Category: Editing

Anatomy of editing a two camera scene



With the increase in shooting ratios and shortened production schedules, many directors turn to shooting their project with two cameras for the entire time. Since REDs and Canon HDSLRs are bountiful and reasonably priced to buy or rent, even a low budget indie film can take advantage of this. Let me say from the beginning that I’m not a big fan of shooting with two cameras. Too many directors view it as a way to get through their shooting schedule more quickly; but, in fact, they often shoot more footage than needed. Often the B-camera coverage is only 25% useful, because it was not properly blocked or lit for. However, there are situations where shooting with two cameras works out quite well. The technique is at its most useful when shooting a dramatic dialogue scene with two or three principal actors. (Click the images below for expanded views.)

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DaVinci Resolve Workflows

Avid to Resolve round trip – Oliver Peters




Blackmagic Design’s purchase of DaVinci Systems put a world class color grading solution into the hands of every video professional. With Resolve 9, DaVinci sports a better user interface that makes it easy to run, regardless of whether you are an editor, colorist or DIT working on set.  DaVinci Resolve 9 comes in two basic Mac or Windows software versions, the $995 paid and the free Lite version. The new Blackmagic Cinema Camera software bundle also includes the full (paid) version, plus a copy of Ultrascope. For facilities seeking to add comprehensive color grading services, there’s also a version with Blackmagic’s dedicated control surface, as well as Linux systems configurations.

Both paid and free versions of Resolve (currently at version 9.1) work the same way, except that the paid version offers larger-than-HD output, noise reduction and the ability to tap into more than one extra GPU card for hardware…

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Adobe Premiere Pro CS6


Editors looking for an alternative to Apple Final Cut Pro view Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 as the logical choice, but there’s more to this release than a hypothetical FCP 8. I’ve reviewed and used each version of the Creative Suite for many years and Premiere Pro is one of the few NLEs where each new version exhibits tangible performance improvements. Creative Suite 6 is no different, with performance tweaks and expanded GPU usage in Photoshop, After Effects and Premiere Pro.

Adobe’s video bundle, CS6 Production Premium, is a complete end-to-end workflow solution covering ingest to distribution. Adobe Prelude (ingest, transcode and logging) becomes the substitute for OnLocation, which was geared towards the tape-based world. SpeedGrade adds film-style color grading to the package. Production Premium is a 6GB file download, plus there’s an additional 21GB of optional sound effects and music loops that Adobe customers may also download for free.

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Avid Media Composer goes 64-bit


Avid made the jump to 64-bit in November with its mainstream Media Composer 6, Symphony 6 and NewsCutter 10 software. This highly anticipated new release includes ten cornerstone features: 64-bit code, Open IO, ProRes integration (Mac only), Avid Marketplace, AMA support for AVCHD, a new DNxHD444 codec, expanded stereo 3D tools, 5.1/7.1 surround mixing, Avid Artist Color control surface support and a modernized user interface. Avid has made significant architectural changes to the product without altering the behavior and interaction that veteran users rely on. A few hoped-for features, like resolution independence and background rendering, had to be left on the backburner, but are still slated for some future release.


I installed Symphony 6 on my two-year-old Mac Pro, along with a simultaneous upgrade to Lion (Mac OS 10.7.2 recommended) and the installation of a Blackmagic Design Decklink HD Extreme 3D card. Symphony is now available as software, so…

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Deleting a Clip in One Step

Splice Now

Back in the old ABVB days, if you wanted to delete a clip you simply selected it in segment mode and hit the delete key. But Meridien changed that. If a clip contained effects, (or, in the case of an audio clip, if it contained volume graphs), then selecting and deleting only deleted the effects. You had to re-select the clip (or clips) and hit delete again to make it disappear. The re-selection turned out to be a pain, especially if you were trying to delete several clips at once.

Well, it turns out that the Media Composer does indeed offer a shortcut for single-step clip deletion. It’s the ordinary cut command (command-x on the Mac, ctrl-x on the PC) — but with segment mode turned on. To delete a clip in one step, hit red segment mode, click the clip and then hit cmd-x. The clip goes away. (This…

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Sync Locks and Why You Need Them

Splice Now

I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t turn sync locks on in the timeline. That seems like a shame to me. In the old days this feature was buggy and many people ended up avoiding it. But now I leave them on all the time. The reason is simple — sync locks allow you to make complex trims on multi-track sequences all day long and still be in sync when you’re done.

Specifically, it means that when you’re trimming, you can ignore any track that contains black at the blue cursor. No more need to create add-edits in black and put rollers on them. And no need to get rid of those add-edits later.

You can go from the first image below to the second in one step. Even though trim rollers are only on V1 and A1, everything stays in sync, and all downstream clips move forward.

sync locks - before trim.png

sync locks - after trim.png


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Easy Canon 5D post – Round III

 shot from the short, “The Last 3 Minutes“, the DP, Shane Hurlbut, ASC


The interest in HDSLR production and post shows no sign of waning. Although some of this information will seem redundant with earlier articles (here and here), I decided it was a good time to set down a working recipe of how I like to deal with these files. To some extend this is a “refresh” of the Round II article, given the things I’ve learned since then. The Canon cameras are the dominant choice, but that’s for today. Nikon is coming on strong with its D7000 and Panasonic has made a serious entry into the large-format-sensor video camera market with its Micro 4/3” AG-AF100. In six months, the post workflows might once again change.

To date, I have edited about 40 spots and short-form videos that were all shot using the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Many of the early post issues, like the need to…

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Demystifying Color Grading II


In previous posts on color correction and grading I’ve discussed how to use some of the built-in and third-party tools to stylize the look of your production. It never ceases to amaze me how many people assume color grading is just the click of a preset in Magic Bullet Looks or the click of the Auto-Balance function in a grading tool. In fact, grading is more than just fixing problems. It takes a bit of thought and effort to enhance an image creatively and tastefully. None of this is terribly difficult if you break correction down to its component parts.

Since this the start of a brand new year, I’ve decided to take another swipe at this fun subject. The objective here is to show how many different tools can be used to design interesting looks. Some are built-in, some are third-party, but free, while others cost, but aren’t terribly…

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Four-Frame Display

Splice Now

When you drag clips around in the Media Composer timeline, the Composer window adjusts to show you what you’re doing. Instead of displaying the usual side-by-side images, it shows four frames: the A and B sides of the two cuts you’re adjusting as you drag. In some cases, this is super-slick and allows you to make quick and precise changes. But the fact that those video images have to update can slow down the drag, especially as it begins, and that can make editing this way feel like you’re moving through molasses.

There used to be a way to suppress the four-frame display on a case by case basis. You held down a modifier key while you dragged and the images wouldn’t appear. We seem to have lost that in Version 5, but you can still turn off the four-frame display with a setting. You’ll find it in timeline settings…

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