View Full Version : Ase Newsletter 2003-08 Issue 60
22-08-2003, 10:33 PM
ASE NEWSLETTER 2003-08 ISSUE 60
Edited by Anna Craney
Layout & Design by Melissa Bradbrook
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Editors on Editors - Bill Russo 1
Victoria notes 2
President’s letter 3
Mentorship Scheme 3
Members Survey 5
Final Cut Pro Tips 6
DIY Final Cut Pro 6-7
ASE Accreditation 2003 8
More than the sum of its parts 9
In Case you asked 10
Goverment funding used to underpay editors? 11
Editing must be good for you 12
22-08-2003, 10:39 PM
Editors on Editors - Bill Russo
Bill Russo was one of the first editors to be accredited by the ASE. His credits include 'Blue Murder', 'Joh's Jury', 'Scales of Justice', 'Come in Spinner', 'Police Rescue' and 'Wildside'. He's currently Head of Editing at AFTRS and his most recent editing credit is 'Young Lions'.
Michael Webb set out to find a bit more about him.
Sea and beach are important to Bill. He's done a lot of sailing in his time having grown up in Sydney's Manly and Seaforth area... that's where he still lives today.
It was surfing photography that led to selling a few photos to magazines. Then on into advertising... the audio-visual department of George Patterson's. Bill cut little bits for George Pat's and was attached to a director who said "if you want to become a director you should become an editor first".
A cigarette (Craven Special Mild) ad was planned and the director, Geoff Spinner, said, "Try stringing this Queensland cane train footage together to this bluesy music". So Bill "cut it blind on a synchroniser. It was shot on 16mm but they only had a double head 35mm setup. I got quite involved, marked it all up and pushed the 16 and 35 play buttons at the same time... and it worked and it was a whole lot of fun." Geoff said, 'Well if you really want to do this you should learn properly or you'll end up like a lot of half-baked people around here'."
"I pushed the 16 and 35 play buttons at the same time... and it worked and it was a whole lot of fun."
So Bill joined the very first film and TV class at North Sydney TAFE in 1971. Many of the teachers were from the ABC and these contacts led to a job cutting ABC news and ten-minute features for 'Weekend Magazine'.
After 18 months a news journalist was planning a sailing trip up the coast. Bill resigned from the ABC and was taken on as a crew member. "We were going to make a film on the boat, took an Arri with us. We never pulled the Arri out. We were just too busy having a good time sailing up through the reef". They left Sydney during a huge storm that demolished the baths in Manly and sailed into Coffs Harbour during a storm that had closed the port. From Cooktown overland to Darwin up through Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Khyber Pass to Teheran ".....oh, and I had gotten married in Singapore along the way!"
Bill eventually returned to the ABC and got a great break cutting a 90 minute dramatised doco. Then 4 Corners, stories for 'A Big Country', but Bill particularly enjoyed the Sydney to Hobart yacht race films each Christmas... very fast turnaround... all film, almost total reconstructions on the sound. "The great thing about fast turnaround, you really didn't have time to agonise over anything very much, make your decision and move on... what I really learnt there was to tracklay, make everything fit into four tracks... makes it very efficient, no butt joins anywhere, on a four-gang pic-sync, with a tiny little viewer and that's what I cut on, the Steenbeck was really used for rushes and then throw it on the wheel. It was a fascinating way to cut! I think Nick Beauman cut that way for a while too... fascinating!"
On fast turnaround "You didn't have time to agonise over anything very much, make your decision and move on."
Almost the 80's.... Bill moved across into sound editing as way of getting into drama, a series called 'Spring and Fall'. Then he got a break cutting a 90 minute telemovie 'The Amorous Dentist', bits and pieces of 'Home Sweet Home', a sit-com then 'Scales of Justice' which was the first time he worked with Michael Jenkins. Then a whole series of ABC telemovies including 'Two Friends' with Jan Chapman and Jane Campion directing. A real high point was working with Neil Armfield and Margaret Fink, "A fabulous series 'Edens Lost'... I just watched that again for the first time just the other day. Then there was always Quantum as a little fallback... I loved doing magazine stuff, l loved doing little jobs because you get to play in a way you don't normally." 'Police State' (Four Corners 1989) with Chris Noonan directing eventually led to 'Blue Murder'.
Once Bill discovered editing he says he never considered an alternative. His editing has entirely dominated 25 years over the past 30. It's the collaborative aspect that really attracts him. It's the people and the projects that have driven his choices along with a thirst for variety. Throughout this interview, Bill remembers, as if it were yesterday, who contributed what and credits all his collaborators generously.
