Technology and Film Editing

By Kristen Brophy, posted 14 November 2011

As a film and tech enthusiast, I was curious about how the industry is changing with the enormous influx of new technology.

To learn a little about the effect of technology on post-production, I sat down with Jillian Corsie, a recent ASU film school grad, indie filmmaker, and editor at a commercial post production company in New York City.

Here's what she had to say:

KB: What movie is your favorite movie, cinematographically speaking? And, why?

JC: Moulin Rouge. It completely changed the way I create film, through all aspects of production. From a cinematographer's standpoint, the colors are rich and vivacious; the film frequently uses angles, rarely used in modern studio productions; the editor's intermingling of CGI and in-camera effects is fantastic.

KB: CGI isn't a new technology but it certainly changed the industry. That said, what new industry technologies interest you the most?

JC: The evolution of editing software and hardware interests and affects me the most because of my job. Just recently, Apple announced that it would no longer be updating Final Cut and would just make one version: Final Cut X. For those of us who operate on final cut, this was a blow. We're wondering if the industry is going to move back towards Avid, in the face of industry professional's outrage that Apple decided to discontinue making Final Cut.

KB: Which video editing software do you use at your studio? Why?

JC: Avid and Final Cut. Avid used to be the industry standard for cutting, and many editors will argue that it still is. But, when Final Cut came on the market, it offered editors a more affordable way to cut/edit. Essentially, the two programs do the same thing; some editors just prefer one to the other.

A few years ago, when Final Cut was introduced and editors and students started using it, Final Cut made more sense; then some studios began making the switch. This all changed, however, when Apple introduced Final Cut X. At my studio, each editing suite is now going to have access to both Final Cut and Avid. I myself prefer Final Cut because I, like most recent film grads, learned it in college and I find it easier to use than Avid.

I have heard rumors that Avid editors make more money because the hardware is more expensive and the editors tend to be older, and more experienced, where as Final Cut is newer software and thus has a younger, less experienced user base.

KB: What are the most significant challenges you face as an editor?

JC: Competition and the changing industry. Just 10 or 15 years ago filmmaking was only available to a certain market because media was shot on film, which is incredibly expensive. It used to cost thousands of dollars to produce the simplest spot. Now, anyone with a handheld camera can shoot, edit, and post their video online for people to see. Because of this, there are more 'editors' emerging, and it is an easier skill for people to learn.

Also, this industry is still seen as glamorous and a lot of people want to work in it. Unfortunately, especially right now, times have changed and work is scarce. It is more difficult for a person to become a professional editor. Part of this competition comes from the changes in technology. As I mentioned, anyone can upload their own video online, but there are so many different formats and changing standards. NTSC versus PAL, HD versus Standard Defition, frame rates, aspect ratios, conversions, specs for different projects and equipment can be confusing, and the industry is always changing in these ways.

KB: How and where do you learn about cutting-edge filmmaking technology?

JC: Networking. I learn about it through the work that my friends in the industry do. While I work strictly in the editing world, I have friends who work with graphics and on hardware like Flame who do incredible things.

I also scour the Internet for news about how the industry is changing, both technologically and artistically.

Jill was sure to accentuate how essential it is to keep a finger on the pulse of industry chatter and developments. In the highly competitive film industry, FindTheBest is an excellent resource for professional and indie filmmakers to research and keep up with film technology. Choosing the best software for your specific needs can make your life much easier when it comes to post-production.

Reader Comments

Robert Lönn, 11-Feb-2012
Nice article. On the job being scarse, I think there will be lots of more jobs for the eidtors and videographers that keep improving. The digital video era has only just begun.
Karl H., 12-Jan-2012
Correction, Avid IS the industry standard. However, if you do not cut for major productions; Independent, viral, or low-budget post-houses -- You will more than likely be using Final Cut Pro. She should of noted that they are merely tools of the trade, and one is more affordable and accessible than the other.

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