject the disk when power it down. Digital format has a much higher risk compare to the analog format.

Do you know that your hard disk can fail easily when it wasn’t spin enough? Even if we diligently bring it out for a ride, it has a limited life much shorter than the tapes.

I did a little research about what the experts are doing. It looks like we have yet to conclude a clear path. It is worth a better understanding to help us prepare for our future.

Digital Rebellion gives an excellent writeup about all the options you can find right now – Backup Options for Filmmakers.

Larry Jordan wrote a number of articles that discuss about archiving. He gives very good recommendation about the best (lossless) codec you may export for keeping.

I will read Pick the right format | Refreshing hard disk storage | Quick note on Archiving

There is one format that many people has raise – LTO. Linear Tape Open. It has yet been fully adopted by filmmakers. However, it is now a widely used format in other industries that need to store tones of digital datas. The biggest downside to LTO for filmmaking or videomaking is the inability to provide random access. It is a TAPE basically, you need to roll it to the exact place where you “keep” the data. Slow transfer speed is another deterrent. Currently, we can find 1.5TB LTO tape in the market. The good news is, we may have 70TB in the future. Read this article here.

I am no guru on latest digital technologies. Please feel free to correct me if there is any mis-information.


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Lightworks

Lightworks is an NLE (Non Linear Editing Software) that has been around for 22years. They are making a bold move by allowing it to be an open source NLE. This means that it is now a freeware!

You can download the beta version from their website to test it out.

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Below is a quote from wikipedia that pretty much sums up the reason why this software is still around after so many years even when it is not selling well.

“Using a control interface similar to the industry standard Steenbeck controller they produced a non-linear editing system. It had a number of (for its time) unique features, such as “sync slip”, synchronized varispeed playback with audio scrubbing, synchronized multi-channel playback, and an object-oriented user interface with a dedicated hardware console. Some of these features are still unmatched by other competing systems.”

I remember some editors comment that this system is extremely useful for multi-cam editing. It was very popular for editing of concerts years back.

Unfortunately, it is only available for windows user currently. But the website mentioned that they planned to make Linux and OS X version available by end of this year.


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For now, editing is a commodity and less a craft

There were signs of editors maybe taken out of the equation in news broadcasting more than 18 years ago while I was working as a news video editor in Singapore.

Looks like such change will be inevitable …

For now, editing is a commodity and less a craft

By Walter Biscardi on December 1st, 2011

As has been reported recently, CNN laid off 50 staffers, primarily videographers and editors.   Why?   Essentially after a three year internal review, CNN has determined that professional editors are not necessary to craft news stories any longer.   Instead they are expanding their iReport section allowing for more user generated content to be provided to the network, at absolutely zero cost to the network.   Yep, zero cost to the network since these folks won’t be paid.   I could go on about that part of the story, but Stephen Colbert explains it so well in this clip from “This Colbert Report” on Comedy Central.

Read full article here.


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Learning filmmaking backwards

“Cinematic production is traditionally a linear progressive process – From script, to storyboard, to shoot, to edit to sound mix to delivery. Subsequently, more often than not, we teach cinematic production following the same linear progression. But is this really the best or most effective way to teach filmmaking?” – Mike Jones

I asked the same question when I started to teach filmmaking and editing in various institutions. I did a small experimentation of reversing the order in one of my class and I was rather happy with the result. It seems more logical for one to understand how the footage will turn out at the editing stage before they go out to shoot or before they learn how to write a visual script. Screenwriting is a skill different from other forms of story telling (in writing). It requires the writer to visualized actions on paper. It will be even better if every craftsman in filmmaking (writer, director, cinematographer or even producer) have a better understanding on the aesthetic of film editing. Better films will be made.

Read the full article from Mike Jones here.

Mike Jones [.tv] is a treasure trove of information on art and technology of media understanding


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Avid Unveils Media Composer 6

Given the disappointment of FCPX for professional editors. Other NLE has a headup in competition these days.

Many people are looking into the option of AVID or Adobe Premiere.

Find out what AVID is giving to its faithful followers.