Insights on Editing Top Television Shows

Insights on Editing TV Shows From Top Editors

Arrested Development is a fantastic show, and if you’ve not seen it, well you’ve made a huge mistake. Although you can catch up on most of the memes in this 8 minute supercut. More importantly though you can listen to editor Kabir Akhtar share a ton of great insights on editing a hit comedy show, building a career and a lot more in this double header of interviews from LACPUG and AOTG.

Editing Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones editor Oral Ottey is a fine chap (I met him at Edit Fest London) and in this extensive interview from High Definition Magazine, you get a great sense of the challenges involved in editing a complex, multi-layered series with a huge fan following.

“[The Red Wedding] scene alone, the Director, a guy called David Nutter, he actually shot in a single day eleven and a half hours of footage. So that was quite daunting to edit that down to one hour. He was asked to direct that episode and because I had worked with him before, they wanted to keep that continuity and we get on really well. They all do that you know, it’s better the devil you know.

“We had a meeting before he shot it about camera placement and the tone he was after. He was working at an awesome speed. I started cutting it the next day and managed to cut it in a day! I thought there was no point agonising over it just go at it with gusto, you get the shape of it and then you start planting the little looks here and there, the odd punctuation moments. You then polish it.

Editing Breaking Bad

In this 40 minute, two part interview, editor Kelley Dixon shares a ton of great insights on her career progression, the importance of cutting pilots and what it takes to edit Breaking Bad season after season. Click through for even more TV editing insights

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Premiere Pro CC Vs FCPX 10.1 Vs Media Composer 7

Premiere Pro CC Vs FCPX 10.1 Vs Avid Media Composer 7

Which NLE should I use?

If there is one question that gets asked most frequently when two editors meet it is: What are you cutting on? I don’t think that the answer matters as much now ‘kudos’ wise, although you might get some raised eyebrows if the answer is something that falls outside of ‘the big three': Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro or Premiere. But if you’re still trying to decide which one to learn first (or next) then, whatever your choice, hopefully this post will help.

In this short video Dave Dugdale shares his thoughts on which NLE you might want to go for based on an informal survey that he did on his site. Premiere Pro comes out on top – which is more a reflection of Dave’s readership – who are far more consumer than prosumer, or even professional. Either way, interesting stats from a different perspective.

Oliver Peter’s has written up an interesting comparison of these three NLEs, from the perspective of what working post production professionals might be thinking about and covers some interesting topics like how easily you are able to move the installation between machines. Ultimately Peter’s summaries:

There is no clear winner among these three. If you are on Windows, then the choice is between Adobe and Avid. If you need 4K output today, Apple or Adobe are your best option. All three handle a wide range of popular camera formats well – especially RED. If you like tracks – go Avid or Adobe. If you want the best application for the new Mac Pro, that will clearly be Apple Final cut Pro X. These are all great tools, capable of any level of post production – be it commercial, corporate, web, broadcast entertainment or feature films. If you’ve been on the fence for two years, now is the time to switch, because there are no bad tools – only preferences.

NLE Cost Comparisons

Avid Media Composer 7

Another post that you might also want to check out is this round up I wrote over on PremiumBeat – which also compared the price points of the three systems, in which you can’t really beat the price point of FCPX $299 for a one-time purchase, although it’s a little like comparing one apple to an apple tree given the number of applications you get from Adobe for your money.

FCPX $299 | Avid Media Composer 7 $999 | Premiere Pro CC $49/month

That said, the only company still charging for updates is Avid – when making the jump between versions – while Adobe and Apple have made their updates completely free. (Well, Adobe customers are paying for them each month, so only Apple’s are technically actually ‘free’) Keep reading for more NLE tips

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DaVinci Resolve 10 Colour Grading Resources

DaVinci Resolve 10.1.3 Colour Grading Resources

Colour Grading Resources

The latest version of DaVinci Resolve 10.1.3 is now out – so speedy are the folk at Blackmagic Design and so determined are they to keep improving their world class product. So what’s been improved in the updates?

