Blogs » Stupid Pet Tricks -- The Final Cut Pro Gambit

Stupid Pet Tricks -- The Final Cut Pro Gambit

  • So, as I was browsing the classifieds on a couple of my other favorite sites dedicated to the Dickensian chore of finding work in this global financial quagmire, I find myself continually stumbling across the exact same problem.  Lately, I've been working on editing -- not post-FX, not post-sound, not ANYTHING in post-production other than working with the story and timing and cutting the damn thing together.  The other stuff I leave up to people more experienced than myself.  But, when it comes to "marketable" skills, I've decided to find production work as an assistant director and post-production work as an editor.  This way I can make at least a little bit of money while I wait for those vampire agencies to get back to me on my latest blockbuster Oscar-winning screenplay, or for the insipidness of my producing team to get on the ball and put me back behind the viewfinder.

    Unfortunately, I continually run up against the same friggin' problem anytime I check out [link=""][/link] or [link=""]Craig's List[/link].  Here is one I found just today (names have been withheld to protect the idiotic indie producers):

    "Payment is on a lo/no/deferred basis.

    Just got done shooting a 5 part web series and need an editor. We shot on a Panasonic HPX 170. Most files are .mov and a few are .mxf that need to be converted. So you need to have Final Cut.

    Each episode is between 4 and 7 minutes. Total about 30 min.

    This job is not paid. This project has been a product of my imagination and the talent of some very GENEROUS people who I am very grateful for. Should be a great gig for a new or fresh out of school editor. Or someone just looking to keep busy.

    Thank you so much in advance. I look forward to working with you."

    Or here's another one:

    "Payment is on a lo/no/deferred basis.

    ********* is a short feature film that requires re-editing. The movie needs to be 100 minutes long (there are three hours of footage available).  FCP preferred.

    This is a time sensitive project. Please apply only if you can start work on the movie right away.

    Director has extensive experience (IMDB credit) and this is a great opportunity for exposure. Though there is no pay, credit will be given as well as deferred payments if the film is distributed.

    Furthermore, we are looking to create a production team so if this project is successful then future projects will become available to you."

    Would somebody PLEASE explain to me what the big flippin' deal is about Final Cut Pro?  I mean besides the obvious.  I've worked with Final Cut, Adobe, and Avid systems over the years.  There is no doubt that FCP is an awesome editing system, but it ain't the only one out there.

    If you are looking for an editor, don't be picky about what system they choose to work on because if your editor is good, they will ALWAYS export in an uncompressed format that matches the requirement for additional post-production work and eventual print.  The quality of an editor's work is NOT determined by the particualr product he uses to cut (this is working under the assumption that your editor is working on a professional or industry-standard editing system.  Would I say the same thing about some guy doing a short film on iMovie or Microsoft Movie Maker?  Probably not.  At this level, they should have forgotten about those systems a long time ago.  What am I talking about?  If they use anything like that -- or Pinnacle or Vegas -- then they should stick to wedding videos.  They're not at the highest level of independent film production).

    I choose to work on Adobe Premiere Pro (always updating it -- waiting for CS4 to come in as we speak).  Why?  Number one, I'm a PC guy.  I like PC.  Always have, always will.  My friends all say I'm goofy because I haven't switched over to Mac and the Apple software.  But I like PC.

    Number two, Adobe systems is always updating their products.  It was only two years between CS3 and CS4.  Apple has not updated their software in how long?  Updating codecs, yes.  But new software to fix old problems or improve on the existing ones?  It's been a while.

    Number three, on the topic of codecs, Adobe systems currently offers more options.  They just came out with the new codec for the Red cams (FCP has yet to do so), so for now Adobe and Avid have a corner on post-production elements for Red Camera-produced projects.  In addition, Adobe easily exports out completely uncompressed files into a myriad of formats (.mov, .avi, .mp4), imports the same.

    Number four, and if I am terribly wrong about this somebody please correct me, but the Adobe Bridge software is AMAZING!  I can link into ANY Adobe software from one program to another without having to go to the trouble of exporting and taking up disk space and re-importing and yadda yadda yadda.  I can move one clip from Premiere Pro to After Effects for color balance and transfer it back into Premiere Pro, export the Audio to Soundbooth or create on-demand mattes with Photoshop, and then export to DVD in Encore with no waiting time.  I love this.  And, for this reason, more than a few of my friends have begun to move into Adobe systems (they make them for Macs now, too).

    This is all. obviously, very Adobe-biased.  But it's because it's what I work on.  It's what I like.  So if you are looking for an editor, then find an editor based upon the quality of their work, not work station.  Good editors can be found working on all of the three big editing programs.  If you are anal retentive and want to learn FCP, then buy the DVDs and stop wasting our time "looking for an editor."  It's obvious you want to do it yourself, so just do it!

    If you want it in .mov or some other FCP-comparable format, we will export it properly!  It's part of the job.  Trust us!

    Stupid indie-producers-specifying-FCP-editing-when-they-don't-know-the-difference.  Stupid pet tricks...