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Editors? We don’t need no stinking editors!

This article by Dan Selakovich makes the strong case for why films benefit from a skilled editor, separate from the director:

Why A Director Shouldn’t Edit Their Own Movie

It boils down to objectivity, to getting away from all the baggage of remembering what happened on set.  He makes a compelling case, and his advice is the conventional wisdom.  It reminds me of WIlliam Faulkner’s advice on editing yourself: “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”  He meant that you need to let go of your attachment to any one little bit, to focus on the needs of the story.

And yet…  There are quite a few noted filmmakers who edit their own work.  The Cohen brothers spring first to mind.  But also Akira Kurosawa and Gus van Sant.  And quite a few documentary filmmakers edit their own work, although perhaps as much because of a lack of budget as from creative considerations. Here is a short list of filmmakers who edit:

And So It Begins list of directors who edit

Any thoughts?  I edit to learn, and will hire an editor when I can afford to.

 

 

 

My Premiere Pro multi-cam premier

Sometimes, you get all wet.

Sometimes, you get all wet.

So we did this little shoot.  Three cameras, plus multitrack audio.  Slated most of the takes, like I said…

Here is the workflow we evolved:

  1. Shoot seven takes total of three different pieces by the aerialist team, Charity and Jon.
  2. Ingest –
    • Broadcast wav in multitrack Pro Tools sessions for audio
    • Canon AVCHD files from two Canon Vixia cameras
    • Canon MXF files from the XF 300.
  3. Manually edit any clips that spanned two takes (i.e., where we left the cameras rolling between takes) in order to create usable chunks for Plural Eyes.  Otherwise, with multiple takes using the same backing tracks, it all got messed up.  I used MPEG Streamclip, but it couldn’t edit the native Canon MXF files.  So I had to first use Sorenson Squeeze to transcode to ProRes – I could as well have used Apple Compressor or Adobe Media Encoder, I suppose.
  4. Manually load media into Plural Eyes.
  5. Manually align one or two media clips that Plural Eyes couldn’t handle (most synched fine).
  6. Export from Plural Eyes to Premiere Pro flavored XML.
  7. Ingest a total of seven sequences back into Premiere Pro.
  8. Rearrange tracks to standard order of cameras and audio tracks…
  9. Select all, then “Edit in Audition” to fly the audio tracks out to Adobe Audition.  I couldn’t easily export to ProTools – Premiere couldn’t’ extract the audio from some of the camera files to export separately, I think.  Also, Premiere didn’t send audio track names to Audition – they seemed to go ‘poof.’
  10. Save Multitrack audio mix for each take (sequence) from Audition.
  11. Back in Premiere, the next step is to Nest these synchronized sequences for multicam editing.
    • Before Nesting, though, add color correction to make the cameras match (and cut together nicely).
    • Unfortunately, with this process you need to mix audio down to just two tracks – not exactly conducive to the normal workflow of edit -> lock picture -> only then send out audio for sound mixing.  Hence the extraction of audio tracks first…
    • Also, the Nest command doesn’t behave as I expect.  It opens a dialog, asking you to pick a name for the nested sequence.  But that sequence is the original, but with blank tracks removed.  Then it actually nests the sequence you originally had open…  Sheesh!
  12. Make copies!  Then edit MultiCam…
  13. Finally, mix and fly back in the audio.