Avid Blogs - "Editor Judith Allen Illustrates the Difference Between Cutting Animation and Live Action Films"


In live action filming, every action on set is accompanied by the corresponding sound. Often these are replaced or enhanced, but the sound is there and used within the rhythm of the cut whether consciously or unconsciously. In animation, every single sound needs to be purposefully placed – and often created from scratch by a foley team. It’s often a delicate balance between knowing which temp sound effects are best to place during the animatic to help tell the story and do the best cut, and which ones should be saved until after animation so as not to restrict the animators.

At the moment I tend to make my sound choices based on how the characters need to respond to them in their headspaces more than how the final sound should be, because I know that the sound’s going to be completely replaced once we have the final picture, and because it will help the animation before that.

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Editing an animatic

An animatic is the first stage of the edit in an animation. It's the combination of the storyboards, audio (possibly with temp voice acting), and timing. It's used as the base for the animation: animators will take the shot angle, durations, certain actions, and timings as a starting point for their work on each shot.

Animatics are also sometimes used in live-action films, in the same way as directors will storyboard certain sequences, and they may be the stage used prior to previz for VFX work on large action films.
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Jeff Ford on editing as music

It has rhythm, like music. When you are editing, you are creating a musical flow that the audience will get into while they're watching the movie. There's a visual rhythm, there's an auditory rhythm, and those two interact and create something that's a combination. And the ability of music to move people is huge. Anybody knows that, anyone who has had a human experience knows that music is incredibly significant and moving and emotional. But really it's just a collection of sound and rhythm, it's not anything magic - and yet it is magical.  And the difference is it's the organisation of those pieces. It's the length between beats. It's the pitch of the note. It's the frequency at which the notes come, and it's the structure and how that structure is repeated. All those things are editing. When you're editing you're really making music.


Jeff Ford - Editor of The Avengers, One Hour Photo, Iron Man 3


The above quote is from a recent episode of the Avid podcast, "The Rough Cut". The whole interview is truly inspirational. Jeff talks of how he got into the industry, the importance of assisting and learning from editors, acting, story, and collaboration. If you're an editor, an assistant, or work in the industry at all; listen to it. 


The above quote especially resonates with me as my teenage years were full of music - I played the oboe, and studied music theory. From this there are a lot of lessons in rhythm, structure, and collaboration which can be transferred to editing practice. 

VFX Editor Interview - "The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists"

An interview I did for UK crewing website thecallsheet.co.uk is now online, at http://www.thecallsheet.co.uk/news/21052



This film has a lot of Aardman firsts – it’s the first stop-motion feature for which they’ve used previs to guide the floor when setting their shots up. It’s the first time they’ve managed their VFX in-house, with a team of around 100 VFX artists up in Bristol working on the 1500+ shots which are in the film. Every single shot has some form of visual effect, some are entirely CG, and some have additional characters or buildings added in amongst what they shot on the floor. But it’s all entirely in-keeping with the Aardman style. I challenge anyone to tell me where the stop motion animation ends and the CG begins!


The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists is released in the UK on Wednesday 28th March 2012 (today).


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A Common Problem

Just about anyone who's used Avid before will know that all support queries and error message searches lead back to the Avid Community forum.

This is sometimes all you need to be able to fix your problem (even if the answer usually involves hours of work attempting to find a single corrupted audio file). More often, however, this occurs:


from xkcd

For those of you unfamiliar with xkcd (why? how?!) a great feature is the image alt text, accessible by hovering over the image on their website - or via an app on iOS. And it was the alt text which really made me think of the Avid Community:


"All long help threads should have a sticky globally-editable post at the top saying 'DEAR PEOPLE FROM THE FUTURE: Here's what we've figured out so far ...'"


Beautiful advice, and also potentially circumnavigating the existing dilema of whether to dredge up a 3 year old thread, start a new thread even though nobody knew the answer last time, or just try to get on with it yourself since nobody knew last time - and if they did figure it out then they're not the sort of person to update the old thread in which nobody else seems to have had the same problem over the last 3 years.