The Art of the Cut podcast brings the fantastic conversations that Steve Hullfish has with world renowned editors into your car, living room, editing suite and beyond. In each episode, Steve talks with editors ranging from emerging stars to Oscar and Emmy winners. Hear from the top editors of today about their careers, editing workflows and about their work on some of the biggest films and TV shows of the year.
Today on the Art of the Cut Podcast, we have ACE Eddie winner and Academy Award nominated editor Sandra Adair, ACE. Starting in the 1980’s, Sandra has edited dozens of fantastic films including “Dazed and Confused”, “School of Rock” and “Boyhood”, a film for which she won an ACE Eddie. Recently, Sandra edited “Where’d You Go, Bernadette”. Listen to the full podcast with Sandra below:
Also, check out this quick clip from the film!
This weeks episode was brought to you by G-Technology and Filmtools.com. G-Technology is a leading brand for professional-grade storage solutions for the media and entertainment industry. Since their inception in 2004, G-Technology has consistently offered reliable, high-performance hard drives! If you are in the market for some new storage make sure to head over to Filmtools.com and check out the hottest product offerings from G-Technology.
With a price tag of $3999.99, the new LUMIX S1H makes it to the market with a lens that fits it like a glove: the Lumix S Pro 24-70mm F2.8, priced at $2199.99. That’s your base kit for shooting.
The streaming of the official announcement gave you all the key details about the LUMIX S1H, but here are a few extra notes for those readers who like to have some text to go through. Most important now, are the availability dates for both the camera and the lens announced. The S1H (body) will be available for $3999.99 at the end of September, while the LUMIX S PRO 24-70mm lens will be available in October for $2199.99.
Most of the features of the new model are already known. Now Panasonic says that the camera uses a newly developed 24.2-megapixel full-frame image sensor that complies with the new Dual Native ISO. In combination with the optimum signal processing by Venus Engine, it achieves high sensitivity while minimizing noise. The LUMIX S1H provides more than 14 stops of dynamic range, comparable to those found in cinema cameras, and V-Log / V-Gamut compatible with popular colorimetry called “VariCam Look.”
Unlimited recording time
Maximizing the use of the pixels in the full-frame image sensor, the LUMIX S1H, as a digital camera, achieves for the first time ever a 6K/24p, 5.4K/30p (3:2 aspect ratio) or 5.9K/30p (16:9 aspect ratio) high-resolution, smooth video recording. It is also the world’s first full-frame digital interchangeable lens system camera to enable 10-bit 60p 4K/C4K HEVC video recording when using the image area equivalent to Super 35mm. The 4:2:2 10-bit 4K30p can record in H.264 at its full area. Its high-resolution data can also be used for creating 4K videos with higher image quality or for cropping images in 4K. Please visit Panasonic’s website for detailed information on these features, as there are some aspects that have to be considered when using them.
One important new feature is the unlimited recording time in all recording modes thanks to Panasonic’s unique heat dispersion technologies. To achieve stable, continuous video recording, heat dispersion is crucial. Based on the accumulated study of heat simulation through the development of both professional cinema cameras and digital still cameras, Panasonic designed a cooling fan with an innovative structure that efficiently disperses heat exclusively for the LUMIX S1H to support its limitless video recording capability.
Body I.S. plus O.I.S.
The LUMIX S1H incorporates a Body I.S. (Image Stabilizer) to compensate for hand-shake movement. Combining the Body I.S. (5-axis) and the O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer, 2-axis) in the LUMIX S Series lenses, the Dual I.S. 2 is even better positioned to compensate for virtually any type of blurring, allowing the use of a 6.5-stop slower shutter speed. The new rear monitor, Real View Finder and Status LCD boast a large size, high resolution and high visibility. The rugged design creates an additional layer of attractive features, providing professional photographers with highly desired reliability and longevity.
HDR (High Dynamic Range) in HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma), 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI output and Anamorphic 4:3 modes are also available with a variety of practical tools for filmmaking, such as tally lights, a waveform monitor and a V-Log View Assist function.
A new Status LCD
Users will also find a new Status LCD on top, that boasts the largest-in-class level of 1.8-inch size and high resolution. Adopting MIP (Memory In Pixel technology), it consumes minimum power and is ideal for always-on use, even when the camera power is off. It shows the recordable time for video, number of images and remaining battery with a black/white switchable background. It assures high visibility both in bright outdoor and in dark situations thanks to the reflective type of LCD with a backlight. Major settings for photo shooting or video recording are displayed. The response of the LCD is also fast enough for time code counting and audio monitoring.
These notes should give you an idea of what Panasonic brings to the table with the new LUMIX S1H, but do yourself a favor and visit the company’s website for complete information about the new model, a truly videocentric Digital Single Lens Mirrorless camera.
Suppressing focus breathing
Introduced with the new camera, the LUMIX S PRO 24-70mm F2.8 (S-E2470) is a large-aperture standard zoom lens that boasts high descriptive performance across the entire zoom range. Optical performance is remarkably high, passing stringent LEICA standards, and Panasonic says the lens features a double focus system combining linear and stepping motors that achieves sensor drive at a maximum speed of 480 fps. This realizes fast, high-precision AF, ensuring the user never misses a photo opportunity.
Photographers will appreciate this new lens, the fourth L-mount lens from Panasonic, but so will videographers. The company says the LUMIX S PRO 24-70mm F2.8 also excels in video recording performance with a mechanism that suppresses focus breathing, a common problem in all interchangeable lenses designed for still image photography.
Gabriel Fleming, ACE, began his editing career in reality TV, cutting shows like “Making the Band” and “America’s Next Top Model.” That led him to scripted TV for MTV’s “Teen Wolf” series before landing an assisting editor gig on the feature film, Battleship, then quickly moving up to editing features like Deepwater Horizon, Patriot’s Day, and Blindspotting.
Today, Gabriel and I discuss his latest editing project, Angel Has Fallen. This interview will be available in a couple of weeks as a podcast. I will also be running an interview with the director of Angel Has Fallen, Ric Roman Waugh in a couple of weeks.
