Archive for December, 2014

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