Changes, Part 1

In my career as an editor, I’ve seen many changes. First, it was tape-based, now it’s all file-based. We went from interlace to progressive (although interlace just doesn’t seem to go away). And then we moved from SD to HD to 4K and soon 8K.

While change can certainly be challenging, I’ve really enjoyed those leaps and bounds and have relished the fact that at each “next step” what I can deliver—and what viewers are able to see on screen—is getting better and better.

This year, the changes in editing haven’t been about technology but about dealing with totally new workflows. I’m not talking about a new editing application with a revolutionary way of doing things. Instead, I’m talking about changes in how we work through projects—from a distance.

Over the next few posts, I’ll talk about how these dramatic changes have affected how I get projects done.

First up, traditional editing workflow when you can do it safely.

Most of my editing is short form—commercials, social media pieces, etc. In the past, producers, agency personnel and clients would sit in my room during the last part of the editorial process. These days, I rarely have anyone in my suite, though occasionally people are in the edit.

How does that work? I have access to another, larger room that can be tricked out with appropriate spacing and dividers. With that setup, we can be in the same room. It’s awkward dealing with all the necessary procedures for entering and exiting, wearing the right equipment and properly sanitizing, but you have to be safe. Those sessions don’t go very long—certainly not whole days. If more people are involved, I can set up remote screens in another edit suite within the facility.

I admit that using either the larger room (with just one or two people) or multiple rooms still within the same building (not across town) feels more efficient and creative. I think we get to a better product more quickly. I think part of that comes from getting everyone focused on the project rather than multitasking while on a computer.

The in-person edit requires a lot of work to get it properly set up. (“Lot of work” seems to be the case for every type of editing workflow these days!) It seems worth it, however, provided it’s done safely.

But again, it’s rare that in-person sessions can happen. Some people are prohibited from participating by their employers, others don’t feel comfortable being inside facilities and others aren’t able to leave home for various reasons.

As a result, I end up arranging a variety of remote sessions. Back in May, I wrote about doing edit sessions via remote streaming. It’s been four months since I wrote that. Next time, I’ll talk about how those experiences have worked out.