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The first video edit that started it all…

This was the very first video I edited as (kinda) part of my job, back in February 2008. At the time of making this, I was being paid as a chase producer (and on-air talent) for a daily 1 hour tech TV show, “The Lab With Leo”, but I knew I ultimately wanted to move into editing.

So, while still performing my normal duties on Lab with Leo, I ALSO worked about 40 hours extra that same week producing this mock cut that would never go anywhere except before the eyes of the higher ups. If I “passed”, I’d get the job of writer/editor/onliner/light-graphic-work for “GameTap News”, a weekly 5 minute gaming news show that aired on the website gametap.com.

While creating this, I even had to capture all the footage outside of the regular workflow of the real GameTap News show, because the existing GameTap News editor (that I would replace if I got the job) was still editing the real show at the time. (that’s why the footage has some tearing/noise in it, you can see horizontal lines popping up all over the place, it was just for content, not for delivery to a client).

I ended up impressing the people who got to judge the work, and got the job. Looking back, for my first edit in a production environment in my career, I was really happy with how it turned out. To this day I’m still OK, even more than OK in some places, with many of the moves/zooms/overall flow, especially near the end of the first story of Ninja Gaiden, where it shows the DS footage, all the zooms into/out of the footage were done by me in After Effects when at the time I was just trying not to drown in the deep end, never receiving any formal training in After Effects.  I was also just trying to stay afloat in the editing program I was using, Avid, as I’d only taken a couple day course years and years before this, and hadn’t touched Avid since then, except for a crash course refresher a couple nights before doing this mock cut.

Of course things I would fix now if this were given to me again would be to bring up b-roll audio across the board where I could, fix some of the aspect ratios in the footage, address black levels and color correction, tighten up some of the edits and sound ups, and probably cut down some of the a-roll (voice over and interviewees), so it didn’t drag on so long, etc. Also, in the second story for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the music sound up while showing the variety of characters doesn’t work, so I’d cut that out.  And there’s many other little things I’d fix today, but that only makes sense and is obvious to me now that I’m 2 years into this, and contributing as an online editor these days.

Back then, I was just nervous to death about making sure I did what I had to do to get the job.  I was really pushing myself, it was my first time ever really digging into After Effects, the first time really cutting on Avid in years, and definitely the first time cutting anything that might lead to a regular job as an editor.

And the stakes were high, becasue the editor I would end up replacing was (and is) a kick ass editor (and shooter, etc.), so I had to reach a somewhat similar level to what he was producing, or at least end up somehwere near the same ball park.

Looking back, it was a crazy week that burnt me out, but I got the job!

Now, 2 years later, I’ve been a news editor (cutting EP Daily news after this original GameTap News gig, which of course helped me land that next role), and I’ve been a feature story editor, allowing me to learn from experience how to really craft a story, arcing from a beginning to a middle to an ending end, and making it all flow from idea to idea, sometimes with way less footage than you’d like, sometimes surprised by how much you can do with so little source material (where often the story leads you to the few places it can go, rather than having so much footage that you can choose where to lead the story).

And now I am taking the next step, moving into online editing (being the last person to touch the footage before it airs on TV or appears on the web, or in my case, both.) Online editing involves all the little details, little details that I didin’t even know were a factor when just starting out with the mock cut above 2 years earlier.

And of course now I’m contributing at my work as a graphic artist as well, something much more complex and involved than what I did in my mock cut, BUT it’s funny that I was still using After Effects then, and I am using After Effects now, and really enjoying taking that to a whole new level I was nowhere near when the first video edit started it all…

A trip down memory lane…

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