There's nothing he has disliked about editing really. Fast turnaround is a mixed bag but keeps the brain working and the juices pumping. I comment that there's a big work ethic embedded in those words. He agrees "I'd much rather be busy!" I find him composed yet enthusiastic, conveying an incredible thirst to have his hands and brain engaged with new unformed material, basically, to be amongst it.
On 'Young Lions': "Fabulous interaction with everyone so close together."
In his own judgement Bill's latest work is his best. Channel Nine managed to bury 'Young Lions' schedule-wise and it's not being recommissioned. But, says Bill, "the whole production experience was fabulous, brilliant stories and collaboration". The old Water Board building in Crown Street, Sydney became a defacto production hub outside of Fox Studios. For 'Young Lions' the studios were two floors below, the design department next door to the cutting rooms as were the writers... "fabulous interaction with everyone so close together. They were rewriting the scripts throughout and bang you are off one episode and onto the next and trying to read a script in your lunch-break somehow. I would just wander into the script department and ask Peter Schreck, 'Look Peter, what's this story really about?'." With Peter he developed a shorthand method of 'five golden moments' as a quick way of really getting into the story whilst cutting in such a fragmented schedule. "Everyone was around... actors were constantly walking into the cutting room... just great."
Bill's attitude to new technologies was "Bring it on!"
Bill's attitude to new technologies was "Bring it on!" He was one of the first to work on the only AVID in Australia around 1991. Series two of Police Rescue was cut on a range of devices and the last episode was edited on the AVID. . Stephen Smith at Frameworks apparently parted with an arm and a leg to provide 16 megabytes of RAM on this machine. Since the material was dark Bill insisted to Stephen that he must work at AVR2 resolution but the storage was all on two optical disks. As Bill cut, Stephen read the manual and finally learned that what they'd just done was technically not possible. The editing was rostered on split shifts because the thinking was that these technologies meant halving the edit schedule... along with the pressure of using a quarter million dollar 'Steenbeck'. The foray into AVID was a great success and did come in under time.
Bill was off and running with digital non-linear and has never particularly wanted to cut on film since.
On assistant editors: "You were privy to those screenings, you knew exactly what was said".
The one thing Bill misses is the close relationship between editors and assistants. "It's a tragic loss because apart from learning the grammar as an assistant you get to advise the editor when they say... 'Hey, I'm trying to get away with something here do you think it works... all sorts of stuff.' The other part you learn is that relationship between the editor and director and the producer as well as cutting room culture. You were privy to those screenings, you knew exactly what was said." It's a situation he tried to recreate with his AFTRS students on Young Lions. He took an AVID along and stuck it in the kitchen and one of the students, cut the whole opening sequence, a very difficult stunt scene. "The producers got the benefit of some very bright young minds", says Bill.
"You realise... that your intuition is very well informed after 25 years."
Bill's philosophy of editing is "Intuition... don't let the brain get in the way. But you realise once you are teaching that your intuition is very well informed after 25 years." Bill says it's been interesting "to try to say how and why you do things which is what I almost intentionally avoided doing until I arrived here [AFTRS]." His search for interesting material to discuss, to be able to say "How does it work? Why does it work?" has been the most rewarding part of the film school job. "I've just learnt so much since starting here!"
"What does it take to arrive [at lock-off] satisfied yourself, without compromise... with both you and the director serving the story and not your egos?"
AFTRS recruitment he also finds interesting. "Personality is a very large part of what it takes to be an editor considering you are locked away in a room creating something with one other person. Obviously you've got to have the skills beyond that but how well are you going to collaborate with people and work your way through that incredibly difficult process on the way to a lock-off? What does it take to arrive there satisfied yourself and without resorting to compromise and with both yourself and the director serving the story and not your egos? Two minds, when they work together to create something greater than the two minds, that's the enjoyable part. But how to get there... that is the question."
Bill's CV at http://members.ozemail.com.au/~russo/cv/
Bill Russo with students at AFTRS
01-09-2003, 11:36 AM
So how do you make the leap to
the big screen? Alison Croft spoke
about editing her first feature at
an ASE event at Spectrum Film on
Monday night 11/8. Alison worked
with director Khoa Do on a film
made with street kids in Cabramatta,
’The Finished People’. The film
has been invited to the Montreal
Film Festival and is a wonderful
achievement. Keep an eye on the
website for a full report.
01-09-2003, 12:19 PM
Victorian Notes August 2003
Hi yawl. Been awhile between drinks. Needless to say there’s a few things to report. Moving right along.
