Aspiring Director Takes EDIUS to the Limit

Morgan Martini is a smart and highly creative film directing student in her senior year at Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia (US) and a selfprofessed music lover… of 16th Century Italian classical music that is.

It was while taking a class on the Italian Renaissance that she got the inspiration for a film, based on the true story of Carlo Gesualdo—the Prince of Venosa who wrote songs of redemption and salvation.

When she proposed the initial idea to her professors, some recommended that she might want to try something “a little less complicated,” but not one to shy away from a challenge, Martini found herself on a mission to tell the story and was eager to see it through.

After some exhaustive research on composers of the 1500-1600s, Martini’s vision, a new student film entitled Gesualdo, began to take shape and she became captivated with his story.

Gesualdo is a talented, rich, and reverent man, yet on the streets of 1591 Italy he is met with fear and loathing from both the common and noble man due to past sins. Fearing eternal damnation, he speaks to God through his music and asks to be forgiven for the murder of his wife, her lover, and her baby (whom he killed after doubting its paternity.) He is not punished for his crimes, due to his social standing, but is left with the fear of a vengeful God, and the threat of hell.

Martini calls the film, “A morose musical about a composer’s fear of retribution.”

Once the idea was solidified in her mind—along with those of screenwriter Annakate Blackford and costume designer Grace Mimbs—getting it on the screen took patience, hard work, and the right technology to bring it to fruition. For Martini, that meant editing on a system she knew well: the Grass Valley EDIUS multiformat nonlinear editing system.

It just so happens that her step-father, Pat Sipes, owns a production company called Visual Images (based in Cincinnati, Ohio) and has always been a huge promoter of EDIUS software—now in version 6.06. He introduced Martini to the system in 2006, It’s been her editing software of choice ever since.

She began working on Gesualdo as a class project in March 2011 and hopes to have the short film completed within a year’s time. It will then be entered into various film festivals. Distribution plans are also being negotiated.

The film was shot with a Sony NEX-FS100 HD solid-state memory camcorder over the course of two weekends in October
2011—a total of five days—using several locations in and around Savannah, Georgia. Locations included the Congregation Mickve Israel Synagogue (the cathedral), Brockington Hall (Gesualdo’s palace), and Factors Walk: City of Savannah (the market place).

Martini said once shooting was finished, the postproduction process began and she was happy to be using the EDIUS system because, as she says, “it’s all about speed.”

“I enjoy working in EDIUS because it is easy to use and I get quick results,” she said. “I love the fact that I don’t have to render. Being able to work in real time gives me the creative ability to test multiple effects with my film and quickly make changes.”

Martini thinks of herself as a perfectionist, spending a lot of time on perfecting the look of each effect. The EDIUS systems’ ability to see effects in real time is invaluable to this process. She enjoys working with speed changes, color grading, camera stabilization, green screen keying, and many other effects within EDIUS, so she watched a series of online color grading tutorials given by Grass Valley’s Matt Scott that detail how to use the EDIUS’ various tools to their fullest advantage. After watching a few segments of the series, Martini said she found many different techniques to use for color correcting her film.

“As a very visual person, I also love working in the timeline where the clips are laid out in front of me as I work on them,” Martini said. “With the EDIUS Bin structure, I also find it very easy to organize my media assets with various folder hierarchies.”

Her computer setup includes about 3 TB of storage capacity, where she stores her raw footage and other media assets. But she actually uses two different computers to finish her film. The first is a workstation at the Visual Images office, which was pre-configured by EditHD ( This Ultimax Workstation – i7 990 Extreme OC 3.8 runs Windows 7 and features 12 GB of DDR3 1600 MHz RAM, a 250 GB SSD system drive, three 1 TB media drives, an NVIDIA GTX 560ti card, a Grass Valley STORM™ 3G real-time 3G-SDI editing/ HDMI output board, two Acer 27-inch (2048x1152) LCD monitors, and a 50-inch Panasonic Plasma reference monitor.

Martini’s second computer, a souped-up laptop also pre-configured by EditHD, was used on location and in her dorm room. It’s called the ProjX Portable Notebook and features a True i7 975 Extreme Quad core/8 thread 3.33 GHz processor, 80 GB SSD hard drive, 1 TB (2x500 GB) internal media RAID-0, 6 GB of DDR3 1333 MHz RAM, Windows 7 64, an NVIDIA GTX-280M 1 GB card, and a 17-inch (1920x1200) LCD monitor.

“The custom laptop I use will outperform most workstations,” Martini said. “EditHD is a systems integration company that specializes in EDIUS. I would highly recommend them for anyone who wants a blazing system for EDIUS.”

After graduation in March 2012, Martini will be moving to Hollywood to pursue her directing career, where she will continue to be mentored by famed Hollywood director and EDIUS user, Alan J. Levi.

For Morgan Martini, the sky’s the limit. With her talent and the Grass Valley EDIUS software by her side, she is sure
to go far. You can learn more about GESUALDO:Short Film on their Facebook Page

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