Frame of Reference with Editor Gordon Burkell

TwainRichardson - The Story Teller

Today we get to go inside the head of Gordon Burkell. Gordon has worked in the film industry and as a film editor for 15 years. He started Art of the Guillotine in 2007 to help build a community for editors and to create a vehicle to help editors and film academics share their knowledge and expertise to improve the art form. He currently lives in Toronto, Canada where he edits and teaches film editing at Ryerson University.

How did you get started in editing?
I actually started out on set as a boom operator and disliked the hours waiting on the sets. It was when I moved into post sound as an assistant that I met Alan Collins who had worked as an editor for Roger Corman and David Cronenberg. I started assisting Alan to help with the new software learning curve and the two of us hit it off. I continued assisting him for several years. Eventually, he started directing documentaries and I cut them.

What got you interested in editing?
It was working with Alan Collins that really peaked my interest. Before that I didn’t really know where I was going, just that I wanted to work in film. I enjoyed the theories of Eisenstein, Kuleshov and Pudovkin and had studied cultural theory and philosophy in school and his knowledge in these areas facilitated engaging and thought-provoking conversations while we worked. We rarely talked technology and almost always discussed how to affect the audience emotionally in a scene or communicate ideas persuasively. It was quite possibly the most fun I ever had while assisting an editor.

What is your preferred NLE(s) of choice? Why? has been keeping quite busy so I’ve been doing less and less editing myself and more on the web. When I am cutting, I am actually quite flexible, at the moment I have Avid and Premiere on my systems and it really is dependent on the project. If I am going into a lot of After Effects then Premiere, if I am helping the sound team with sound in Pro Tools then Avid. Sometimes I get brought on after projects have been started or to fix things and if the cut was done in FCP, Media 100, Avid, Premiere, Lightworks I’ll really just jump in and get it done. read more...

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