Stevo’s Top Tips #1
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Alright. I’m Stevo.
I first got my hands on an edit suite 25 years ago and have been moaning ever since…..
Over the next few weeks I’ll be revealing what every editor wants every aspiring camera operator to know.
As an editor, I get to sit in judgment on the work of camera ops. All editors are in this lofty position. Camera work comes to us raw, and we get to rip it apart without any regard for the hardships experienced by the dude that shot it. We never give the benefit of the doubt. It’s unfair, and most of us moan without thinking about what was happening on the shoot: time constraints, acts of god etc.
“WHO SHOT THIS?!” is the clarion call of the editor, and the person that shot it is long gone, never to hear his or her work being slated behind their back.
However, in the good old days the camera op would routinely hear their footage being shredded, and it was a rough but valuable learning process (that I went through!)
Anyway, in order that any aspiring camera ops can get the benefit of the rants without suffering the psychological scars that I now have, here’s number one on my list of ‘The top editor whinges.’
Please excuse the tone, I’m a ranty editor….
1. Tidy rushes.
A long time ago in the days before digital, tape was expensive, the size of a box of cereal and only 30 minutes long. This meant that you had limited supplies with you and limited space to get it right. So camera ops did something out of necessity that the good ones still do.
They practiced shots before they rolled on them.
They hit record, rolled on the shot then stopped. They then imagined what shot would come next in the edit, framed it, practiced it then rolled: 5 seconds handle, 10 seconds on, 5 seconds handle, stop. A producer told me in the early 90s that you shouldn’t be able to tell if you’re fast-forwarding through rushes or a final edit. They’re that clean. The rushes should be a selection of shots that the editor can arrange as they choose, not a shaky POV day in the life of a camera dude. Shoot everything like it’s drama: mentally storyboard, know your next shot.
An analogy: The farmer provides ingredients for the chef, who cooks them to make a mouth-watering dish. The ingredients should be a selection of the finest, washed vegetables and fruit that the farmer has hand picked. He’s the expert right? Organised clearly in a nice basket.
What sometimes happens is I look out of the window and a truck has tipped a load of soil onto the drive that I have to wade through to find spuds? Tomatoes? Is that a leak? I wash the soil off and three quarters of the stuff is inedible. I thought you were the expert ingredients dude?
Nobody wants to rummage through a soil tip of rushes.
Just be disciplined, organised, logical and tidy.
This is your first step to camera greatness.
Next week…’Give me enough’