Archive for the ‘Marketing & budgeting’ Category

Editing a Book Trailer – Part 2

December 11th, 2014

My caveat for PictureYourBook’s  second book trailer was that my partner Jay and I create a trailer with free music (thank you YouTube) and no VO. My reason? I wanted to show authors how a lower budget video can still be a highly effective, engaging trailer. Here’s Jay’s experience meeting that and other challenges that the trailer presented.

Cut By Cut – Editing Your Film or Video, 2nd Edition 1:02 from Jay on Vimeo.

Editing the trailer for the book Cut by Cut, Editing your Film or Video by Jay Scherberth

Challenge: Multiple Assets and a Multi-Step Process
The main challenge in planning and editing this trailer was to keep track of the many steps involved and required tools used so that future modifications could be accomplished as efficiently as possible.
After reviewing Gael’s storyboard, I quickly realized that organization was going to be extremely important. With over 160 individual assets, I needed to start with a directory structure that would allow me to break down and categorize each element for easy retrieval.

Solution: Organization
I created a parent folder on my project hard drive hard drive called ‘Assets’ under which I would create sub-folders for each asset type; e.g. images, SFX, music, VO, photos, EFX and so on. The idea is to create ‘bins’ (folders) in the edit project that mirror the physical external storage allowing for easy, organized import.

It’s very important to place your initial assets in a location that isn’t going to change until the end of the project. Not doing so causes the dreaded “Media Off-Line” or “Media Can’t be found” messages when opening your editing project.

Setting up the Project
Whenever possible, I prefer to create my editing projects and do all visual effects and final output in one NLE tool – Adobe Premiere. However, due to the large amount of assets and the desired design concept, I needed to spread the workload between the CC 2014 versions of Premier, Photoshop, After Effects, Audition and Media Encoder. This workflow created more steps but enabled me to have access to a larger array of effects and flexibility for making changes. It’s easy to paint yourself into a corner without a thoughtful approach to the challenges of a complicated project.

Workflow and Software Tools
I combined visual elements into composite Photoshop images. These resources were imported into After Effects allowing for layer level manipulation. While working in After Effects, I created several compositions and sub-compositions that were imported directly into Premier. The Premiere NLE was used mainly as a way to assemble all the After Effects imports and to add music, titles, and sound effects. I employed Adobe Media encoder to accomplish the final encoding and delivery.

Final Note
The ability to directly edit and import / export visual material between Adobe tools greatly simplifies the overall workflow process when multiple tools are required to finish a project. I don’t mean to sound like a commercial – I don’t get a dime from Adobe – it’s just an editor’s truth.

Editing practices, Editor’s role, Marketing & budgeting, Technical & process, Visual FX editing

Editing a Book Trailer – Part 1

December 1st, 2014

Jay Scherberth is my partner in PictureYourBook, a book trailer company. I do the writing, storyboarding, and marketing to authors, Jay does the editing and designed our website. We both review the cuts and interface with the authors.

We met each other in a cutting room in 1986 when I was his assistant editor. Jay has been on the cutting edge of editing storytelling and technical skills, having pioneered computer editing on All in the Family and other Norman Lear show and cut MTV’s first “Video Album” (Blondie’s, “Eat to the Beat.”) Jay has edited popular shows such as Columbo, MacGyver, Full House, and Scrubs.
Most recently he cut the independent film short El Doctor.

I am lucky to have him as a partner and a friend.

I asked Jay to write up his approach to and process for his first foray into this new form of promo – book trailers. Here’s his first post.

Chronicles of Old San Francisco – 1:49 from Jay on Vimeo.

Editing the Book Trailer for Chronicles of Old San Francisco by Jay Scherberth

My overriding goal was to assemble an effective, quality trailer while keeping the costs as low as possible. To accomplish this, I limited the number of tools needed to complete the project. I decided to create a trailer that could be done entirely using my NLE editor, Adobe Premier CC 2014. Today’s professional NLE products allow for titling, motion control, sound editing and many styles of image manipulation. There are no less than 9 tracks of picture and sound running in the timeline, yet I was able to maintain complete control over all these elements, without sacrificing flexibility or quality.

