American Cinema Editors Internship: Day 2: The Life Of An Assistant

Dear Diary,

So last night’s lecture panel was very informative and encouraging – informative because all the different panelists have traversed different paths and have experienced different situations, personalities and workflows; and encouraging because those assistants who were sharing their success stories with us were, once upon a time in their lives, at the point I am at right now (and not so long ago either, which is really exciting to know).
One of the really exciting things for me personally was hearing about the technical workflow Carsten Kurpaneck had implemented while he was assisting on Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  Because they were shooting in random European countries and the editors were cutting right here in Los Angeles, the assistants had to implement a workflow that didn’t hold production by physically having to wait for the high resolution rushes to come on the hard drive from Europe.  The workflow was:
  1. hi-res gargantuan filesized R3D files from the Red Alexa
  2. converted to ProRes444 for the Online and put on a hard drive for physical transport to LA
  3. converted to low-res H264 files for upload to the Internet from Europe
  4. above H264 files downloaded from LA and upconverted to ProRes444 for import into Final Cut
  5. when the hi-res ProRes444 files finally arrive on hard drive in the post, the low-res Quicktimes are replaced with the hi-res ones
It was exciting to be able to hear how they do it on the big budget Hollywood features, and, again, quite encouraging for me to be able to understand it.
Another interesting thing was hearing all the different ways different editors prefer their projects to be arranged. There was talk of “Mickey Mouse” arrangement of grouped clips and their respective “Cam A” and “Cam B” clips, to knowing the preferred settings of your Editor, and the notion that the amount of footage the editor prefers changes also is very interesting too – in that some editors prefer to only have the good takes of the rushes available in their project whereas others prefer to have all the footage that was shot (and just for the good takes to be annotated somehow).
Finally, there was also talk about “the ACE family” and that it is a community where everyone has each others’ backs and where everyone helps each other out in terms of finding and securing work.  I am very honored and humbled to be a “brother” in this family and look forward to being an active family member for a very long time to come! My first duty in the family is to establish the official 2012 Facebook group of ACE Intern Applicants, and it is already alive and thriving with activity.
Altogether it was really great to hear from people at this stage of their careers and I’m really looking forward to hearing from the panel tonight as that is the level we are all aspiring to – like REALLY excited!

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