May 2008

This post is part 3 of a series. For part 1, click here, or for part 2, click here.

Here are some more organizational tips to improve your assistant editing workflow.

7. Color code your clips and sequences.

Select the items you want colored in your bin, and choose “Set Clip Color” from the “Edit” menu. In general, avoid red (save it for indicating offline clips), but you can assign virtually any color to your clips and sequences (there are more options available than just the primary colors by selecting “Pick…”). There’s a lot of room for creativity here. You can use different colors for source clips, acquired footage, clips that need aspect ratio formatting, sound effects, music, sequences to output, or however else you see fit. If you select “Source” under “Clip Color” in the Timeline hamburger menu, the clips will show their colors within your sequence. (more…)


This post is part 2 of a series. For part 1, click here.

Here are some more organizational tips to improve your assistant editing workflow.

4. Store all imported files in a folder on your desktop.

Usually all of the graphics and logos I’m given are on their own CD, and the stack piles up pretty quickly. When it comes time to re-import everything at full resolution for your uprez, you’ve got to hunt through all of the CD’s to find each file. If you copy all of the files to a folder on your desktop first and import them from there, not only will they all be in one convenient place; Media Composer should remember their location and automatically re-link from the Batch Import main window. How convenient! Putting everything in one folder will also help you avoid the mistake of accidentally naming two files the same thing, leading to confusion down the line. If you’re conforming the show on a different system, you can easily burn a CD or DVD of the files in your desktop folder to take with you. (more…)

Industry news has recently been dominated by various issues that point to the fact that the media we consume and the manner in which we consume it is in a transitional period. As entertainment professionals recover from the writers’ strike and brace for another possible work stoppage (SAG/AMPTP talks recently broke down), much of the speculation surrounds the future of online content distribution – with copyright issues, residuals, and effective advertising methods still major unknowns at this point.

Mark Cuban posted on the topic on his blog last Sunday, quoting from Craig Moffett’s report “And Now for the News…The Emperor Has No Clothes.” In it, Moffett suggests that there is no realistic way television can migrate to the Internet without losing most of its revenue. Viewers tolerate fewer commercials when watching video on their computer than they would on their TV set, cutting revenues by as much as 88%. Also, since most popular Internet videos gain popularity through viral distribution and have no lead-ins, the number of viewers who will tune in is wildly unpredictable. (more…)

Whenever non-industry people used to ask me what it meant to be an assistant editor, I would fumble to come up with a succinct answer that they could understand. Over time I boiled it down to the following description: “Anything that goes into or comes out of the Avid is my responsibility: digitizing footage; importing graphics; making tapes, DVD’s, and EDL’s; etc. I am also responsible for helping the editor locate or organize any of the material already in the Avid to make his or her job easier.”

Fundamental to all of these tasks is one underlying responsibility: organization. The better organized you are as an assistant editor, the better you will be at your job, and the more you will be appreciated by your editor(s) and bosses. If you’re like me, and you’re borderline obsessive-compulsive about how you organize things in your everyday life (the money in my wallet is always organized in order of bill size; my mp3’s are all tagged and named in the same exact manner), then this sort of thing will be almost second-nature. Everyone has his or her own organizational style, but I thought I’d share a few systems I’ve used to simplify my job and make life easier for everyone I work with. Remember, a few extra organizational steps can save you major headaches down the road.

1. Keep a binder full of tips and tricks, technical specs, and notes.

Tim\'s assistant editor binder

I have a 1.5″ 3-ring binder full of all sorts of paperwork that I’ve collected over time. I have separate tabs for the following categories:

  • Contacts – You never know when you might need to call a fellow assistant editor you worked with ages ago to ask a quick technical question.
  • Post production schedule – Always make sure you’re aware of upcoming deadlines.
  • Important e-mails regarding the current project I’m working on
  • Technical specs – Here are a few of the things I keep in this section: screen grabs of import and export settings, data bitrates and resolutions of various codecs and file formats, a list of Avid-supported HD decks, common OMF and EDL specs, and a cheat sheet on how to work the router
  • Tips – This section mostly contains various Avid tutorials that I’ve stumbled across on Avid forums and at various blogs like this one. GeniusDV has some particularly helpful how-to’s that I use a lot.
  • Notes – Jot down any important information during your work day – a to-do list, important telephone numbers, a timecode you need to remember…
  • Keyboard settings – I have a print-out of my keyboard in the transparent front cover of my binder (see above photo) – this is helpful when I’m rebuilding my settings at a new work station or if I forget where one of my rarely-used commands is located.

I occasionally weed out dated material that doesn’t seem important anymore, but you never know when you’ll be stuck with a minor problem that you have a solution for buried in your binder from months ago. I can’t tell you how many times my improvised “assistant editor Bible” has saved me in a tough spot. (more…)