DaVinci Resolve 10.1.2 update:

• The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K Film to Rec709 LUT
• Support for simultaneous video I/O for Resolve Live, when using Desktop Video 10 with a single DeckLink or Ultrastudio
• Support for SLog3, SGamut3 and SGamut3Cine for Sony Raw
• Support for Sony SLog3 to Rec709 1D LUT
• Support for Sony SLog3-SGamut3Cine to Rec709 3D LUTs

DaVinci Resolve 10.1.3 update:

• Color page GUI performance improvement when using Mavericks
• Update to RED SDK 4.6, which includes support for Dragon OLPF and Rocket-X when using RED ONE clips
• GPU debayer Preferences option for RED RAW clips
• Support for ‘Content Kind’ selected in the DCP composition name dialog
• Stereo Decision List import for ColorTrace

Colorist Juan Salvo has this to say about the new RED SKD support

DaVinci Resolve and the New Mac Pro

To really make the most of these new features, you’re going to require some seriously beefy machinery behind the scenes, and the new Mac Pro is definitely a good start.

In the video above, colorist Dado Valentic from grading house Mytherapy, shares his insights on Resolve performance with the new Mac Pro. He’s using a 3.6 Ghz 6 Core machine with 64GB RAM and the D500 GPUs, tested with a variety of different footage formats and resolutions. If you’re interested in purchasing one, it is well worth a watch.

The Coloristos devote an entire ‘colorcast’ to the subject of the new Mac Pro, finally settling on the suggestion that an 8-core, D700 machine might be the best configuration for grading in regards to bang-for-buck returns. You can also download a pdf of their results after much extensive testing, from the Lift Gamma Gain forum.

As more and more colorists put the Mac Pro to the test, the more valuable Twitter threads like these become. Click the date stamp to jump to the full conversation.

Click through for even more great colour grading tutorials

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Understanding How FCPX Works – Workflow Round Up

Understanding FCPX Workflows

Understanding how a program does what it does, and why it does it, is one of the most valuable things to learn about any new piece of software. It is one thing to know how to make a program do what you want it to do, but understanding what’s happening under the hood is far more valuable as it’s the beginning of finding solutions to unexpected problems, novel workarounds and whole new unimagined workflows

When it comes to FCPX, seemingly more than anyone else on the internet, Sam Mestman is the most passionate advocate for professional creative workflows involving the power of FCPX at their core. He’s written about why he’s starting his new company FCPXWORKS over on

There’s one small issue that we’ve found when it comes to managing change. It’s really hard to feel secure when you’re learning something new, and it takes a while to really see the benefits of a new approach.  It’s a leap of faith that many people often don’t have the luxury of taking in a professional environment.  The fact is that pro editors need proven solutions and established workflows in order to feel comfortable putting their clients in a new software’s hands.  Regardless of how cool some new tool is, it’s only going to be helpful if you know how to use it.  FCPWORKS wants to be your crash test dummy.  We want to figure out what works and what doesn’t so you never need to be in that situation with a client.

At this recent FCPWORKS event (with some rather classy looking sofas), Sam and many other highly skilled presenters, share how you can make the most of FCPX in your creative workflow.  To watch all nine short videos, skip over to the FCPWORKS official site.

Understanding FCPX Under The Hood

In another Sam Mestman presentation, you can check out this workflow for using FCPX’s metadata capabilities in a feature film workflow. I previously rounded up some other great FCPX workflow resources over on Premiumbeat, so definitely check those out too. Also this post on showcases a professional post production workflow centred around FCPX with some amazing results:

In one afternoon, my 21 year old Bulgarian assistant got further ahead processing footage in FCP X than the entire Avid Unity department had gotten to that point in a week.  In 5 hours, she had processed, synced, and made Multicam Clips for 7 days of 5k Epic footage within FCP X for a 100 million dollar feature film.  Prior to this project, she had no feature film editing credits.

