Editor Sven Pape, This Guy Edits, in Conversation
Film Editor Sven Pape was kind enough to make the time to chat to me about his successful YouTube channel – This Guy Edits – which I’ve previously featured as a core part of my Alternative Film School for Film Editors.
On This Guy Edits, Sven provides a rare opportunity to sit over the shoulder of a professional film editor and watch him edit an indie feature film, Flesh and Blood, directed by actor and filmmaker Mark Webber.
That, and dispensing a truck load of editing wisdom along the way, with a strong focus on storytelling, crafting characters and honing the emotional core of a film.
This video playlist will take you through every episode of the Flesh and Blood series from This Guy Edits, in recommended viewing order. There are also a ton of other videos on Sven’s YouTube channel, so check that out in detail.
I had a lot of fun chatting to Sven and we covered a lot of wide-ranging topics including:
- The craft of film editing
- Working with directors
- Teaching film editing
- Why he loves FCPX
- Handling negative feedback
- A whole lot more!
But before we get into all that, I want to talk a little bit about a really impressive new application from Digital Heaven, SpeedScriber.
OK, so it turns out I had more than just a little bit to say about SpeedScriber so to jump to Sven’s interview click here.
Beta-Testing SpeedScriber, The Post Production Professional’s Transcription Service
Usually when I do a Skype interview with an editor I end up getting too excited, ask too many questions and the interview usually stretches to well over an hour.
Check out these interviews with Green Room and Blue Ruin editor Julia Bloch or editor Vashi Nedomansky on helping some of Hollywood’s top editors transition to Premiere for Deadpool, and you’ll see what I mean!
Sven and I spoke for around 90 minutes which when transcribed came to over 14,000 words!
(Don’t worry the interview below isn’t that long!)
Normally this would take me a good couple of days to transcribe by hand. I would just listen to the recording at half speed in VLC and type it up into a Word document, manually stopping and starting the audio recording as needed.
Thankfully this time around I was able to run the whole interview through SpeedScriber from Digital Heaven, who kindly gave me beta-access to give it a try.
In short, SpeedScriber made this process incredibly easy to do, saved me literally days of work and was a pleasure to use.
If you’re doing any kind of paper edits based on transcriptions of interviews, or have to provide final transcripts to accompany a final edit, you will absolutely want to use SpeedScriber.
SpeedScriber is a desktop based Mac application which syncs to their server for the actual transcription process. You also manage all of your account details and purchase further transcription minutes through the website.
Using SpeedScriber is deceptively simple.
- You drag and drop your audio or video file* (which as you’re paying by the minute you might well want to trim to the bits you need!), which the app converts to it’s own smaller file audio only, before uploading to the server. The benefit of this is that if you drop in a video file SpeedScriber will only upload the audio saving you time and effort, which web-only services can’t match, apparently.
- The file is then transcribed server-side remarkably quickly, ready for editing and correction. (Only the length of the file affects transcription time) A local cache is created to improve performance but all your files and corrections are securely stored server side.
- Once you’re happy with the final file you can then export it to a text file, PDF, .srt subtitle file or to FCPX via XML (See the preview video above for more on this.)
*Supported file formats are pretty much anything QuickTime will open, including MXF files – but only when running on OS 10.12 and with the Apple Pro Formats codecs installed)
The accuracy of SpeedScriber is pretty astounding.
Not only does it do a magical job of turning all of your dialogue into text, it also does a remarkable job of correctly sorting grammar, identifying speakers and it even correctly capitalised the title of a film mid-sentence!
It also deftly left out umms, errs, ahhs and other unwanted vocal stutters.
Now you will need to have decently recorded audio to stand the best chance of getting word-for-word accuracy. (Digital Heaven claims up to 99% accuracy). But, from my experience of the level of quality that any semi-professional filmmaker normally achieves in their audio recordings, will be more than sufficient.
In my specific beta-test case, I had both a laptop mic recording my voice, whilst Sven was wearing a small clip on microphone, which recorded much better quality audio, even after being piped through Skype.
Sven’s accuracy was much higher than mine, probably due to both the sound quality and his superior diction, even with his slightly German accent, compared to my British mumbling. I mention the accents thing because SpeedScriber officially supports American, British and Australian accents.