On April 23rd we hosted an event titled "SOHO Edit Night" about setting up your own Edit Suite/Business, in particular, at the low-cost end. Four editors with a combined total of over 60 years experience strutted their stuff, picking up where the sales-folk finish. The event took place at AFTRS in South Melbourne before a healthy crowd comprising a good proportion of non-members too. Thanks to our participants: Roberta Horslie ASE, John Leonard, Cindy Clarkson and Leon Burgher. We’re looking at posting some extracts of the night on the website. Stay tuned.
An announcement. Andrew Brinsmead has replaced Roberta Horslie as the ASE’s representative on the Victorian Film & Television Working Party. A collaboration between several industry bodies, this party plays an important role as a lobby group for the industry. Congratulations Andrew & thanks to Roberta for her contribution.
As some of you may know, ASDA (Australian Screen Directors Association) are having a conference in October. The 2003 theme: "Doing things differently". People doing things outside "the box" and getting it right! To be held in Melbourne in September this year, they’ll be featuring editing and the director/ editor relationship. There are plans afoot to feature a prominent Australian editor as well as an international one, to be guests of the conference. I won’t mention any possible candidates at this stage, but be assured, the poachers are pursuing some high profile ones. Leading up to the event there is a programming committee which meets every 3-4 weeks. They require the attendance of at least one editor to attend each time. One of our committee has attended and was pleased to be in the company of some of the industry’s more experienced bods. Alas, we need others to attend the remaining meetings. So I call on individuals of the Vic membership to donate a minimal amount of time to meet with a talented bunch and contribute to a big event. Interested peoples can email email@example.com.
Moving on. To follow on from the SOHO editing nite is an event that encompasses a meeting between SPAA and the MEAA (Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance). We’re all systems go, pending the signing of a key document, which is imminent. There’ll be another event in a similar vein to follow this where we hope to have an open discussion between producers and editors re: working conditions and practices. More events are in the pipeline (still in our heads) and we’re keen to get ’em happening.
To a couple of sobering issues. I regret to announce that, due to personal commitments, John Leonard has resigned (retired) as a committee member. He’ll remain as a friend of the committee. This brings me to the next matter, the present status of the Vic committee. John’s departure now leaves 3 of us. I’m sure you’ll agree, a bit light on! It doesn’t take a genius to work out that it’s difficult to provide the desired service to members with this amount of people. An ideal number is eight. It’s been our luck this time around that a lot of our committee members have moved on to projects interstate or overseas.
I’m not going to badger you guys, but hey, we need some help. Seriously, its not very hard. We meet once a month at AAV, with follow up work done via phone or email. If you can’t commit on a regular basis you can become a ’friend of the committee’ and help out to the limit of your capacity. Leave it with you.
Stay tuned for further events including the AGM, to be held within a couple of months. I’m looking forward to serving the membership in the future.
Yours, Shaun Smith Chairman,
ASE VIC committee
SOHO Edit Night
01-09-2003, 12:48 PM
Hello out there, hope you are enjoying your winter editing in a cozy room somewhere. I am currently knee-deep in tapes with my partner Nick Torrens - an ABC accord doco about China through the eyes of two business men. It’s a tricky cake to bake as we are making up the recipe as we go, as is usual with observational filmsâ€¦
Firstly, I’d like to thank Paul Healy who has resigned from his position as editor of the ASE Newsletter. Paul has donated countless hours of his time collecting content for the newsletter and laying it out. I’d like to thank him for all the interesting articles he has sourced over the years, and wish him all the best with his real work. The fruits of his labour are more accessible than ever: old newletters can now be perused on the website (www.screeneditors.com navigate to Forums>ASE Newsletter Archive), or use Search to find an article on a topic that interests you.
Thank you to our very own web-master Matthew Tucker who has been responsible for getting the new-look website up and running. Margaret Slarke has been bringing the database up to date, and many members have been involved in moderating website forums and providing invaluable feedback. If you haven’t logged on yet, make sure you do soon.
The newsletter will now be delivered to you quarterly. Graphic designer Melissa Bradbrook and the newsletter sub-committee have been chewing through a few ideas to change the format and make the newsletter bigger and brighter. Let us know what you think.
The Committee has responded to members’ concerns regarding the tightening of budgets that has led to the cutting of editors’ rates and squeezing of postproduction schedules by sending a letter to the Federal Minister the Hon. Richard Alston. A full update appears in this newsletter.
We’re also trialing a Mentor Scheme. If you would like to be mentored, please fill out the form in this newsletter. Initially there will be 3-5 positions available so be quick!
Our yearly Accreditation Event is shaping up to be a beauty. We will be contacting you to let you know when, where and how. At the moment you can pencil in the Saturday 11th of October at the Basement, Sydney, for a great editors’ night out.