HULLFISH: I noticed — going through your IMDB page — you’ve worked with a couple of directors several times. Do you think that that’s just the way it is with editors — that a director finds you and have a comfort level and trust in you that they don’t want to give up?
FLEMING: I worked with Peter Berg on a few films, and director Amber Sealy I’ve worked with a few times. Right now I’m doing my second film with Ric Roman Waugh, the director of Angel Has Fallen. We’re working on a film called Greenland, and there really is a benefit to having worked together before. The first film with a director, you’re discovering so much about how they work, what they’re going to respond to, how polished cuts need to be for them, and in what way they need to be polished.
It’s a lot easier when you start that second film. I feel a lot more at ease right now cutting Greenland with Ric, and he feels a lot more at ease with me. I’m not showing him nearly as many edits during production because he just trusts me, and I’m not worried about what’s going on in production because I trust that he’s thorough.
HULLFISH: Tell me about the first time that you worked with him which was on the movie that we’re talking about here: Angel Has Fallen. You mentioned how polished something needs to be or that it is polished in a certain way.
FLEMING: So I spent a long time in the trenches cutting reality television, and the discipline I got from that was when you present something for the first time, it has to be air-able. It has to be something that an audience could watch and find entertaining. That’s a habit that I bring to features. So I tend to like my editor’s cut to be something that could — not quite, but almost — go onto the big screen.
When I present things to a director, I don’t want them to be taken out of the film by bumpy edits or bumpy sound cuts. But as you get to know a director, you get to know what’s going to bump for them and what you don’t have to worry about. With the second film with Ric, I know that he is not going to get bumped by visual effects missing, that I can just use text. I can have the sound not be perfect, he can hear past that. There’s another benefit of having worked with someone before is knowing the level of polish that you need to get to.
HULLFISH: That’s important, right, because if you spend a huge amount of time polishing scenes to the nth degree then that limits how much time you can experiment. Or how much you can version.
FLEMING: Yes. But one of the reasons I do like to polish is that I like to give my experiments their best chance right out the gate.
One of the things that I try to do in the editor’s cut is to include all the crazy ideas that I have. I try to put those in the first time. And then we’ll scale back. So the first thing the director sees is, “I’m not sure this is going to work. Here’s a wild way of doing this. If it doesn’t work maybe it will inspire something else.” But the editor’s cut is just me in the room cutting. That’s the most precious time to me, where I’m the freest to play.
HULLFISH: You were saying that you like — during your editor’s cut — to be able to have the time to experiment. That’s another place where you have to know that the director, right? Some directors would say, “Yeah, show me some crazy!” And some directors would say, “No. I need to see it the way I planned it. And then if you wanna show me something different. Show it to me after you show me what I’ve planned.”
FLEMING: Even if they want to see it the way they saw it, I tend to push to try something different for the first screening. And if I know that there’s going to be resistance to that, I’ll have the version that I think that they want ready to go. So first show them something where they might say, “This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. I wanted it to be like this.” And I’ll have it cued up and say, “Boom! Here it is.”
Most of the time they want to go with how they originally envisioned it, but I want to offer an alternative, and one time out of ten that alternative leads somewhere. Sometimes the most important part of the process is when you’re discovering something new and showing the director something that they hadn’t thought of. To me, it’s important as an artist to subvert expectations and bring my own vision into it, even if I know it’s not going to stay.
I think the editor’s role is a dual one. One is to bring into being the director’s vision, and then a secondary role is to bring your own vision and see if that meshes, and see if that inspires anything — see if it brings you to a place that the director didn’t see themselves, and that they like better.
HULLFISH: Do you think that has something to do with the objectivity you’re able to bring? Because the director has it in his head and shot it and he might be even thinking of what he was envisioning and not thinking of what actually got on film.
FLEMING: Yeah. That’s something that is a consistent tension with directors — that they have something on their head, but part of the editor’s function is not to cut based on the initial vision, but based on what the footage is and what the footage is bringing to the table. And I try and cloister myself quite a bit. I don’t read the script over and over again. I’ll read the scripts initially before the project and then I’ll read just the scene before looking at the footage and then I try not to look at it again. Let’s not worry about the script. Let’s worry about what the actors did in those moments. What we need to hit. So I try to keep myself in a little bit of a cocoon. There are times when I’ve been on set cutting. And I really try not to know too much about the set, including simple things like geography.
If you’ve been on the set you intuitively understand its geography when watching the footage, but the audience may not. The editor has the advantage of sharing the audience’s ignorance of production. Often I’ll look at some footage with the director and ask, “Where is this?” And they’ll look at me like I’m crazy, “How can you not know this?” They are unaware they are seeing beyond the borders of the frame.
HULLFISH: A lot of other editors talk about the fact that you don’t want to be on set to know that a jib shot took six hours to set up but I’m not gonna use it. But if I saw it on set, you might think, “I gotta use that jib shot I saw how much work they put into it.”.
FLEMING: I’ve been lucky enough to work with directors who are not precious about that kind of stuff. Ric is that way. Peter Berg is that way. Neither one is precious about their shots.
HULLFISH: One of your other relationships I wanted to just talk about because I think for younger editors they might be interested in the way that you were able to move up. You’ve worked with Colby Parker a couple of times. What was your first project together how long have you guys been working together?
FLEMING: I get asked a lot how one moves up into scripted features. Right out of college — I studied film at UC Santa Cruz — I got a job as an intern and then Apprentice editor on a big feature. This is 1996. I worked on that for a year and I saw the assistants weren’t getting a lot of opportunities to cut. There was so much time spent on just the organization and mechanics, so there’s just no time in one’s life to edit.