The actual editing process of checking through your transcript and correcting any mistakes, which you can see in the screenshot above, is turbo boosted by using SpeedScriber itself.
I did, foolishly, attempt to export the raw transcription into Word to edit it there, but in doing so I was failing to make use of one of SpeedScriber’s core strengths, which is its intuitive, efficient and fast editing functionality.
I’m not sure my description here will do it justice, but once you give it a go for yourself you will see what I mean.
Hitting spacebar starts and stops audio playback. You can make changes to grammar (adding full stops, commas etc.) on the fly. The spoken words highlight in red at the same time as the audio.
The arrow keys let you navigate through word by word and you can edit any word simply by typing over it. The most useful shortcut I discovered in the beta help guide was command delete which deletes entire words. Otherwise hitting delete also takes you into word editing mode and deletes the last character.
The combination of all these things made editing my 14,000 word document a breeze and took only a few solid hours, rather than the days of work previous interviews have taken!
The whole user experience, design and functionality of the app was been meticulously thought through and executed. The app auto saves to the cloud and opens up wherever you left off, which makes editing a long file over a few different sessions, seamless.
The assignment of speakers is easy to do and also makes navigating the document clear. Oh and I’ve neglected to mention that you can have time-code stamps for every new sentence which makes it ideal for subtitling.
If you hadn’t guessed by now, it’s a really excellent service and I’m sold!
Sign up to the mailing list on SpeedScriber.com to be the first to get access to this brilliant app when it launches in 2017.
(Any errors involving spelling and grammar in the interview below are almost certainly my fault!)
This Guy Edits – The Interview
Thanks for making time to chat to me. I’ve really, really enjoyed the whole This Guy Edits/Flesh and Blood series, I thought it was brilliant. But I can only imagine it takes a long time to do each episode?
Sometimes, it depends. Doing the Watch Me Edit episodes, they don’t take that long. But the latest one I did, What I love about FCPX, that probably took me a good four days to edit six minutes. It’s almost like another job on top of film editing.
So how did you get into editing? What made you want to become an editor?
I went to film school and I studied producing at AFI, the American Film Institute. Then I decided to do producing because in Germany I had read a book about George Lucas and I thought ‘oh that’s cool. I want to be George Lucas’. So that’s how I chose producing and then I studied it and I realised – that’s the last thing I want to do! (laughs)
Everybody hates you. It’s all on you stress wise, and you’re always fighting creative battles where you’re not really the storyteller and instead you’re the one who is the devil’s advocate. So I didn’t like that position at all.
After film school I went ahead and bought myself a Mac. And the first Final Cut Pro that came out, Final Cut Pro One.
A friend of mine was doing his first movie and he actually asked me if I wanted to produce it and I said ‘hell no!’
But since the film is about a guy who puts his life on the Internet, I said “why don’t I use my Mac and Final Cut Pro and I’ll do a Web cast of you making the film.”
And so he ended up shooting his small indie film in Pennsylvania and I got a partner and together we found sponsors. We had Microsoft involved to do the uplink and all the technology behind the live webcast. And that was sort of my first editing gig.
James Cameron’s little brother saw that on the Internet. He called me up and asked if I wanted to do something similar for James Cameron. He was supposed to do Spiderman at the time. So we built a whole prototype of what a Webcast would look like on the set of Spiderman. He turned down the movie in the end as he didn’t want to do it because he didn’t like the script.
His next project was him going back to the Titanic to do an underwater expedition of the actual ship. (Ghosts of the Abyss) And so we ended up doing a webcast of that. I was on on the Keldysh, the Russian research vessel broadcasting live on the internet as James Cameron was freaking out and going down.
Eventually I ended up being an editor on the IMAX film that he shot, and that’s how I got into editing.
That’s a pretty amazing story! But, also I think it reveals your entrepreneurial streak. In terms of, having an idea for a project and just making it happen. Which I guess is similar to what you’ve done with your YouTube channel? That progression makes a lot of sense.
I think so. I mean I always get torn into a new direction when I see a personal challenge. Although sometimes that means I’m not on the path that I should be, in terms of the optimum way to get to what my ultimate goal is, because there’s always something that I discover that is really cool and I decide I want to do that for the next three or four months. But hopefully, ultimately, I’ll end up where I want to be.
