It’s been a busy few weeks here at the Editblog so posts have been slow to come. One thing I had the privilege of doing recently was sitting in on a session of the new podcast Digital Cinema Cafe (iTunes link). I hate to make a shameless self promotion type post but I think our episode, entitled Watch Your Footage! is good listen for both new editors and veterans alike. And as a companion piece to that also check out the Editorial Blank Stare episode that aired the week after. It’s a good editing one-two punch.
My episode seemed to focus on the idea that editors today either don’t have the luxury of time to really watch and dig into all the footage that comes our way … or some editors today don’t always seem to have that desire to watch footage. It’s an interesting discussion for sure since one of the most basic tasks for an editor to do is to watch and learn the footage they are working with. How else does the editor know if they have added the best take? How else does the editor know if they’ve chosen the best moment? And going back to what director Paul Schneider said in the Editorial Blank Stare episode (what a great podcast title that is): how does the editor even know what footage that have and where to find it if they don’t watch their footage?
As I discuss in the episode (and have probably said many times before) modern NLEs have added some great features in their attempt to help editors comb through mountains of footage. Both Final Cut Pro X’s skimming and Adobe Premiere Pro’s Hover Scrub are a new way of thinking when it comes to combing thorough footage. But as nice as they are those features seem to really encourage editors to not watch their footage. They seem to say ‘hey, it’s okay to just drag your mouse over, you can find what you need.’ If you’ve ever JKL scrubbed your way through a hour of media and then had to go back and watch in in real time you know there’s a lot of stuff you miss just by JKL scrubbing. It’s worse when skimming as you’re seeing even less of the footage.
I’m as guilty as the next editor of sometimes falling into a trap of wanting to Hover Scrub my way through that 1 hour + single clip of b-roll where the cameraman decided not to stop the camera as he followed the subject around for an hour. But it seems like every time I do I never find the footage I really need and I end up watching the clip down again anyway. Since video tape and the luxury of watching the footage down while digitizing it is a thing of the past editors will just have to have the discipline to do it for the good of the project. Directors like Paul will thank you for it.