Finally, I’d like to thank our Principal sponsor Quantel; Sponsors Avid, Sony and Atlab; and Supporters Frameworks, AAV and Film Australia. I’m very happy to announce that Sony and Atlab have renewed their sponsorships for the coming year. We couldn’t do what we need to do with out this generous support.
Remember the ASE is as only as strong and relevant as you make it. Happy editing!
Jane St Vincent Welch
Jane St Vincent Welch, President ASE,
with heavy, blunt object (for knocking
her doco into shape?)
01-09-2003, 12:55 PM
ASE to trial Mentorship Scheme
The ASE is trialling a mentorship scheme to allow editors and assistant editors to benefit from the knowledge and skills of editors more experienced than themselves.
A mentor may provide feedback on your editing work; advice about job seeking, professional relationships, and negotiation; and answer other editing related questions.
The scheme proposes 3 one-hour meetings over 3-6 months, although the details will be up to you and your mentor to arrange.
Please be aware that if you are accepted into the scheme your preferred mentor may not be available: we will try to match you with an appropriate mentor.
Initially, 3-5 positions will be available.
Please also contact us if you would like to be a mentor.
If you would like to be mentored please provide the following information and return by 24th October.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Post: ASE, PO Box 150, Paddington NSW 2021 Fax: (02) 9380 6946
* Assistant or Editing credits
* How do you think being mentored
will benefit you? What do you hope to
learn? (100 words)
* Nominate your preferred Mentors
and explain your reasons.
01-09-2003, 01:02 PM
It’s now over four years since we surveyed editors, ASE members and non-members, about working conditions, wages, contracts, stress, hours, training ASE awareness, etc.
We are planning a follow-up survey to see what has changed so don’t be surprised if you get a phone call or two.
Back in 1998.....did you know that:
More editors were occupied cutting documentaries than any other type of production?
It’s tougher being an assistant than an editor if you want to work for more than half of the year?
Entitlements were not included in half of the contracts offered?
72% of the surveyed felt they were under moderate to high stress?
97% voiced their intention to remain in editing?
Are we masochists or do we just love our work?
It’ll be interesting to see if much has changed.
So please be nice to that poor survey bunny when s/he calls.
From your Vice President,
01-09-2003, 01:08 PM
Final Cut Pro TIPS
* Remember to "Set Logging Bin" in
the Browser when logging, or your clips
will be hard to find. (Laura)
* Pay attention to where media is
being stored when you digitise so you
can later identify which project media
is associated with. (Mal)
* Don’t have a Reel 1, as this is the
default when digitising. Then you know
any Reel 1 in your EDL is a mistake and
you can check it. (Nick)
* Consider including bin name or number in the clip name, as "Matchframe" sources original media but does not locate the bin. Alternatively, use "Find" function.
* Don’t use "coalesce overlapping clips" when digitising. (Nick)
n If using "Capture Now" when digitising, press "Capture Now" before playing your tape, to allow for the delay before digitising starts. (Mal)
* It’s a good idea to watch analog video on an external monitor via a camera or convertor, but be aware there’s a slight delay when marking In Points.
* If you highlight a video edit, "Go To Next Edit" function will then jump to the next video edit.
* If you have Subclips in your sequence, before making an EDL or using media manager, "Select All" then from the "Modify" menu select "Remove subclip limits". Your sequence will then refer to original clips. (Nick)
* Back up projects frequently to CDR. To use rewritable CDs you will need a program like Toast. (Bill)
02-09-2003, 12:52 PM
Do It Yourself FINAL CUT PRO
About 50 people attended the ASE Final Cut Pro Seminar on Sat 12 April at OTEN in Strathfield.
David Mahony and Bill Lee from Apple spoke about the capabilities of FCP and the new features we can expect to see in FCP4. Then editors Laura Zusters and Nick Meyers discussed their experiences editing on FCP and demonstrated some tips they have picked up along the way.
Apple launches FCP4
David and Bill had recently been at NAB 2003 where FCP4 was presented and won Best New Product. Bill outlined the new features of FCP4.
* "Cinema Tools" database for managing film projects increased customisation of the keyboard and screen functions
â€˘ Support for multiple video codecs with RT Extreme Compressor
â€˘ Animated titling
â€˘ XML interchange "I think we need something more than OMF and EDL," Bill said. As well as allowing transfer of media and file information, XML will allow transfer of effects data such as colour correction or reframing.
â€˘ A soundtrack composition program – a search engine will find royalty free loops "by instrument, genre or mood" which can then be laid and combined by changing key and beat. David said the result is "better than you might think."
