View Full Version : ASE Newsletter 1999-08 Issue 35
27-02-2003, 12:25 AM
This is an archival posting of the ASE Newsletter Issue 35 August 1999
Editor Paul Healy
27-02-2003, 12:26 AM
The first Bi-Annual ASE Goof Reel Awards night will be held in September with special guest and fabulous prizes. BUT you’ve got to be in it to win it, so pull out whatever you’ve got hidden away under the bed (no potties or dirty undies accepted) and get those goof reels in. Don’t worry about the format, Frameworks have kindly offered to transfer any format for us. The event will be held in Sydney this year but this should not limit entries from all States.
You will remember in the June presletter I spoke about the formation of an alliance between the various guilds and associations. Since then things have moved. After further discussions and a meeting earlier this month, the alliance now has a formal name AFFTA, The Australian Federation of Film & Television Associations. The Federation will develop strategies to promote growth and present collective arguments to Government on the policy agenda for the industry.
The Federation is an alliance of the Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA), the Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS), the Australian Guild of Screen Composers (AGSC), the Australian Screen Director’s Association (ASDA), Australian Screen Editors (ASE), Australian Screen Sound Guild(ASSG), the Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG) and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance(MEAA).
The Federation will now proceed with a series of media releases with the main objectives being the maintenance of Australian content standards, the promotion of Australian production and of the cultural benefits that flow from such production, and the increase in funding of Australian content. I will outline AFFTA strategies in the coming months.
Concurrently, The Audiovisual Production Industry Group, of which the ASE is a member, has called upon the federal government to ensure future global trade agreements allow Australia to maintain local film and television production. The upcoming meeting later this year of the World Trade Organisations is where the government will present its strategies for a new round of multilateral trade liberalisation negotiations. If the government’s policy does not allow flexibility in future trade agreements we could see more than just New Zealand claiming a part of our industry,
The AVPIG is also looking at content regulations in other countries and how they protect their cultural industries. Hopefully in the future we can get some of these details on the ASE website.
It was a relief to hear after months of uncertainty and industry consultation, the AFC announcement of its funding priorities for 1999/2000. The good news is it will double its investment in script development to $2.4m and has decided to maintain its commitment to the production of short films and documentaries. Support of projects by Indigenous Australians will also be maintained at its current level. The AFC will also continue its support of low budget feature production and for interactive media production. The new chief Executive is Kim Dalton.
Maybe that’s enough for now. Til next time.
Denise Haslem. ASE President.
27-02-2003, 12:26 AM
Nobody can afford to miss the Conversation with Editors night coming up this Wednesday 25 August, at the Balmain Exchange Hotel. If you want to learn how to negotiate a better contract, find out what your entitlements are and what the new tax laws will mean to you, then editors Lee Smith, Jenny Ward and Andrea Lang as well as Producer Glenys Rowe will be there to give you the run down. It promises to be a fun as well as informative night with a few surprises in store. Also in September Creative Drama Editing workshop on Avid to be held at the ABC Gore Hill.
27-02-2003, 12:26 AM
As you may have noticed there have been a number of changes in the ranks of the Melbourne ASE. Claire Fischer, the previous Victorian Administrator, has left on a well-deserved holiday for India. We hope Rajasthan and Kashmir find her well and healthy. Thank you Claire for all your hard work over the last year of so - from the Committee and all your friends at home.
So on Claire’s departure I have become the new Administrator and hope that I can be of assistance to all members and facilitate the aims of the Melbourne Committee.
We now meet on the last Wednesday of every month at AAV. All members and potential new members are welcome. Please feel free to come along and discuss the issues that you feel are relevant. You can make your impact by suggesting events and workshops that would benefit Melbourne editors and also by bringing issues that you feel are important to the Committee’s attention. Please call the office number if you would like to attend and I’ll get back to you promptly. Alternatively, if you would like to send us correspondence then our new Post Office Box will come in handy. All mail can now be sent to:
PO Box 513,
At recent Committee meetings we have discussed the possibility of initiating an Editors Referral Service.
This idea is only in its infancy, however it already seems to have strong support. Should members have comments or suggestions or wish more information please drop us a line.
We have been trying to encourage newsletter items and to kick off hopefully a long season we bring you the first of our Editor Profiles. This month Clifford Hayes reveals some of his insights and experiences related to life in the cutting room.
A number of events have been held recently and it has been great to see these nights supported so enthusiastically. On Thursday 22nd July we held the mid-year drinks night at the Golden Gate Hotel. I turned up a little late and missed the free drinks and food (that’ll teach me) but not too late to miss the entire nights proceedings. Thanks to FATS and Cinevision for their kind sponsorship of the night.
