Week 2 was a full week. A LONG full week. There is a lot of footage to go through, a lot of script pages to go through…so my days are ending up being 12-14 hours long. It’s a good thing I enjoy editing…otherwise that’d be a bit much. But I love what I do. I guess in this situation that’s a good and bad thing.
Well, I cannot say enough how good the C300 footage looks. It looks great. And they are using prime lenses, so it is really sharp. And it does very well in low light. Some scenes are very dark, but I can still see what is going on.
Now, this show is pretty unique in that it employs interviews, narration, and recreation audio. But the narration and interviews do tend to cover a lot of the scripted scenes. I just have to let a few key lines be heard. So this makes editing a bit tricky. I have to cut the scene like you would a scene, yet make sure I leave enough room for narration and interviews to cover up the parts that need to be covered up, yet let the lines I want to hear be heard at the right time. And I want these scenes to make sense if I turned off narration and interviews. So, what I do first is cut the scene like I would cut the scene. Then I drag in the narration and sound bites and try to fit them in. If I need to extend the scene a bit to cover more of either of those, before I can do a sound up on my lines, I then deal with that. Typically adding more pauses, looks, reactions…breath. If i need to shorten the scene, I do so but still try to have the dialog make sense. Yes, it is going to be covered up by voiceovers, but still, I want it to work.
On the technical end, I am working slightly longer hours because I need to group the clips myself…multicam them. The Assistant Editor will do them for the next episode. This episode I was told that it wasn’t done (something I agreed to), because most times both cameras don’t cover the same action, and it might be best to just treat them as separate takes. I agreed to that, and thus why they weren’t grouped, but then I found that grouping them helps me speed up the process. First, I can watch both angles at the same time when previewing footage. Second, I’m finding that more than a few times, the lines being read differ from each other. They aren’t sticking to the script strictly…mainly in scenes with the kids. They want the kids to act natural, so they are having them adjust the lines sometimes to best fit how they say things. It does help the kids give better performances, but it does make editing more…challenging. I prefer the better performances…let me deal with getting them to match.
As for the Avid performance, one thing is plaguing me. Well, a couple things, but the biggest is that the PAUSE button…the K key…isn’t pausing. It isn’t stopping playback about 1 times in 4. 25% of the time, it doesn’t pause. It’ll just slow down the footage. I then have to press the space bar to get it to stop (space is PLAY, but that also STOPS). I’ve mentioned this on the COW forums, and the Avid ones. And I have found others posing the same issues. And there are no solutions, there are workarounds. One person suggested I remap PLAY to the K key. And I did, and that stopped the issue. But then raises more issues, like when I press the K key, then press L…things go double speed. Don’t ask why I do that. Habit I formed in FCP that when I pressed play, then moved the playhead with the mouse, FCP then picked up playing…because it doesn’t stop unless you tell it to, even if you move the playhead. Whereas Avid will stop if you move the playhead. 8 years of habit…tough to break.
Now, I did try fixing it. It first appeared under Avid 5.5. But then I updated to 6.0…then 6.0.1. Still happened. I Patched using 220.127.116.11…same thing. I switched to my laptop…SAME THING. It’s taunting me. So many people say they don’t have this issue, but I have it on several machines, using several versions of the app. And others report this issue, so somethings up.
The second issue is that Avid still seems to not be able to keep up with my keystrokes, and often will lock up with a spinning beachball. After the 4th I’m going to try to get my laptop set up to the main editing machine…and hope that cures that. But my MacPro tower is running 16GB of RAM, is running an NVIDIA card…is running in 64 bit mode, so I don’t get why this is still happening. On more than one occasion I’ve had to force quit because it was just locked up.
There is a third issue, one that plagued Walter Biscardi…and that is one of TAPE NAME. Or rather, the lack of one. Unlike FCP, and Adobe, that assign the reel number a name based on the name of the folder you backed up to…or the name of the card if you import directly, Avid Media Composer or Symphony don’t do that. They don’t assign any source to the clip. This would help me greatly in tracking down footage masters. And this is a big issue when it comes to going to Resolve, as Walter found out. And we don’t know how we’ll be finishing the shows just yet. So this is an issue that might affect us more, later.
But Angus of Avid did say that they know of the issue and will be dealing with it. Can’t wait guys, thanks.
While I’ve been editing this, I’ve been onlining a couple other shows on the side. TED BUNDY: DEATH ROW TAPES and DEFENDING CASEY ANTHONY, both for MSNBC. These were editing with FCP, and on CASEY I’ve had to go in and do some touch up editing. And I prep the shows for online and man, is FCP snappy and pain free, and no beach balls. All the Avid slowness and locking up has made me really miss FCP.
On the plus side I sent out Act one for review, just to show them the style I’m employing, and I got back good notes. They like it…and that is a load off. And I’m really digging the trim mode editing Avid utilizes. I’m able to make tweaks to the sequences so fast, and I am always tweaking shots to fill the void, or to shorten so that the lines I need to be heard, are heard.