Well, being able to tell my own stories. Be able to pick projects.
I mean I really enjoy editing. I really love it. It’s the one thing that comes naturally to me. And I love the whole process of putting together the story and the editing more so than actually being on set. But ultimately, I would like to get back to directing. I’ve directed two features and I’d like to do more of that. But ultimately, to direct them in order to get into the editing room.
Did you cut the feature films that you directed?
I did. The first one (L.A. Twister) I cut together with John Refoua (The Magnificent Seven, Southpaw, Avatar) who ended up being the editor on Avatar. So we co-edited my first feature and then the second feature (Hollywood Kills) I did on my own.
Most people would say you should never edit your own films, the whole rationale for an editor is to have a separate person, a second set of eyes. What would you say to that? Having done it twice and had a co-editor and not had a co-editor?
What was that process like in terms of editing and directing your own films?
Well I always tell my directors they shouldn’t be editing! They should have an editor because they have that second opinion, they should have that counter point. But I’m not living up to that promise!
But was it just faster to get to what you wanted to? In terms of “I want it to be like this” and as the director and the editor, I will make it so. Or did you get lost in it, because it all makes sense to you (as both roles?).
Did you have to have more screenings and things like that to keep an external perspective on the edit?
I did yes. I did a lot of test screenings. Test Screenings in as much as getting random people and bringing them into the editing bay and screening the movie to get different ideas.
It’s just that part of finding the story for me is really just editing. Working with it.
I don’t have that trained ability to just communicate what my vision is, as a director. It takes a lot of practice and experience to have that skill to just be a communicator and hire great people who can execute on that vision. Because I’m discovering what the story really is in the editing, so I guess that’s why I would probably tend to always edit my own films, or at least be a co-editor.
Because Flesh and Blood, includes a lot of improvisation and the footage is different in every take, in some ways it’s more like documentary editing in terms of having the whole block of marble and then finding the story within it.
Does that kind of process fit your discovery style better than say, having 100 takes of one scene like director David Fincher might deliver to his editors?
It makes sense to think of it that way, but I actually find that with every project, even if it’s like perfectly scripted and very well planned out, that the footage will take you in a different direction.
I think Walter Murch said “Movies are much smarter than the people that make them.” They have a mind of their own.
I can have this creative agreement with the director, “I see this as the vision, is this what you’re trying to tell?” But then I look at the footage and it immediately says something different.
Most of the time it immediately wants to go in a different direction. So then I’m totally game! Maybe that’s what it is? Maybe there are editors who try to follow a plan and maybe there are editors who like see something that inspires something and they just go off and explore that. I tend to be more of an editor like that.
Maybe that’s the reason why Mark and I work really well together because he welcomes out of the box storytelling. Where whatever was shot is in the past and let’s make it the best film it can be.
But I do find that even with a very well planned, scripted and detailed oriented directors it still tends to end up going that way. And if they’re open minded, or I want to say ‘good’ directors, I think they’re open to at least considering every possible option, before they’re committing to what they originally planned.
So true. As an editor what’s it like working with the same director three times? Does it help?
Yeah it’s amazing, because you have a short form where you don’t have to talk as much about the theoretical concepts. You already have that understanding of where everybody’s coming from. You’re cutting corners way more than with a first time director.
So it’s a faster process. You have this trust built in, that whatever is being explored is not a threat. It’s supposed to be a push forward. That’s what’s great about working with somebody you’ve worked with before.
Where is the film at the minute? The last episode was about colour grading, so is the film wrapped or is there going to be an episode on mixing?
We now have a version that we feel really good about, and that’s ready to send to festivals. So we are going to start submitting it to festivals now, and then once we know where the premiere will be, then we’ll open up the movie again with a little distance to do some touch ups.
Do you ever go to the festivals?
Yeah most of the time. I went to Sundance for the first time with Mark’s first movie The End of Love. That was our first collaboration, premiering at Sundance so that was really cool. It was amazing.
The last movie we did, we premiered at the L.A. Film Festival, it was a totally different experience.
