Are you sure this is the best system there is?

DSC02609Bill Warner flicked through the Yellow Pages and rang around to find a company in Boston who had online editing suites, and asked for their pricing for computerised editing, and after creating a projected cost, Warner convinced his boss to pay for the GM video to be edited at Video Troupe.

After shooting the video, Warner took his collection of ¾” rushes, VHS tapes and slides down to the post facility. He had assumed that computerised meant that the system was Having been involved in the computer industry and having cut some internal videos, Warner thought that he would be able to ‘run the session’ and learn the professional edit system as he worked.

I asked them if I could edit my own project. And they tilted their heads funny and went “mmm”. I didn’t really make too much of that and they walked me down to the edit room and sat me down at the system and said 

“Well ok, P is play R is rewind and space bar is stop”. 

And I went “what do you mean rewind?” 

They replied “Well that rewinds the tape decks” 

I said, “What do you mean tape decks? This is a computerized system right?

They said, “Yes”

I said, “Why do you have tape decks, don’t you have video stored in a digital form? 

And the guy just paused and said, “What are you talking about?” 

I said, “What are you talking about? This is a computerized editor right? 

He said, “This is the top of the line CMX computer editor. It’s the best there is”

So I asked him, “If it’s the best, what’s so great about it?”

And he said proudly “its frame accurate”

And I couldn’t believe it

I said, “My Panasonic back at Apollo is accurate to plus or minus 1 or 2 frames”

He replied, “Yes but this is frame accurate and you can rebuild your program from an edit decision list”

I was dumbfounded and then they asked me 

“When do you need your 20 minute video complete by?

I said “Tomorrow

They were shocked and replied. “You’d better call your people and tell them you there’s no way you can be ready by then, forget it”

And I said, “I’m not forgetting it”

Warner went back to Apollo and worked all night to create an offline edit. The next day he returned to the postproduction house, and created an online master using a CMX system. Still troubled by the previous day’s experience, he asked one more time.

“Are you sure this is the best system there is?”

And they said, “This is it. Get used to it”

I was bewildered. I just thought something like an Avid existed somewhere and I didn’t know about it. 

Then I just figured that any day now someone would do this, a digital editing system. Surely it’s just a matter of minutes and I’ll wait. Meanwhile the rest of 1984 went by, 1985 went by…

Unknown to Warner something was happening. 

The monthly excerpt from John Buck’s book, ‘Timeline’. Available at iBooks and AmazonDSC02609

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