A week later on the 29th in association with the Melbourne International Film Festival, Jill Bilcock gave a fantastic Masterclass at which she talked about her experiences working on Romeo +Juliet and Elizabeth in particular. For those in the audience it was most certainly a revelation to hear Jill speak about these remarkable films. A number of clips were screened on the night which included a number of shorts made by Baz Luhrman, Jill and friends to raise interest and finance in Romeo + Juliet. It was wonderful to see the genesis from the early visual drafts to the final cut. Thanks to Jill Bilcock, Rochelle Oshlack and Caroline Scott for all your generous work in this regard.
Finally, keep an eye out in your mailbox for information relating to future events. And maybe in the not too distant future, in your e-mail account also.
- Henry Karjalainen,
27-02-2003, 12:28 AM
This month to kick off our Editor Profiles We introduce â€¦ Clifford Hayes
Clifford has been editor on classic Australian features such as Mad Max and We of The Never Never and also edited numerous TV series including Sullivans, All The Rivers Run, Lift Off, State Coroner, and most recently childrens series, Li’l Elvis Jones & the Truck Stoppers and Pig’s Breakfast.
How did you get started?
My first job, during the school summer holidays, was at Victorian Film Laboratories (VFL) as an assistant to the assistants. My next job was at Crawford Productions which was then located in Collins St. There I somehow landed a job as the Music Editor on a show called “Homicide”. I apparently got this job because I could play the piano!
Which job did you like working on the most?
My first experience working on location was a real treat. Before that, on most freelance jobs, I was usually cutting in a room far away from the location shoot. I always prefer to be where the director is working. Being able to visit the set, and for the director to be able to come to the cutting room helps enormously in understanding what is to be achieved. My first location shoot was “We of the Never Never” for which we lived for three months in the outback Northern Territory, an unforgettable experience for many reasons.
What’s your favourite film?
I love so many films that it is impossible to pick a favourite film. However one film had and enormous impact on me when I first saw it in the cinema, and I have enjoyed it every time I have seen it in the cinema since, that film is “Apocalypse Now”. However it must be seen in the cinema, wide screen and full stereo. I tried to watch it on videotape and it was shocking.
Whose work do you admire?
There are many directors whose work I like: David Lynch; Martin Scorsese; Bernardo Bertolucci; David Cronenburg; David Lean; Jane Campion; Mike Leigh; Peter Weir; Atom Egoyan; and Fred Schepsi to name just a few.
What is your preferred editing format?
Non-linear is definitely the way for me. I love the look of film though. I like the flexibility of non-linear editing but would like to be able to view the images on 35mm film.
What was my most hellish job.
I think my most difficult job was one where the director didn’t know where he wanted to focus the audience’s attention in the show. He had shot many scenes in a way that was difficult to remove chunks of dialogue and he didn’t know which scenes he wanted to cut and which he wanted to keep. The show was miles over time. For many days we seemed to make no progress while the very limited editing budget ran out completely.
What is most fulfilling about editing?
Having the time and the material to try different approaches, and of course, seeing the finished result on the screen.
27-02-2003, 12:29 AM
by Andy Somers
It's a struggle to keep up with the progress of technology. It seems that if you miss one trade show or don't stay in touch with the emerging trends for a few months, you're completely out of date. Well, maybe not completely, but with the time demands placed on you while you're editing, it's a challenge to remain abreast of the new tools at your disposal. Perhaps this is one of the reasons we tend to be relatively slow in adopting new technologies in feature film work. Specifically, I'm talking about sound post production, a field in which new technologies are being adopted only gradually. Digital audio workstations (DAWs), for example, have been around since the late '80s, but while other industries were quick to embrace them (the commercial market, in particular), the feature film industry has come around more slowly. And that adoption was an evolutionary integration as opposed to a revolutionary replacement of existing mag technologies.
Initially, DAWs were used to edit, with their output transferred to mag for playback on the stage. Later, that output was transferred to DA-88s or two-inch 24-track, with timecode. Now we're regularly playing back directly from the DAW; in the last year or two, we've also begun recording to DAWs as a matter of course (although feature stages still tend to record on mag as a backup to any DAW recorder).
As a result of this new advanced technology co-mingling with the technologies of the past, an issue has developed that has yet to be fully resolved. It manifests itself as a minor sync difference between mag and timecode-based units. On most dub stages, the difference is two perfs, or one half of a film frame. That is, the DAWs and other timecode-driven machines, like two-inch recorders and DA-88s, tend to end up two perfs late in relation to any mag units that happen to be running, including the mag recorders.
