Industry Trends

2019 Academy Awards: The Best Editing Nominees

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have announced the nominees for the 91st annual Academy Awards, to be given out during ABC’s televised ceremony on Sunday, February 24. The Oscars will cap off a months-long awards season featuring industry veterans, newcomers, and as always, endless debates about who deserves to go home with the golden statue.

New York Film Academy (NYFA) takes a closer look at this year’s Academy Award nominees for Best Film Editing:

BlacKkKlansman, Barry Alexander Brown

This is the second Academy Award nomination for Barry Alexander Brown, with his first dating back nearly forty years ago for the 1979 documentary feature The War at Home. Since then, Brown has edited several of Spike Lee’s films, including Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, He Got Game, 25th Hour, and Inside Man. He’s also edited The Giver, and directed the rock documentary, The Who’s Tommy, the Amazing Journey.

Bohemian Rhapsody, John Ottman

John Ottman has edited several major motion pictures, but has also been the film composer for dozens more. He has edited several of Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer’s films, including The Usual Suspects, Apt Pupil, Superman Returns, Valkyrie and three X-Men films. Some of the films Ottman has scored include The Cable Guy, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Astro Boy, Orphan, and Fantastic Four. This is his first Oscar nomination.

The Favourite, Yorgos Mavropsaridis

Yorgos Mavropsaridis has edited nearly eighty films, including those of Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos — Dogtooth, The Lobster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and The Favourite, which has earned him his first Oscar nomination. He will also work in post-production on Suicide Tourist, currently filming, starring Game of Thrones actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

Green Book, Patrick J. Don Vito

Green Book editor Patrick J. Don Vito has edited over a dozen films, including Another House on Mercy Street and My Life in Ruins, and has worked in the editing department of several more, including Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Welcome to Mooseport, and Semi-Pro. Don Vito also edited the visual effects on the first Austin Powers sequel. This is his first Oscar nomination.

Vice, Hank Corwin

Hank Corwin was first Oscar-nominated for his work on Adam McKay’s previous film, The Big Short. Corwin has also edited for other prestige directors such as Terence Malick, Robert Redford, Barry Levinson, and Oliver Stone. Some of his credits include Natural Born Killers, Nixon, The Horse Whisperer, The Legend of Bagger Vance, The New World, and The Tree of Life.

 

Check out the New York Film Academy Blog after this year’s ceremony for a full list of the 2019 Oscar winners and losers!

The Latest Video Editing Trends to Watch

Video editing has come a long long way. From the beginning of the 20th century, when film as a medium began to develop, editing meant simultaneously two things at once: the joining of shots as well as the manipulation of images. Many of the first films made were realist, documentary films, such as the Lumiere Brothers’ “Arrival of the Train,” which fascinated audiences and allowed them to recognize themselves and the places and events around them. Montage style developed as a counterpoint, where Soviet film makers such as Eisenstein juxtaposed contrasting or even unrelated shots to create new meaning. Rathern than tell a linear story, montage sought to evoke emotion. Montage gave rise to the formalist tendency, which began to see any form of video footage as fodder for creating illusions, magic tricks and fantastic worlds, a style begun by George Melies and continued by the Hollywood superhero 3D blockbuster of today.  

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Before the digital revolution, linear video editing was done with expensive video tape recorders (VTR) that did not promise quality and was were cumbersome. Later inventions such as the “flying erase-head” and vision mixers made the process easier. But the switch from celluloid to digital incited a fundamental change in the process. Gone were the days of handling magnetic tapes, and with the arrival of premier software such as Final Cut Pro and Adobe After Effects, digital video editing was here to stay.

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This is the age of digital. Consequently, the norms of video editing are undergoing a tremendous change. Here, we give you a lowdown on the latest digital editing trends to watch out for.

1. Video Chapterisation Will Gain Popularity

In other words, we’re entering an age where instead of watching videos, we’ll be reading them — and instead of trial-and-error fast-forwarding to find a particular scene, we’ll only have to check the contents and find the right chapter or bookmark. Although most DVDs come with rudimentary chapter divisions, this will become more sophisticated, with careful allocation of sequences semantically, rather than on duration.