These features are of course in addition to FCP3’s current capabilities. Bill and Dave see FCP’s strengths as:
It’s based on QuickTime so "you’re not just locked into using one companies products"
It can do everything you want to do – offline; compositing; effects; audio effects; titling; media management; colour correction; and finishing or EDL for online. It’s portable – it can be run on a laptop and configured and small or big as you like. "We keep Avid honest" by providing real competition.
The Editors’ Perspective
Laura Zusters, who works on and teaches FCP, said she found FCP a lot more affordable.
"I’ve lusted after an editing system at home for years" she said, "and now I’ve got one." However she has some sympathy for editors who have been working on Avid and fear that FCP will be hard to learn and not as good. She said she found it hard "for about two days, but now it’s love".
"A lot of editors are used to working in a technically supported environment," Laura said. FCP is often used in a more do-it-yourself environment. Producers are trying to cut costs and rather than sending the editor to a fully supported facility "they’re going to buy one of these toys themselves" she said. This can be confronting for editors who never had to deal with the technical side of things. It’s a factor that Laura has overcome. Now she’s happy to carry around her media and projects on a paperback-sized hard drive.
"One of the main differences between Avid and FCP" said Laura, "is that Avid is aimed at film editors - you turn it on and it’s Avid". With FCP, because it’s software designed for Mac, you’re much more aware of the computer and the Mac interface. Mac users will find it easier.
Nick Meyers is also a FCP fan, using it to edit one-hour documentaries. He’s had no problem with storage, chaining hard drives together as more space was needed. One drawback is that FCP tends to slow down when working with long sequences. His solution was to work in shorter sequences then "cobble it together" at the end. There are two ways to compile shorter sequences into a long one: either cut-and-paste which will transfer all information within the sequence; or drag-and drop which will compile sequences as blocks or subclips – these can then be double-clicked to open and make changes.
There are differences between FCP and Avid that could confuse new FCP users, as Laura explained. Some are trivial: in FCP clicking within the timeline selects clips, in Avid it only moves the cursor. Others are more basic: in FCP audio and video are treated together unless you choose otherwise; in Avid audio and video are treated separately unless you choose otherwise.
Nick made an observation about trimming. He said that FCP is not "modal" the way Avid is. "It’s more immediate. I work more by just grabbing things," he said. In other words, it’s possible to trim in FCP without going into Trim Mode, although there is a Trim Mode that works very similarly to Avid. Nick usually trims in the timeline using the Roll and Ripple tools. FCP also has Slip and Slide functions.
Using a FireWire connection means inputting a digital signal, so there is no scope for changing audio, luma or chroma levels while digitising. If digitising from other sources (by using a PCI card such as the Matrox RTMac or BlackMagic Decklink) then FCP will remember your settings in case you want to re-digitise. Nick says FCP has very good tools for colour correction and grading. He finds getting audio to broadcast quality more difficult.
There was some discussion about how the DIY ethic of FCP affected the editor’s role. Some editors were happy to take on additional roles and manage many aspects of a project’s postproduction. Others wanted to stick to cutting and get professional soundies to track lay and mix, composers to compose, colour graders to grade etc. Either path is possible with FCP, it’s a matter of negotiation between you and the producer. It’s important to know both the limitations and capabilities of you and your editing system.
The day finished with all questions answered and the room still buzzing.
Many thanks to Dave, Bill, Laura and Nick; Peter, Philippa and Mal from the ASE Committee for organizing the day; and OTEN and Apple for their assistance.
For full article: www.screeneditors.com navigate to Forums>Technical Articles
By Anna Craney and Mal Veitch
02-09-2003, 01:04 PM
www.screeneditors.com New-look website now on-line
The new website is a "forum" based system. This means that website information is stored in a fast, searchable database and displayed to users as a collection of articles arranged under sensible topic headings.
The new website is very different to the old one, because it is a dynamic website. Anyone can easily add new information; make comments; upload pictures or files; and share resources with other users. The website will be constantly updated with new material.
In this new form the ASE website www.screeneditors.com will:
â€˘ Act as an evolving archive of ASE activity
â€˘ Provide information about the Guild (including Articles of Association, Accreditation By-laws, Accredited Members, Committee Members names and contact details)
â€˘ Be a public interactive forum for collaboration and discussion between editors
â€˘ Contain a searchable database collating all past newsletters and articles
â€˘ Provide an important resource for those new to the craft
â€˘ Give you the opportunity for you to make suggestions, observations and criticisms.
Moreover, financial ASE Members will be able to:
â€˘View and update contact details online.
â€˘Access EditSearch job opportunities
â€˘Post ’For Sale’ advertisements online
â€˘Publicise events (screenings, onair dates, meetings, etc.) in the ASE
â€˘Upload your resume
â€˘Access current and past member news updates
â€˘Contact other members.
