Learning Avid Media Composer 7

Learning Avid Media Composer 7

If you’re looking to learn Avid Media Composer 7 then this huge round up of tips and tutorials will provide you with a huge amount of excellent information, all in one place.

The video at the top of this post is a nice little walk around in editor Leo Mahoney’s edit suite, in which he’s running Avid Media Composer with a whole lot of nice gear!

How To Be An Avid Assistant Editor

How to be an avid assistant editor

Learning the skills you need to be an assistant editor using Avid can feel a little daunting at first. Luckily, editors like Liam Hill are happy to share their knowledge and give you a leg up in the edit suite.

Liam has put together, and keeps adding to, an excellent series of tips for Avid assistants over on his blog. Here’s a quick run down of the whole series so far:

Consolidate vs Transcode | Using Animate & Spectramatte | How to Import your Avid User Settings | Understanding Avid Project Structure | Three Ways To Import Media | Customising Bins & Timelines | Exporting Split-Track Audio | Exporting AAFs for Pro Tools | Preparing to Conform In Avid | Conforming in Avid |

What traits are needed to be an exceptional first assistant editor? “One thing that’s really important is attitude; a friendly personality. An ability to adapt and change to whatever is thrown at you, especially on a big movie, because a lot of things can be thrown at you. You have to know enough technical stuff to be able to do the job.” – Julian Smirke

To get a feel for what’s involved as an assistant editor on a major Hollywood feature film, you can’t do much better than Boston Creative Pro User Group’s evening with assistant editor Julian Smirke (Star Trek, Mission Impossible 3 & 4, Super 8). The event was obviously filmed but until that appears online notesonvideo has a detailed write up of the whole evening. Well worth a read!

They were running 12 to 15 Avid systems at Bad Robot with 86 terabytes of storage. The movie was encoded in DNx 115 and the completed project was about 150+ GB. When they started, Media Composer was at version 5.5.3, but they upgraded to version 6 during the film. He noted that in the past editors have been reluctant to upgrade during a movie: “In the past you wouldn’t usually do that on a big feature, you stuck with what you’ve got. As technologies have gotten better and better, we’ve gotten more confident.”

Getting Started With Avid Media Composer

Avid has been rolling out a great new series of tutorials from Kevin P McAuliffe to help people get started with Avid Media Composer, and a second series (below) for FCP7 editors making the switch.
Click through for more Media Composer 7 tutorials

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Lightworks 11.5 Tutorials

10 New Tutorials for Lightworks 11.5

New tutorials for lightworks 11.5

Lightworks 11.5 (for Windows and Linux) is now available to download. There are a huge number of new features added to the free and paid for versions of the program, which is easily powerful, and capable enough, of rivalling all the other major NLEs.

For a full list of what’s new in 11.5 you can download this pdf or you can read a quick summary over on the official Lightworks site. You can also watch these short walk through tutorials. If you’re still waiting for the Mac version, well you’ll just have to keep waiting. Hopefully it will be available soon!


Lastly you really can’t beat the price of the pro version at £49.99/$79.99 a year or just £4.99/$7.99 a month. You can also pay a one-time fee of £179.99/$279.99 for that version (with free minor updates). The pro version allows you to export to more than just Youtube and enables all of the third party proprietary codecs.

Lightworks pro

Lightworks 11.5 Essential Tutorials

The new 10 part series of tutorials gets you up and running with Lightworks 11.5, covering everything from starting a new project to getting organised, editing, trimming, audio work and of course exporting your final film. Click through for the rest of the tutorials

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Learn To Edit – Great Advice from Pro Editors

Learning To Edit Great Advice from Pro Editors

The Manhattan Edit Workshop is an editing training powerhouse in New York, offering intensive courses in all the major editing systems plus a ‘signature’ six week course that promises “a jump-start for anyone looking for a career in editing. Learn Avid, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro and After Effects, work with top editors, and create a professional reel.” – It ain’t cheap though, at nearly $6,000. But I doubt you’ll get the same kind of access to professional editors, any where else.

That is except for on the internet. In the MEW series called Critical Ends, there is a smorgasbord of snippets from professional feature film and documentary editors about life in the cutting room. Enjoy the feast!

These first two videos are from Tom Haneke, who is an Academy Award winning documentary editor.