It’s like you go there, you do the red carpet, you do the premiere party and then you go home. And thats it. It doesn’t have the same feeling as going to some wild place where everybody’s stuck there and all you do is live and breathe the films in the festival.
So that’s what’s really great about Sundance. But, Sundance also has two different sides. There is the first week or the first couple of days, where it’s all about the business. It’s all about getting the reviews and getting distributors interested and then it settles down and most people leave. And then the festival completely changes. And then it’s really just about the films for the merit of the films.
I mean it’s more fun for the director and the actors because they’re being treated as royalty. It’s all about them.
There are some other festivals that are just pure fun no matter what. For example, the Florida Film Festival in Orlando is probably the most fun I’ve ever had at a festival because they just treat you all the way. The food is amazing, the parties were amazing and it’s because there’s not a lot of industry activity there. It’s really more about the filmmaking spirit.
Have you taken your own directorial films to festivals as well as going as an editor?
Yes I have. The first feature it actually won the Rhode Island Film Festival. We also went to San Diego, to Rain Dance in London. It went to the Monaco Film Festival and it won two awards there.
So it went all over the place and it actually ended up being in theater’s here in America. So it had a festival run and a theatrical run in about 15 cities, but like a small arthouse release.
What was it like sitting in the cinema for the first time, with your film on the screen and a paying audience in the seats?
Well the first time I did that, we premiered at the Mann’s Chinese Theatre and we had a packed house. Nothing compares to premiering your film at the Chinese Theatre. So that was very, very impactful.
I went to San Francisco when it premiered there and then again just in a regular theater. It’s really cool to see your film on the screen, but it’s also very nerve wrecking because [in a regular theatre] you don’t fill the place. It’s arthouse! So you just get whoever shows up and a half full theater is good, but it plays completely differently. But, it’s a really cool experience.
In terms of editing a web series at the same time as cutting an indie feature, was that something that you had planned well before you started editing the film? How did the series come about?
A few weeks before we started shooting I approached Mark about this idea and said how would you feel about doing this?
I was aware of YouTube because of my daughter. She has a YouTube channel in the My Little Pony world. She’s probably one of the top 10 YouTubers for that and now she’s in high school, but when she started she was in elementary. I thought – This is unbelievable!
She is shooting a video every other day, editing on Final Cut Pro and she has a DSLR camera and all the gear she needs, which she’s paying for with YouTube money. She is so much more advanced in the craft of filmmaking than I ever was coming out of the American film Institute because she has to create product every other day.
Every filmmaker should have a YouTube channel, to have that instant connection with an audience. You immediately know when you create a video whether the audience responds to it or not. So I told Mark about this, and said we should be doing this for the feature.
I looked around on YouTube and realised that if PewDiePie who’s doing ‘let’s watch me play computer games’ is being interesting, I mean how is anybody watching that? But I started watching and I realised oh it’s actually quite fun. And he makes it quite fun.
So I thought let’s adapt that model of ‘watch me do something’ to editing. It’s sort of working, but I think I might not have the personality, unlike PewDiePie, to sustain that on it’s own.
I think one of the things that is special about This Guy Edits it is that, within the industry the opportunity to sit over an editor’s shoulder and watch and learn and be able to ask questions is almost gone. So to offer that globally to anyone who wants to watches is amazing.
Thank you. I think there’s a core group who really enjoys that part of it. But as I’m doing this channel more, I’m now realising it also has to be much more than that.
The channel is all about storytelling, emotion and character but all of that also needs to be put into the episodes. They need to be pieces of entertainment in and of themselves so it’s not enough just to have how to edit. They need to create emotions as well. So that’s how I see the evolution of the channel.
That it becomes more accessible and more interesting for filmmakers who are not necessarily editors, or potentially even an audience who just has a keen interest in filmmaking. I think if the episodes become more entertaining, that’s where I see it going, making it more appealing to a wider audience.
What have you learned in the process? I ask that partly about web content but also about your own editing, in terms of watching yourself editing, when you’re cutting the show about you editing?
Two things. One is it gives me the opportunity to re-examine my editing because when I’m editing I’m in the moment and I’m making spontaneous decisions. Now I have to do the episode afterwards and I have to reflect on what I just decided creatively.