Non-members will not have access to these features, and your access to them will become restricted when your membership expires.
WHAT YOU MUST DO
ASE currently sends its financial members email notification of EditSearch opportunities, ASE events and editing-related issues. In future we will be using the website-based database.
So, to continue to receive email communications from us you must visit the website at least once and register. This process takes about five minutes. It is free, and the only information you need to provide is:
â€˘ your login name (can be a pseudonym)
â€˘ your password (you choose)
â€˘ your email address.
Please use the SAME email address you provided to the ASE office. Your email address will NOT be visible to other website users.
â€˘ link you with the ASE membership database
â€˘ give you access to members-only areas
â€˘ subscribe you to the Members Update and EditSearch emails
â€˘ allow you to select what email you wish to receive from ASE
â€˘ introduce you to the website as a fantastic resource.
Once you have registered on the website once, you never need to go there again, although we certainly hope that you will!
If you do not register at the website, we will soon be unable to contact you via email. You MUST register at the website to continue to receieve emails from ASE.
I look forward to hearing from you
02-09-2003, 01:28 PM
ASE ACCREDITATION 2003 IS COMING!
Get ready to welcome the second ever group of editors to receive ASE accreditation. We are planning an event to be held on the evening of Saturday 11th October, at The Basement, Sydney so pencil that date in your diary.
The Accreditation Sub-Committee has had the unenviable task of recommending the editors to be awarded accreditation in 2003. In accordance with the by laws, the Sub-Committee is made up of four Accredited Members and two Full Members. The Accredited Members (from our very first year of Accreditation) are Henry Dangar ASE, Nick Beauman ASE, Denise Haslem ASE, and Bill Russo ASE. The Full Members are Fiona Strain, and Frayne Dyke-Walker.
The Sub-Committee decided not to call for applications for accreditation in 2003. They felt that there were many Australian editors who satisfied the criteria for accreditation and therefore it was not appropriate at this time to call for applications.
"There are many editors among us whom we all respect and who are deserving of accreditation," said Henry Dangar.
All members accredited in 2002, as well as the full ASE members of the sub-committee, submitted nominations for accreditation that were collated and a short list compiled. The Executive of the ASE endorsed this process and has endorsed the recommendations.
Henry outlined the philosophy of the Accreditation Sub- Committee:
"ASE accreditation is an acknowledgement of a very strong body of work. It is an acknowledgement of excellence in screen editing. It is an acknowledgement of an editor who has passed on knowledge of the craft of editing. It is an acknowledgement of an editor who has worked to promote good editing and editing practices."
"ASE Accreditation is not given lightly. It is given by editing peers and has a high value attached to it. It is a very high honour," he said.
Thank you to the Accreditation Sub-Committee, and see you at the party (more details to come).
Jane St Vincent Welch
For full profiles of ASE accredited editors:www.screeneditors.com navigate to Forums>Newsletter Archive>Issue 57 Oct 2002
ASE Accreditation 2002 L to R: Ray Thomas ASE, Ken Sallows ASE, Denise Haslem ASE,
Andrea Lang (President ASE), John Leonard (Victorian Executive), Jill Bilcock ASE, Bill Russo
ASE, Veronika Jenet ASE, Frans Vandenburg, Jack Thompson, Henry Dangar ASE and Alec
02-09-2003, 03:56 PM
More than the sum of its parts
Nick Meyers made extensive use of dissolves in "Two Thirds Sky", a documentary he recently edited. As Matthew Tucker commented on the ASE website "Every juxtaposition was much more than the sum of its parts."
Matthew contrasted this with "the tragic abuse of dissolves in common usage in the majority of documentary production I get to see, particularly when using still photos. Has the art of crafting dissolves been lost? is it still taught in film schools?"
Nick Meyers’ response follows:
I don’t remember any formal training or discussion of dissolves at the institutions I attended. Probably could have got some if I’d asked at AFTRS. At Tech it was probably just 16, 24, 32, 48, 64 & 96.
The rule I remember from the ABC was that if you used a dissolve
it was because you couldn’t cut! So I can be pretty wary of them.
It’s not a bad thing to remember.Once I was struggling with a cut when the diector suggested a dissolve might fix things, and then I realised that it was time to re-think.
(Actually I do remember now at the ABC Geoff Wheeler showing me how to do a rough "preview" of your disolves by running two pieces of film thru the steenbeck at the same time.)
What I learnt about dissolves came mainly from watching Martin Scrosese movies. Scorsese always uses film language in bold and striking ways, and of couse never without meaning.
Also the Karel Reisz and Gavin Millar bok "The Technique of Film Editing" had a memorarble section on dissolves explaining that the best ones take advantage of the opportunity to have two images on screen at the same time.