I decided to leave Hollywood because I wanted to start cutting right away. The idea was to get as far away from the glory as I could, so I went back to the Bay Area, which is where I grew up, and I started working in corporate videos. So I was editing as a full-time career very early on — in my early 20s — not the most impressive work, but at least I was cutting eight hours a day. And then I took that experience and moved closer and closer to Hollywood. I moved to LA and got into editing reality television, did that for seven years, some for MTV. The network was starting to get into scripted: Teen Wolf was one of MTV’s first scripted pilots, and Colby Parker was hired to edit it. He needed a music editor, and the post super — Blaine Williams — was a reality post super who I’d been working with for years, and he thought, “A lot of our reality editors can cut music, so I bet Gabe can do this.” So I was the music editor on the Teen Wolf pilot for just one week, and that’s how Colby and I met.
At the end of the week, he said, “Hey, would you be interested in helping me on this movie Battleship?” So that was my transition. I didn’t know Colby before that. I came to Battleship as a newbie assistant editor with 15 years of full-time editing experience, and I was able to help out with whatever little bits of editing that needed to be done.
After that, I just became indispensable (laughs). They always say that moving up is “opportunity plus preparation.” I had done an incredible amount of preparation. This opportunity was complete luck — but I had those years under my belt cutting. Even if it was cutting garbage, it’s still cutting. I like to think that editing is a quality-agnostic skill. You don’t need to be working on the best material to learn the essential skills of editing. So I tell anybody who’s starting out: “just cut.” Do whatever you can to cut and get the hours in. It’s like playing an instrument. It’s not like riding a bike. It’s like playing an instrument. You’ve got to practice practice practice practice practice.
HULLFISH: That’s exactly my advice to people. And I make that instrument analogy all the time. You wouldn’t expect that you could pick up a violin and play brilliantly the first time. You know that you’ve gotta practice and practice and practice and that’s the only way to get good.
FLEMING: Yep and it feels like — unfortunately the way the assistant editing path has developed once non-linear came along — there’s just not that much of an opportunity to practice in that environment, especially in features. The analogy I make is: “it’s better to be playing piano in a crappy bar down the street than helping out with the piano strings in the symphony.”
HULLFISH: Or turning pages for the symphony piano player.
FLEMING: Yeah exactly.
HULLFISH: Somebody was just emailing me about the fact that they were a reality editor and they want to move into features. What can I do? Having never been a reality editor myself I really didn’t have a lot of advice and they were willing to become an assistant editor and I said it’s really a very different skill being an assistant editor and being an editor. Did you find that there were things you needed to learn on the fly about being an assistant?
FLEMING: Yeah. It is very much a different skill. And I was lucky enough to have other assistants around me that knew what they were doing when I made that transition. I was the second assistant. I wasn’t really in charge of the entire operation which is a monumental task and requires a lot of experience.
Unfortunately, it’s so much about luck and it’s so much about who you know to get into that position and I didn’t really know that many people in the scripted world. I still don’t know that many people in the world of feature filmmaking. I get asked that question all the time by reality editors and by assistants in scripted television, and I never have a good answer because there is no one path. Everybody’s path is different. The only thing I can say is when you get that opportunity — when you get that moment of luck — that you’re ready to grab it because that’s something I do see with a lot of people. They’re not ready to grab it — for whatever psychological reason, or maybe a financial reason, they can’t take that risky jump. It’s scary but you’ve got to do something scary if you want to move into the place you want to work.
HULLFISH: My background is not reality TV, but kind of similar. I worked for The Oprah Winfrey Show for a decade and I did trailers for a while. I worked on a movie trailer — and as you probably know, the trailer editors work from the rough cut of the movie — probably before the director has even touched it, and, because I knew the studio executives and had a long and strong relationship with them, I told them, “I think this movie is terrible, but I think it could be rescued with judicious editing. That was kind of my entry into working on features. And having someone else say, “I can’t work on this film anymore for personal reasons, but there’s this guy — Steve Hullfish — who’s never cut features but I think that he would be great.” And that’s exactly what you’re talking about. When you get the miraculous opportunity, that you are ready to take it. At that point, I’d been an editor for 25 years, but I’d never cut a feature. Just being ready for that opportunity is a huge thing.
FLEMING: That seems to be a consistent story from people. It’s always some random lucky moment. You get a certain number of those in your career — it’s not necessarily only one. You get maybe five over your 40 years of working. And with some of them, you have to know what NOT to take because sometimes the more prestigious projects are not what you should be doing. It’s important to recognize the difference between what you think you’re supposed to do and what you actually should do.
HULLFISH: Sure. You don’t want to take the next Star Wars movie and then realize halfway through it that you are not prepared to edit the next Star Wars movie.
FLEMING: Exactly. Or if you want to do the next Marvel movie, you need to realize that you’re signing up for a huge time commitment and that you’re cognizant of that decision — that’s not for everybody.
HULLFISH: Let’s talk a little about actually making this movie. What was the schedule?
FLEMING: We shot from the end of February until late May or June. Production was about ten or twelve weeks, in London and Bulgaria, and editorial was in London. The director lives in Austin, so we did the director’s cut in Austin for about twelve weeks. It was pretty standard. Ric is a thorough director and there were no big bumps along the road in production. There were no big bumps along the road in our process in putting the film together. We had the usual visual effects delays but otherwise, it was pretty smooth and I think we had a really good film six weeks into the director’s cut.
HULLFISH: So you spent about 12 weeks in London on the editor’s cut then 12 weeks in Austin on the director’s cut?
FLEMING: And then I came back to London for tweaks from the producers, color grade, DI, mix all of that.
Working with Ric is great. He’s a director who during the director’s cut is in the room 10 hours a day, sitting right with me. That’s the first time where I really had a director who was with me the whole time. He’s very specific about what he wants and likes to be there for every moment. It was a good experience.
HULLFISH: Let’s talk about your approach.
FLEMING: I tend to come at it from selects, so I’ll watch everything. I’ll pull selects. And then I will just narrow down from there. Narrow down, narrow down, narrow down. It’s a very time-consuming process. I’m indecisive. I wait to actually cut a scene together until I’m really really really familiar with the footage, which I think is different from a lot of people. For me, the selects process takes about five times as long as the actual editing. Once I’ve narrowed down what I’m liking it just comes together.