Buy Unabridged Audio Podcasts from Manhattan Edit Workshop

Professional Editors share their insights

If you enjoy these tidbits of editing wisdom, you might want to know that you can buy ‘unabridged’ audio recordings of ‘An evening with….’ Carol Littleton, Christopher Tellefsen, Alan Heim… and many more.

Each talk lasts about an hour and comes from the Manhattan Edit Workshop’s Artist in Residence series. They are also at the bargain price of $2.24 or £1.30 a pop.

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy on Amazon.co.uk

Christopher Tellefsen, A.C.E.

For collection of great insights from Christopher Tellefsen check out this previous post. Christopher has edited films such as Moneyball, The Village, Capote, Analyse This and many more. Imdb.com.

Click through for 46 more video nuggets from 13 high calibre editors

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Tutorials for Premiere Pro CC Editors

Tutorials for Premiere Pro CC Editors

To begin this huge round up of tutorials for Premiere Pro CC editors check out this half hour introduction to all the new features in Premiere Pro 7.1, thanks to the Creative Cloud. Check this out for an official list of what was improved in the 7.2 update in December 2013.

Update: In the video below Van Bedient provides a good overview of the complete range of technology that is working under the hood in the Adobe suite of applications.

Premiere Pro CC Tutorials

In this short tutorial documentary editor Paul Murphy demonstrates how to create multiple film titles that can be uniformly updated in Adobe InDesign in one hit. In the tutorial below ReTooled.net walks through the new overlay features for the source and program monitors in PPro CC 7.1 The second tutorial demonstrates the benefit of the SmartRender feature (renders are used to improve export times).

For a huge number of Premiere Pro tutorials click through

Posted in Adobe, Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Editing, Editor's Tools, Review, Speedgrade, Tutorials, Workflow | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How To Be A Freelance Creative – Ebook Launch

How To Be A Freelance Creative Ebook

How to be freelance on kindle, ipad and iphone

Buy How To Be A Freelance Creative A free sample of A Freelance Creative Ebook

Essential advice to help build your freelance creative career

Dear Readers,

I’m happy to announce that my first ever ebook, How To Be A Freelance Creative, is now available! I’ve put a ton of work into it so I hope it proves useful to you and any freelancers you may know. Head over to the new ebook page for the full low-down, including a link to download a free sample of the book and an infographic with the results of my freelancer survey, which really helped to inform the content of the book.

How To Be A Freelance Creative

How To Be A Freelance Creative is a practical, no-nonsense primer on everything you need to know to become a successful freelance creative.

Throughout my freelance career I have consistently been able to work fewer days, whilst increasing my income year on year, all through raising my rates and landing better gigs. Add $1000s to your annual salary by learning how to raise your rates and develop multiple streams of income to help you thrive in your freelance creative marketplace.

Inside the 100 pages that are How To Be A Freelance Creative is every piece of useful advice I’ve ever received, all the lesson I’ve ever learned, all the mistakes I’ve ever made and every technique that has ever helped me to sustain and grow my freelance creative career over the past 8 years and counting.

Basically everything I wish I’d known when I started

How to be a freelance Creative Ebook

Whether you are a creative just about to take the plunge into being freelance for the first time, or you’ve been freelance for years, How To Be A Freelance Creative will help you get to grips with everything you need to know to really excel in, and enjoy, your freelance creative career. Covering everything from finding the kind work you love, to handling your finances and developing ways of growing your business for the long haul.

whats in how to be freelance ebook

Buy How To Be A Freelance Creative

To find out more about How To Be A Freelance Creative please check out the new ebook page in the menu bar at the top of the site.

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More DaVinci Resolve 10 Colour Grading Tutorials

DaVinci Resolve 10 Colour Grading Tutorials

If you’re looking for more DaVinci Resolve 10 colour grading tutorials, you’ve come to the right place. Check out this extensive round up, and then have a rummage in the DaVinci Resolve and Colour Grading categories for even more great resources.

In the tutorial above the man from Presynkt Post walks through how to use the layer mixer node in DaVinci Resolve 10 with some RED Epic footage. Check out the finished short film below.

