Almost there! (But not quite yet)

Principal shooting on The Pirates! has finished. The cut is (mostly) locked. Many of the sets have been dismantled, shooting crew have left, and we can still get parking spaces if we arrive slightly late. We even have Shaun The Sheep setting up where the Pirates sets used to be.



 Access: DENIED

We had a spectacular wrap party last weekend at Bristol's Mshed, where everyone dressed up as Pirates, Scientists, and some of the lesser-known (and potentially spoiler-y) characters.

We have 4 more weeks of work before final delivery. That's two before Christmas, and two after - in which all versions are finalised, confirmed with edit (who'll be finishing in London by that point), and delivered. It's getting quite close - after 5 years in the making.


However, it's proving quite difficult to get the company to get out of the mindset that now that filming's finished the film is over. Yesterday (Friday) afternoon and this weekend, half the phones aren't working while they "upgrade" the system. We've had whole days of not being able to access the viewing theatre. And we're not a small department - we've easily over 100 people. Plus there are outsourced shots to be approved. And still some final bits of sequence which aren't even locked yet.

So, please - everyone.

It's not over when the fat/ thin lady sings at the Wrap Party.


Some of us are still going, and really hoping to not have to work over Christmas - with or without added disruptions! Spare a thought for your post people this Christmas. We're still working really hard to make everyone look good.

Inheriting Final Cut Pro 7 projects

I find myself in an interesting situation.

I am currently looking at a documentary project which has been started on by another editor, with a view to give feedback and possibly take some days to work on it myself. The work done so far has been in Final Cut Pro 7.

My current FCP system is 6 (Studio 2). I have had no real need until now to upgrade to Studio 3/ FCP7. Firstly I couldn't afford it, and then I was in a long-term contract (well, 1 2/3 years counts as long term in this business) elsewhere - by which point they brought out a new "update".

Read More

Bye Sally

Today both my Twitter and RSS feeds have been abuzz with the news of the death of Sally Menke ACE.


Whilst editors are usually unseen (both on set and on screen) and therefore relatively unknown, Sally's work with Quentin Tarantino evolved to become much more than that in both areas. On any given DVD it would usually be possible to find Tarantino gushing about the importance of collaboration in the edit room as a chance to rewrite the story one last time - and the nonlinear nature of many of his films gave the general public the chance to consider work beyond the shooting stages and sets.


Something extra-special, though, was the way that Quentin would get his cast and crew to shoot several seconds of them greeting Sally, to keep her company in the edit room - sometimes in their own right, sometimes by way of apology after fouling up a take! I've always liked to assume that their inclusion of a "hi Sally" reel in some DVD extras (see below) was his way of letting the world in on some of their relationship. It's always seemed to me like an ideal dynamic to aspire to within a director-editor partnership.


So bye Sally. Your presence in the cutting room will be missed by more people than you would have known.



A Pirate's Life : Not for me.

The story so far: A copy of the upcoming X-Men spin-off 'Wolverine' gets put onto the internet in its unfinished state. Because this is the internet, it spreads like wildfire. Other copies get uploaded, it seems that everyone's talking about it and has an opinion.

Then a FoxNews columnist reviews the film in its non-finished form with incomplete VFX and sound (link to article on WorstPreviews). Possibly with the best of intentions - he says in the article (which has since been removed from the FoxNews site) that 20th Century Fox should have no concerns over the leak because the film is so good.

But within that, he's endorsing the series of events which led to him being able to see it. Not only that, he's significantly denying the contribution that possibly hundreds of VFX artists whose work had yet to go into a full cut of the film. He's denying the impact that a full sound tracklay and mix will have on the film.  And he's saying that it's fine for people to go out and download films before they've even opened.

Now whatever your views on current definitions of piracy (there are certainly business lessons to be learnt from how the release of media can encourage purchases once a passion for a product has been built), this is a very bad thing to start legitimising. A lot of people who've worked in a very creative capacity (directors, cinematographers, editors, actors) on a film can be very insecure about the part they've played and will try to minimise the number of people who'll see it before a certain stage. Endorsing leaks would take that decision out of their hands and invite judgement before the product looks anything like it would otherwise have ended up as, and may even influence the rest of the post-production process and distribution. The 'released' version would doubtless be compared to the leaked version(s) without any understanding of the processes which took them from A to B to C.

Of course there are test screenings. Of course films change massively from script to production to edit.  But these are all controlled by a much much smaller number of people. Whether these people are the best people for the film is often a subject of debate amongst the fans.... but any editor will tell you how having more than a couple of key decision makers commenting on a cut can often lead to as many different opinions as there are people in the room. Imagine that multiplied on a global level. Not only is there never a way to please everyone, but any film which aspires to do so will often lead to utter blandness on screen.

So let us hope that this doesn't become a trend. News sites indicate that the FBI is following the trail in an attempt to catch the origin of the Wolverine leak, and whoever did it is certain to never work in the film industry again.  And if nothing else, the rest of us have been reminded that once out, these things can spread really quickly - irrespective of any original intention.

Save the Avid dongle

An Avid dongle USB key An Avid dongle USB key is a site hosting a petition to save Avid's dongle-based authentication for the users who rely on being able to transfer their license from one machine to another in the course of their work.

They seek to give the user an option - to follow the software-based authentication proposed for MC 3.5 and not have to worry about losing their dongle and having to buy a brand new system if they lose it, and/ or keep their dongle for authentication.

Plus, you know, it's called a dongle. We can't let go of that.

See their website for more information and for the petition.