Ken Pattenden, when he is not at his computer
My 85-year old English father-in-law is remarkably computer literate.
(He is also in remarkably good shape (note photo above), but more about computer literacy.
As an avid reader of this blog, I thought it only fair to put a picture of him in here. (Don't worry mom, you're next).
In any event, even though he is computer literate, old habits die hard.
When he emails, he writes out the email longhand on a yellow legal pad with a pen. Then he proofreads it and edits it and corrects it. When he is ready, the then transcribes the email draft onto the computer and hits send.
This process might bring a smile to the faces of the more 'computer literate' until we start to look at how most of us use Final Cut Pro or Avid or Adobe Premier other editing software.
In the 'convential' television and video world (and indeed the way I was taught at both Columbia University and CBS News) we took the raw footage and logged it by timecode notes. If we had time and money we transcribed the interveiws. Then we wrote out a written script of what the final film would be. Then we went into an edit suite and transposed that written script back into video.
This, my friends, is no different from what my father-in-law does.
Ken has been confronted with a new technology, but what he has done is to marry his old way of working with this new technology. We do the same with films and video, The notion of converting one medium (in this case video) into another one (text) and then working in text and in the end converting that text back to video is not only an inordinate waste of time, it is also inherently destructive to the quality of the final product. It dilutes the power of the video.
Now, just as you are already quite adept at 'composing' direclty onto emails or word processing software, I want you to start 'composing' or 'scripting' your videos and films directly onto Final Cut Pro or Adobe or Sony Vegas timelines. In other words, buid the video from video. Drag your clips and soundbites direclty onto the timeline and massage them around until you get a very rough cut of how your film or scene is going to look. Then appy the soundbites. When that is done, narrate to what you see.
This is how we use Final Cut Pro or Avid Express as a scriptwriting tool as well as an editing tool.
It also keeps the video 'pure'. After all, what the viewer is going to see is what is in the video.
In the next few weeks, I will be talking more about this idea of 'direct scripting' as opposed to the rather laborious and time consuming (and destructive) process of 'writing a script'.
In the meantime, try working a few minutes like this with something you have shot already.
Just lay in the shots and massage them around. Don't worry about 'getting it wrong', that is the whole power of non-linear. You can always change it up and then change it up again, until it feels right.
Let me know how this goes.
And Ken, if you are reading this, you might try writing a comment here directly on the software. I will be happy to come over and show you how easy this is. Later, we can do video,