Despite the severe attitude I mentioned above, I always did love dissolves, and did use them on film projects. I think I actually used them less when I was cutting on tape with absolutely no way to preview them. Since I started working on non-linear systems it’s been another story...
Obviously it’s so easy to make a dissolve now there would be a tendency to over use them. (This has been an issue since non-linear started.) But I actually appreciated the ease of making dissolves in NLEs. I was able to go off on dissolve jaunts I never would have undertaken otherwise.
What I found was that it’s a very trippy journey! Dissolve after disolve after disolve... Obviously you still try to make them pleasing compositionally and in other ways, but the sheer number of them can build up to create a particular overall effect. The trick is to know when to pull out. As Philippa says, you can get sea-sick, but worse (?) you can just get lost, and I think the viewer beomes separated from the program.
I tried this out first on a show called "Sea of Hands" about some people taking the eponymous installation around the country. Lots of desert in that one too. That was on an Avid, but "Two Thirds Sky" was cut on Final Cut Pro, and they weren’t just dissolves.
I really went to town with laying shots on top of each other and tweaking the opacity curves. Bezier handles allowed ultimate customization of the effect. It’s a lot easier than it sounds, too.
And you see it quite a lot these days that instead of a single dissolve, you actualy get a whole flurry of them in rapid succesion. (Hmm maybe "Flurry" is as good a term as any for this effect.) It’s still kind of one transition, but made up of a bunch if them.
And the first time I remember seeing this?... Kundun!
For full discussion: www.screeneditors.com navigate to Forums>The Art of Editing
Nick Myers at work on Super-8 viewer
02-09-2003, 04:04 PM
IN CASE YOU ASKED
Q: A senior editor I work for tells me that when he was a young assistant he was sent to the lab for a box of perforations. Is this a joke? What was it really like in the good old days? New Chum.
A: Dear New Chum,
A joke? I’m afraid there wasn’t much time for joking in the "good old days". We were serious workers then, with not much time – or money – to spare. That box of perforations would have been worth a lot to a struggling filmmaker. Have you ever wondered how much money Kodak saves by punching holes in the film before selling it? Think of all that silver to be recovered from the punched-out bits. Kodak certainly knows how to punch holes: when they perforate film, it stays perforated. If Kodak had run the last US election things would have turned out differently. There wouldn’t have been any "hanging chads" in Florida. No sir! No Bush, no war, no downturn in tourism, no slump in consumer photography. They must be kicking themselves.
So don’t think that a box of perforations is a joke. Every assistant had to learn about them. Usually they’d arrive at the lab and then have to go all the way back to find out if they needed long pitch or standard pitch ones. And should they be neg? Or pos? It’s not a simple business, and you wouldn’t want the wrong ones. Long pitch pos perforations are four ten-thousandths of an inch further apart, to fit around the outside of the negative on the printer sprocket wheel. That makes for steadier, more accurately positioned prints. Of course the perfs in the box aren’t so accurately positioned – but you can still tell the neg perfs from the pos ones. Neg perfs are registration pin-shaped – like a barrel – for a precise fit in the camera. Pos perfs are slightly larger, and rectangular shaped, to survive repeated running through projectors, but that makes for a sloppy fit on camera registration pins.
Talking of long and short, new lab assistants had a lot to learn too. The old processing machines maintained tension in the film by a set of pulleys and counterweights for each rack. Different film stocks needed longer or shorter times in the developer, and hence different weights to configure the racks. At changeover time you’d send an assistant off to the workshop for a weight, and they’d always ask if he wanted a long weight or a short weight. Sometimes it would be hours before he came back.
In the old days, many aspiring filmmakers started out working at a film laboratory. In the lab, they learnt about film, and earned a wage in between the occasional chance to shoot or edit something. As the film industry has grown, so has the number of cafes and restaurants around town. So aspiring filmmakers are still waiting – but instead of a long wait, it’s now a long black – and a jug of perfs on the side.
02-09-2003, 04:12 PM
Government funding used to underpay editors?
At the AGM last year, concerns were raised by editors who had been asked to work for less than their professional rate on projects that received government funding. In response, the ASE wrote to Richard Alston, Minister for the Arts, sending copies to the various funding bodies: FFC, AFC, FTO, Film Victoria, etc.
In a letter drafted by Walter McIntosh and Denise Haslem, the ASE conveyed concerns that government funding bodies "are encouraging producers to employ editors at substantially lower rates than the industry standard."
Of particular concern was lowbudget short films, such as the AFC’s short feature scheme, where producers are asked to detail "the total value of discounts and deferred wages that the producer has been able to get potential employees to agree to."