HULLFISH: Are you starting that selects process from a KEM roll, where you just put all of every single take in a big giant timeline or are you calling up individual shots and takes from a bin and finding what you like and cutting it into a timeline?
FLEMING: It depends. If it’s a scene where I know that it’s a straight-up dialogue and I know it’s going to be standard cutting — I might have an assistant break it down to a line-string — where it’s different performances next to each other, or I might do it myself. But I keep in mind that when you cut from a line-string as a first step, it has a pro-cut bias.
FLEMING: It just causes you to cut more, so what I’ll usually do if I cut a scene from a line-string from the beginning, I will go through the footage again and find ways to minimize the cutting or find any long chunks that would’ve worked on their own.
But if it’s a scene that’s more documentary style — which is a lot of what I end up doing — then I’ll try to find flows that work and moments that are a little off. What I’m always looking for is something that’s not quite perfect — not so imperfect that it takes you out, but that it feels natural. That is has a little bit of energy and it gives the scene something unexpected. I’m always looking for that and I will cling to those bits and cut a scene around those. Usually, those moments fall out of the cut because something about them doesn’t work, or the performance isn’t quite right. But at least if I start from those I’ll have had a foundation rooted in reality. Trying to get that little feeling of “this might have been a documentary.”
HULLFISH: I want to go back to that line-string idea. That is the danger that line-string. To explain to others — this line-string has a lot of different names but basically, you take the first line of a scene, whatever it is: “Hey Gabriel it’s Steve.” Using every single take and every single setup, you take just that one line and you put it into a sequence back-to-back and then go to the next line and the next line. But because of that, it tends to make you cut more because there is a cut after every line in the line-string.
FLEMING: Exactly. When I do this, I never do individual lines next to each other. It’s always an exchange of at least four. Character A will say his line, then character B followed by A saying another line and then back to B. So I’ll never divide it smaller than that. Because if you just see them individually then you’re seeing them in tiny little chunks. You can’t see the forest for the trees. So I never go down that small.
HULLFISH: When I do a line-string, I usually do it based on blocking. I’ll break things down so an entire scene that’s 90 seconds long, I’ll break it into five pieces or six.
FLEMING: Yes. Also, I try and make the cut point in the line string where I know there’s most likely going to be a cut in the scene. It’s all in an effort to remove the threat of over-cutting.
I find that line-strings are extremely useful for action. Breaking down a scene like a fistfight: I will take just the same four swings: swing, punch, block, punch, swing. I’ll take that chunk from every camera and just put them all next to each other. I won’t necessarily use that for cutting, but it becomes extremely useful after it’s starting to come together to say, “Oh this swing doesn’t really make sense. Ok. This swing from this camera angle gets it a little bit better.” That — to me — makes action sequences come together very naturally and smoothly — when you break it down into its component parts because action sequences are really just very fast storytelling. It’s goal/obstacle goal/obstacle in half a second.
HULLFISH: And those line strings I also find are good for the director when you come to the classic question, “Is that the best take?” And you can easily run through your choices.
FLEMING: Yeah. That accelerates the process a lot.
HULLFISH: Do you have a special way or method of watching dailies.
FLEMING: I usually have my feet up on the desk and just watch in order. Or sometimes I’ll watch the last take first. Depends on my mood. I hear there are some people who can watch multi-cam dailies with both cameras at once. I just can’t. I need to see the full frame to really understand every new nuance of a shot.
HULLFISH: But you do group the clips.
FLEMING: Oh yeah. It’s so rare to work on a project where they’re shooting single camera. There are always two cameras going, and it’s useful to be able to toggle through them. I don’t use the groups that much to cut, but they do need to be grouped because there’s just a lot of use that comes out of that.
HULLFISH: So this is a continuing story of this character, correct?
FLEMING: Yeah it is.
HULLFISH: Did you use prior scores or what did you use for temp?
FLEMING: A lot of what Ric was trying to do with this film was to re-establish the style. I don’t know if you’ve seen the first two, but they’re a pretty popcorn version of this type of movie. What Ric wanted to do is make it gritty and more emotional and more character-based. In terms of the score, we were trying to bring a whole new feel to the franchise. United 93 ended up being our main temp track because we were trying to get as much documentary feel and restraint with the score. So we had a lot of United 93. We had a lot of Sicario – which everybody’s temping with these days. And then also Prisoners.
HULLFISH: That’s a great score. I’ve used that as temp.
FLEMING: Yeah. That’s where we went. The final score — David Buckley, who’s our composer, who’s just such an amazing composer — was much more stripped back. But that was a really good core to start from. So I think when you see it, it really feels a lot different than the first two films. And in the preview audiences, we had a lot of fans of the first two films and they loved it. We were wondering if they were gonna be off-put by how different it was stylistically, but they loved the difference.
HULLFISH: The temp scores you picked are so interesting. I just cut a movie with a ghost and so I’m looking at all these movies with ghosts. United 93 is not one that I would have guessed. Sicario, yes. Prisoners is a go-to for certain tension. United 93 would not have been one that I had would have thought of.
FLEMING: Honestly, it surprised me too. But we started gravitating toward it because we wanted the dialogue scenes to feel as urgent and as documentary-like as we could. And United 93 has this beautiful restrained score because the subject matter required a light touch. That ended up being what we were trying to kind of bring into this film — to get that level of gravitas onto what is essentially a popcorn film — to imbue or heighten that tension of the film that we were making.
HULLFISH: Did you watch the other movies either before your interview or since your interview?
FLEMING: I watched Olympus before the interview and then London after. I cut Patriot’s Day along with Colby Parker, which is a real-life story about a terrorist attack in Boston. And Ric wanted that feel. He wanted to bring that tone and feel to this film. So he said, “I want that editor!” and Colby wasn’t available, so here I am! (laughs)
HULLFISH: That’s a lot of how people get gigs. I definitely have landed jobs because somebody had watched another movie that I’d cut and said, “We called you because of this other movie.”.
