FireWire! A Step Forward In Editing
FTLComm - Winnipeg
July 4, 1999
From the first time someone put images on motion picture film there was immediately a need for splicing and combining various segments of film together to create a view able story. This was accomplished with scissors and glue and for fifty years that was about all you needed.
With the advent of video tape the same methods were used because with each generation of dubbing the quality of the video image
|degraded. However, with better formats it was possible to edit video tape by re-recording
the selected material to create a master tape. Editing has always involved running
through the clips and deciding which ones belong in a particular sequence then arranging
them to create the continuity that seems most appropriate. With the addition of sound
editors had to be aware of both the image and the background sounds that would go
together then make sure that the important sound track elements coincided with the
image being seen.
It doesn't take much thinking to realise that editing is one of the most important parts of the process of making a final view able product. With the development of computer technology the editing process soon began to use the capabilities of this helpful tool and various products began to emerge as essential parts of the film making process. At the beginning of this decade the ability to easily digitise either film or video material and store it on hard drives meant the end of scissors and glue. Completely nondestructive editing had arrived.
The process that has evolved for anything from a commercial to a full motion picture feature film has become standard in the industry. If film is used (and for most projects film remains the primary image capturing media) it is shipped from where ever it is shot to a developer. There it is processed and the film transferred to video tape. The video tape is then given a time reference and transferred to a digital format for editing. The editing process remains the same, going over the scenes and selecting the most appropriate images and motion to create the best rendition of the story to be told.
The development of computer equipment that was capable of handling images and could easily take information in and out made the process of computerised editing much more flexible and almost immediately the computer's nature became part of the final product. Images could now be manipulated without much fussing about so that transitions from one shot to another can be accomplished with pleasing affects that fit the mood of the scene. The computer with its array of tricks and tools is now as much a part of the process as writers and camera men.
As with most things there is a serious gradient of costs associated with the various levels of hardware and software associated with the industry. From dedicated computer equipment dedicated to the process at hand to cards and consumer level software that can be installed in mid level computers means that video and film editing can be accomplished with varying degrees of complexity from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands. For our discussions here we will deal only with the practical and reasonably priced products that are in use day to day making movies and videos of all kinds today.
|The method of moving electronically images and sound changed in January of 1999 when
Apple Computers released its new G3 Pro Yosemite (also known as the
blue and white). This computer came with two ports Apple calls "FireWire". This
technology was developed by Apple and Texas Instruments and is licensed
by Sony, allows for the rapid movement of digital information into and out
of the computer and with a Sony digital camera using this system. Sony
also makes a little conversion box that changes regular television standard information
to this new digital format. Essentially this concept changes everything. Now the
computer can handle the video signal without the need for extensive hardware additions.
The dramatic abilities of the G3 make this possible with rather startling
To allow the G3 to carry out the work of a real video editing suite Apple acquired the newly released Final Cut Pro which is a huge leap ahead of Adobe Premiere and accomplishes everything that can be done with Avid's software. The software package is about $1,500 Canadian and when its power is considered that is reasonable.
|We have spent this weekend using Final Cut Pro cutting the four raw tapes created at this year's TMSS graduation into a comprehensive video of less then two hours. Andrew, who spends every day working with a state of the art Avid editing suite was able to use the G3 pro and work at the same level of competence and achieve similar results. We fed the video shot on conventional full size VHS Hitachi camcorders into the G3 through Sony's I.Link Digital TV Converter. The video segments were saved to hard drive then pieced together with Final Cut Pro. As the quantity of material quickly built up we then ran the completed segments off onto a Sony Digital Video Handycam. Since the Handycam records digitally there is no loss of quality in the move back to tape as we then later moved that same tape back to the hard drives for finishing then back to digital tape to create the master.|