I go back to work … sort of.

Just as an orchestral work has a score, a recorded television programme has a ‘timeline’ which is produced, second by second, in the edit suite. Just as a score is a series of instructions, read from left to right, so is a timeline. The instructions are written in special code, much as in music, so that the right thing happens at the right time. This could be something like: the black-and-white picture of the gasworks cross-fades to the colour footage of the sunrise. The brass-band background music fades out and the first words of interview clip number eight come in. At the start of the second sentence, cut to the video of that person talking.

After a while, it becomes quite reassuring to see a programme taking shape this way. I didn’t think I would miss it. But I was wrong.

Now that I’ve handed back my camera kit and no longer have access to the editing equipment, my wife asks me (for the first time ever) to help with filming and editing some interviews for a training course she’s presenting at the university where she works. Timing, eh?

So the university finds a video camera and a tripod and my wife arranges for the interviewees to be in a certain room at 10.00am . Once again, I am a producer, directing the shoot. This involves much improvisation such as standing an Anglepoise lamp on a chair on top of a table in order to get some light on the interviewees’ faces.

The hard bit was the editing. What the hell do I do with this tape? How do I get it into my computer? What (free-trial version) editing software should I use? I looked at Microsoft Movie Maker and one or two others but they seemed feeble and over-simple. The software tried to guess what I wanted to do and not let me do anything else. I couldn’t see a familiar timeline with separate video tracks and audio tracks. No proper collection of editing tools anywhere. So I hit on the idea of asking the university’s Journalism School. Despite the reservations of the university’s IT people, this was a good plan. They had a proper AVID edit suite and a tech-savvy chap who could troubleshoot.

So, on Monday morning, I was back at the usual job – writing a score on the familiar ‘stave’ of an AVID timeline. The edited interviews were used today – and they worked. Hooray!

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One thought on “I go back to work … sort of.

  1. you really should have worked in the golden era…make that the silver era…ok, maybe the bronze era of editing. no time line, no time code. just cut and run. shoot it and cut it and play it. may not be slick, but it was fast. probably a few too many flash frames and jump cuts and tear outs from overused umatic tapes, but it was physical. almost like the golden era of film splicing. all right, it wasn’t half as good as what you can do now, even with shareware, but it’s what i did when i was young so it had to be better. right?

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