Future Media Concepts Presents: Editing Tech 101

Heavily involved in many aspects of post-production, Word Wizards realizes that editing is where the magic begins. And choosing the right editing software for your project—Adobe Premiere, Avid or Final Cut—is essential. A huge thank you goes out to TIVA who recently sponsored an incredibly informative panel discussion at Future Media Concepts, Comparing Editing Platforms, which addressed the issue. Panelist included three talented editors, Virginia Quesada, Sylus Green and Matthew Nagy. Attendees spent half an hour with each editor to learn about their preferred editing software.

Avid Media Composer:

Avid editing platform.

 

Virginia Quesada a well-known trainer and editor at Future Media Concepts demonstrated Avid Media Composer. She explained that the software easily handles transcoding and consolidation. And how the software efficiently cleans movie files and copies them for editing. According to Quesada, Avid Media Composer imports and accommodates footage from the 4K camera without difficulty while the point tracker effects allows you to simply and seamlessly change the frame of an object within an image. The corrective effects like color correction are smooth are easy to use by editors of all levels.

Adobe Premiere

Adobe-Premier

Editor Matt Nagy explained why he is such a big fan of Adobe Premier. The importation of files by the software does not require transcode and works with most formats. Premiere also plays seamlessly with the rest of the Adobe family of products including Photoshop or After Effects. For example, an audio clip you are adjusting in Premiere can be dropped into Adobe Audition for tweaking then returned to Premiere.  And the warp stabilizer that smoothes out your footage gives more of a steady cam look. Important to note: Adobe offers comprehensive support for camera formats and plugins immediately after release.

Final Cut Pro

Final-Cut-Pro

Editor Sylus Green explained that Final Cut Pro Version X is very different from Version 7 and this has frustrated many users since it was missing some features they had become used to. Because of the criticism, Apple returned some of the functionality that editors demanded into the program through updates. This included reinstating features such as multicam editing, XML support, Red camera support with native REDCODE Raw Editing and editing individual audio channels right into the timeline.  And the cost of FCP X at $299 is less expensive when compared to other editing software. Green praised the keyword and smart collection tool in FCP X that aids searches, and is a favorite among documentary makers. The retiming tools of X allow you to manually affect the speed of a clip by simply dragging a bar over it. In FCP X the multi-cam editor easily and quickly syncs your work, a big change from the clunky FCP 7.

The Perfect Fit for You

While each of the different software had their own strengths, there were a few downsides. Instead of simply purchasing the software, with Adobe you must subscribe on a monthly basis to use all the features. However, Adobe, Avid and Apple all allow you try their software for a trial period. Different editors like different features, so try before you buy!

 




Returning Marines Find New Careers In Media

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With Memorial Day soon upon us, our thoughts go to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty to defend our country. I’ve also been thinking about those other brave individuals who fight in combat and are wounded but are able to make it home back to the U.S. What are they supposed to do when they get back after seeing all the chaos of war and how are they supposed to get used to a regular life again? Fortunately, there are some truly great organizations that are more than happy to help train these individuals in new lines of work so they can start to rebuild their lives. One of these groups is the Wounded Careers Marine Foundation whose media boot camp trains returning and wounded marines for new careers in video and media production.

Learning To Shoot Video

Documentary filmmaker Kev Lombard first had the idea to start the program when he was asked to film the stories of wounded veterans at military hospitals in 2006. He wanted to teach them how to tell their stories and decided to partner with his wife Judith Paixao to create the program. The couple uses a mix of corporate and private donations to fund the media course which is composed of two weekly sessions that both last ten weeks. The Wounded Careers Marine Foundation Media Program is headquartered in a camouflage-painted building on a San Diego production lot. While the expectation isn’t to turn out the next great film visionary like Martin Scorsese or Steven Spielberg, the aim is to give these heroic veterans the proper skills to become a camera or boom operator and earn a well-paying job.

Expert Advice

Students learn all about the production and video business from 30 film professionals who are happy to pass on their knowledge. Some of the teachers include Amy Lemisch of the California Film Commission, Barry Green, an Emmy award-winning producer and Levie Issaaks, a Vietnam war veteran who is now an Emmy award-winning director of photography with work that includes Malcom in the Middle. These instructors have the veterans use equipment such as Panasonic HD Camcorders and MacBook Pros to learn skills such as editing, cinematography, lighting and sound design. The students learn nuts-and-bolts coursework that leaves them with solid skills not found in many college film schools, almost like an apprenticeship. Word Wizards Inc. thinks these kinds of programs are great since they really give back to those who have sacrificed a lot to fight for our country.