FLEMING: Exactly yeah. That’s how one gets typecast in a role. When people like your work then they keep wanting to replicate the same thing. It’s a challenge to get out of that system. But I’m OK with it for now.
HULLFISH: I didn’t see any of the movies you did with Amber Sealey. I’m assuming those films were different.
FLEMING: Those were different, but there is a commonality. Amber’s film A Plus B, which I cut, was very documentary-based. It was about a couple going through a breakup, entirely shot in one apartment. I’ve also written and directed a couple of features and the first feature I did was near the end of 1999, right before the mumblecore movement.
HULLFISH: Oh yeah.
FLEMING: So I was working with the very beginning a digital video, and I was really interested in French new wave at the time, particularly Godard and cinema verite. My approach was to just start shooting my friends and making projects that way. I was doing a lot of documentary verite style stuff. That ended up translating into a lot of what I ended up editing. That’s Peter Berg’s style as well. Friday Night Lights is along those lines. So when I came in to work with him — first through Colby — it all fit together.
I remember my first interview with Pete, he watched the trailer for the second feature I directed, and he said, “OK. Yup. Let’s do this.” But I feel like I maybe get typecast that way in terms of just doing verite documentary style. I would love to do a film one day where the cameras are all on tripods. Maybe a musical or something (laughs).
HULLFISH: It is interesting the typecasting that goes on. Do you think there’s a way to fight that? Maybe you have to go off and do a film that’s maybe not quite as big. Instead of doing the fourth “Fallen” movie, you could go do a little independent where they shoot with tripods.
FLEMING: Two years ago I did a film called Blindspotting which was pretty different. When I jumped onto it, I just thought it would be a fun little indie project, but it ended up getting picked up by Lionsgate. I think it’s about choices. You get offered movies and you get offered interviews and it depends where you are at that moment. Sometimes you just really need a job, so you’ll do what comes up, but it’s about taking risks. It’s about turning things down. I want to expand my palette. And that can be scary sometimes. But, it’s all about what projects you choose to take if you’re lucky enough to get offered multiple projects.
HULLFISH: You mentioned directing — and I even think I saw cinematographer and writer — what did any of those other jobs in the industry bring to your editing or what does your editing bring to those other core skills?
FLEMING: I always feel like I’m an editor first — even in my directing and writing. I think in terms of cuts and I think in terms of how shots are going to work together and how the flow is going to be; how the music is going to work with that. So it’s all holistic to me. I think of it as filmmaking. And there are just different tasks within it. As an editor, I think I bring a director’s attitude. When I’m going into a scene I like to find something about it that excites me, “Oh, I can do this to the scene. I can bring this to the scene.” Or “if I do this in the scene I’m gonna be satisfying this creative expression of my own.” So it’s hard for me to know: What is directing? What is writing? What is editing? because it’s all one piece.
I do know that I bring a certain creative responsibility to things that I’m working on because of my background of directing and because of my background, honestly, in reality television, because in reality television the editor is ultimately responsible for the show. You’re the last stop. You need to deliver. I bring that attitude to scripted.
HULLFISH: There’s that process of cutting the scene together, but then, once you start assembling the entire movie there are the larger decisions that have to happen on a kind of a macro scale of the story. Talk to me about how your writing directing and reality show experience causes you to approach those larger choices.
FLEMING: There is so much writing that happens in the editing process that has to do with structural integrity and the structural flow and also the emotional flow of how the tone of one scene moves into the next. Particularly when you’re working on a film where you’ve got multiple storylines that are overlapping, how that gets put together is extremely important, and so much of that is the editing process. I was surprised by that when I started coming into features — how much could be changed.
HULLFISH: Different than the script.
FLEMING: Yeah. REALLY different than the script! And that responsibility is one that I enjoy.
We’re not going to just say, “This is what the script was.” We’ve got to make this better. We have to make this right. I’m also surprised how much dialogue writing I end up doing during the process with ADR, and how to get one piece of information across extremely efficiently. The wording that needs to go into ADR is so precise, especially when it’s something that you maybe need to overlap with an actor’s lips moving saying something else. I spend a lot of time doing that.
A writing background has been extremely helpful with knowing how structure works, knowing how story flow works and knowing when you can break the rules.
HULLFISH: Do you find that most of the time when something’s not working that it’s not at the scene level but it’s more at the larger structural level? Or are you feeling those things sometimes inside of a scene?
FLEMING: I think it’s both. Usually, in the earlier cuts, you’re leaving the scenes long. You’re leaving them with all of their content or most of their content. And just the length of the scene can have a huge effect on the story as a whole. You can have a scene that you cut four lines out, and suddenly it changes how a scene 10 minutes later behaves because you weren’t slowed down in that earlier section. Finding a flow is such magical alchemy. It’s hard to really say what guidelines there are or what rules. Because you can take out a couple of lines and completely affect the film as a whole. Not from a logical standpoint, but just from an emotional flow.
Finding that is really thrilling, especially when it happens near the end of the process, because often you’ll have a film that’s just a little too bulky — something’s just a little off — and then right towards the end you’ll find something that you never thought of — like “Oh, let’s change this line to this” or “let’s just move this half of the scene over here” and then suddenly everything will just click into place and it’s wonderful when it happens.
HULLFISH: You’ve done a ton of action movies — or several, at least. Is there a key to it? You mentioned that “action is just fast storytelling.”
FLEMING: Action scenes to me are — in a way — the purest form of cinema. You’re not dealing with dialogue necessarily, you’re not dealing with a lot of elements that we borrow from other arts like playwriting and painting and photography. Action is movement and pacing and emotion. And every action scene needs three things that I think often get forgotten: Story, Emotion, and Cool.