Having recently spent some more time grading in Resolve 10, it is simply a delightful program to while away many hours getting lost in the fun of making pictures look better. The thing that surprises me so often with grading, especially as an editor, is how often you get so used to the offline images, you forget how bland they really are. Colour grading is a must, not a luxury!

How to optimise Resolve 10 for best performance

Davinci resolve 10 tutorials

In this great article colorist Mathieu Marano walks you through how to optimise your Resolve set up to get the very best playback performance that you can from your system. It’s well worth a read, to help you get the best from what you have through altering a few simple settings.

In the Video Monitoring section of this panel, you’ll find a lot of settings that will give you more horsepower. The first one is “Video bit depth”. You have the choice between 10bit or 8 bit. 8bit is less processor intensive than 10bit but it may result in banding. You can always revert back if you have a doubt about the final rendering of a gradient.

Using the new Edit features in Resolve 10

Using the Editing features in Resolve 10

Editor Clay Asbury has a fantastic write up on the new editing features within Resolve 10 over on Premiumbeat.com that is well worth a read if you want to understand how to make the most of these new tools. One of the best features to check out is the one that allows you to map the Resolve keyboard shortcuts to match your NLE of choice. Clay also lists a ton of native shortcuts and walks through how to perform different edit types.

Davinci resolve 10 grading tutorials Click through for loads more DaVinci Resolve Tutorials

Posted in Adobe Premiere Pro, AVID, Colour Grading, DaVinci Resolve, Editing, RED, Speedgrade, Tutorials, Workflow | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Must Read Books For Freelance Creatives

5 Must Read Books for Freelance Creatives

As a freelance creative these ‘must read’ books will inspire you to see your creative business and career in a fresh and energising light. Being a freelancer is effectively the same as running a one person business and these 5 books will educate, encourage and motivate you to chase after your deepest ambitions. What more could you ask for?

Different – Escaping the Competitive Herd – Youngme Moon

Best Books for freelancersThis is probably one of the best books on marketing/business strategy that I’ve ever read. Youngme Moon is a Professor at Harvard Business School but in Different – Escaping The Competitive Herd she writes more like an accomplished storyteller than a jargon touting business academic.

The essential premise of the book is that being different is what will set you apart from the competition but that the way to achieve that genuine differentiation is far more counter-intuitive than you would ever expect. For example:

Reverse-positioned brands commit to with-holding benefits that the rest of the industry considers necessary to compete. Reverse brands say no where others say yes. And they do so openly. Without apology.

To see this kind of strategy in action just open up two more browser tabs and compare the difference between Google.com and Yahoo.com. One offers much more while the other does one thing and one thing only, but incredibly well.

The benefit to any creative freelancer in reading Different is that it will seriously open your mind to the importance and opportunity to make yourself stand out from the crowd, if you’re only willing to take some risks and do things a little differently.

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy on Amazon.co.uk

David and Goliath – Malcolm Gladwell

Best books for creative freelancersIn Malcolm Gladwell’s latest masterpiece; David and Goliath he takes on the topic of ‘underdogs, misfits and the art of battling giants’. In doing so he covers a fascinating range of topics with his usual flair and insight with surprising results.

“There is a set of advantages that have to do with material resources, and there is a set that have to do with the absence of material resources- and the reason underdogs win as often as they do is that the latter is sometimes every bit the equal of the former.”

It’s a valuable book for any freelance creative to read because it turns the idea of what we consider advantages and disadvantages to be on their head. It will help you see the things you might think would work against your chances of success into those that will ultimately drive them.

This book is probably my favourite read of 2013, and is helping me to re-think the way I perceive my freelance film editing career and helping me to see exciting new possibilities.

David and Goliath is a brilliant and riveting book that ends up in some unexpected places. If you’re a fan of Gladwell you won’t be disappointed and if you’ve never encountered his work before you’re in for a treat.

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy on Amazon.co.uk/a>

The Pixar Touch – David A Price

The Pixar Touch - Books for FreelancersThe Pixar Touch by David A Price, charts the rise of Hollywood’s most successful animation studio, having earned over $8.5 billion from it’s films and garnered 27 Academy Awards. With both financial and critical success time and time again, Price writes a compelling and comprehensive account of the company’s founding moments right through to the present day. In the midst of this history he also draws out some of the magic, the Pixar Touch, that infuses every one of their films.

