Magazine article Variety

Revolution Shifts to Evolution

Magazine article Variety

Revolution Shifts to Evolution

Article excerpt

Dgital technology upended film editors' workflow about 20 years ago, relieving them of a time-consuming, physical process.

As digital capture and editing evolved side by side, they cleared the path for other functions such as visual effects and sound design to occur at any point in the production process. And now that all those digital tools have blurred the boundaries between departments, one wonders what further changes will grip the editorial process.

Editor Bob Eisenhardt, nominated for an American Cinema Editors Eddie award for "Everything Is Copy" in the documentary (television) category, sees incremental changes. He doesn't miss working with film because it's now easier to organize projects.

"The two trends I see are it becoming more portable and better quality," says Eisenhardt. "I can't imagine seeing another paradigm shiftlike the previous one but I think there will be more tools, more tricks and the ability to do things within a frame, much like we use PhotoShop."

Skip MacDonald, nominated for "Better Call Saul" in the one-hour series (commercial) category, works with a team that tackles the footage as it arrives. In the rapid-fire workflow of TV, deadlines are so tight no one has time to see how the other team might be working through its episode, but nonetheless digital tools allow editors to work at an intense pace.

"I don't expect there will be another change like the last one, but I wouldn't say the technology has settled down," says MacDonald. "We're still seeing small changes, but mostly in TV because of the production schedule."

Tom Cross, nommed for "La La Land" in the feature film (comedy) category, also witnessed the last big shiftand - if anything - it reaffirmed his ideas about classic storytelling. "There's always a bit of reinventing the wheel on every project because the technology makes incremental changes all the time," he says. "But what's funny is that we try to step forward, but we always have one foot in classic storytelling; that's what's satisfying to watch."

Though the workflow makeover revolutionized how editors do their jobs, it hasn't been exactly smooth. Some issues still remain unresolved.

"Storing and moving files is still a very dangerous process," says Carol Littleton, nommed in the miniseries or motion picture (non-theatrical) category for the LBJ story "All the Way." "If you aren't careful or don't spend a lot of time and money on that process you can lose everything."

Littleton, who witnessed big changes in the 1990s, says many colleagues who were in their 60s or older at the time simply leftediting because learning a new process was too daunting. …

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