 




48 Hour Film Project

48 Hour Logo

Just A Weekend

As most of us know creating a film, even a short film, weather it’s a documentary or something more fictional, takes a lot of time. First you have come up with a concept, get funding somehow, get a crew, shoot the production and then edit and do the rest of post-production. This whole process usually takes a minimum of several months, if not years, for some of the most basic films. Now, imagine trying to do an entire short film, from conception to post-production all in one 48-hour span of time. That is the challenge of the 48 Hour Film Project, where teams have just two days to create an entire story using just a prop, theme and line of dialogue. DC’s annual 48-hour film project was the weekend of May 5th and with other 48-hour film projects taking place across the globe on various other dates.

Mark Ruppert

A Humble Beginning

The Project got its start in May, 2001 when local filmmaker Mark Ruppert came up with the idea to have an experimental competition where teams would have to make a complete short film in 48 hours. He enlisted his film-making partner Liz Langston and several small teams who thought  the idea sounded fun and challenging. Today the project takes place in more than 120 cities around the world, such as Las VegasChicago, Rome and Beijing, and involves many teams, who altogether make up more than 60,000 thousand people. The smallest team was one man who set up a camera and then was in the film, and the largest group was a team from Albuquerque with 116 people and 30 horses.

It’s All About Action

The mission of the Project is refreshingly simple: don’t think, just do!!! The very short time limit encourages creativity and teamwork skills and spurs people to give it their all. It’s through this intense process that the creators of the project hope to promote filmmakers and advance filmmaking. Personally, as someone who worked on a team for DC 48 hour film project on May 5th, I can attest just how challenging and chaotic the process can be. It takes a lot of patience and nerve to make it through one of these films—and a true passion for film—to consistently come back to the project year after year.

48 Hour Trophy

The Process and Prizes

There are a few guidelines that filmmakers have to follow when making their short film. At the Friday party that kicks off the project, each team is randomly assigned a theme, a line and prop that must appear in their short film. Apart from those specifications, they make whatever type of piece they want. The finished pieces need to be complete two days later, that Sunday by 7 pm at a drop off party. The following weekend, the films are screened at AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring over the course of four nights. There are prizes for films that are voted the best and these prizes include best writing, best director and best editing among others. There’s a also an international grand prize which nets the winner $5,000. Ten of the best films of the 2013 tour are going to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner in 2014.

 

 

 




Need a Little Help With that Documentary?

All Rights Reserved

While to many outsiders i.e. people not in the media or video production biz, making a documentary or any kind of media production may seem like fun, we video professionals know just how much hard grueling work is involved in even the most basic media. Not only are there a seemingly impossible number of steps you have to go through but obviously you want to make sure you’re doing it well. Working in a documentary rich community like the one here in the D.C. Metro area is enormously helpful because of the sheer number of professionals who strive to help each other out. Through each step of the process from conception and story boarding to filming, principle photography and finally editing, transcription and logging there is someone wanting to collaborate with you and make your work that much better. One of these people Adele Schmidt is definitely worth getting to know.

Adele Schimdt brings a decade and a half of valuable experience with her in that time has produced, edited and directed more than 6 long form award winning documentaries. Not only have these documentaries all been shown on National Public Television, they have also participated in over 50 national and international film festivals. So the fact Adele has become a well known documentary coach should surprise no one. She loves helping guide people through the process of making their film and is incredibly passionate about making sure new projects succeed.

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As a coaching consultant, Adele guides filmmakers in all stages of the documentary process. She works with them on research, helping them decide which talking heads and research to utilize. During the production and shooting process she loves to give them pointers and tips on how to create the best possible looking film. Finally during the editing phase, Adele helps filmmakers polish their work so that it absolutely shines. She is a firm believer in transcripts with time code and has referred Docs makers to Word Wizards, Inc. in the past. In addition to personal coaching, she also teaches a number of workshops and seminars during the year around the DC area.

In fact, she has an upcoming seminar on April 20th entitled “Finished My Documentary, What’s Next?” During the seminar Adele will present the first case study using her film Romantic Warriors – A Progressive Music Saga I and II. She will explain how the film has successfully self-financed itself via DVD by targeting social media campaigns and self distribution. Filmmakers will be able to learn the right techniques and methods in reaching the widest possible audience for their projects. To learn more about the seminar, check it out here: http://bit.ly/102sl76

To learn more about Adele and her consulting work, check out out some of these links:

 

 

 




Silver Spring on Screen

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The local DC production and video community is responsible for some truly terrific programs that come out of this area. The big question that comes across many people’s minds is how will the next generation of professionals learn vital film making skills? Luckily there are quite a few organizations such as Docs in Progress that are trying to educate y0uth about the production and film business. Docs in Progress, a non-profit organization based in Silver Spring, seeks to cultivate this talent by offering a variety of classes, screenings, workshops and discussion groups to help celebrate talent in the realm of documentary film. The organization, directed by Erica Ginsberg, aims to provide resources for all filmmakers in all areas whether that be in conception, pre-production, filming, and vital post production topics such as editing, logging and transcribing.