Click through for a whole load more FCPX workflow resources

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Books on Film Editing – Part 3

Books on Film Editing – Part 3

books on film editingReading books, especially on film editing, is one of my favourite things to do. If you’ve been tracking with my blog for any length of time you’ll hopefully have seen a few of the posts I’ve written up on things like 5 Books on Colour Grading or 5 Books for Freelance Creatives, 5 Books on Storytelling etc.

Click here for a full list of all book posts.

In this post I’ve pulled together 5 more great books for film editors to read to improve their craft, but they’d be a valuable read for anyone interested in editing in general. Check out Books on Editing Part 1 and Part 2

First Cut 2 – More Conversations with Film Editors

Books on film editingThis is a brilliant book. Gabriella Oldham’s sequel, nearly two decades after the famous First Cut – Conversations with Film Editors (see below), is a great read for any editor looking to learn more about the working life of professional film editors toiling in many different styles and genres.

“While editing is highly complex, it is at it’s core an intensely human process, shared by all editors across time and space. In a daring and precarious [technological] era, it was a comfort to know that the person of the editor had remained unscathed by technology, while also becoming all the more powerful and creative because of it.”

In First Cut 2 – More Conversations with Film Editors you can savour 12 in-depth interviews with editors whose credits include Star Wars, The Blindside, Bobby, True Romance, S.W.A.T and many, many more. What I love about conversational books (and there are three in this post) is that it helps to make you feel like you’re right there in the room with the editor, soaking up their wisdom and insight first hand.

“I’m not a big arguer in the cutting room because I think there’s no right or wrong, as I’ve said before. You’ve got to try it and trust that the director will turn around and say, “You’re right,” once they’ve seen it. Or you turn around and say, “You’re right, that’s so much better.” It becomes an instinct after a while of knowing what works.” - Emma E. Hickox

A fantastic read to absorb one chapter at a time and use to improve your editing instincts.

Buy on Amazon.comBuy on
Click through to check out the other 4 books

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Free DIT Training From LightIron Digital

Free Online DIT Training From LightIron Digital

Out Post U - Free DIT Training

LightIron Digital, the leaders in the field of on-set post production tools and software, has just released two new DIT training series covering their DIT systems and iPad based software.

Available from LightIron’s Outpost U, each 4 part series will get you up to speed on all of the software solutions LightIron offers such as LivePlay (video assist on iPads), Todailies (take home dailies on an Ipad) as well as their DIT carts like LillyPad and OutPost.

If you’ve not yet seen the first 5 part series of DIT training from LightIron – The State of D Cinema – you should definitely check that out too. After watching all this training if you want more from post-production whizz Cioni, here’s a link to every post he’s featured in.

DIT Systems Training

Due to LightIron’s sharing settings you can only watch the training on their site. Check out the 4 part series on System’s Training here.

Free DIT Training Click through for the rest of the training

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How To Be A DIT Part 9 – Digital Dailies

How To Be A DIT Part 9 – Digital Dailies

This is the 9th instalment of a series of posts aimed at anyone wanting to know more about what it means to be a DIT, but would be well worth the time of any editor or DoP wanting to increase their skill and knowledge base. So hit the DIT Category for the rest.

DIT Workflows for Digital Dailies

Creating digital dailies is one of the main responsibilities of a DIT (Digital Imaging Technician), along with managing the entire workflow and protecting the integrity of the image and creative vision throughout that pipeline. In this round up of tutorials there’s quite a focus on getting that job done well.

DIT workflow from set to screen

The tutorial at the top of this post walks you through the basics of a RAW video and metadata workflow. This great article from Cinematographer Colton Davie provides a great overview for planning a workflow that will “safely carry your baby from set to screen.

PostLab also has a good write up on the AICE’s recommend practices document for digital production and their perspective as a DI facility on how to shape a workflow for smooth results.

There is significant time and technical expertise required in proper digital dailies.  It is a line-item to be budgeted and scheduled properly.  While the marketing campaigns from the camera manufacturers make the process sound easy, consider these challenges below, all of which we deal with constantly as a DI company.

