Narrative dialog editing/Follow Dave:Learn Final Cut Pro

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This school is
Narrative Film Production
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This course is:
Fundamentals of narrative film editing
This lesson is:
A quick overview of narrative dialog editing
The pages of this lesson are:
Lesson Summary - What is dialog editing?
Lesson Page - "Follow Dave?" Editing Workshop CD
Lesson Page - Analyze the dailies
Pop Quiz - Guess how many takes? - 4 points
Lesson Page - Select an editing program
Lesson Page - Edit the scene


Final Cut Pro and other editing programs
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Unique footage

Made 10 years ago
The Follow Dave?" Editing Workshop disk is old.
The footage on the "Follow Dave?" Editing Workshop is digitized using a very old but efficient codec for clips at film speed and half resolution. Back when this CD-ROM was created, this was great. (320 by 240 pixels at 24fps compressed with the Sorenson 2 codec.)
Not DV or HD
Today, everyone is eager to edit movies in the DV format or even the HD format. Therefore, most basic editing programs now require either DV or HD content. Only the more advanced editing programs still work in the old multimedia formats.
Less than ideal
If the footage of the "Follow Dave?" disk were of the highest quality (and not just low-quality promotional material), blowing it up to DV resolution would not look too bad.
Blowing up footage to the miniDV codec will increase the disk drive requirement drastically and the editing will be a bit awkward because now the footage is converted to 29.97 frames per second.
But this footage is not high quality. Since the footage is very low quality, this is not a good option. Blowing up the images for "Follow Dave?" to DV resolution will look absolutely horrible.
Therefore, it is better to use an editing program which can edit at 320 by 240 pixels at 24 pfs. That greatly limits your options.
Letterbox also works
Or you can letterbox the images.
Some early editing programs automatically letteboxed footage that was imported at less than the current frame size.
But not any more. Letterboxing clips is no longer automatic with editing programs.
Now you must convert each clip manually into a letterboxed clip.
1. One way is to create a full size background and then import the clips and resize it to keep its original size.
2. Another way is to use Adobe AfterEffects.
Either way, it will require a lot of disk space to letterbox these clips. But it is worth a try!
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Selecting an editing program

Limited selecton
You are limited to only a few editing programs which work with half size images at 24 fps.
Adobe Premiere 4.2
When this disk was created, there was no Final Cut Pro. There was only Adobe Premiere 4.2 which was the preferred program for editing this scene. Older computers in school still use this program. The smaller frame size saves disk space which most schools do not have. Unfortunately, Adobe Premiere 4.2 was a bit unstable with the then current operating system which was also unstable.
Final Cut Pro
The successor to Adobe Premiere 4.2 is Final Cut Pro even though Premiere is from Adobe and Final Cut Pro is from Apple. When Adobe Premiere 4.2 was upgraded to Final Cut Pro, the workflow of the program was changed from film editing to corporate video editing. Now, film editing in Final Cut Pro is actually more difficult than in Adobe Premiere 4.2. But Final Cut Pro 3 (or later) is such as well designed program that editing anything in Final Cut Pro is a great improvement over Adobe Premiere 4.2.
The only problem is now Final Cut Pro does not use Sorenson 2 as a standard editing codec. Therefore, you will need to covert the footage to a new format (or do a lot of rendering.) That means you must open the clips and save them with a different codec. If you know what you are doing, this should take less than 5 minutes. In newer versions of Final Cut Pro,
Rendering is not a bad option to avoid recompressing the clips in a different format. Once you get used to it, "render" constantly in Final Cut Pro becomes automatic. Because the clips are so small, the rendering time for each edit is very small.
Adobe Premiere
Adobe Premiere 5 is a totally new program. Version 5 was completely rewritten from scratch.
Version 5 was also a disaster. Later versions became better but still, it is not recommended. Eventually, Adobe Premiere 5 and 6 were replaced by a totally new program, Adobe Premiere Pro but initially this is only for Windows computers. It will be released for the Macintosh PC computer soon.
Adobe Premiere Pro
I have been told that Adobe Premiere Pro can edit clips at 320 by 240 pixels at 24fps with no problem.
Linux
There is no editing program on Linux which can edit these clips. The problem with Linux is the lack of anything like QuickTime or Windows Media. Therefore, Linux only works with uncompressed video or perhaps DV video.
DV editing programs
All DV editing programs (such as iMovie or Final Cut Express) require that the clips be letterboxed. None of these programs currently will letterbox the footage automatically. Therefore, it can take an hour for you to set up an editing project to letterbox the clips. Start with a blank clip and import a clip (one of the film dailies) from "Follow Dave?" and resize it so the image is about the original size.
Since DV is 29.97 frames per second and the clips for "Follow Dave?" are 24 fps, you might be a bit confused when you see two frames with the same frame number. You have to ignore this.


HyperEngine-AV

For kids
There are some unique editing programs available. One of the most unusual is HyperEngine-AV for the Macintosh. It is designed for kids and is a "free format" editing program. And the program is free.
I tested this editing program and found it a bit awkward. There is going to be an update to this which will fix at least some of the problems. But so far, the new update has not been released.
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Using Final Cut Pro

The good news is Final Cut Pro can edit the dailies which are the size and frame rate of the "Follow Dave?" Editing Workshop CD-ROM.
The bad news is Final Cut Pro cannot edit clips in the Sorenson 2 codec format without rendering into a new codec.
Therefore, you have two choices. You can create a preset and convert all the clips to that preset. (A preset can be something like Photo JPEG.) Converting the clips to that format is not difficult but it is annoying.
Or you can create a preset and render your work to that preset every time you want to preview an edit. (On a fast computer, the second option is a bit awkward but works fine.)
Final Cut Pro Presets
The footage on the "Follow Dave?" Editing Workshop disk uses the Sorenson 2 codec which is an old codec but great for distributing movies for use by QuickTime 3 or later. Its variable bit rate is very efficient for storing half frame movies as you will see with the next disk called "24 Unediting Scenes". A single DVD-Data disk can hold the raw film footage for 24 scenes. At DV resolution, you can store up to only two scenes per DVD-Data disk. That is a tremendous difference.
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QuickTime Movie Player

The Swiss Army Knife of digital video

Apple's QuickTime Movie Player can convert files from one format to another. Over the years, the program has become rather large so the options for converting from one format to another can be a bit confusing for formats such as H.264. Fortuantely, it is easy for converting clips to Photo JPEG.

QuickTime Movie Player requires QuickTime Pro or QuickTime Pro for Windows (neither of which is free) to do file conversions. If you do not have a programe which comes with a free copy of QuickTime Pro (such as Final Cut Pro), you will have to pay $30 if you want to use Movie Player to convert the clips to Photo JPEG. etc.

Other options

There are also a wide selection of utility programs which can also be used to convert the "Follow Dave?" film clips to whatever format your editing program prefers.

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The next page

The next page looks at the film dailies on the "Follow Dave?" Editing Workshop CD.

Contact your instructor

Your instructor for this film editing class is Robert Elliott. You can email me by clicking here. Crystal Clear app xfmail.png