..”hello room service? Can you send up a LaCie drive?….”
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA:
The arguments about the cameras are endless.
The small cameras are toys.
They are not professional.
They are for amateurs.
Ironically, they are also the least significant driver of the video revolution.
As ‘Nino‘, a cameraman from Tampa, Florida, and a regular contributor to b-roll.net pointed out the other day, even the cost of ‘professional’ camera gear has dropped substantially.
To me it is ironic that it is the editing systems, not the cameras, that are the greater drivers of change. And while I receive innumerable emails from professional cameramen in the twenty years I have been doing this, I have yet to receive one email from a professional editor. Yet the impact of the ‘revolution’ is as great, or greater, upon them,
When I started working in this business, we cut in CMX edit suites. They cost anywhere from $500,000 to a million dollars (and those were the days when a million dollars would buy you more than a studio apartment in Brooklyn).
The rooms were big. The equipment was big. And complex.
Endless panels of switches and lights and meters and God only knows what else. You needed someone who really knew what they were doing. Say ‘take a dissolve..here’ and the editor pushed about a hundred buttons in a very complex sequence and in the back you could hear wheels turning, tape searching, things moving as the dissolve was laid in. The whole process took a long time… if you didn’t crash your I square first.
Today, there’s far more firepower in my laptop loaded with FCP than in those giant rooms with carpeting on the walls.
And all it takes to lay in a dissolve is to drag an icon onto the timeline. My 15 year old nephew is a master of editing…..when he isn’t paying baseball.
So when we go out and make a series like 5Takes (see above), editors like Margot Roth don’t work in edit rooms anymore. As we carry the cameras into the field, so too do we carry the edit rooms, in the form of Mac laptops. (Roth, like everyone who works here, shoots, scripts, directs and edits. Her credits run from Discovery to PBS, and she is currently working on her on feature release).
And as the VJs are out shooting the events of the day, Margot and her fellow editors are back at the hotel, cutting the sequences that were just shot.
Editing in real time.
The whole purpose of non linear is that you can edit stuff out of sequence.
So we cut as it happens, and then massage the timeline later.
How many times have you used a non linear edit system but still begun at the beginning and worked your way to the end? That does not leverage off of what non linear does best… non linear.
So by moving the edits into the field, closing the ‘edit suites’, cutting as it happens, the whole team is able to watch as the hour unfolds.. and change their shooting and events to suit the needs of the timeline – not the other way around.
It makes sense.
It also means we can turn around hours for air in as little as 6 days, from initial shoot to delivery.
With lots more control.
Of course, there is a downside.
….you have all those people in your room all the time.