We also highlighted that the reduction in short film and documentary budgets not only led to lower wages but also the situation where editors are "work longer hours to compensate for unrealistic short schedules".
In conclusion we wrote that "Government funding bodies should be encouraging producers to make films that uphold standards of professionalism and quality, not undermine them".
To date we have received replies from the FFC, FTO and the Minister. Brian Rosen, Chief Executive of the FFC, wrote in part "Our production managers are very familiar with award rates and industry standards, and would not approve a budget where production personnel were paid less than award rates. While it is up to producers to determine the appropriate payment when it is above the award, our budget analysts would query rates that did not appear to be commensurate with the professional standard required by the project."
He added that the FFC "actively seek[s] to prevent practices which undermine the professionalism of the industry, including the erosion of wages and conditions."
The Minister claimed most deferrals were borne by producers, directors and writers in the developmment stage. "I can assure you that the FFC and AFC are committed to upholding the highest standards...and this includes remuneration for creative personnel," he said.
Sally Browning, Acting CEO of the FTO, replied with particular regard to the Young Filmmakers Fund (short films). She says that the FTO "strongly supports the maintenance of industry awards and conditions" .
But she notes that "many of the editors attached to YFF projects are new or emerging and may view working on a YFF project as an avenue for developing much needed experience and skills... Many are not only willing to work on a deferral or reduced fee basis, but actively seek to work on YFF projects in order to help realise a collective vision."
"The FTO is aware that deferral and reduced fees for short films remain an issue despite the general goodwill of those who are willing to work on such a basis," she added. The FTO is planning a forum in Sydney later this year in order to address short filmmakers concerns.
If the ASE is going to pursue this issue we need some hard facts: examples of rates that editors have worked for or been asked to work for; examples of inadequate post production schedules. The sort of details we’d like to know are:
Â· Which funding bodies were involved? Short film, documentary, other?
Â· What was your contracted rate? Is this less than you are usually paid?
Â· Did you (or were you asked to) defer some of your wage?
Â· Have any deferred payments been received?
Â· Was the editing time adequate?
Â· Did you (or were you asked to) work additional time? Were you paid for this?
So we’re asking you to email us, either with some details or with your phone number so someone can call you back. We understand that editors will probably want to remain anonymous, so confidentiality is assured. Help us to improve (and maintain) the professional wages and conditions of editors.
For complete letters:
www.screeneditors.com navigate to Forums>Wages and Conditions
02-09-2003, 04:16 PM
EDITING MUST BE GOOD FOR YOU
I thought Anne V Coates (Laurence of Arabia, 1962; Erin Brokovich, 2000) was doing alright along with Dede Allen (The Hustler, 1961; Bonnie and Clyde, 1967; Wonder Boys, 2000) until I read about Margaret Booth who started her editing career in 1923 with The Wanters and finished it in 1982 with Annie. She died late last year aged 104. Also for the record: Anne Coates and Dede Allen were both born in 1925 and, as far as I know, they are both still active in the editing rooms of Los Angeles although I believe that Ms Allen is now ’only supervising’.
So what about the blokes? Is it good for them too?
Ever mindful of gender balance I checked out some vets of the opposite sex. William Reynolds spent 59 of his 87 years actively editing, including such different films as The Sound of Music and The Godfather. Was he ever type cast! And Michael Kahn is still going strong (apparently still using a Moviola!) cutting everything for Steven Spielberg (except ET). But he is a mere child at only 67.
From Young Sara Bennett, Vice Pres.
02-09-2003, 04:19 PM
Issue 60 - back page
ASE acknowledges the generous support of the following organisations:
ASE NEW SOUTH WALES Administration:
Tel (02) 9380 6945
Fax: (02) 9380 6946
Australian Screen Editors Guild
PO Box 150, Paddington
ASE VICTORIA Administration:
Tel (03) 9686 6955
Australian Screen Editors Guild
PO Box 513, South Melbourne
ASE New South Wales Committee 2003
Jane St Vincent Welch (President)
Sara Bennett (Vice-President)
Peter Somerville (Guild Secretary/
Philippa Rowlands (Treasurer)
ASE Victorian Committee 2003
Shaun Smith (Chair)
Beth Tootell (Secretary)
Friends of the Victorian Committee
NEWSLETTER ISSUE 60
Editor: Anna Craney
Layout & Design: Melissa
Bradbrook – melicious media
Contributors: Michael Webb, Shaun
Smith, Jane St Vincent Welch, Sara
Bennett, Anne Craney, Mal Veitch,
Nick Meyers, Matthew Tucker &
Contributions and readers’
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