Let's look at why this happens. Traditionally, when you set up a mag machine, you park the unit on the centerline of the start mark It is here that the counter on the stage transport controller is set to zero. When the footage counter for the mag units is zeroed, the timecode output of the stage controller is set at an even hour, such as 1:00:00:00. Intuitively, this may seem correct, but let's look a little closer.Timecode numbers always refer to the leading edge of a frame, but the stage controller lines up this leading-edge timecode number with mag that's parked on the middle of a frame. As a result, the timecode-based sources (and timecode-based digital recorders) are two perfs late compared to the mag-based units.You may be asking, "What are two perfs between friends?" Well, first of all, there's potential for this error to become cumulative if left unchecked. More important, perhaps, is that when working with multiple source devices (i.e., mag recorders and DAWs), the sync pops from them don't line up. The result is a pop that can be longer than a frame in length on the record unit. Two-pops that are one-and-a-half frames in length are quite common, and in some cases can be as much as two frames in length. You'll find these extra long pops on predubs, and even stems, in some cases. Since these pops occupy more than a frame, it makes sync ambiguous. Personally, I find ambiguous sync kind of scary - especially in light of the fact that when we're talking about film, the only real sync reference is the pop! There are two other sync issues that should be mentioned in this context. First, if a videotape is providing the timecode reference for the stage, the video-tracking adjustment on the video machine also adjusts the relative phase of the linear timecode on the tape by plus or minus half a frame or so. Note that tracking does not affect the phase of the VITC, just the LTC. As a result, VITC should be used whenever possible. Another sync issue to be aware of is digital propagation delay. Digital audio equipment introduces a delay in the signals that pass through it. This delay is different depending on the device, what it is doing to the signal, and if it compensates for the delay. In one room recently I noted a system delay of about five or six milliseconds through the digital console and into the digital recorder. That amounts to about half a perf (an eighth of a frame). While not a major sync difference, it too has the potential to be cumulative, resulting in increasing sync ambiguity.So how do we deal with these problems? Some editorial departments address this issue by running a test on the dub stage in which a blank project - except for a two-pop and a tail pop - is played from the DAW. This project is locked to the stage, and after recording the pops, an operator takes the mag off the recorder, puts it on a sync block and measures where the pop is, as opposed to where it's supposed to be. All of the DAW projects on the stage are then adjusted to reflect the measured offset.
This method seems cumbersome, but it's a good way to ensure that projects are recorded in true sync. You might ask why an editorial change is made to a DAW session or project, as opposed to simply entering an offset in the DAW playback machine. One reason is that DAWs can crash and require rebooting, and when rebooted the offset is erased. With the pressures on a dub stage, it's very easy for an operator to forget to replace the offset of half a frame. And because it's small, it'll likely go unnoticed - that is, until you're back in editorial conforming the predubs and the scene changes don't line up.But this is simply a response to a problem resulting from a clash of two different technologies. As we saw above, the problem really stems from the method used to lock the timecode and mag units together, and the method used to park a unit on the start mark. Since this is where the problem starts, it seems to me that this is where the problem should be fixed. I see two simple and practical solutions:
Possible Solution #1
Change the way the film/mag units are parked at the start mark. Instead of parking them on the center of the frame, park them on the leading edge of the frame. There's a big problem with this, however; it goes against the way mag has been set up for decades. Such a change now could lead to human error, and that's one thing we always try to avoid.
Possible Solution #2
Have the manufacturers of synchronizers and stage controllers provide a firmware upgrade that sets the timecode output of 1:00:00:00 to line up to half of a film frame before 0. For instance, when the footage counter is 0, the timecode is 1:00:00:00.625 (top of the hour plus 62.5 subframes, assuming a 100 subframe system). This is because .5 film frames equals .625 video frames, as video frames are 20% shorter than film frames. This method, to me, seems to be the most logical fix, since the synchronizers and stage controllers are the devices that are sending out the timecode that is not quite lined up to the true frame edges of the film. Of course, this solution will require cooperation on the part of the manufacturers of this equipment. It would be nice to have an industry-standard method of dealing with this issue, some way of determining that wherever we go, sync is really sync. Timecode has been around since 1968, yet after 31 years we're still having integration problems. I myself would like to see this problem put to rest once and for all.
Reprinted from The Motion Picture Editors Guild Newsletter Vol. 20, No. 2 - March/April 1999
Copyright Â© 1999, All Rights Reserved by The Motion Picture Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700
27-02-2003, 12:30 AM
JULY 19TH, 1999
Atlab Australia advises that it is to cease offering fine cut negative matching and conforming services from its Hotham Parade facility.
It has always been the intention of the Atlab Group to offer the Australian film industry a complete and comprehensive range of film post production services. However declining production levels, technology advancement and alternatives in post production techniques, combined with a proliferation of service providers is now affecting the Group’s core business of film processing and printing.
This decision has been influenced by the impact of the four major Sydney based independent suppliers of these services entering into the feature film market for negative matching and conforming.
After the completion of some select feature productions, it is anticipated that fine cut matching and conforming services will totally cease prior to the end of this year.
