Inside A Professional Edit Suite
If you’ve ever wondered what a professional edit suite looks like then this round up of photos, videos and edit suite design tips should give you a great insiders look! And if you want to be able to look even closer, check out this popular round up of editor’s timelines.
Here, the first few photos come from Ron Howard’s edit suite on his current film In The Heart of The Sea.
Not all edit suites as are as comfortable looking as Ron Howard’s – here’s Darren Aronofsky cutting Noah, standing up in his (seemingly) make-shift suite.
In these last two images you can check out documentary editor’s Shane Ross and Steve Audette’s edit suite set ups. Check out the next section of this post for Shane’s write up of his suite.
PBS Frontline documentary editor Steve Audette, kindly took the time to email a detailed breakdown of the gear in his suite. Speaking of Steve, if you’ve not seen his excellent lecture on documentary editing, then you’ve been seriously missing out.
Behind my head on the wall are important documents for durations and deadlines. Also you can see the “ten commandments of typography”and a motivational graphic of the 7 minute workout. Maybe I need to spend more time with that one.
To continue left to right. My desk has my laptop with a small Wacom Cintiq for fine Photoshop or After Effects work as needed; stuff I do close up and with a delicate hand. Mostly all this work is all on my Big Mac Pro (silver tower: 10.8.5 – 2×2.4ghz 6 core Xenon with 32 gig ram) but the laptop is there to do second shift work as needed. The laptop also where FinalDraft scripts are kept.
Above the laptop is a plasma client monitor – I have two in my room this one is for me, the other is down way out of picture. Then my bin monitor and my composer monitor these are old NEC 24 inch that need replacing as they have ghost images. Below the bin monitor is the router (which I hardly use now with file based media) a telephone, a track ball and keyboard.
Up in the top corner there, you can see the Makie HR824 monitor. Not Blue Sky monitors by any means but they work ok. The bass trap on the wall behind me is matched with a few others in the room, but I am not sure they really work – still has too much bass. What do you expect with parallel walls. the speakers are also not set up for mixing so my producer/director has a heavy right mix and I have a heavy left mix. We cope and look forward to the mix.
Tucked under my client monitor is an 01v mixing board. Again, I hardly use that now as I do all initial mixing in the Avid Media Composer for both rough cuts and fine cuts. Final mixing goes to the protools system upstairs. Back in the day I would work with 8 direct outs of audio and compress the narration channel and main interview channel on the O1v, now I do that in the Media Composer using RTAS tools. So all that is left for this board is to record narration – soon I will move to a USB solution and the board is gone. More space for coffee cups. (Funny but the elevated shelf for the computer monitors was set by the height of a BetaSP tape – when was the last time I saw one of those.)
Finally up in the upper right of the photo, there is the Plumb Bob. Homage to telling the straight line of a story and not wavering to the pull of some sequence off the narrative. Keep the line, like the Plumb Bob straight and true.
If you have any questions ask me on Twitter or Facebook. Now back to my nap…
Anatomy of an Edit Suite
In this excellent three part video series, editor Walt Biscardi builds on one of his most popular blog posts ‘Anatomy of an edit suite‘ by updating things and going into a bit more detail on all the core components of a professional edit suite, including the chair, desk, mice and tablets, monitors, standing desks etc. Walt has also written up an post on designing a suite around an iMac, which is worth a look too.
Editor Shane Ross has also helpfully written up a detailed description of how he transformed his suite from one based around at 2008 Mac Pro to one based around a 2012 non-retina Macbook Pro – making the most of all those Thunderbolt peripherals to expand his edit suite. Click through for more edit suite design resources