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One of the more interesting community engagement projects they have going on is called Silver Spring Stories. The suburb known as Silver Spring, HQ of Docs In Progress, has undergone impressive redevelopment in the past few decades and has become home to a unique assortment of institutions, organizations, artists, merchants and residents. Docs in progress is trying to capture these stories by having emerging documentary filmmakers of all ages capture them in short 3 – 5 minute videos. Some of the subjects taped include the Maryland Youth Ballet, Tastee Diner, the Gandhi Brigade and the brand new civic center.

Gandhi Brigade

 

Filmmakers are given a choice of different places and people to profile and are then given free reign to document them utilizing the skills they have learned from various workshops and training. They embark in this film making journey and go through all the main stages from writing the pitches, interviewing subjects to cutting it in post production. This work provides incredibly valuable hands on training and Docs in Progress thinks it’s important because of its two fold nature. Not only is it a great way to educate new film makers but also allows them to document a storied and historic community like Silver Spring.

For more info and if interested, check out their site at: http://docsinprogress.org/silver-spring-stories/

Also check out some samples of thier work here: http://www.youtube.com/docsinprogress

 

 

 

 




Word Wizards Salutes Richard Harrington, A Wizard of Digital Video

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Every once in a while Word Wizards likes to shine the spotlight on some of our fellow video professionals in the DC media community to showcase some of the truly talented individuals we have around us. Today we’re going to be taking a look at Richard Harrington, CEO of RHED Pixel, editing expert, producer, prolific writer and podcast master. His personal philosophy to communicate, motivate, create is a great indicator of Richard’s strong desire to create media with the power to truly inspire and impact others.

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Richard’s first experience in the realm of media occurred when he used magnets to rearrange the picture tube on his family’s tv at the age of seven. After graduating from college with a dual degree in production and reporting  Richard starting out working in the newsroom but after a few years grew tired of the grind. He and his soon to be wife moved to the Washington D.C area where he received his masters in project management. Richard decided to strike out on his own in 1999 and opened Richard Harrington Video which later became RHED Pixel as it grew.

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The goal that Richard founded the company with and still continues to do today is utilizing the latest digital video tools to bring the best quality media production to the largest possible audience. RHED Pixel does an amazingly varied portfolio of work which includes graphic design, video production for all types of projects, interactive multimedia, quick time virtual reality and 3D Motion work. Always on the forefront of technology, RHED Pixel has made podcasting the latest addition to their arsenal of products. Podcasting is the art of making a form of video, usually episodic content, that people subscribe to and download often through web syndication or stream via the web to a computer or mobile device. A prime example would be the program Mommycast which began life as an audio only series in 2005 and soon was getting over one million downloads a week.  Seeing a great opportunity, RHED Pixel stepped “in to” help make it a fully video podcast.

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Aside from founding and running RHED Pixel, Richard has a number of other impressive feats under his belt. He is an accomplished author, having written a number of guides and training books for  photoshop, aftereffects, final cut pro, producing video podcasts and apple training. His friendly attitude, passion for multi media and video work as well as his renowned expertise have also made him a popular speaker on the digital video circuit. As an avid tech, gadget and sci-fi fan Richard loves to know about the next big thing and firmly believes these technologies are the key to bringing important messages to the masses. In his spare time, he loves to travel, share his love of comic books with his kids and volunteer with different media production organizations such as the Television, Internet and Video Association or TIVA.

 

Be sure to check out his blog at: http://www.richardharringtonblog.com/ 

Also check out RHED Pixel at: http://www.rhedpixel.com/

 

 

 

 




New Service Launch: CloudScript – Transcript Media Player

Early this month, Word Wizards began introducing our existing clients and friends to our new service, CloudScript. CloudScript is a simple tool that allows a user to sync a transcript with time code to a media player. In seconds you can have a transcript that allows you to click on any time code in the document and jump immediately to that point in time.

CloudScript - Transcript Media Player

Professional Applications:

Here is a scenario, your writing a final script before sending your raw footage to editing. You have found a quote in your transcript that says exactly what you need it to say. Under normal circumstances, you would have to pull up a media player, and use the scrub bar to manually locate the point in time that your transcript says will contain that video clip. Once you find that spot, you need to somehow figure out if that audio and video is consistent with the rest of your production. There is no easy way to do this for a few or  especial hundreds of independent clips, well there WAS no easy way, until CloudScript came along.