It does give me the ability to see ‘OK when I went off on this tangent in the edit, maybe I should go back and revisit that moment and look at an alternative’. Or if somebody makes a comment and says “That cut you have currently in the edit, I’m not buying it, or I think this is a better solution…”
Every once in a while, I actually get a note where I’m like ‘Oh this is a really good idea’, let me go back and fix that.
So that’s the one thing. And then just making the episodes also trains my editing because now I have to produce videos much faster and so I have to rely more on instinct. I have to abandon over-thinking things, so that trains my skills as an editor as well.
How has it been in terms of audience feedback?
It’s mostly positive. But you will get that hate comment or a super critical comment. At the beginning I took that to heart. I thought I needed to explain myself or to present a counter argument. And so I was trying to get engaged in the discussion. But very quickly I learned there’s no point.
You cannot win these arguments, there’s nothing you can do. You can’t link to somebody who makes a counter-argument even more eloquently or has a greater body of work or whatever. It doesn’t matter.
So at this point, I’ll read anything and I’ll consider anything. But if you have something negative to say I’m not going to respond. And that’s just part of it.
If I listened to everybody who said “This is not good, stop doing this.” I wouldn’t be doing anything! You just have to grow a thick skin and understand that it’s just part of being ‘out there’.
Every time somebody has a hate comment, I think, ‘Yeah? But what are you doing?’ Most of the time I look at their subscriber rate, or anything where I can see where are they coming from? Most of the time there’s just nothing there.
So you have to totally let it go. But you’re always going to pay more attention to the negative but as you continue doing it, it means less and less.
There is this story of a teacher who put up a math problem and solution up on the board and it was like ‘one plus one is two. Two plus two is five. Three plus three is six. Four plus fours is eight and so on. He was writing down all these numbers and the kids were all laughing because he gets one wrong which is two plus two is five.
They were pointing out ‘Oh you made a mistake there. Ha ha ha you suck!‘ And he said “Out of the 20 problems I got 19 right and all you focus on is the one that’s incorrect. And what you should be doing is paying attention to the 19 that I got right!
And I think that’s a really interesting lesson, that you shouldn’t be focusing on that one thing that you got wrong. Because you tried something and you got 19 things right in the process.
Effort is more important than result.
So if you make the effort and you don’t get the end result that you were hoping for, you still made the effort and by making the effort you’re going to grow. Result is just an end product. It is what it is. That’s not going to make you grow.
Wise words! I’ll try to take them to heart.
I noticed that you cut some episodes of Hit Record. What was it like working on such a unique show?
I love working on Hit Record. It’s like Sesame Street for grown ups. You have all these different little pieces of art that are put together into a TV show.
You might have a little short film, a poem, a music video and all these little things that are created around a theme. On top of that, you’re just there to facilitate a community creating the art.
Many times a script would come from one person on the Internet and then Joseph Gordon Levitt would shoot it as an actor on a green screen. He then gives it back to the community and they create all the backdrops and effects and everything else to make the story work.
To be an editor on the show putting all that together is really fun. I loved it and loved working with Joseph Gordon Levitt as well. He’s amazing! He’s one of those people who is super open, super willing to try things but very determined to go all the way with it.
What do you think is the hardest thing to learn as an editor?
I think the hardest thing is being a storyteller.
I work with a lot of editors and I try to also outsource a lot of stuff to younger editors where I will get them to make the first cut and then I’ll do the polish. And the hardest thing is to find storytellers.
Where it’s not just pictures, music and effects scrambled together in a way where I don’t understand it or it doesn’t spark an emotion. Even in the professional TV world, when I work in a team of editors many times I see editors who are just musicians or they’re painters or they’re technical wizards. But when it comes to storytelling they have no concept of what to do to create an emotion.
How do you take a character from A to B in a way that the audience has something to worry about? That there are stakes involved? I don’t know if that’s something that can be taught or not. I’m not sure.
I think some of it can. One of the directors I’ve worked with the most, since I started out 10 years ago, taught me almost everything I know about good editing, mostly by osmosis.
When I see him teaching younger editors now, he’s honed it down to a few simple yet powerful principles that will help them structure a compelling story using only the best material.
I just know from my experience, trying to teach junior editors how to edit, it takes a lot of more time to try and teach somebody that just doesn’t have a natural sensibility for storytelling.
