I wanna be the guy part 3Posted: April 1, 2011
The final part of this multi-post look at the interesting aspects of filmmaking looks at the final phase (apart from exhibition of course!) of the process.
The editor has possibly the most interesting job of all, as well as one of the more complex ones. If you don’t have an assistant who loads your footage up, and there’s nobody to do the visual effects (left out of the production section, since a lot of projects can get by without one in general), there’s still a lot to learn. Coming from experience, the first hurdle can be getting the footage onto the machine and into the program. This can be either easy as pie, or more difficult than you imagined, depending on several factors such as the camera you used. In general, it’s not too bad, although you have to experiment with the best ways of doing it.
(WARNING: GEEKY STUFF AHEAD) From my own experience of AVID Media Composer 5, I know that I can import virtually anything (apart from windows media format (.wmv files), you just have to know how. With my HG10 for example, the file type is actually a form of AVCHD, a high-definition video file. AVID uses a codec called DNxHD, which is pretty good by itself. This means though, that I have 2 options: Either recode my AVCHD files to DNxHD (using AVID production suites’ Sorenson Squeeze) or using AVID’s AMA (basically a system that all the other major editing programs do – imports the file as it is and only links to it, rather than creating an easily changeable version of it). Now, I think you can use the video mix down to make it play smoother in the timeline, but I prefer the former route to the latter – as this means I can mass-convert files, import them into AVID quickly and then have full playing speed when previewing my edits, rather than having jerky footage which will export fine, but can be a pain to edit in the meantime.
In the end, I consider Editing to be the most challenging and rewarding of the filmmaking processes. Editors really have to know about codecs and bit rates. It is however the most rewarding, simply because it’s where the footage actually starts to resemble a film. There has been many a time where I’ve got to the end of a shoot and thought things went less than stellar, and I’ve managed to pull it back in the ending suite.
One factor that I’ve been avoiding is the music. There are several reasons for this, a musician knows their craft, and it’s not a simple case of being exclusive to filmmaking. Soundtracks in film are created in parallel to the main film, not a part of it.
One of the reasons I made these posts are to highlight the challenges and difficulties faced by filmmakers everywhere, and it’s important to show that it’s a complex affair. But one of the main reasons for making films is the satisfaction and fun you feel both making the film and watching the final product. I’ve personally never felt anything like it, the collaborative creative energy drive you.
I was asked once, why I wanted to be a filmmaker. Was it for the money? Nope, far easier getting into banking or accounting, and often way more profitable. For your 5 minutes of fame? Nope, it’s certain not worth working at a skill set so demanding to do it just for the fame. For fun, then? Ha! There are many things I can do that are fun and are very much easier, and less costly. My response: for the challenge. When you’re a perfectionist, the person you’ve really got to impress is yourself. It’s a demanding job, but the more you do it, the better you get, the more impressive your work is – both to the audience and to yourself.
What’s with the title of this blog? I just want to be the guy, who knows everything about everything to do with filmmaking. I’m on my way.