2. Your Smartphone May Become A Video Editing Station

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Professional video and photo editing software with a multitude of features may become available on smartphones soon, meaning users can shoot a film, edit it, add special effects and title cards, and release it to YouTube, all from a smartphone. Before you worry that your Avid Media Composer skills are wasted, don’t despair: the entertainment industry, while flexible and able to adapt and absorb new trends like these, will still have need of professional editors able to apply advanced skill and precision. Phones will not replace post-production. Instead, digital editors can see this trend as an interesting opportunity to plug into popular culture and play with emerging new media.

Apps such as Adobe Premiere Clip and WeVideo can be used to make home videos or presentations. For professionals there are paid options, such as the powerful Pinnacle Studio Pro developed by Corel, with more sophisticated features.

3. Live Video Editing

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Live videos are already a thing — whether you’re streaming a rock show live on Facebook timeline or showcasing a 30 sec clip on Instagram. And live video editing is going to be the next big thing. While it’s still at a nascent stage, with live editors rushing to apply filters or emoji to recorded content or camera switching in TV, you’ll soon see innovative developments in this space. The app Lumify, for instance (only available on ios), let’s you edit video from the moment you start recording, for example changing the white balance or focus exposure.

We’re entering an age where one records and edits simultaneously. Soon, more complex features will become easily available, particularly designed for seamless video transitions so as to make sure the audience does not notice the cuts between shots.

You can expect the video editing industry to boom, and as a digital editor you’ll be expected to know the fundamentals of editing as well as the new trends. Even beyond editing digital content with film or advertising companies, your skills can apply in many new fields — from marketing strategies to social media promotion.

Ready to get up to speed with digital editing and dive into this exciting field? Check out NYFA’s digital editing programs for special video editing courses, year round classes and even workshops to help you to remain on top.

 

Do the American Cinema Editors (ACE) Eddie Awards Accurately Predict the Oscars?

The Eddie Awards are given out by an honorary society of film editors called “American Cinema Editors” for achievements in editing both in film and in television. Along with acknowledging outstanding work, what makes these awards so special is that they often predict which film will win an Oscar in the same category as well as the much-coveted Best Picture Award! 

So if you’re one of those people who love playing Oscar prediction games and are even willing to bet your money on it, watching the Eddie Awards ceremony is a must. If you’re still not convinced, here we give you examples of 18 years (yes, 18!) when the American Cinema Editors were accurate predictors of the Academy Awards. 

1. 2016: Yes, that’s right. Just last year, the judges of the Eddie Awards awarded “Mad Max: Fury Road” in the Best Edited Feature Film-Dramatic Category. The film not only went on to win an Oscar for film editing, but also five more Academy Awards for sound editing and mixing, costumes, makeup, and production design. So this year, keep an eye out for the film that wins an Eddie in this category, as it’s pretty likely that the same movie will take home some Oscars too!

2. 2003-2011: For almost a decade, the Eddie Awards proved a near-constant string of accurate predictions as to which film will win the award for best editing, and several films won the best picture as well, including “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” in 2004, “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2009, and “The Hurt Locker” in 2010. Even now, the third LOTR film remains the first and only fantasy film to win a Best Picture award, and also holds a record for winning 11 Oscars — in every category it was nominated for (a record shared with “Ben-Hur” and “Titanic”).

 

Meanwhile, in 2009, there was a fierce debate as to whether “Slumdog Millionaire” or “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” should win. The following year all eyes were set on James Cameron’s 3D extravaganzaAvatar” to sweep the awards as against the low-budget war thriller “The Hurt Locker.” So the next time the rivalry gets tough, you know whom to trust: the Eddie Awards.

