“The Four ‘A’s’ of Editing” or “‘Smoke’ and Mirrors”

Posted March 3, 2012

Wow! I nearly went a month without a blog post. (Oops! I waited too long to finish this entry and now I’m over a month!)

Just for the record, this has been a wonderful week for me (Knock on wood!) I guess I’m “manic depressive” because the following week wasn’t so grand… :(

I have recently been selected to train and demo Autodesk Smoke. I’m pretty excited about that! Due to time constraints, I’ve been informed that I may not be able to do this… :( <- The main reason for my duldrums.... BUT... I am still going ahead with my self-study of this program. It's very complicated (and I'm a bright guy and a good study!) So, the challenge is appealling to me!

[The good week:] SaturdayA couple of Saturdays ago, I had a great call with a very helpful Hollywood editor who I will be working with to help people reach their Hollywood goals. I really love talking to guys like that who are into helping others. They’re really a great inspiration. I was also hinted to by a company head that a post job that I really would like to do was available again. I was able to get some good Smoke training in [that] Sunday and then Monday and Tuesday I was able to spend a whole lot of time with my kids, which is the best part of anything I do! Tuesday, we also went to see our accountant for taxes and that went well. Great dinner with the Mrs. after that (lots of future planning, etc.) and followed up with yesterday (Wednesday) going to LAFCPUG and hanging with a ton of editor friends and meeting some new ones! Today, [couple Thursdays ago] I got to spend some time with my kids again and shuffled off to work to no real traffic, good weather and a stop at the mailbox to see lots of editing books awaiting me! (I love getting editing books and mags, etc. It’s like Christmas to me!) I learned tomorrow is bonus day and I got a gift certificate from a co-worker to one of my favortite lunch places. So, yeah, things are good.

Following all of that, Saturday, February 25th, I am officially calling “International (well So Cal, anyway) Editor Networking Day”! Was just amazing. I started off the day carpooling to the ACE IAVA event and hung out with a lot of editor friends listening to the Oscar nominated editors talk about the films that they worked on and career, etc. Then we went to an after-event ACE Intern get-together and met a lot of great people. Then a couple of us went to the Act of Valor Q&A screening. Got to see some more twitter friends there and, even after that, met some more photo/editor people (who happened to be at the screening too) in line to the restaurant we went to. So that was definitely a WHOLE day of editor networking! And, that was a great week, Sat. – Sat., in whole.

So, what’s on my plate for this “semester” then? Apple’s Final Cut Pro 7, additional training; Avid’s Pro Tools 10, totally new to it; Autodesk’s Smoke on a Mac, as above; perhaps some Apple (again) FCP X, as it actually is gaining appeal with me and I think Adobe will have to wait until they really come through with their Adobe Prelude or another CS release (which is rumored to be soon). Which reminds me. This next post was supposed to about said Adobe Prelude but alas, there isn’t much more to add than what Philip Hodgetts and Scott Simmons have blogged about.

Above, I mentioned for “A” companies: Apple, Adobe and Avid, the “major” players in the pro editing game but there are a few other companies that are out there. Autodesk’s Smoke, I also mentioned, is a complete post workflow solution from aquisition to finish. I’ve marveled at their promo reels for years. Just stunning work comes from the talented finishers using this program. It’s almost like they were first and then Adobe and Apple came along trying to emulate what they do and they get a little closer each time.

The “big” downer is the “big” price. Smoke on a Mac costs $14,000.00. In todays environment, it seems like that’s a steep price to pay for an “editing” program. Over pizza, after LAFCPUG, one editor said “I wish Grant (Grant Petty CEO of Blackmagic design) would buy it and make it $999 and call it a day!” That would be awesome. Blackmagic design has worked hard, helping to democratize the post production line. They bought DaVinci Resolve and made it $999, after all! But don’t let the price of a program deter you from learning it. Autodesk has a 30-day free trial and TONS of on-line tutorials. They also have a free student license. So, enroll in school (Hey! like I do!) and avail yourself of it, if you’re so inclined, and we can be study buddies!

I have a feeling we’re going to hear some great things from Autodesk Smoke at NAB. I just hope they don’t make my training obsolete like Apple did with FCP X, last year!

Just for the record — Other video editing options (that I know of):
Sony Vegas
FCP Express
Windows MovieMaker
Photoshop (yes, photoshop)
Avid Studio
Media 100
Lightworks <-Free!

Alright. That's enough for this rant. I've got a NAB party to plan! Talk to you soon.

Oh! BTW, we are touring Light Iron (the Hollywood digital post facility) March 12th. Feel free to join us!

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