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Press Release: “Disney Demos Automated Multicamera Editing”

So I'm reading one of the various trade publications that comes through my email on a daily basis, and I see this:

“Disney Demos Automated Multicamera Editing”

Seeing as I do multicamera editing for a living on a daily basis, you could say this caught my eye.  There was a link to a Youtube demo video included – here, have a look and then come back:

 

 

 

Wow.  Just…wow.  And not in a good way.

Not that I am dissing the technology so much.  I think it is almost charming that the program respects the 180-degree rule, match-on-action and all kinds of other long-standing tools of the editing craft. However, when you look at the “edited” footage it becomes plainly apparent that what the program does not understand is that YOU DO NOT NEED FOUR WIDE SHOTS. Or six. Or thirteen. Or eleven thousand and nine, as shown in the first still in the video. You need some combination of a wide, a medium, a tight, an XCU, all in the right place and in the right time, and for only as long as needed.  I am having a very hard time imagining an algorithm that can understand that truth, much less deliver a product that reflects it.

I'm sure that the folks at Disney that cooked this up are justifiably proud of their baby, but as so often happens in technical pursuits, they have lost sight of an immutable fact: People make this job go, people called directors and producers and shooters and audio folks and editors and composers and a hundred other titles. As much as I do appreciate technology and all the wonders it has delivered to us in the last fifty years, I humbly suggest that it might be time to call a moratorium on tech-for-reducing-headcount sake. And before you say “Hey Bruce, calm down.  It's only for home movies,” think about this:  Don't your memories – or anyones, for that matter – deserve better than this?

And this from Disney, who has from the days of Ub Iwerks to today has employed some of the most creative humans that have ever lived. It's almost shameful.

What do you think?

 

 


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A 1981 graduate of the Boston University College of Communication, Bruce A. Johnson got his first job in broadcast television at WFTV, an ABC affiliate in Orlando, FL. While there, he rose through the ranks…

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