3.  1991-1995: The early to mid ‘90s were also a good time for the Eddies. While “JFK” won the Academy Awards for best editing and cinematography in 1992, all the other films to win an Eddie — “Unforgiven” (1993), “Schlinder’s List” (1994) and “Forrest Gump” (1995) — went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture one after the other.

4.  1964-1966: Even during the early years, the Eddie Awards were known for getting the Oscar predictions quite right. From 1964 to 1966, they correctly predicted that “How the West Was Won,” “Mary Poppins” and “The Sound of Music” would win awards for editing and receive a string of nominations. “The Sound of Music” in particular went on to win 5 Oscars, including Best Picture, and still remains one of the most beloved musicals ever made.

 

So do you think “Arrival” and “La La Land” are likely to win big at the Oscars? And what about animation movies as well? Will it “Moana” or ”Zootopia” that takes home an Academy Award? If you can’t wait to find out, then don’t miss the Eddie Awards  on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017!

What films do you think were the best-edited this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Movie Trailer Editing: How Much Should You Reveal?

“So they’ve basically just shown us the full movie, then.”

It’s a common charge against many movie trailers, particularly in recent years. For whatever reason, it’s becoming common to show so much in the trailer that audiences wonder whether there’s any point in seeing the full cut.

It goes without saying that this is the exact opposite reaction that you want to elicit from your potential audience. Today, we’re going to look at the arguments for and against baring all during your movie trailer.

Warning: potential movie spoilers ahead!

Setting Out the Market Stall

A classic example of this would be the trailer to 2011’s “The Double,” which relies on a central plot twist that Richard Gere is the killer he claims to be hunting…

… something which is completely given away in the theatrical trailer:

Didn’t see the movie? Neither did anybody else. Commercially, it completely tanked (grossing $3m against a $17m budget), and we can’t help but suspect that the tell-all trailer was a deciding factor in the movie’s failure to garner interest.

But there is a case to be made for showing all your cards. Director Robert Zemeckis opines: “We know from studying the marketing of movies, people really want to know exactly everything that they are going to see before they go see the movie. It’s just one of those things. To me, being a movie lover and film student and a film scholar and a director, I don’t. What I relate it to is McDonald’s. The reason McDonald’s is a tremendous success is that you don’t have any surprises. You know exactly what it is going to taste like. Everybody knows the menu.”

Who is Dead?!

A compelling argument for sure, but a counter-point would be that this all applies only to specific types of movies; if you’re dealing in a formulaic genre, it’s generally good to reassure audiences that you’re hitting all the beats they’ve come to expect. Take the “Golden Eye” trailer, for instance — a lot of spoilers in there, but this was a Bond movie. There’s almost an unwritten contract of things a Bond movie needs to deliver, and the trailer is the best opportunity to advertise the fact that all of the boxes are ticked.

The same goes for remakes. The 2013 adaption of the Stephen King classic “Carrie” also had a spoiler-laden trailer, but for good reason; fans of the original needed assurance that all of the iconic scenes (such as the “prom reveal”) would be faithfully featured in the remake.

While Zemeckis makes a good point, unfortunately his movie “What Lies Beneath” probably wasn’t the best type of flick in which to pour every single plot reveal into the theatrical trailer:

It’s okay if you let slip that Tom Cruise will survive a big explosion in a “Mission Impossible” trailer. After all, nobody assumes for one moment that his fictional life is in any real jeopardy, and audiences already know he’ll live to survive for at least another movie for as long as the franchise remains profitable.

But a Hitchcockian-thriller relies heavily on a slow and suspenseful layering of reveals, and is entirely undermined when these reveals are telegraphed ahead of time.

Finding the Balance

Trailer editors working in comedy and horror also need to tread carefully. Viewers are remarkably good at spotting whether you’ve included all of your best gags and jump-scares within the trailer, which can be as much of a turn-off as a “Sixth Sense” trailer that reveals Bruce is already dead.

Ultimately, whether a movie trailer should hold its cards to the chest or bare all really depends on the individual movie itself. Balancing audience expectation and creating intrigue (as well as succinctly communicating what the film is about) is the recipe behind an effective movie trailer.

