alive... and well... and editing...

Has it been a month already??? Yikes... sorry about that folks. I've been eyeball deep in episodes, scenes, beats, transitions, music cues, sound cues, sound effects, visual effects, graphics, and - of course - caffeine. :-)

All of which is to say that I've been editing.

Well, I haven't been in the editing room the entire time. It's been about 2 weeks now. Before that, Billy, Lee, and I spent many hours planted on my couch watching the directors' cuts of each of the episodes and taking notes. Now, in case you didn't know this, I'm a Capricorn... so "taking notes" actually means pages and pages of timecodes, comments, suggestions, changes, etc. - all of which I then spent more hours and hours typing neatly into an editing document for each episode (maybe I'm also part Virgo... hmmm... ). We brought these documents into the editing room with us and worked from them as the editor did our cuts of each of the episodes.

By the way, if you've never been in an editing room, it's quite an experience (and, parenthetically, one I never get tired of - I really, really LOVE editing). So here's how it works: The editor sits at a desk in front of two very large computer monitors, one nicely-sized television monitor, and a keyboard that has colors and symbols on the keys instead of letters and numbers.
-- The television monitor to the right is where you watch whatever the editor plays back for you... the newly edited scene, the finished cut of the show, etc.
-- The computer monitor to the left shows all the files that the editor could ever possibly need in order to edit the show... all the dailies, his cuts of each of the episodes, the directors' cuts of each of the episodes, bunches of songs and sound effects, etc.
-- The computer monitor in the middle is where all the action is. On the top half of the screen, there are two boxes side by side. One box shows the scene he's currently working on; the other box shows whatever new thing he might include in that scene (a different take of an actor's performance, a song, etc.) On the bottom half of the screen, there are different audio and video "tracks" that the editor can choose from as he works. So, if your scene has an actor smiling but you wanted a reaction of the actor laughing, then the editor deletes the "smiling" version from the video track and puts the "laughing" version in its place. But what if your actor laughed too loudly? Well, then the editor goes to the audio track, lowers the volume for the laugh, and voila: A quieter laugh! Hey, do you want the actor to laugh while surrounded by a menacing green glow? The editor adds a video effect. Concerned that the quieter laugh now doesn't quite fit with the menacing green glow? Pick up the microphone, record your own menacing laugh, put it onto the audio track to match the actor's moving mouth, and voila again: Instant menacing laugh that matches menacing green glow!

Of course, I'm making it all sound incredibly simple... and it's absolutely anything but. Good editing really is an art - and fortunately for us, we have an amazing editor. I never cease to be amazed by what he's able to do. He can craft a moment where none existed. He can raise or lower the emotional intensity of a performance, depending on what we need for the scene or the episode. He can create moods, establish timelines, make something funnier, make something more poignant. He can rewrite an entire scene just by the way he cuts it. He makes one scene flow to the next. He helps bring the writer's and director's visions to life. Editing is another layer of the storytelling process - and an incredibly important one at that. And, on a sidenote, I'm learning so much that will inform both my writing and my acting... which is a lovely bonus for me.

So next time you watch your favorite tv show or see a really great movie, look for the editor's name. And give a shout-out to the unsung heroes of storytelling, won't you?

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get some sleep... I'm editing in the morning!


Blogger nico said...

are you sure it has a green glow??? maybe it's just the caffeine? by the way, everything fine in the creamer departement? =D

anyway ... so even though i cannot understand why anyone loves editing i'm glad you have a good time ...

and yes, editors are heroes, especially the ones that are cursed to work with me ;D

waving at janice

7:39 AM  
Anonymous Janice said...

February 14,2007
Happy Valentine's Day, ya'll!!
I had a long post written, but it all got screwed up and lost, 'cause I didn't copy it before I hit "preview."
Oh, well.
Big gay waves to Michelle P. and nico.
Ya'll take care.

8:28 AM  

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