Budget and the Importance of Planning
The trick of bringing a project in on time and at or under budget is to know how the final product will turn out before any actual editing takes place. With notes, sketches and storyboards, I was able to anticipate problems before they occurred. Planning is an integral part of editing and the more you think about what you want to end up with, the closer you will come to that goal.

The Challenge of Mixed Media
Another challenge in doing this project was working with mixed media. That’s not to say that Premiere can’t handle image assets of different file types, resolutions and codecs. It does an amazing job of including just about anything you can throw at it. But there are limits to what media is usable and practical. For example, in working with historical material, you’re sometimes faced with the dilemma of using material that may be sized below the resolution of the editing project itself.

Choosing the Right Resolution
I decided to go with 720p which is 1280 x 720 resolution in this project. Going any higher would be a waste of storage and bandwidth given the preponderance of small mobile devices the trailer is likely to be played on. Any image or video assets that were at or above the 720p resolution were OK to use. But unfortunately, some of the supplied material was significantly below 720p and presented a challenge in terms of maintaining image quality and clarity.

Accommodating Multiple Viewing Platforms
Because of the many viewing platforms ranging from smart phones to tables to desktops, delivery can be the final challenge. The editor needs to make sure that small screen users have a satisfactory viewing experience. For example, make sure that all title are within the safe title boundaries and that the smallest font size used is still readable.

This first trailer experience was a good one. The icing on the cake was finding Marcia Bauman who composed music that fit our trailer perfectly.

Editing & life, Editing practices, Editor’s role, Marketing & budgeting, Technical & process, Television


April 11th, 2011

NAB logo
For all you (like me) who can’t be among the 90,000 people attending the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual extravaganza in Las Vegas from today through Thursday this week, follow the editing buzz put up by Larry Jordan:

Here’s the official NAB link:

If you are there, feel free to report back on your own experiences.

Who is Larry Jordan and why you can trust him

Larry’s a Final Cut Pro guru with a site chock full of great info about FCP, digital media, and editing in general along with fee and free tutorials. He also has a blog and a free newsletter you can sign up for. A couple of months ago Larry saw the future – a demo of FCP v.8 due to be released later this year. While sworn to secrecy along with others, he has given it a thumbs up and will surely be reporting on it as soon as it hits the streets. Check Larry out at:

Marketing & budgeting, Technical & process

SF SuperMeet Part II

February 3rd, 2011

SuperMeetIt was a gloomy day in SF and I dragged myself over the GG bridge but I was glad I did.

Cost of the SuperMeet: $11.34

Parking: $24 or $0 if you walked 2 long blocks and were lucky find a space like me.

Value: Up to you, but most would say, “Yeah, totally worth it.” And if you won anything in the $50K raffle, even more worth it.

Evening program

After welcoming FCP User’s groups from across the country – Boston, LA, and DC, SF Cutters prez Claudia Trask intro’d The New Up, a B & W music video shot on the muni and streets of SF.
editing process
Next up was Tony Cacciarelli, Product Marketing Manager from AJA. “Pronounce it A-J-A, Ahjah or any way you like but call us” was his message. He went over the company’s KiPro ($3995) but concentrated on six months old more affordable KiPro mini ($1995). It’s a mini-field recorder that attaches to a video camera and helps create edit-ready video because it records Apple ProRes 422 QuickTime files on industry standard Compact Flash (CF) media. The audience appreciate this speeding up of an Apple tapeless workflow as it allows recording to be quickly imported, no log and capture necessary.

Attention students = those with .edu in their email

An Autodesk rep spoke next and he said that students can use Smoke free for 36 months by going to The rest of us can have 30-day free trial at

Voda Studios Voda Digital and Voda Studios from Seattle took the stage next, proclaiming that in the future tablets will outpace TV as stats show that more people are now online than are watching TV. Hmmm. How many are on both as the same time? They cited other stats – 96% growth in Smart phones over the past year and 20% of internet traffic during peak time in U.S. on Netflix – to underscore their point that the world of media and how we think of it is a-changing.

