Liz Tate graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. in Radio/TV/Film. In her 20+ year career in editing, she has mentored more than a dozen assistant editors to help them polish their skills to become editors. She recently partnered to start her own post-production company, Hootenanny, in 2008. Past and present clients include American Express, Southwest Airlines, Crate&Barrel, JCPenney, and Reebok.
The basics of Editing
We discuss what is entailed in being a commercial post-production editor. A breakdown of the various aspects of the job are detailed, and we talk about some of the problems an editor encounters being in the chair. The second part presents basic film editing theories, and provides filmic examples of the main styles of editing: continuity and emphatic.
We discuss how to go about creating your first cut. Tips are given on how to synthesize footage into manageable selects, and how to structure your cut depending on the type of project. Liz discusses a past editorial project, and traces its evolution from receiving the footage to the approval of its rough cut stage.
We look at deconstructing continuity and emphatic editing in practice. Examples are shown from various commercials, and the motivation behind the editorial process is described. Theories described in the first lesson are demonstrated: cutting on action, jump cuts, temporal discontinuity, the 180 rule, and various others. Project 1, an exercise is cutting dialogue, is handed out.
Cutting dialogue scenes
An example scene is created from dailies, with technique emphasis on continuity and pacing. Tips are given for keeping complicated sequences in sync, as well as how to change out a take in the middle of a scene while retaining the flow of the narrative. A dialogue edit that focuses on compositing is dissected at the end of the lesson.
The role of audio
in the editorial cut. Sound design is created for a spot, detailing music editing, sound effects placement, and dialogue finessing. Mix levels are discussed, as well as utilizing time compression. Dialogue replacement is examined in a scene from an independent feature.
So now you're an editor
We will focus on critiques of Project #1. Project #2 will be assigned.
The professor details her cut on assignment 1, explaining her thought process and workflow. Tips and tricks for adding finesse to your edit are also discussed, including flash frames, blurs and an iris effect.
Condensing a story
We investigate condensing a story line and taking the air out of an edit. A :30 lift is cutdown from a :60 commercial, while paying attention to pacing and sync. In addition, emphatic editing techniques are discussed, such as jump cuts, color correction, speed changes, effect work, and repeat action.
The process of finishing a project is dissected. Interviews with a colorist, sound designer/mixer, and smoke artist are conducted. The particular challenges of the ELCA spots are discussed, as well as general information about the workflow in each room.
Critiques are given on Assignment 2, focusing on pacing, music choices, voiceover timing, and shot selection. Tips for getting into the post-production industry are also given.