27-02-2003, 12:32 AM
I have seen the face of Globalisation-Cinema and it is
Pushing Tin . Shot in Ottawa, masquerading as the USA, by a British director (Mike Newell) and an Australian playing an American , this film says “One World, baby!” Maybe it’s the offshore ambience that makes this film so watchable. It begins like the usual Ho-Hum American tale of fun-loving guys who push the notion of competition to the suicidal edge. A film about top gun machismo and head butting hot shots who are damned good at their under valued but dangerous and tension filled jobs as they bring the teeming thousands of sky-bound pilgrims safely to their earthly abode. As the John Cusack character, Nick (The Zone) Falzone, says at the film’s suprising penultimate dramatic climax “The pilots aren’t flying these planes. Hell, I’d be worried if they were.” He is the elitist air traffic controller who flies the planes through New York/ New Jersey airspace.
At times this film lapses into bad explicatory doco.-style, trying to shoe-horn in another reference about how many planes are being kept aloft by these wonderfully talented but vastly misunderstood and under-appreciated heroes. There’s the usual male cockfight, between Cusak and a very interesting Billy Bob Thornton. Then Cusack and the film break the stereotype. Cusack breaks down and Cate Blanchett his beautiful but unappreciated wife leaves him. It’s at this point that Cate swings into top gear and the film starts to get interesting.
Suddenly we’re not in an American film anymore. Suddenly we’re dealing with the consequences of self-obsession and failure. Dirty, unspeakable subjects in an American film. In an American film you can never say “Aw fâ€” it.” and walk away. But in this film you look at Cate and you know you would never make the decision that John Cusack does one night. He loses her and his life is truly cursed. He is reduced to the state of the burn-out traffic controller who has mentally deteriorated to the extent that he couldn’t touch the front door of the control room. His fellow controllers make bets on how far he’ll get before he totally breaks down and has to leave the room humiliated. The Cate/Cusack relationship is an interesting departure from this fascistic workplace.
Here, an unrecognisable Cate grabs the camera and runs it home to a game-winning goal. If you thought that Mel Gibson did a very believable American, take a look at Cate in this film. She makes Mel look like Crocodile Dundee.
The film is about loss and redemption (or at least an American version of redemption.) That is, Cusack gets knocked ass over tit by the backwash from a 747 and recovers his mental health. He successfully overcomes his weakness and resumes his job in order to renew his vows to Cate over the air traffic control radio, relayed to Cate in the pilot’s cockpit. Speaking of Radio Filter dialogue, a lot of Cate’s early post-sync. dialogue has an almost radio-filter quality, so bad in the theatre that I was in that it sounded like she ’phoned the lines in. It’s particularly noticeable when it’s cut together with Cusack’s lines; his lines sound beautifully EQ’d.
There’s almost an interesting film in here. I couldn’t help but think about another American film that, too, almost dealt with the notion of turning your back on being the best. Ron Shelton’s 1995 Tin Cup (interesting that metallic similarity) deals with Mr. America, I mean Kevin Costner, playing a 10th. Rate golf pro managing a golf-driving range in the furthest circle of American Hell. He could have been world champion golfer but he couldn’t be bothered. He’s not even going to try. Now if this wasn’t an American film, this could have been a very interesting journey through a little-dealt -with subject. Because it is an American film Kevin is lured back to the biggest, most democratic, most meritocratic, golf tournament in the goddamn free world, The U.S. Open. He’s lured back by a beautiful, energetic and sexy American woman, Rene Russo. Go Kevin. Ho hum. But the slacker Kevin’s good, and we almost get to the point were we can almost begin to talk about what it means to be not-the-best. So why do Americans have to prove they can do it and be the best before they can turn their backs and walk away? Why can’t they just say “I’m not even going to try.” Okay so it mightn’t make for great melodrama, but why this aversion to the story of the road-not-travelled? Is this an American National characteristic? Is this the nub of the real reason why it’s important for each country to have a National Cinema?
Speaking of which, the Mythopoeic Mick Dundee fused with Legendary Edward Kelly and was himself gunned down in a luridly reported gunfight with police. Here was a guy who said “Aw, fâ€” it.”, and became a hero without doing any orthodox public relations. Okay maybe he talked up his act a bit, but he had the class to go out in a scene that the Australian newspaper had written up like a fifth rate crime story. The Australian conjured up visions of the opening scenes of Mad Max One where the Night-Rider and the bug-eyed Lulu Pinkus are charging down the highway of self destruction to a fatal meeting with that scourge of the highway code-violator, Mel Gibson. But Mick Dundee (not his real name) was shot and killed by a police shotgun after reportedly walking toward police with guns blazing. In an amazing twist to the Ned Kelly story, Mick Dundee shot a police sergeant dead by aiming below the policeman’s bulletproof vest (his armour). Who said people aren’t interested in Australian Stories?
- Paul Healy
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