The Car – Update

Pictures and sound have now been sync’d up. I call Simon again to find out what DV format he wants tapes in for acquisition to his laptop edit suite, Final Cut Pro. He isn’t sure. He’ll call me back. I call Stanley Productions to get a price for transferring rushes to DV. It’s 105 plus VAT. Will this include timecode? Opinions differ.

Frustrated, I speak to a friend named Richard who has been building edit suites in his spare room in St Albans for the past few years. Richard tells me timecode on DV is hit and miss. MiniDV, he is pretty certain, doesn’t include it. DVCAM, on the other hand (Panasonic’s rival tape format), *does* include this necessary digital editing component.

DVCAM it is then. I call Simon back with this news and chat to his answerphone for a while. This happens a few times. I buy a computer magazine and consider buying my own edit suite. The dream machine seems to be a top of the range Apple PowerBook with a DVD-R and Final Cut Pro installed. However, PC’s are considerably cheaper. I read around the subject and immerse myself in the conflicting opinions.

Somewhere along the line, I call up Perry Mitchell, a video consulted who posts regularly to the Shooting People filmmakers forum and the Guild Of Television Cameramen mailing list. Perry has set himself up with solutions for people just like me. He can transfer my rushes from DigiBeta on to a portable hard drive for editing. He’ll then rent this out on a daily basis while the edit takes place.

Nice. Even nicer is that, a few days later, once the ten minute film is complete, you dump it down on to Perry’s portable drive, take it back to him and he uses it to conform the DigiBeta in what’s known as an online edit. Conforming means he creates a new DigiBeta from the master, matching each edit, cut for cut, as produced by Final Cut Pro (FCP).

Simon, meanwhile appears to have vanished. I hum. I hah. I talk about my usual editing delay frustrations to a few friends. I go and look at Richard’s Adobe Premiere suite and see what it can do. It’s easy-peasy lemon squeezy. Just drag and drop clips on to the timeline, trim them up and play them in sequence, in real time. Hard to believe this kind of functioning was restricted solely to high end system like Avid only a few years ago.

Like a word processor, desktop editing makes cutting video possible for anyone. Also just as a WP package doesn’t automatically make someone a writer–they replace the painfully tedious processes of hot metal and offset litho paste-up–FCP or Premiere replace the tedium of physical splicing on a Steenbeck but won’t make someone an editor on their own. Nevertheless, I’m fairly confident in my editing skills and know I can polish them. Hey, if Markux can get into desktop editing, I really should bite the bullet. So I do.


My new one gig PowerMac should be in my hands early January, complete with FCP, Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Dreamweaver, Shockwave Flash, MS Office and various other goodies. My mortgage will probably go up by a few thousand in the next few weeks accordingly but this is a serious investment in my future. So, if anyone wants any showreels cutting or DVD authoring done early next year, please get in touch. Reasonable rates.

Actually, thinking aloud, I can even use it as back up to run some training in sound and lighting craft for the BBC Film Club next year. Mmmm. Nice.