Posts Tagged ‘Editing’

Power in a cup: How to help your java help you make better edits!

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009



Silly as this subject may seem, a good cup of coffee, can keep an editor focused, motivated, and creative in late night sessions. When you are getting tired in a late night edit session, the best thing to do is work out. Do some isometrics or go out side for 5 minutes per hour and do pushups and jumping jacks. But if you’re like me,  you might be a little more on the lazy side once the sun goes down. So I rely on the stimulant that has been proven in battle (and on truck routes) for the ages: a good ol’ cup o’ joe. Of course, don’t forget to lay off the sugary foods or you will be crashing hard by the time you load your next tape to digitize.

A great cup of coffee is way more effective at keeping the editor happy than a crappy cup of coffee. So here’s my recipe for a great cup of coffee:

1) Make really fresh coffee!! I mean, fresh, so that when you pour it into the cup, it has only been brewed less than 2 minutes.

2) Superheat your mug prior to pouring the coffee. This is best done by having the cup sit with boiling water in it during the time the coffee is brewing.  The cup has to be super hot so that the coffee will stay hot and fresh longer, making it take longer to drink. This also has the effect of spreading out the caffeine intake over a longer period of time … which has the effect of a gradual boost in alertness and an equally gradual coming down period hours later. Plus, the pure delight of a piping cup of great coffee lasts longer and makes you a happier editor.

3) Don’t put too much crap in your coffee. Only use milk or half and half. No artificial creamers. Coffee has an amazing property of the flavor being changed by chemical reaction upon contact with the milk molecules. In other words, a cup of coffee with a mere teaspoon of cream tastes 100 percent different than black coffee. Too much dairy will counter act the caffeine effectiveness.  Also, make sure the milk/cream is pre-heated before putting it into the fresh coffee. How do you preheat it? Be your normal resourceful editor self.

4) Never use those plug-in coffee warmers that you set your mug on like a coaster. Those things continue to keep the coffee artificially warm which is tantamount to leaving it cooking at the coffee maker. After 5 minutes of heating cooked coffee, it turns disgusting.

And that’s it. Sometimes the small things are just as important as the cut. Because let’s face it, what kind of creativity can you bring to a project when it’s late at night and you are feeling like a zombie?

How to ruin your career and embarrass yourself in half a second flat!

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

Here’s something we encounter all the time, a major client with an insane deadline sends us a precious file of their motion picture to be laid off to BetaSP or Digibeta for use in a critical film festival screening where the audience includes top studio scouts and distributors.

At the screening, the lights dim, the projector fires up, and the film hits the silver screen with all its glory and charm. The distribution execs are cracking up at every joke and displaying the perfect body posture for the dramatic parts. The screening is going to be a hit… until… OH MY GOD! THERE’S SCRATCH DIALOGUE COMING FROM THE CHARACTERS’ MOUTHS! AND, WHERE DID THE MUSIC GO IN THAT SCENE? AAAAAK! A TEMP TITLE CARD THAT SAYS “SCENE MISSING”!

Poooof. There goes the distribution deal. There goes my life!! Anyone need a bartender out there?

But how could this have happened? The file was proofed and re-proofed and watched by several people. The film was perfect back in the online bay. And the file that was transferred for the screening was called “LOST IN PARADISE NEW FINAL VERSION REVISED”.

And therein lies the problem: The file name. The wrong file was used to make the transfer.

This is a dramatic illustration of the consequences of naming files without the use of a clear emnaming convention.

I don’t understand why so many actual professionals name there files things like:

Now when there are a bunch of discs floating around the office with various versions of these “FINAL” masters, it is really easy to see how things could go terribly wrong at the dub house when the incorrect file shows up for transfer.

For that matter, with everyone working from servers and hard drives all over the world, it’s super easy to see that a mis-named file in a folder could be mistaken for the correct one. In fact, people accidentally delete critical files all the time on their very own computer for this exact same reason.

So the trick is, ALWAYS NAME EVERY SINGLE FILE WITH A VALID NAME. Here are some excellent ideas to include in your name:

1) The date the file was made. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL! If there is no other info in the file name, you must use a DATE. With the real date in the file name, it is almost impossible to grab the wrong one since an actual date is so easily cross-referenced by invoices, production schedules, and other records of processes. Also, make the date read in reverse European-style syntax: YEAR/MONTH/DAY/TIME (military). That way, the date will always sort in perfect order and it will be crystal clear which file is the latest one.

Example: 2008_12_31_1325

2) The project name or abbreviation. “Lost in Paradise” becomes ”LIP”.

3) The status of the project, such as “RuffCut_No_Music” or “ColorCorrected_Master”

So your wonderful new, final, final, really truly master corrected revised file will end up looking like this:

Ain’t it a a beautiful thing? And if that file name is too long for a given purpose, you can still get by with:

God, that’s clean. MMMMMmmm. It’s delicious to behold and to archive. Oh, and by the way, you will be able to actually keep your job if you name files like this.