Action scenes are really just fast story in that the character has an objective and there is an obstacle in front of them. The objective is to get to that door, but there’s someone in the way who they need to fight their way past. And what often gets forgotten is that the character really just needs to get to that door. They don’t need to fight for fight’s sake. They just need to get to the door. Whenever I approach an action scene I try to keep that in mind. “What are they trying to do?” How do we keep this on track? How do we keep the objective of getting to that door active?
Then the other thing is emotion. Action is very emotional. It’s a high-stress situation that we’re putting these characters in. And every punch doesn’t hurt unless you see someone’s face in pain. You really need to get the emotional through-line. That’s where you get the tension and that’s where you get that adrenaline. It’s from watching people in pain or struggling and seeing that emotional story. I’ve seen this in TV a lot where you get so obsessed with the stunts that they forget to shoot people’s faces to see what they’re going through and to see the pain — their struggle.
And then the last piece of action is the cool factor. That’s something that directors always remember. “What’s the cool thing?” It’s got to be there, but it’s always in service to story and emotion. Once you get those first two, it’s simple.
HULLFISH: The emotion thing is interesting because I was thinking of the Jason Bourne movies and oftentimes the action hero is this consummate professional who tries not to show any emotion, but he always has the non-professional sidekick or partner or person they’re rescuing who is showing the emotion for the audience.
FLEMING: Those films are very high on the cool factor. But Matt Damon is in there suffering. You see him struggling and I think that’s a big part of why those films work. Harrison Ford is amazing at suffering and showing fear. You feel for him.
HULLFISH: Atomic Blonde is another one. You feel her getting hit and kicked and beaten. That’s one where you really feel the pain of the character in the fight.
FLEMING: With fight scenes, I’ll do an “efforts” pass. “Efforts” is the grunting and hard breath and groaning sounds. So I’ll do a pass where I really just try and amp it up and add as much pain as I can, bring as much vulnerability as I can as a temp track, and then we’ll bring the actor in eventually to record the real thing. But just the sound of them hurting helps SO much.
HULLFISH: A lot of people might not realize that a lot of times the production sound for those action scenes is useless.
FLEMING: Yeah. Often they’re concentrating so much on getting the choreography of the fight that it’s hard to bring in the performance at the same time. Gerard Butler has been doing this for a while, so he’s really good at getting in the performance while he’s doing the stunts, but it’s good to amp it up later with some good efforts and some good emotion in the efforts.
HULLFISH: It’s interesting that you’re ADRing those yourself. Do you have a microphone in the edit room?
FLEMING: iPhones. I just beat myself up and I roll around and I try to sound as pathetic as possible. Sometimes that stuff stays in.
HULLFISH: I cut a movie called Courageous and there was a big fight scene and the producer and I went outside in the grass outside the edit bay with my H4N Zoom and recorded the punches and grunts and rolling around, cloth sounds and whatever we could do before the professionals come in and do it.
FLEMING: And often when the professionals do it you have to really encourage them to NOT sound tough — to sound vulnerable because there’s a lot of macho in fight scenes and the more vulnerable your stars sound, the more tension there is. The more emotional it is.
HULLFISH: That is a great little nugget to go out on. I want to thank you so much for your time and the generosity of chatting with me.
The first 50 interviews in the series provided the material for the book, “Art of the Cut: Conversations with Film and TV Editors.” This is a unique book that breaks down interviews with many of the world’s best editors and organizes it into a virtual roundtable discussion centering on the topics editors care about. It is a powerful tool for experienced and aspiring editors alike. Cinemontage and CinemaEditor magazine both gave it rave reviews. No other book provides the breadth of opinion and experience. Combined, the editors featured in the book have edited for over 1,000 years on many of the most iconic, critically acclaimed and biggest box office hits in the history of cinema.
Delivering both protection and comfort in a new compact size, the MindShift PhotoCross 13 backpack expands a family of backpacks that started with the larger PhotoCross 15.
Photographers never seem to get tired of solutions to carry their gear, and that explains why companies continue to release new models. I’ve amassed an ample collection of backpacks, shoulder bags, hip or belt packs, and I continue to be excited with some new models, even if, sometimes, I don’t know why or how I would use them. Not this MindShift PhotoCross 13, which from where I see it fits the bill as an ideal solution for those who want to travel extremely light, or anyone who needs a backpack for a day trip.
While I will use a big backpack if I am going to a workshop – I’ve used a large StreetWalker HardDrive V2.0 which I nicknamed “Little School”, to carry gear needed for those sessions – or will pick the MindShift Rotation 180 if I want to “move and shoot”, I love small backpacks for many of my scouting trips, because they are easier to carry and make you pack the minimum gear to get the job done. Now, it is not always easy to get smaller backpacks that are both comfortable, easy to access and offer just the space needed for a day trip. The MindShift PhotoCross 13, with 12 liters capacity – the PhotoCross 15 has 20 liters – seems just adequate and the kind of backpack I would not mind using for one day journeys.
A compact solution that will help you carry less
Think Tank Photo has two other models in the PhotoCross family that offer similar or even less capacity, but they are sling bags, a solution that I do not like. The PhotoCross 13 (the number reflects the laptop size it can hold) is, as far as I can see browsing through Think Tank Photo collections, the first 12 liters capacity backpack, and a welcome solution, I believe, for those who have waited for a small backpack to protect their gear on outdoor adventures. It will also help you “learn” how to carry less, an important discipline when you carry all your gear on your back.
According to the information from Think Tank Photo, the MindShift PhotoCross 13 fits an ungripped DSLR or Mirrorless body, 3–5 lenses including a 70–200mm f/2.8 detached and up to a 13” laptop. Fully-customizable interior dividers for photo or personal gear allow users to configure the available space the way that better fits their needs. With internal zippered pockets for batteries, memory cards, and other accessories, and a front pocket perfectly suited for filters, snacks or a light layer, the PhotoCross 13 offers plenty of storage options. And of course there’s the ability to carry a tripod or larger jacket with the included straps.
