Tricks of the Trade

A major benefit of working with experienced crew is seeing their methods to get work done quickly. When making films at school or with inexperienced friends you muddle through learning by trial and error. I cut a film recently and had a lot of trouble with a sequence. I was cutting at home on Adobe Premier Pro.

Everytime I came up with a new solution for the sequence I made a copy of the previous and searched through the bins (stored rushes) looking for clips to find what most appropriately matched what I was trying to do. i.e. at one point I was looking for longer pauses and looks between characters to highlight the growing tension.
I found working this way exhausting. By the time I had gone through the bins and selected what I was looking for, I had wasted so much energy I couldn’t concentrate on what I wanted to do in the first place. I was constantly side tracked and looking through useless clips that had ok sections but also included bad camera work and poor performances.
I found myself loose enthusiasm for the project and waste time with this bad organisation.
I recently watched Billy cut a music video out of work hours on a similar package. For each take he made a new video track and he thoroughly watched through his rushes and cut out any sections no matter how small where he was dubious about performance or camera. This meant from now on he was only dealing with useable footage. Also, having all that information visible on the track doesn’t mean you are looking though the original source material in bins all the time. This makes working that little bit quicker and smoother.
Jill also is very thorough in her selects. Carefully going through rushes and making edits with all her favourite clips. Meaning she can quickly find an alternative shot that is suitable without constantly traipsing through inappropriate footage. This organisation means that she can concentrate on her creative decisions, making her work immediate and less tiring for unnecessary reasons.
It sounds obvious because it is and I probably should have realised lessons like this for myself, as I knew there was a problem with how I was working. The fact is I didn’t know how to fix it and working in the cutting rooms picking up techniques like this make my time here invaluable.

6 thoughts on “Tricks of the Trade

  1. hi karen…
    Tricks of the TRADE…fantastic title for this blog entry…
    as a writer and a film maker, what i constantly concentrate on is WHAT STORY I AM TELLING? and once this one factor is in place, the whole circus of the management automatically falls in place for me. because some how it gives me inner strength to fight the daily battles of the management and stuff. and my experience is that once i know from inside that the story i am telling is worth telling then automatically all the people who contribute to it later, form their own systematic work culture.
    i strongly feel that the work pattern created by Jill or Bill or Shekhar and many more experinced people around you is not just to make the whole process easy. but more over that the work pattern created by these experinced people comes out of their INNER VISION about life and then the project. and thats what makes the whole difference! Craftsmanship can be taught, not the art. aesthetics has the rules, not the aesthetic sense!
    it was great to read about Bill’s working style while he cut the music video. next time when you will edit you will sense you are using all the techniques for something more rather than just making editing process easy. since you know the tricks of the trade you will be more comfortable to play with the technique hence forth.
    it was nice to read this entry. you were actually cutting closer to the bone this time.
    e.g. (fictional example) 1.i am a bad cook. i went to see my Grandma. she taught me how to make a Chapati(indian bread)
    2. i am a bad cook. i went to see my grandma, she taught me how to make a Chapati. while she was teaching me i noticed she was talking about how grandpa used to love her cooking.
    3. i am a bad cook. i went to see my grandma, she taught me how to make a chapati. while she was teaching me i noticed she was talking about how grandpa used to love her cooking. i could see her eyes were full of tears.
    4.i am a bad cook. i went to see my grandma, she taught me how to make a chapati. while she was teaching me i noticed she was talking about how grandpa used to love her cooking. i could see her eyes were full of tears. a tear drop fell down and got mixed with a Chapati.
    ……………………….. i am going to be a good cook now.
    i appreciate your efforts to take out time and put entries on this blog. keep adding more. waiting to hear more from you. thank you for sharing your experinces. take care…tata…kedar…
    PS: diary of a technician is never interesting. diary of an observant technician is bit interesting. and diary of a technician who sees the world with a heart and expresses it with a mind is always out an out interesting.

  2. Wow, you described the process’s very well Karen!!
    I’m willing to bet there will be many more significant lessons you’ll learn, working with this team!
    This all sounds interesting.. I wish I could see it all in action rather than description!
    with loving kindness,

  3. Hello “Shekhar et all” how are things coming along? It’s been weeks without an update, so I am assuming the pace has quickened, and time of the essence?
    So very much, looking forward to the release!!
    with loving kindness,

  4. i absolutely cannot wait for this movie. To all of those involved in this, Mr. Shekhar in particular: thank you so much for graciously allowing us to vicariously experience the intricate and exciting cinematic process. Clearly, everyone working on this is briliant–a convergence of incredible talent, indeed! Please do continue to update. All the best. 🙂

  5. Yes…it’s very refreshing to see something from an observers standpoint – I can understand the sense of being humbled and of forgetting oneself in the process of learning – which we tend to forget or lose over time, unless, as you point out in an earlier blog – we make a concerted effort to remain aware..
    So many people (myself included) enter the industry almost world weary, especially if they have made their “own” films – and are unable to learn because they think they know everything already or don’t have mentors who they can observe – I certainly never did..

  6. Dear Shekhar, Staff & Crew!!
    Where is everybody? Hard at work?
    Just stopping by, for the 100th time(ok, an exhaggeration!) to see if anything new is posted…
    comlain, complain
    whine, whine
    aw, fooey!
    (oops, did I say all that out loud?)

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