Conversation with DIT Duck Grossberg

Free DIT Webinar has an excellent free webinar with DIT Duck Grossberg, which is only embedded on their site. So head over there for the free 50 minute webinar on the pros and cons of on-set vs near-set dailies creation. While you’re there be sure to check out these 3 little gems in which Duck and DP Doug Chamberlain discuss the role of a DIT, their relationship with the DP and Duck talks through his DIT cart.

In another free webinar Duck shares his on-set data management workflow, including how he uses the Microsoft Surface Pro and Assimilate Scratch to get the job done.
Click through for tools for DITs and more!

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DaVinci Resolve 10.1 Tutorials

New features in DaVinci Resolve 10.1

Color Correction Handbook 2nd EditionDaVinci Resolve 10.1 is the latest version of the ever-improving colour grading system. In these seven free tutorials, totalling over 50 minutes of high quality learning, colorist and trainer Alexis Van Hurkman provides a hands-on walk through some key new features in DaVinci Resolve version 10.1.

If you enjoy Alexis’ training style you should definitely check out both his Color Correction Handbook 2nd Edition – a 600 page guide to becoming a colorist and his full Ripple Training tutorial series.

For a full list of what’s new in DaVinci Resolve 10.1 check out this link.

New Edit Page Features In Resolve 10.1

Using Color Trace in Resolve 10.1

Click through for 10 more tutorials!

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How To Use FCPX 10.1- Giant Tutorial Round Up

How To Use FCPX 10.1 – New Features and more!

With the latest update to FCPX a lot has changed. There are a slew of new features, new ways of doing things and new techniques to learn. In the nearly 2 hour video above the Mac Break boys (Mark Spencer, Steve Martin and Alex Lindsay) chat through all the new features, the new Mac Pro, Mavericks and the implications of all three.

For a shorter round up from the same chaps, check out this demo from a recent LACPUG event. If you’re more of a reader you can check out what’s new in FCPX 10.1.1 from Apple.

Download Event Manager X – For FREE - In the 2 hour Mac Break show the boys mention that Philip Hodgetts is now giving away Event Manager X for free, to help you manage your events in FCPX 10 and update smoothly to the new process in 10.1

For Final Cut Pro 10.1, Event Manager X can help you control the upgrade of your Events and Projects to the new Libraries — here’s how.

For Final Cut Pro 10.0.9 and earlier, Event Manager X gives you control over your Events and Projects so you can manage what you want to be visible in Final Cut Pro X’s Event Library and Project Library. It allows you to create Sets: combinations of related Events and Projects for instant reload. It also tracks Events and Projects that are on offline storage devices, so you can properly ensure all relevant Events and Projects are mounted.

Round Up of Round Ups

Understanding libraries in FCPX 10.1

I’m not the only one who likes a round up, and both Alex 4D and both have excellent round up of all the new features, tutorials and insights you need to get up to speed with FCPX 10.1. So definitely check them out too.

Alex 4D FCPX 10.1 Resources – Scroll to the bottom for some really useful links.

Fcp.Co – The Big Fat FCPX 10.1 Round Up – Also includes great samples from several paid for tutorial series, if you’re looking to pick one to train you up.

Lastly for some reviews. Philip Hodgetts offers his thoughts here, Mark Spencer and Steve Martin give a readable tour here and for a quick ‘kicking the tires’ review of FCPX 10.1 editor Scott Simmons has a great post over on PVC with his thoughts about this major update. Well worth a read.

The FCPX 10.1 update is a great update overall and an easy upgrade decision if you’re a Final Cut Pro X user. But since this is a blog about editing we can’t end an article without some complaints…

FCPX 10.1 New Features Explained

Larry Jordan has put together a whole new series of tutorials (nearly 14 hours worth!) which you can buy here. But for a taster of what’s new in FCPX 10.1 check out the playlist of 15 tutorials above. For any easy to search list to jump to a specific topic, hit this link. Click through for TONS more tutorials and resources

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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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