Don’t be ashamed of autofocus

My favorite speaker came last. Michael Blieden, DP on the Jimmy Fallon show, talked about experimenting with new cameras. “Part of the artistry [of cinematography] is being in charge of the focus,” he began. So it went against his grain to use auto-focus on last year’s opening skit of the Emmys. Blieden did a superb job of showing how he experimented with Canon’s XF305 which employs face recognition, a fairly new technique that doesn’t always maintain focus. I’ll let the results speak for themselves. Here his footage from the opening of last September’s 2010 Emmys:

All this before the 8:30 break! After which I took off, handing over my raffle tickets to a new friend who said he’d call if we won. Still waiting!

Awards, Editing practices, Editor’s role, Marketing & budgeting, Technical & process, Television, User groups & meetings, Visual FX editing

Chinese New Year

January 5th, 2011

“Gong xi, gong xi” (yay, congrats) as my Taiwan-born friend wrote me.

Michael Wiese Productions, my publisher, has informed me that, after months of negotiating, Film Editing: Great Cuts Every Filmmaker and Movie Lover Must Know will be translated into Mandarin. In the next 12-18 months I will have the translation in my hot little hands.

It is the first translation of my books so needless to say, I am thrilled. So far, the books have been a labor of love because the money has been small. But now, millions of yuan will be rolling my way (insert haha, lol, lmao, rofl or your favorite internet speak for “Yeah, right!” here).

Announcements, Marketing & budgeting

A helpful book
Or budgeting for editing means understanding the process

May 10th, 2010

Confession 1: The book that I am about to recommend came free (at my request) from Michel Wiese Productions, my publisher who in turn requests that for each free book I write a five star review on Amazon. I only do this if I feel the book warrants it. And most of my publisher’s books do.

Confession 2: After re-writing my first book, Cut by Cut: Editing Your Film or Video, I plan to create my own movie, so this is mostly why I ordered Film & Video Budgets by Deke Simon. Budgets are anathema to me and I need to start thinking beyond the cutting room, like a producer.


Budgeting Book CoverI expected this book to be just a bunch of budget forms with boring explanations. Was I off the mark! It’s a 465-page handbook that educates moviemakers on what happens in each stage of a project, explaining how to anticipate a film so that the process runs as smoothly as possible. Veteran producer Simon details preproduction preparation, production challenges, and postproduction processes so that you can plan your film and its budget. For instance, he goes over the issues and solutions for getting a film print from a digital file, tape, or tape.

Don’t know when or how to market your video, how to choose a camera or deal with unions? This book guides you through each step of your film or video, lavishing specific advice and the type of information that only comes from years of experience and up-to-date knowledge.

Use this book if you are setting out on your first or fifth student film, feature, documentary, corporate video, or music video. It contains budgets for each of these as well as links to free, downloadable budget forms.  (Hint: poke around publisher’s site.) The book deciphers what each line item in a budget means. Also, it helps you know what questions to ask when negotiating with facilities, unions, etc, and how to make deals.

I plan to rely on it to make my first film. Combined with previous editions, the book’s sold over 45,000 copies. Have any of you used it? Let us know what you think.

Marketing & budgeting

CEO Reveals the Past, Present, and Future of YouTube – Part 2

April 29th, 2010

Today’s post completes my review of the USC event, “An Evening with Chad Hurley, CEO and Co-Founder of YouTube.”

The Future

Here’s how Hurley sees it:

  • Money streams
    Consumers will pay by advertising, renting, or purchasing on site. TV and movies may be premium spaces. Hurley readily admitted that YouTube is not making much money now, even though they’ve added ads. He sees the money opportunities in 5-10 years and said that “Google’s in it for the long term.”

  • HTML5
    When asked if YouTube will now move to HTML5 Hurley hedged a bit, stating that “it’s easier to deal with video today” and “we’re exploring all upload options.” He assured the crowd that “There will faster connection speeds, faster downloads, and ubiquitous connections.”

  • Subscription channels
    An audience member asked about creating a subscription kids’ channel and Hurley responded, “A good idea. Kids will innovate the future of YouTube. But the lawyers are balking.”