“[Jobs] embraced a seemingly ludicrous idea: He was going to take Pixar public soon after Toy Story’s release. One financial advisor after another told him to forget about it. At the time, the notion of a public stock offering for a company that had never even turned a profit was alien to the thinking of serious investors.”

If you learn anything from The Pixar Touch it is that hard work, determination and white knuckle faith are all required if you want to make your creative endeavour really happen. The guys at Pixar had always dreamed of creating an animated feature and with Toy Story they not only fulfilled that dream, but changed Hollywood forever. Why should you read this book? Because every creative endeavour is part art, part business and requires the same kind of determination and raw belief you’ll find scattered across the pages of this book. Inspirational stuff.

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy on Amazon.co.uk Click through for the final two great books

Posted in Books, Business, Craft, Creativity, Review | 5 Comments

Colour Grading – The Technical Stuff

Understanding The Technical Side of Colour Grading

One of the fun things about being in a creative field is the technical side of things, that is if you’re a geek like me. A lot of great content on this topic comes from Tom Parish’s website, so be sure to have a further rummage there, as well as Hugh Waters and Phil Crawley, who discuss the details of colorimetry in the video above.

If you want engineer’s bench level stuff then these two chaps are for you! They’ve got some great content (if you can handle the details) which I’ve sprinkled liberally throughout this post.

Color Grading Glossary

If you want a comprehensive glossary for all the terms bandied about in these resources then look no further than FinalColor.com’s interactive glossary, or grab it as a pdf here. Or you can download Company 3’s DI Dictionary for free from the Apple App Store.

How to calibrate your grading monitor

Essentially, get an expert to do it. If you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about – wrap your noodle around this lot. If you want a ‘for dummies’ version then this home theatre calibration guide will walk you through the essential basics.

Calman Ultimate Tom Parish has a great interview with David Abrams from Avical, the ”the go-to guy for high-end video post production work” in LA (according to Tom), who details how he goes about his day-job as a monitor calibration engineer. In this interview David talks about why he uses SpectraCal CalMAN calibration software.

Tom Parish also has another detailed interview with Derek Smith of SpectraCal all about the software. If you’re after a quicker read all about SpectraCal and why you might want it, then this previous email letter from Patrick Inhofer (sign up for free) will give you a good primer. Needless to say the offer is no longer available.

Calman Color Checker - Free monitor calibration software

What is now available is a free download of SpectraCal’s CalMAN Color Checker. You will need a probe (can you borrow one from a mate?) but within 5 minutes you’ll be able to discern whether your display is in need of calibration. The software will work with a ton of different probes, what it won’t do is calibrate the display, but at least you’ll know here you stand. Download the free Color Checker here or grab the free quick start guide here.

Lastly on this SpectraCAL love-in, you can download a free white paper on ‘achieving colour critical performance with affordable monitors’ direct from SpectraCal although you will have to hand over your email address.

In this follow up video (to the one at the top of this post) Hugh and Phil discuss how to calibrate a monitor in some fantastic detail. “Do you want something that’s accurate, or something that’s nice.”

LightSpace Color calibration software

Another calibration system (which calls itself the “de-facto standard for advanced colour management within the global film, TV, and post-production industries“) to check out is LightSpace CMS from Light Illusion. It too has it’s own free version for ‘display verification’, called LightSpace DPS, which you can download here. Just so you’ve got another option.

Buying a grading monitor

Color Grading Monitor - Alexis Van Hurkman Set Up

If you’re thinking about becoming a professional colorist, then you’ll know that the grading monitor sits at the heart of all you do. In which case you won’t mind investing some wedge in a decent one. Colorist and author Alexis Van Hurkman recently tweeted this picture of his new FSI CM500TD ($7, 495).

Dell 4K display for $699

But the talk of CES2014 is all these new (computer) monitors that are coming out and their low-low prices. Dell announced their new 28″ ‘4K’ display at $699. In response to which Colorist Juan Salvo tweeted this (below). Click on the date stamp for the full conversation. Juan also tweeted that if the 4K display doesn’t have a 4 in it (as in 4096), its not real 4k, it’s Ultra HD.