My time is much better spent finding somebody who has that sensibility but doesn’t know anything about editing. And then just teach them how to press a couple of buttons on a keyboard.
Within one or two editing sessions where I give them the footage and say ‘go edit’ and then we’ll come back and I’ll give you notes. They edit, I give them notes, them make changes and we look at it again. After that process I can pretty much tell whether this is going to be worthwhile or not.
I’ve had that experience with editors who were super advanced in terms of their skills, their craft, as well as with people that have zero experience with craft. I remember I was working for a production company and they brought in an intern to just hang out in production and on the side he told me ‘I have Premiere Pro on my laptop and I edit a little bit, can I show you something?’
I looked at it and I said “This is awesome! You don’t need to be running a production errands, you need to be on that Avid station over there and you need to be doing selects.”
Within a few weeks I was able to get him to junior editing position because he just had that natural storytelling ability. He just knew what’s interesting, what matters, what the stakes are and could put it together.
So, I don’t know. It’s teachable to a certain degree but my experience has been that I could make an educated guess whether somebody is a good storyteller, or not, and whether he or she will get there or not.
I guess it’s a bit like athletic ability right? You can want to be the best pro golfer in the game but if you don’t have any natural ability, all the training in the world won’t make it happen.
There’s a level of expertise where you can train your brain to be aware of things, to notice things in the rushes and to already imagine how that’s going to come together. And that’s a teachable skill, but you have to have that storytelling sensibility as well.
I think it also takes time to build that inner confidence too. That you do know what a good story is. The process of learning with that director I mentioned was similar to what you were saying earlier, that the film knows what it needs to be and you can’t fight that.
But I think finding that confidence to think “If I’m not interested why would anybody else be interested in this? And conversely, if I am interested then hopefully that is an indication that there is something interesting here. I think that confidence comes with a bit of mileage in the editing chair.
Your director, he’s got that storytelling instinct. And he can pass that on. But whether the people that he’s passing it on to you will get it, is a different thing.
Yeah. It’s interesting that sites like editstock.com, where you can download a project to practice your editing, part of their service is that you can upload your edit and get feedback on it.
It could be interesting to see that on your channel? To see you review different editor’s work of the same scenes, to see where the storytelling stumbling blocks are?
Actually I have that experience because I’m teaching Advanced Editing at a college and we actually use editstock.com. So I get to see five different versions based on the same dailies that they supply and it’s really interesting to see the differences.
OK this is really rough but I can tell somebody has a vision here. Someone who has a story there. Or this is super polished but I’m not feeling anything.
And it’s all from the same footage but just with a different editor.
I think I’ve learned more sitting next to another editor working on the same job together than I learned in 10 jobs cutting by myself.
It’s a real shame that in many ways the apprenticeship that you get in an assistant role isn’t as available across the industry today. But it sounds like you’re doing it very well in terms of outsourcing to younger editors and giving them notes. Maybe more editors should be doing that – if you can find people who can edit!
But I guess if you’ve got access to this college group, then you’ve got a constant flow of potential?
Yeah, for The Ever After my assistant editor came straight out of that school. I hired her as an assistant because I knew she was super organised but she was creative as well. It work out really well and she just took off from there. She’s now a Union assistant editor.
Did you have an assistant on Flesh and Blood?
I didn’t really have an assistant but I had Dustin, who is the guy who did the colour correction. He does everything on this film.
He was in Pennsylvania doing second camera during the shoot and he was doing a lot of post-production supervision, so he built the the entire workflow for the film. We start off doing it in DaVinci Resolve and then a couple weeks in, I was realised I can’t edit this on DaVinci yet.
It’s great but there are certain things that they don’t have worked out yet. For example you can’t access multi-channel audio tracks in multi-cam. So if you have a multi-cam clip that you created and you have four or five mics of multichannel audio they all get mixed down into one track and you can never get it back.
So we pointed that out as a problem, so I hope they’ve fixed it by now. But we couldn’t wait for that.
But I had just cut a Christian Louboutin commercial on Final Cut X and I’d gotten over that initial hump. Because it’s painful when you do FCPX for the first time!