Gut intuition as an editor will get you most of the way, but consider extensive test screening of your trailer with different audiences to get an indication of whether you’ve struck the right balance.

And we cannot understate how important that balance is. After all, those three minutes of trailer can make or break your 90 minutes of feature.

What are some of your favorite film trailers? Let us know in the comments below!

12 Plug-Ins For Adobe Premiere Pro You Can’t Live Without

As a budding filmmaker, digital editor and/or cinematographer, I’m sure you’ve crossed paths with a little application called Adobe Premiere Pro. And if you haven’t, well, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! In recent years, it has really gained wide acceptance as one of the leading editing packages for videos and feature films. Its ability to manipulate and export pretty much any video with minimal time makes it every editor’s best friend. The addition of the Mercury playback engine and its ability to add almost any clip to the timeline without transcoding it was also a noteworthy up on its competitors. Given the right tools, one can transform a class project into a Sundance-worthy masterpiece – the possibilities are endless!

So where do you start and just how many features could you use to optimize your video to its full potential? The answer’s in plug-ins. Premiere Pro software gives you an abundance of editing tools, but the plug-ins really allow you to expand your options. So here are the top 12 most useful and popular ones to get acquainted with – best of all, they’re free!

1. Manifesto – This allows you to incorporate a title/text generator for words to stay static across the screen or roll/crawl across – perfect for rolling credits.

rolling credits

2. Star Titler – If ever you want to create a killer intro that emulates the iconic one in Star Wars, this plug-in is where it’s at.

Star Wars Intro

3. Data Pop Free – This makes creating infographics super simple and is perfect for showcasing particular data statistics in documentaries.

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4. Random Text Generator – This plug-in by Luca Visual FX allows for you to generate random text, numbers and symbols in a matter of seconds – just like in The Matrix.

Random Text Generator

5. Cinema FX Presets – this convenient plug-in is every editor-on-a-budget’s dream offering 56 presets you can use for various cinematic looks.

cinematic presets

6. Magic Bullet Quick Looks Free – Just in case the 56 Cinema FX Presets didn’t have exactly what you were looking for, this plug-in gives you another 20 to choose from. Each look within these presets are inspired by famous films like Saving Private Ryan and The Matrix.

Cinema FX Presets

7. PiPinator – Ever wondered how they incorporate a picture/footage within another picture/footage like they do in so many iconic phone conversation scenes in films? With plug-ins like FxFactory’s PiPinator of course.

picture collage

8. Andy’s Region Tool – Popular for censoring a person’s identity by blurring their face, this tool allows you to apply a specific effect only to a particular part of the image without effecting the rest.

identity censor

9. Organic Particle Effect – This may not be one of the essential plug-ins every editor needs, but it sure is a cool one for those wanting some extra touches in setting the tone of a scene. This tool adds some whimsical essence by incorporating tiny, organic fly-away particles across the screen.

organic particles effect

10. Night Vision Binoculars – yet another cool one that isn’t particularly a standard must-have, this effect is perfect for those action-thrillers and speaks for itself really.

night vision binoculars effect

11. M Free Effects Bundle – Probably the most comprehensive free audio effects bundle online. It offers 24 plug-ins including the MAnalyzer – an advanced spectral analyzer and sonogram, MEqualizer – an easy-to-use, powerful 6-band equalizer with 7 filters and the MNoiseGenerator – yep, you guess it, a noise generator.

audio effects

12. CoreMelt – This is an all-in-one bundle for those who just want a simple download that offers multiple useful plug-ins. It gives you a very generous 43 effects to choose from, including montage presets, filmic transitions, several light effects and even audio presets.

shape mask effect

So there you have it! – 12 of the most handy plug-ins to get you on your way to becoming the best video editor out. Not to mention the wealthiest with all the money you’ll save on paid plug-ins.

Ready to learn more about digital editing and filmmaking? Check out NYFA’s Film School programs for hands-on, intensive training.