Click through for a huge round up of technical colour grading resources

Posted in Colour Grading, DaVinci Resolve, DIT, Editor's Tools, Free download, Interview, Workflow | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Learning Film Editing – Insights From Film Editors

Learning Film Editing From Film Editors

Learning more about film editing from talented film editors is one of my favourite things to do. Finding videos, articles and interviews with working film editors on how they go about solving the uniquely movable puzzle that is film editing is always time well spent.

Fortunately there is a wealth of great material out there, which I’ve rounded up into one place for some easy viewing.

Editing Hollywood Blockbusters

Anchorman 2 editor Brent White discusses his work on the film and his approach to editing ensemble comedy.

Gravity Editor Mark Sanger is interviewed by the chaps at Stackpod (2 film fans and friends) about his work on the film for over an hour. You can stream it online or download it here. For more on the making of Gravity, check out this post.

Dan Lebental is interviewed on the ever excellent Craft Truck, about his film editing career, working with director Jon Favreau and much more including Spielberg playing him the ukele.

The process of making a movie is a journey of discovery, and those people who would sit in this chair and tell you everyone knows what they are doing before hand and it all  just comes together are telling you a big, big fat lie. – Dan Lebental

Editing The Hunger Games

Editing the hunger games catching fire

Film editor Alan E. Bell (500 Days of Summer, The Amazing Spiderman) has been interviewed quite a bit about his work on the ever growing franchise of Hunger Games films, which is a great opportunity for other editors to learn more. One of the main take-aways from these interviews is the importance of mastering simple VFX techniques to improve performances. For more on that, check out this previous post.

When I was a fledgling editor, notes kind of scared me. The more I edit, the more open I’ve become. We might not necessarily agree on how to get to the end, but we all want to make the best movie we can, whether you’re a studio executive, a VFX supervisor, a cinematographer, a make-up artist or a grip. It doesn’t matter who you are; if you have an opinion about the movie, I want to know about it, so I can learn from it.

Click through for tons more interviews including the editors of The Hunger Games and The Wolf of Wall Street

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5 Books on Colour Grading And Colour Science

5 Books on Colour Grading And Colour Science

Color Correction Handbook

These days if you’re an editor you are expected to have a decent handle on colour grading and colour science. Being able to steward your project from the shoot to the screen whilst maintaining the highest possible quality and artistic opportunities.

Or if you’re an apprentice colourist looking to deepen your understanding of the art, craft and science of colour grading then these four books will provide you with an excellent place to start.

One of them is even totally free!

Alexis Van Hurkman – Colour Correction Handbook, 2nd Edition

Having purchased Alexis Van Hurkman’s comprehensive first edition of his Color Correction Handbook, this updated edition is well worth the update. Originally published in 2010, a lot can happen in four years in this industry. The latest edition is revised and expanded with an extra 120 pages to a beefy 672 pages.

Not only that, but the book now also comes with a download code for a ton of Pro Res 422 HQ media so you can follow along in your preferred grading system. In the first edition this was available on an in-sleeve DVD, although there are plenty of new clips too. Publisher Peachpit Press also allows you to download a sample chapter on Primary Color Adjustments, if you like to ‘try before you buy’.

Author and colorist Alexis Van Hurkman details on his website just how much as gone into the second edition:

adds about 200 pages of brand new content alongside many updates to existing topics; this includes a new chapter on grading workflow, a completely updated and expanded chapter on displays, calibration, and room setup, new sections on log-encoded grading, a new section examining the intersection of fine art portraiture and color grading, additional skin-grading techniques, and many, many new and updated techniques spread throughout nearly every chapter.

Another excellent aspect to the book is that it was reviewed by technical expert Charles Poynton and Company 3 senior colorist Dave Hussey (500 Days of Summer, Constantine) keeping Alexis ‘honest’ as he puts it.

If you’re looking for a one-stop comprehensive education on all things involved in color grading from setting up your suite to understanding your color management workflow as well as the technically creative aspects of bringing a film to life, you really can’t do better than Alexis Van Hurkman’s Color Correction Handbook. The main challenge you’ll face is simply taking it all in!

Buy on Amazon.com | Buy on Amazon.co.uk
Click through for 4 more books on colour grading, including a free one!

Posted in Books, Colour Grading, Craft, Creativity, DaVinci Resolve, DIT, Free download, Speedgrade, Toolbox | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments