Archive for the ‘Editor’ Category
A few months ago, there was a video making waves online that starred a cute little girl doing a beatbox to Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Turns out her mom, Jasmine, is a good friend of mine who I used to dance with back in high school. Her daughter, Mya, had been making fun videos on YouTube and when she released this beatbox video, it went viral and was mentioned on Ryan Seacrest’s blog as well as the Huffington Post.
Not soon after, PBS Kids reached out with a show offer for Mya. They loved her personality and knew she has potential for an entertaining and educational online series. When Jasmine told me about the opportunity, I couldn’t pass it up.
We shot two pilot episodes. PBS wants a kid and parent-friendly show that will educate as well as entertain. After brainstorming several topics that Mya could tackle, we finally boiled it down to two.
Working with Mya was a blast. It didn’t take her long to get familiar and comfortable with me and my crew. After just a few takes feeling a little shy, she started to let loose and really have fun with the camera. I think she enjoyed the topics a lot and just has a knack for performing (she must get it from Jasmine!). It was my first time working with a kid but Mya did all of the heavy lifting. =)
The show page is now LIVE on YouTube and the first episode is up! We’re all excited to see Mya with her first official show. We will be shooting a new video each week and you can be sure that Mya’s charm will brighten up your day!
I met Russel Thompson when I shot a Yelp video for his salon in San Francisco. It was a successful shoot and he loved the video so much that he called me back to create more videos for him, such as the unveiling party for Operation Relaunch Career and a few other how-to videos that would loop in the salon.
Carmichael Salon has grown and made a name for itself in the City. They recently moved to a new location right by Union Square were planning a party to celebrate 5 years of business. Russel called on me to create a video that would be screened at the party and also be used as their new promotional video. It was meant to encompass the whole experience of getting your hair done at the salon in their new location.
The publisher had set up professionals in the design industry to talk about what makes California unique and the place for innovation and style. It took half a day to shoot all of the interviews. They were all very passionate about the leaps and bounds that California has been making in the industry. And as I browsed through the various magazine layouts that were provided to me, I became thoroughly impressed by the living spaces that are being created here in my home state.
The video can also be found on their website at http://www.californiahomedesign.com/advertise.
Before you dive into the blog, you can watch our official entry right here: http://crashthesuperbowl.com/#/gallery?video=15185
I’ve been meaning to enter this contest for several years, and I’m happy to finally have an entry.
This was a collaborative project with my buddy and aspiring writer, Mike Hedrick. He’s been working on his craft and recently won 2nd place in Cyberspace Open hosted by CreativeScreenwriting.com. As busy as I was with other projects, he really pushed to have his idea produced!
The idea came to him when teasing his chihuahua, Molly, with a treat and saw how hilarious it was when her paws would stretch out to reach for it. He then recruited his buddy Daniel and his beautiful daughter Amelia.
As simple of a production as it seems, a lot of the execution relied on two unpredictable factors, both who happen to be the stars of our commercial: a baby and a chihuahua. Amelia (baby) was actually relatively easy to work with. All she needed was one nap in the afternoon and then she was ready to go (something we could all use some days). And, thanks to Sesame Street on the iPad, that was more than enough motivation for her to crawl away from her toys.
It was Molly that required a few motivators; a can of gravy to slather on a beef bone larger than her whole body, to get her to ‘eat’ it rather than run away from it. And attracting her to the Doritos chip required small pieces of freshly-cooked sausage hidden under the chip (in fact, post-production required a bit of ‘erasing’ of some props that helped us get our shots)!
Our production was pretty simple, but we knew the idea didn’t require anything extravagant. Amelia is super gorgeous and Molly is cute. Throw them into a ‘chase’, and we feel we’ve got a fun and memorable commercial!
If you like it, please feel free to share with your friends and family. We’re crossing our fingers for the finalist selection which will be revealed in January. And we’re particularly excited to be entered into this contest at the chance to work with the ridiculously-hilarious Lonely Island!
Finally, here’s a little behind-the-scenes/gag reel of the production.
Thanks to my buddy and event filmmaker Ryan Sarmiento of Blank Canvas Studio, I was brought on board to edit a series of testimonial videos for one of their products, GoPayment.
Michael Stoltzman, CEO of HOMFIT Corporation, was interviewed to give a testimonial for the Intuit products he used for his business. There were several hours of interview footage to sift through, but we were able to finalize it into a short three-part series that explains his success.
The finalized videos can be seen here: http://payments.intuit.com/taking-credit-cards.jsp
When it comes to editing, I love to keep everything organized. Every element has a place in a folder or sub-folder. Simple as it sounds, it does require a lot of time and forethought, before and during post-production. But it pays off dividends, especially when you’re in the heat of a deadline; it allows you to focus on the task at hand rather than pull your hair out trying to find that one element you need to finish your edit.
I also make thorough use of the Final Cut Pro Bin by completing nearly every field (for bigger projects) and even adding my own fields for such things like: SS Notes, Editor’s Notes, Director’s Notes, and the usual Cam, Scene, Take, Description, etc. And FCP markers, I’m all about it. In fact I can probably write a pretty lengthy blog on how markers in FCP can be greatly improved!
But I wanted to talk about a new tool that doesn’t require any clicking or typing… or even electricity. What I’m talking about of course is Post-Its.
I started an editing job at Intuit with my good friend Ryan Sarmiento. After piecing together a rough cut, he asked me create a sticky note for each major clip that had the main idea written on it. We would then put them on a whiteboard, which we could then use to move around and essentially ‘edit’ right there.
To be honest I was skeptical at first, but after seeing how convenient it is to read the edit as a whole, it made total sense.
He even showed me some simple techniques, like if a clip is no longer as important and may get cut, it gets tilted at an angle. If there are redundant messages in a clip, those simply get moved to the side in it’s own column. As long as you’re familiar with the cut, it makes it really easy to see how it will play out without having to sit through and listen to it.
I’ve always heard this being done with storyboards during pre-production, but it is just as handy to use in post! In fact, I think this would be an awesome feature to incorporate into an editing program itself. Aside from markers, I haven’t seen anything like this in any of the Final Cut Pro versions. How cool would it be to tag clips in your Timeline with text that pops up visually and “sticks” to the clip as you move it? Those thumbnails displayed on each clip never really give enough info, especially when dialogue editing.
Of course, I wouldn’t use this on every project, but it’s such a useful technique for projects that have a lot of concepts to get across (and a ton of footage) and for projects that require collaboration in post-production (editor and director/producer).
Bulk Post-Its added to my Costco list. Thanks Ryan!
I was brought on board again by Aaron Lee Films to edit a series of videos for LYFE Kitchen.
Editing two videos for their events a month ago allowed me to become familiar with the company and their philosophy. But editing the footage that Aaron shot and the moments he captured allowed me to witness more of their passion for this venture and I tried to emphasize that in the edit.
This was my first time at an SFCutters meeting, and I was especially excited to hear from Robert Dalva, A.C.E. This guy is a veteran in the industry, having first edited on the Moviola! It’s no surprise that I have a particular fondness for editing so it was great to hear from a working professional, especially someone as experienced as him who is still cranking out superb edits (he most recently finished cutting Captain America).
Robert showed select scenes from October Sky and Hidalgo. It was very informative because he broke down almost every cut and explained the motivation behind them. What’s interesting is not all cuts were purely by choice for storytelling purposes; some of them were meant to hide continuity errors! It’s nice to relate to a seasoned editor cutting Hollywood blockbusters who still has to find ways to “fix it in post”.
There were some interesting things to note that night:
“What’s a rough cut”?
As someone who started editing film on the Moviola, he learned how to “cut something right the first time”. He explained that with every cut of film, you are deteriorating the physical quality of the film itself. So every single cut is thoroughly planned out before execution to limit this wear and tear. He carries this approach to non-linear editing. In fact, he still finds the term “rough cut” a little strange because he is trained to cut a film right the first time around.
“Editing is all about RHYTHM”
Robert said that a movie with good rhythm will sometimes get your foot tapping, as if you’re tapping to a song. But that doesn’t mean to edit to the music! In fact, he made some strong points about how the rise of MTV paved the way to bad editing techniques; editors got in the habit of editing only to the beat of the music. Simple test: turn off the sound when watching a music video. Usually, the cuts only work when you hear the music with it.
With that said, he mentioned that he sometimes he will turn off the sound when reviewing a cut to see if it flows visually, without any sound. Of course, it is dependent on the kind scene you are editing too.
“Working with Composers”
This was something I was always curious about when it came to working with professional composers. I notice how sometimes there is perfect use of music for a cut. Does the composer see the cut before it’s locked? Does the editor get at least some of the music for the edit?
Generally, as I assumed, the picture is completely locked before it goes to the composer. But to help give the composer some direction in the edit, what Robert does is he gathers all the previous work of composer that is signed on for current movie he’s editing and uses that in the edit. This way, the style is already familiar and furthermore, good composers will pick up on great cuts and score the music to complement it.
“A note to directors: unless it is designed as a one-take scene, don’t shoot the master shot too many times… it barely gets used!”
This is something I’ve learned in my experience as an editor as well as shooting my own projects. Too many times, a scene is covered wide first, until “perfect”, at which point actors and crew are exhausted moving in for close-ups, which of course is more important visually. This reminds me it’s best to cover the wide for safety and focus more on capturing intimate moments that reveal the emotion of the scene.
“Always be a half a step ahead of the audience. You want to keep your audience guessing, ‘what’s going to happen next’?”
A classic approach to editing any story. As simple as it sounds, it really takes focus and effort (and sometimes a long break and fresh eyes) to be able to do this successfully. Because once you lose the attention of a viewer, and they are taken back into their reality, it’s difficult to bring them back.
Overall, it was an educational and entertaining night. It’s fun to be in a room full of editors. Robert would sometimes crack jokes only editors would understand and appreciate! Which is fresh because it’s all too common for crew to dismiss the editor as a critical component to telling the story. I met some great people and am happy to know that I’ve expanded my network of editor contacts.
I look forward to more meetings and networking events with the SFCutters and continuing to refine my skills as an editor.
With today’s release of Star Wars on Blu-Ray, I thought it would be a proper time to revisit a project of mine that is very close to my heart: Star Wars Episode Zero.
During one winter break while I was still in college, my buddy showed me these lightsaber battles that people were making in their backyard. I was completely in awe of the effect; not so much the production or story. Once I learned how to create the lightsaber effect, the possibilities of what we could accomplish took a life of it’s own. It became a year-long labor of love, in which we explored every which way we could to push our fan film to the next level: custom wardrobe, fight choreography, epic locations, and of course… new lightsabers and lightsaber battles!
The next winter break I spent entirely in the “cave”. After finalizing every frame of the trailer, we locked the edit, and then it was time to get to the effects. There is an estimated 30 seconds of lightsaber footage in the film, and at 30 frames per second, that’s a total of 900 frames of rotoscoping! Not to mention a few scenes with multiple lightsabers and complex masking when lightsabers move behind people/objects.
As many times as I’ve watched this, it still brings back all the great memories we had creating it. I consider this project moviemaking at it’s purest; driven by a passion to create the Star Wars universe in all of it’s detail, researching, writing, building, shooting, editing to exhaustion, and not getting paid for it (in fact, our main expense was the fabric for the customized wardrobe)!
How do we make the lightsaber spin in someone’s hand? How do we push what’s possible with new lightsaber styles? How can I create the hologram effect? How do I composite a moon in the background of our Palace of Fine Arts shot? These are the some of the challenges we gave ourselves and tackled in the making of this fan film.
Next time, I’ll revisit the “Making Of” and “Outtakes” clip and share with you the experience of creating Episode Zero. For now, please enjoy…