Extra large access point
Available in two colorways, Orange Ember and Carbon Grey, the PhotoCross 13 features waterproof zippers and is constructed from durable, abrasion-resistant materials, including a heavy-duty tarpaulin bottom panel. Wide, body-conforming shoulder straps give superior support for long days on the trail, and the wide, removable waist belt and breathable 320G air-mesh back panel will keep you comfortable and cool, says Think Tank Photo.
“The PhotoCross 13 backpack delivers uncompromising protection and comfort, while offering fast and intuitive gear access,” said Doug Murdoch, Think Tank CEO and Lead Designer. “As with the larger PhotoCross 15 backpack and PhotoCross slings before it, the incorporation of a waterproof, tarpaulin base and weatherproof zippers and materials demonstrates how Think Tank continues to offer the protection, comfort, and innovation that our customers require.”
Priced at $ 149.99, the MindShift PhotoCross 13 backpack is the solution I would pick if I was buying gear for the Fall and Winter coming next. It’s always important to get a carrying solution that protects your gear when out braving the elements. The PhotoCross 13 is built to withstand the elements, yet comfortable enough to wear on long days in the field, says Think Tank Photo. Another aspect I appreciate is that the extra large side access point gives you complete access to your gear when you’re ready to take the shot. Backpacks have come a long way since I first started using them.
Nikon continues to expand the potential of its new mirrorless full frame Z cameras, with the introduction of a dedicated 3D LUT for N-Log. An update to RAW video output is next!
The most recent news from Nikon for its Z6 and Z7 comes in the form of a dedicated LUT (lookup table), introduced now for both cameras. While Nikon’s legacy in color science delivers, says the company, “an appealing palette and tones”, this free upgrade takes color control to the next level,allowing greater creative control in post-production.
For even more flexibility, the dedicated LUT available for Nikon’s N-Log is compatible with the Rec. 709 color space and is available in several versions, allowing users to easily apply different looks to their content. This 3D LUT is a preset of RGB color values, used to transform the appearance of video footage in post-production color grading, and enables adjustment of brightness, saturation and hue.
The Nikon Z 7 and Z 6’s N-Log HDMI output is optimized for 10-bit recording, bringing out the image sensor’s full dynamic range. It records rich gradation information in highlights and shadows to allow for more flexible color grading. To download the LUT free of charge, please visit the following links:
Further adding to the Z series’ capabilities for professional and advanced video creators, Nikon also announced that a new update will be available for the Z series cameras, which will enable the support of RAW video output from the camera when using a compatible ATOMOS Ninja V digital recorder.
Update to RAW video output
Scheduled to arrive later this year, the output RAW data stream will enable recording in ProRes RAW video format on the Ninja V 4K HDR monitor/recorder made by ATOMOS, Nikon’s collaborator in developing RAW video output technology. RAW video files provide the richest information, just like still image RAW data.
By bringing even more flexibility to post-production color grading, RAW video output support firmly places the Nikon Z series as an affordable contender for professional-level production and filmmaking of any scale. This feature will require an additional internal upgrade that will need to be performed at a local Nikon service center, which will incur a service charge.
For more information about 3D LUT and ProRes RAW and the advanced video capabilities of the Nikon Z series mirrorless cameras, visit Nikon’s website.
Whose domain is in your RSS feed: yours or somebody else’s? Of course, for your own benefit it should only be your own. And the domain registrar should be completely independent from your hosting company or hosting companies. Otherwise, the conflict of interest that would arise upon any dispute or sudden expulsion would be like hiring your spouse —a lawyer— to represent you in your own divorce. The only way to be absolutely sure to retain existing podcast subscribers is to own your own domain and use it as the basis of your RSS feed. This ebook will explain why RSS is essential for syndication on platforms like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, RadioPublic, TuneIn and more, and why it must be totally under your own control. This ebook will also compare 4 options where you can accomplish all of this on a single server, be it a “podcast host” or a standard website host, including the costs, primary advantages and disadvantages of each.
Here’s the table of contents:
What’s an RSS, in general and in podcasting?
Why Branded RSS?
Why 301 redirect is not enough
Two dedicated podcasts hosts that offer Branded RSS, and how they differ
Hosting on a marketed podcast host versus a standard web server
How to handle stats if not on a “podcast host”
Squarespace self-hosted podcasting with a Branded RSS?
Cost comparison when the same server host is used for everything
The bottom line, depending upon your current situation
The new Panasonic LUMIX S1H, the world’s first camera capable of video recording at 6K/24p, offers professional cinema quality with mirrorless mobility. Panasonic reveals the complete list of specifications today.
Panasonic’s livestream to announce the new Panasonic LUMIX S1H happens today at 10 a.m. PDT, and if you want to have a front-row seat, just follow the link to the YouTube presentation. While it is not known if Panasonic will have other products to announce, the LUMIX S1H will, no doubt, be the highlight of the presentation streamed directly from the Dolby Vine Theater, in Hollywood, Los Angeles.
This is a LUMIX Live event, and it will be the moment for Panasonic to reveal the complete list of specifications of the new camera. We’ve revealed before some of the key features of the camera, but there is still some mystery surrounding the final specifications of this model. While forums online go wild with comments about where this model fits, with the recent announcements from Blackmagic Design Pocket 6K camera, the Sigma fp and others, and some suggest this is nothing more than a full frame GH5, only Panasonic’s presentation will let the world know what the S1H really is.
Waiting for the LUMIX S1H
As we wrote before, the LUMIX S1H appears to be the sum of all the ideas previously suggested by rumors: it is not a GH6, but it does bring back the H that seems to be a sign of its “hybrid” qualities; it is not a true cinema camera, but it does borrow from Panasonic’s professional line enough features for its footage to be, as the company says, compatible with V-Log footage from VariCam and, on the other end, the LUMIX GH5/GH5S. It’s as if Panasonic is pointing the way to those used to the MFT models who may want to step up to a full frame sensor. It will be interesting to see how the market answers to this video-centric model, as Panasonic reveals mode detail about the camera.