Hurley’s predictions

To Hurley’s mind “Everything is connected to the internet. Consumers are going to demand their media everywhere and that’s what we want to support.”

He recognizes that it’s tough for filmmakers to make money. “We’d like to do more to connect the dots between talent and brand. We’d like to reach the demographic for the content they’re creating.”

You Tube He also believes that “With unlimited participation and distribution there’ll be smaller pieces of pie but a bigger pie. There still will be blockbusters but the tools will be in the people’s hands.”

And finally he states, “More and more brands are giving up control and trusting the person who’s creating content. That’s a big opportunity that’s just starting.”


What struck me most was:

1) How Hurley (and others in his line of work) are in a constant head turn; keeping their eyes on the hyper speed development of technology while watching what the public – youth driven consumers – is doing.

2) The contradictory nature of his desires for YouTube: He must have said the word “monetize” twenty times, e.g. “We’re not monetizing all these experiences – Music, TV so they’re not available.”  But in the next breath he’d say, “We’d like to do more to connect the dots between talent and brand. We’d like to reach the demographic for the content they’re creating.”

Hurley realizes that “Not all content can be monetized.” Yet he says, “We want to foster opportunities for everyone to create and have their creations seen by world.”

Soooo, big surprise, the beat goes on: Art and commerce have not fully merged in this new world of “I want it free. I want it fast. Why can’t I earn a living from my films?” And do we really want them to?

Marketing & budgeting

CEO Reveals the Past, Present, and Future of YouTube – Part 1

April 27th, 2010

Recently I attended a USC event billed as “An Evening with Chad Hurley, CEO and Co-Founder of YouTube.” While the evening amounted to an hour, the time was sufficient to cover the past, present, and future of this frontrunner exhibition site. Hurley, in town for the Streamys, the (second) annual awards ceremony honoring the best web videos, was interviewed by Jimm Wiatt, USC grad and former Chairman and CEO of the William Morris Agency.


“Real people don’t watch movies on laptop – only students,” 32 year old Hurley informed the crowd of 100, mostly students. “Hulu has hype but not the views, compared with us.”

Past – A mere five years old
You Tube Hurley birthdates YouTube’s invention to February 14, 2005 when he registered the name from his garage. In launching the site, he and co-founder Steve Chen “were looking for a way to make it easy for ourselves to share videos with friends and family.”  Within months, venture capitalists were sniffing around and Google starting inquiring. In October 2006, Google purchased YouTube for 1.65 billion. “We had 67 people,” Hurley shared. “Google brought machines, money, and people but we have freedom and our own office space. At the end of the day you’re only as good as the team you assemble.”


Google acquisition – merging of cultures – slowed us down but now we’re picking up speed. Chad Hurley

Over 100 million people view 62+ videos/month on YouTube. But, Hurley readily admitted, “Our site’s a mess. We’ve been working on tuning algorithms to help people search. We want to give more of a lean back experience. We’re looking at Twitter, FB, and other sites. We may organize by favorites or have sports section.  He added that they are moving toward a feed – like Twitter and FB – and that they want to “figure out ways to best help people organize their experience.”


Everything is competition to Hurley. “There’s a lot more stuff to do today: FB, TV, iPad, video games, cell phones, etc. Hopefully they choose us to kill their time.”

Net neutrality controversy

I hadn’t heard this term. Found out it means that Internet service providers should be neutral – not speed up or slow down the flow of data from the websites you access, for example make Hulu downloads fast than YouTube. I also didn’t know it is a controversial subject. April 6 a federal appeals courts made a major ruling in a Comcast case that has muddied the waters even more. Hurley’s position? “YouTube would like the Internet to remain free and has pulled for everything.”

Copyrighted content

An audience question prompted this response from Hurley: “It’s difficult to protect copyrighted material. YouTube sets community guidelines and policies and has developed tools to ferret out rule breakers out e.g. porn. Every piece of content that is uploaded is copyrighted. We have created a form that allows people to identify unauthorized content.”

Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers Hurley’s view of the future and my takeaways from the discussion.

Marketing & budgeting