It hurts because every thing that you want to do, all your muscle memory, is not working and it’s destroying what you’re trying to do. You’ll break the timeline if you try to do anything that you’ve learned before.
But Dustin said you’ve just got to embrace what they’re trying to do. Don’t try to do what you’ve done in Avid on Final Cut 10. Instead understand what this timeline is trying to do, just take it slow and roll with it. So I did that. I cut my teeth on the Christian Louboutin ad and it worked out really well because I couldn’t have done it on an Avid anyway, because we didn’t have time for ingestion or anything like that.
We had to be off and running cutting because we only had four days to present to the client. So I had no choice but to embrace it. And that really took me over the hump, within like two days. I was like OK. I understand. I can make this work. And from that point in, it was just love!
And so when DaVinci didn’t quite work out, we were so ready to go back to Final Cut X and do our first feature in it.
It was so fast that it actually probably gave me the time to do the YouTube channel because I had all this extra time where I could be cutting the episodes, in terms of the schedule that we had originally laid out. I was cutting so much faster.
So yes, Dustin was doing all the background management of the files, the assignment of roles/metadata, syncing up and creating multi-cam clips and all that stuff. I could really just focus on editing. And then he took it from me after we locked the cut and did the colour correction. He also prepped it for the sound mix.
It’s interesting that you dared to jump into a new system for a project with Christian Louboutin and where there’s a short time frame. I usually try to learn new software on a project which is easy, with no deadline and no real client. So that it doesn’t really matter how long takes me to get over the hump.
I had played around with it a bit before and I’m now doing that with Premiere Pro too. I do little projects that don’t matter, that don’t have a deadline. But it doesn’t teach me as much as when there’s a client and this has to be awesome because they want to see it in four days. Then you’re really pushing the software.
I’d been playing around with Final Cut X before because Dustin always kept saying “you’ve got to try it“. So I did a little YouTube videos on it but it was nothing compared to having Christian Christian Louboutin behind my back as I had to cut, to really understand it.
I think Sam Mestman or Michael Cioni said, “When it comes to editing systems, the more languages you can speak the more places you can go.”
I think that’s very true.
I think every editor should be fluent in the four editing systems because the client is not going to accommodate your preference of editing software.
The client is going to have an idea of what they want to cut on. I have so many clients who are still cutting on Avid and it’s painful.
To see that they are using Avid but don’t have a Unity. You’re not taking advantage of what Avid is fantastic at. But your cutting it on Avid because that’s what you’ve always done. But now you have all these obstacles that are still in the system because it’s archaic.
Yet, you could be doing this much faster and they won’t, they can’t. And they’ll pay to cut it on Avid and really they’ll pay extra, as it takes longer.
But as an editor you need to be able to accommodate that.
Right, last couple of questions! What’s next for you and what’s next for This Guy Edits? If you’re allowed to say?
There is some interesting stuff happening. I can not talk about it at this stage. But hopefully soon!
In terms of the episodes I have some things that I want to experiment with in terms of the storytelling. I love whole video essay genre and there are people that are doing this on a big scale like Every Frame a Painting, or NerdWriter.
There’s a huge demand on the Internet of people just soaking up these videos where they can get inspiration, or just very hands-on takeaways on filmmaking. So I definitely want to become more of a video essayist in that way.
But then how can we make it about storytelling? About editing specifically, but be able to not just have a how-to video but to get people emotionally invested in something. That’s really what I want to gravitate towards.
I want to take inspiration from what Every Frame a Painting is doing, which is doing a ton of research and tackling some bigger themes. But my goal for the future would be to help people see that editing is not invisible.
It’s not an invisible art. Yes, when you when you don’t notice the editing something must be going pretty well. If you can just enjoy it. But I want to open the audience up to look at how much power there is behind editing.
You can admire cinematography very easily or music because its there, its present. You can emotionally engage with it. With editing you don’t know that you’re being emotionally engaged. So I want to reveal that in a way where the audience can appreciate it for what it is and make that appreciation as accessible as possible.
Such that people who are remotely interested in films become super engaged in editing. That’s my goal.
Well I look forward to seeing you pull it off, I’m sure you will!
Thanks Sven for giving me so much of your time and sharing your wisdom. If you’ve not yet subscribed to This Guy Edits, go do that now!