The multipurpose RØDECaster Pro mixer/recorder/player continues to innovate. The Australian manufacturer just announced a new firmware update. The 2.0 update adds over 25 new features to the already powerful device. All RØDECaster Pro will be able to update free via a download. One that I’ve been anticipating since the beginning is the new Transfer Mode, which finally allows accessing the RØDECaster Pro’s internal recordings from an external computer, instead of having to “sneaker-netting” the microSD card. Ahead you’ll be able to watch a video and read about all of the improvements.
Link to my prior RØDECaster Pro articles and audio recordings
Click here to access my prior RØDECaster Pro articles and audio recordings.
RØDECaster Pro 2.0 video
The above video is supplied by RØDE. The RØDECaster Pro costs US$599 (B&H link).
RODECaster Pro 2.0 announcement from RØDE
One of the most common requests RØDE has had from users is the ability to access recordings stored on the microSD card directly from the unit without having to take the card out and putting it into a computer. That’s what the ‘Podcast Transfer Mode’ allows you to do – it essentially turns your RØDECaster Pro into a microSD card reader. (Thank you RØDE. I would have called it simply the ‘Transfer Mode’. In my opinion, the word “podcast” here is grossly inappropriate, but I am glad you added the Transfer Mode.)
To access, choose Settings > Hardware > microSD Card and enable ‘Podcast Transfer Mode’. Once enabled, the microSD card will appear in the Finder on a Mac or File Explorer on Windows. You can also use the companion app to access and manage files as before. Note that when the RØDECaster is in ‘Podcast Transfer Mode’ all other functionality is disabled.
New sound pad functionality (virtual carts)
When you download the firmware, you will notice there is a new sound pad playback indicator button on the home screen of your RØDECaster. This icon indicates (by color) which sound pad is currently playing, as well as how much time that pad has before the sound ends. If you have multiple pads playing at once, the icon will show the pad that will end soonest.
This icon is also a handy shortcut to the sound pad configuration screen. The new firmware allows you to modify settings that you could previously only accessed in the companion app, such as color-coding the pads and setting the playback mode.
There is also a new playback mode called “Pause” – this allows you to pause playback by pressing the pad. The pad will blink to indicate its paused. To resume, press the pad again. To stop, press and hold the pad.
Lastly, you can now store up to 8 banks of sounds (64 in total)! Super handy if you produce multiple podcasts or your show is very sound-focused. Keep in mind that these populate dynamically – a new bank is added each time you fill up the preceding bank.
New live broadcast features
We’ve also added a number of features for those of you who are using the RØDECaster Pro in a broadcast context – live Internet radio, video streaming and so on. These features accessed via the new ‘Audio’ screen (Settings > Hardware > Advanced > Audio).
First of all, we’ve added a few features when it comes to using the RØDECaster Pro’s monitor outputs. You can now disable the main output level control knob (Monitor Outputs > Disable Level Knob). This will bypass the level control entirely, defaulting to standard line level regardless of the position of the control knob. This is particularly handy if you are using the monitor output to feed into a recorder or live stream and want to make sure you don’t accidentally change the level.
There is also a button to automatically mute the monitor outputs when faders are open to prevent feedback when using monitors (Monitor Outputs > Automatically Mute Outputs).
Another new feature that is commonly found on broadcast consoles is the ability to switch the solo button to enable pre-fade listen mode (Channels > Enable Pre-Fade Listen). When engaged, the ‘host’ (headphone output 1) be able to will hear what is coming out of that channel at unity gain, even if the fader is completely down. This is perfect for previewing the volume or content of a channel before fading it into a recording.
Finally, the ‘host’ (channel 1) can now speak with callers on the USB, Smartphone and Bluetooth channels without the conversation being recorded or going to the monitor outputs. To enable this, press both the Solo and Mute buttons on channel 1, then both the Solo and Mute buttons on any of the channels you want to speak to (can be multiple channels if you have multiple callers).
Last but not least, the RØDECaster Pro’s audio processing engine has been tweaked to make your podcasts sound even better!
RØDECaster Pro companion app updates: Saving ‘Shows’ and Settings
One awesome new feature in the companion app is the ability to save and load ‘Shows’. A ‘Show’ is basically a snapshot of your RØDECaster Pro: settings, sounds, everything. These can be saved on your computer and re-loaded at any time in the future. Super handy if you produce a couple of different podcasts or your RØDECaster is being used by multiple people. This also means that you can load a ‘Show’ from one RØDECaster Pro to another – very useful if you have a studio with multiple RØDECasters!
To save a ‘Show’ in the companion app, head to the menu bar and choose File > Save Show. You can also save/load settings on their own (not the sounds) by clicking File > Advanced > Save/Load Settings.
The RØDECaster Pro and companion app now communicate in real-time! This means that any changes made in the app will be reflected on the RØDECaster Pro immediately and vice versa. This is especially useful when using the companion app to configure the sound pads.
Factory sounds can now be restored via the app (File > Restore Factory Sounds) and the app now has the option to automatically sync the date and time between the RØDECaster and the host computer (File > Advanced > Automatically Sync Time To Computer).
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Save US$20 on Google Fi, my favorite mobile telephony and data service
One of my favorite service for broadcasting live via is Google Fi. Click here to save US$20 on Google Fi, which now works on iPhone and Android. With Google Fi (covered previously in several articles), there is no extra charge for data-only SIM cards on the same account, for up to 10 devices. You only pay for the total data, and data is free after 6 GB per month. So you could be using one Google FI SIM card on your primary phone, another in a tablet or secondary phone (or third, of fourth…).
No manufacturer is specifically paying Allan Tépper or TecnoTur LLC to write this article or the mentioned books. Some of the other manufacturers listed above have contracted Tépper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. Many of the manufacturers listed above have sent Allan Tépper review units. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur , BeyondPodcastingCapicúaFM or TuRadioGlobal programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs. Allan Tépper’s opinions are his own. Allan Tépper is not liable for misuse or misunderstanding of information he shares.
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