Instant Media Referencing

CloudScript enables you to instantly jump to any time stamp in your transcript. No more scrubbing through hours of footage looking and listening for that perfect shot and or sound byte, its all right there and its FAST! Furthermore, say you took a look and listen to that quote you wanted and the audio was no good, or there were clouds in the sky and it wont work with the rest of the clips from that shot. Well using the “find” function, you can simply search for any keyword or phrase your interested in and quickly identify every part of your raw footage that is related to what your looking for. With just one click, you can see and hear everything that may contain what you need, now that is what we call optimized workflow.

Create and Study Rough Edits

Continuing with our example, you have identified a sequence of ten clips that tell your story the way you want it to, but your no sure the audio and video will flow with continuity and consistency because your ten clips are shot over 10 hours of raw interviews. All you have to do is copy the  time stamps you think are the best into a text file, and run it through CloudScript again. You have just created a rough cut that lets you click on each time stamp in the sequence and easily get a feeling for what the edited sequence would look like. Because CloudScript is subscription based, you can use it as many times as you want as long as your membership is still valid.

Additional Features

CloudScript allows you to sync a transcript with video hosted on the internet. Say you put up footage of an important conference on your website for people to see. Using CloudScript you can create jump points to any time in the footage. This allows you to create “chapters” in online video that can be hosted on your website. Say there were 10 speakers over 8 hours. Simply run your transcript through CloudScript and you can generate clickable links to the beginning of each speaker’s presentation.

CloudScript does not require uploads or downloads of the actual media files to work, that’s how it does its job so fast. All you have to do is simply provide your local file path for the media and upload the time coded transcript saved as a simple text file. Within 5 seconds you receive a media synced transcript that opens in your browser, and with your subscription you can use it over and over again!

Sign Up Now For A Free Trial

Want to see for yourself? Head on over to The CloudScript Homepage and check out our Demo video. If your interested you can sign up for a free trial and test it out yourself. So what are you waiting for, join the 21st century already and optimize your workflow!




Final Cut X vs. Adobe Premier: What is the future?

Here at Word Wizards, some of us are passionately involved in a silent love affair with Apple products and software. The mac users among us have grown to rely on the unparalleled speed and incorruptibility of Apple based desktops and cinematic size monitors. I personally prefer to do my work on my MacBook Pro, which is synced and linked to all of my professional agendas, activities, contacts and projects. For streamlined, cross-platform integration, Apple is clearly the champ for pros and average Joes alike.

Apple has a unique way of providing software products that are easy to use for the novice and yet loaded with powerful tools for the professional user. Here at Word Wizards, we have been utilizing the advanced features of the Final Cut Pro video editing software for a long time. Using the previous version, Final Cut Pro 7, we even pioneered a completely new service for our customers called Video Logging Interactive (VLI). Using our proprietary VLI method, we log b-roll, add metadata, and sync our transcripts to the video; then we create a compressed QuickTime file of the media, which can be easily shared between members of the production team for instant access, anywhere, anytime. We once relied on Final Cut Pro 7 for this and other professional services, but then came Final Cut Pro X

The software engineers at Apple made a game changing decision when they developed the new version of Final Cut Pro that was released earlier this year. We here hold no criticism of the choice they made. However, it has impacted a significant number of small and large video production firms who were looking to FCP X as the future. The choice was to aim the new version of FCP to be more consumer oriented, abandoning some key features like Final Cut Server, and failing to upgrade the supported file types to reflect formats professionals are using (like P2 and proxy files). The bottom line is that the future of Final Cut looks to be more focused on consumers, as reflected by a recent TIVA meeting Word Wizards attended, at which the topic of FCP X for professional use was discussed at length. Our old copy of Final Cut Pro 7 still works like a dream, but soon it will no longer be “supported” by Apple as they gear up FCP X.

So what is a small transcription, logging, design, and 508 compliance company to do in the face of such ground-shaking industry changes?

Enter Adobe Premier! Already, our design team relies heavily on Adobe CS products for creative design projects. We have over 20 years of experience working with Adobe products, from Acrobat to Dreamweaver and beyond. The latest version of Adobe’s masterpiece of software tools, Creative Suite 5.5, does not disappoint. The Software engineers at Adobe are fully aware of the shortcomings of FCP X, so much so that they are offering a 50% discount for a limited time on Adobe Premier for those who switch from FCP. They even have a page dedicated to highlighting the benefits of choosing the newly upgraded Adobe Premier over the downgraded FCP X (Click here to visit that page).

Word Wizards, Inc will continue to provide our industry leading services using our tried and true methods. However, as the world grows and changes to reflect new innovation and technology, so must the business that want to stay relevant look towards the future. The future looks bright with Adobe Premier, and at half the normal price, it doesn’t hurt to gain a whole new set of tools to do our trade.

So who wins the FCP X vs. Adobe Premier 5.5 battle? I guess it depends on your point of view. Here at Word Wizards, Inc. we’re staying ahead of the curve and not taking any chances!