Using Forscene as an Edit Director

I’ve been working as an edit director (the job formerly known as “edit producer”) for nearly 8 years now. I also run courses in how to edit direct for the main television industry training body, DV Talent. In my courses the first thing I tell my students is that you cannot edit direct unless you have got to grips, inside out, with the footage you are working with. Unlike the producer-director who has been on location and is now back in the edit with their own material, the edit director has no idea what the footage contains on their first day of the edit. Unless you find out quickly what material you are dealing with you are totally handicapped. You become the blind leading the blind.

So… in order to get familiar with your footage you need to use the fastest and most effective method of viewing material and getting this material into your brain. For me, the best system I’ve found is Forscene.   I can view the material in one pane, and log it simultaneously in another pane. I can save my logs as word documents that are searchable for key terms. I can print out my logs so they act as transcripts for my editor. I can make short pulls to try out different pieces of sync. I can rename all my rushes rolls so that I can easily find the scenes I want to find. I can view and log rushes from wherever there’s an Internet connection, not just in my edit. So, if I’ve got a stinking cold and don’t want to infect my editor, I can have a day viewing or logging at home. Or if I’m on location but want to do some logging that evening in my hotel, I can.

This video is taken from a Forscene Editor Training event at the end of 2014

My students are always very keen to learn how to use Forscene. It’s daunting to start a new job, be sat in a small edit with an editor you don’t know, footage you don’t know, and unfamiliar technology. But after an hour of so of training and playing around with the platform on the course, they are soon showing me new shortcuts they’ve worked out for themselves. As with all complex software each user will work out their own slightly different way of using Forscene, which makes sense to them, and helps them do their job effectively.

When I first started doing this job it was fairly niche. It mostly occurred on fast-turnaround daytime shows, or cookery series, and it wasn’t considered a particularly challenging or prestigious role. But over the years more and more series, especially within the factual entertainment genre, have realised that simultaneously using a team of directors on the ground, and a team of directors in the edit, can be an effective way of making a series. The role of “edit producer” became more and more common, and our skills became more valued and more in demand. Recently, the organisation, Directors UK, has decided to rename the role to that of “Edit Director” to recognise the creative impact we have on productions and to give us more artistic credibility and validity. In fact, the title of “edit producer” will be entirely phased out by the summer. So, to all you out there doing this job – please amend your CVs accordingly and start calling yourself “Edit Directors”. This not only more accurately portrays the job you are doing in the edit, but it also means that you may be entitled to repeat royalties from the sale of the series you’ve worked on. Contact Directors UK for more details about this.

Click here for more information about the Edit Directing course run by DV Talent.

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Jim Irving

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