Posts Tagged ‘editor’

Ease Your Cross-Platform Workflow with MacDrive

Monday, January 17th, 2011

If you are a video editor, whether amateur or professional, no doubt you have encountered projects containing a wide variety of video assets. Sometimes these assets can come to you on PC-formatted hard drives or Mac-formatted hard drives. It’s your job, as the editor, to pull all of this material together into a cohesive whole. If you work on a PC and find yourself having to work with files stored on a Mac-formatted hard drive, might I suggest MacDrive from Media Four. After purchasing and installing the software, you will be able to view files on your PC from any Mac disc and/or drive. You can also partition and format for the Mac directly on your PC. And if you run Windows on your Mac, this software allows you to access the Windows files from within the Mac OS. It certainly makes workflow much easier if you have to work between platforms on a consistent basis.

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Your Video Project Needs a Fresh Perspective

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

In the Birmingham film & video production market you can find several independent professionals working away at their craft, creating a wide variety of content – wedding videos, promotional videos, short films, etc. Often they work alone, or at smaller production houses, because of the affordability of production equipment and editing software. This means that one individual sometimes must take on several responsibilities – writer, producer, director, DP, and editor. Some people prefer working solo, but the production industry is all about creative collaboration. Improving the quality of your work is often the result of someone else critiquing you and challenging you to try new things. So, on your next video project, let me encourage you to bring someone else on board who has a stake in the final product. You might shoot while the other person edits. You might like to edit, so let your colleague shoot. The point is to create an atmosphere where different creative voices are allowed to voice their opinions. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Find someone with whom you feel free to voice your opinion, but one who ultimately has a different approach than your own.
  • Recognize the differences you have with your colleague and use that to your advantage. An editor I like to work with has a very strong sense of story and structure. He’s extremely talented at seeing the entire arc from the raw footage as it comes in. Me? I like to insert the artistic flourishes in the final edit; the little details picked up in the b-roll that really add a nice element to the finished product.
  • Remember that you both want what’s best for the project. If you work with someone who has a different style and/or philosophy, you will disagree from time to time, but realize that you both share the same goal.
  • It’s give-and-take. Don’t be stubborn. Be willing to concede to your colleague when he/she is right about a particular segment of the video. For example, for one recent video project, I had a vision for how I wanted a certain portion edited. I shot footage that could only be used for this one purpose . However, when I saw the first cut with my editor, that segment wasn’t in the video. We discussed my vision and I fought to have that section in the final video, but in watching the entire video in context I soon realized that he was right. My scene just didn’t work like I wanted it to.

It can be difficult to hear someone else critique our work. That’s why it’s so tempting to go it alone and do everything yourself. But that approach will ultimately hinder you from taking your craft to the next level.

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Business Owners – What To Do When Times Are Slow

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

There are wonderful benefits to owning a company, but growing the business takes an incredible amount of work, dedication, and patience. The farmer doesn’t see the results of his labor as soon as the seed is planted. In like manner, the young entrepreneur can’t expect immediate returns on his investments. Times will be good. Times will be bad. In the years that I have been running my business I have experienced quite the roller coaster ride. During slow periods, it’s important to make good use of your time and plant sees from which future successes will grow.

  1. Don’t Be Negative. I place this one at the top of the list, because we have all experienced feelings of discouragement, despair, and hopelessness. However, it’s important to remain positive. Negativity will result in apathy, which will do nothing for your business.
  2. Attend Networking Events. When other projects consume most of your time, you can’t afford to attend social events. However, when business slows, take advantage of opportunities to get out and meet new people. The relationships you develop today will benefit you in the future.
  3. Follow Up On Existing Leads. As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I like to use Gmail as my email client. It allows you to create labels to easily organize and archive your messages. I have an entire list of conversations labeled “Leads.” When I have a slow period, I go back through those contacts to see if there are any deals I can close. When things are busy, it can be easy to overlook an existing lead, so take the time to follow up.
  4. Brush Up On Local Business News. Keeping up to date on what’s happening in your market is a great way to find new leads. Subscribe to the local business journal, or follow blogs that provide local business content. Staying on top of current business events will help you to better understand how your products and services can help those around you.
  5. Improve Your Marketing Efforts. Re-examine your brand. How are you reaching out to others? Is it time for your website to be updated? Have you neglected your blog, or other social media profiles? Sometimes when business is slower I take a look at my demo reel to see how I might re-organize it and improve it. You might also consider creating and sending a free monthly e-newsletter (see my sign up form to the right of this page) or writing an informative article and submitting it to local publications. Think of anything that will help you get your name out in front of people.
  6. Practice Your Craft. If you are a photographer, cinematographer, writer, graphic designer, or web designer, you can take advantage of slow times by improving your skill set. Create some work on spec. Get out and shoot something. Update your portfolio. If you are an editor who really needs to learn more about using After Effects, sign up for a class and learn something new. Watch some tutorials. The quality of your work will only get better.

For a business owner, slow times can be frustrating, but staying busy and staying productive are the keys for staying successful. Invest in yourself and your business. Use your time wisely. The small seed planted today will grow into a strong plant, if properly cared for.

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    The Numbers Game – Part One

    Thursday, August 6th, 2009

    budgetI talk with many prospective clients who express interest in producing a video for their business. When all the discussions are over it’s time to sit down, fill out my budget, and submit the proposal to my contact. The cost of a video production is affected by several factors and so the budgeting process must be thought out very carefully. Otherwise, it can be easy to overlook certain items.

