The Evolution and Revolution of Non-Linear Editing Software

YOURFILM by Tom Strachan

I went to The University of Cumbria with grand aspirations of becoming a director. Why couldn’t I do it? I had plenty of ideas bubbling around in my head. I like to be involved and like most people I enjoy the plaudits of a successful project coming my way. Unfortunately I soon realized ninety percent of my classmates seemed to have the same aspirations as myself.

By halfway through my foundation year of the degree I’d started to be intrigued by the editing process. It started because I hated sitting in edit not knowing how to express my thoughts for certain shots. My plan was to spend a bit of time learning about editing so I could have a better understanding of the process, but I pretty quickly fell for the alluring joy of making the edits myself.

I learned on Avid Media Composer, thankfully my university was very well stocked with edit suites and to a decent standard too. Five fully-equipped Avid edit suites complete with decks, dual monitors, Adrenaline boxes, Broadcast monitors, color-coded keyboards etc. and all the stuff that looked impressive to a newbie. Down the hall was two Final Cut edit suites that were reserved for the 2nd and 3rd year students. So I cracked on with learning Avid.

When I look back now I realize that I thought I’d learned Avid. But really, I didn’t.

I knew how to edit in Avid but I didn’t know the depths to it. I didn’t make use of the trim tool properly, which in itself is a crime, as now I know it to be one of the greatest non -linear editor features of all programs. As you’d expect from having many students of varying ability using them, crashes were common. Avid just seems to be like that. If you have an Avid system where it works, then by God don’t let it go! I spent four months working for the BBC with four Avid systems, my system and one of my editors had constant problems. I was assisting on location with three editors on location also. The first problem came on the very first day of shooting. The GRaid’s couldn’t be plugged into the firewire sockets on the HP Workstation, due to the Adrenaline boxes also being plugged into one. I was told by several different techies PC’s don’t cope so well with more than one firewire device. Fine, we’ll work off USB then. read more...

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