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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More Hollywood Editors Working on PCs

One of the things that movie editors love about PC-based software for editing is that they can work on a laptop while they're on the road -- just like all the rest of us.

The Wall Street Journal has a story today headlined 'Editing on Big Films is Now Being Done on Small Computers.' That's only news to folks outside the industry, and the piece doesn't capture the sea change that I think is happening right now -- big-name editors shifting from Avid's software to Apple's Final Cut Pro. (Am I wrong? Walter Murch edited 'Cold Mountain' on Final Cut back in 2003, and I've only been hearing more about Final Cut since then.)

Lee Gomes writes:

    ...[E]ven relatively low-end personal computers, laptops included, are now so powerful that Hollywood pros have joined student filmmakers and indies in taking advantage of them.

    It's one more example -- along with music recording and graphic design -- of the way cheap computers are blurring the distinction between professional and amateur tools. Not that just having software makes you good at something, as a quick trip around the Web makes clear.

    ...[T]he typical Hollywood feature film these days is an analog-digital hybrid. Reels of film might be developed at a lab such as Technicolor, but then $1.5 million scanners digitize them and put them on a $100 generic USB hard drive. From there, it's on to the editors.

    Editing on computers is so much easier than editing physical film that it's how nearly all movies are now cut. USC's film school once had 50 editing consoles; now it has only two. Indeed, editing may have become too easy. "You can easily recut your movie 10 times a day," says Matt Furie, who teaches editing at USC. "Some students go off the deep end and cut, cut, cut. We tell them they need to discipline themselves to push away from the desk, drop the mouse and just think."

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