    I have created a spreadsheet that itemizes just about everything that one could possibly have on a shoot. Those items are divided into categories for easy reference (Creative Fees, Crew, Per Diems, Travel, Editing Fees, etc.) One column lists my estimated costs and another column lists my actual costs. That way, at the end of the shoot I can compare both columns to see how accurate my original estimate was.

    The main thing to do when budgeting a video shoot is to prioritize. In part one of this two-part series, I want to cover what I believe are your top priorities when creating a budget. In part two, I will go over those items in the bid that can easily be overlooked. Here are my suggestions:

    Estimate Your Time

    Start with yourself. Think about the amount of time that you will spend on this video project. Obviously you want to include the amount of time in production , but you never want to neglect the time you invest in the pre-production and post-production stages. Pre-Production includes conceptualization and scripting, scheduling the shoot, meeting with the client, scouting, meeting with the talent, and meeting with your crew. You’ll spend more time in pre-production than you might think, so budget accordingly. Post-production not only includes the time to edit, but it also includes your time to record the voice-over, meet with the client to go over the edit and make necessary changes. I always like to pad my post-production budget to account for revisions the client might ask for.

    Estimate For Your Crew

    After you ensure that your time is reflected in the budget, you want to allocate monies for your crew. Surround yourself with quality people and the entire project will turn out much better. Think about how many people you will need and how many days you will need them.

    • If you aren’t as confident in your skills behind the camera, consider hiring a DP to handle the technical aspects of lighting, framing, etc.
    • If you aren’t as confident in your abilities to manage the project and handle all the logistics of a production, consider hiring a producer.
    • If you have on-camera talent, you might consider hiring a hair/make-up artist.

    Aside from actual shooting days, will you need the crew to come in early for a tech scout? If so, make sure they are paid for their time. And don’t forget your post-production crew.

    • Will you need an assistant editor to help you with the final cut?
    • How about an audio engineer/mixer to record the voice-over?
    • Will you need to hire a graphic designer to create a custom disc label and DVD warp-around?
    • Will you need to hire a composer to write a custom music track?

    Estimate Your Equipment

    This is where you need to factor in the costs of any equipment rentals your shoot may require. Budgeting for a dolly or a camera jib will really increase the overall production quality of your video. In this category you also want to factor in the cost of your media:

    • tape stock or solid state media cards
    • hard drives
    • blank DVDs (for when you need to send your client copies of the video for review)

    Check back in on Monday, August 10 for part two on how to create a video production budget.

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    A Crash Course On Color Bars

    Tuesday, July 21st, 2009
    SMPTE color bars

    SMPTE color bars

    Color bars are a necessary reference tool for anyone in video production. They help technical directors, camera operators, and editors calibrate their equipment to ensure accurate color representation and consistency across cameras and monitors. Knowing how to use them is important. A few years ago, I found a great tutorial at Video University on how to adjust your video monitor using color bars. Be sure to bookmark the article for future reference.

    1. Allow the monitor to warm up for a few minutes
    2. Dim the room lights and block any reflections on the monitor
    3. Feed color bars to the monitor either from a camera or “house bars”from your editing system
    4. Set the contrast also called “picture” to its midpoint
    5. Turn the chroma also called “color” all the way down until the color bars
      are shades of black and white

    Next, you will need to adjust the brightness and the contrast of the image by using the three narrow bars at the bottom right.

    barswhi3

    Brightness

    Notice the three narrow bars labeled 3.5, 7.5 and 11.5 on the bottom right. Adjust the brightness control until the middle (7.5 units) pluge bar is not quite visible. The lightest bar on the right (11.5 units) should be barely visible. If it’s not visible, turn the brightness up until it becomes visible.

    Since 7.5 units is as dark as video gets, you should not see any difference between the left bar (3.5 units) and the middle bar (7.5 units). There should be no dividing line between these two bars. The only division you should see is between 11.5 and 7.5

    Contrast

    The next step is to set the contrast control for a proper white level. To do so, turn the contrast all the way up. The white (100 unit) bar will bloom and flare. Now turn the contrast down until this white bar just begins to respond.

    Color

    Adjust the hue of the monitor until the Yellow bar is a lemon yellow, with no shades of orange or green. Adjust the Magenta bar until you eliminate the red and the purple. If you aren’t confident in your ability to “eye-ball” these shades, consider the following:

    Many professional monitors have a blue-only switch. If your monitor has one, switch it on. If your monitor does not have a blue-only switch, you can use a piece of blue lighting gel. Hold it to your eye like a viewing lens. If you see any of the red, green or yellow colors, double the blue gel over to increase the blue effect.

    By using the blue-only switch or a piece of blue gel, you have removed the red and green elements of the picture. Only the blue remains. If the tint and color (also called “hue”) are correct, you should see alternating bars of equal intensity.

    bluediag

    1. With the blue switch on (or your blue gel in front of your eye) turn the chroma or color until the grey bar at the far left and the blue bar at the far right are of equal brightness. One trick is to match either the gray or blue bar with its sub-bar.
    2. Adjust the hue control until the cyan and magenta bars are also of equal brightness.
    3. You can also match either of them with their sub-bars. Now the four bars – gray, blue, cyan, and magenta should be of equal intensity. The yellow, green and red (which are black in the diagram) should be completely black.

    You should now have a properly adjusted video monitor. However, if flesh tones don’t look right, you may need to make further adjustments to the chroma and hue.

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