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June 22, 2009
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I have some time to myself this week. The Sexy Fiancé Veronica ™ is on vacation with her family and I had some work to do. I’m going to be doing some writing this week. I plan on taking a few days off to go off somewhere and just WRITE. If you have been reading this blog for the past several years, you can clearly see a former writer/director that became more of just a director because I lost some faith in my own writing. After working with some other writers and also this year doing some more writing, I’ve regained some of that lost faith in my own ability to write. If I’m properly motivated, and I feel it in my heart, then I can write. So now I plan on writing my next project myself. Here comes draft 9…


So as I gear up for another season conventions and having a dealer table to sell items, I came up with another disc. I compiled all my educational videos onto a single disc and plan to sell it. I may even put this on AMAZON.COM, but eh, I may not. It all depends. Maybe if I make a few more videos like this, of which I had plans, but have been put on hold.

Now, there’s something educational. Let’s talk about editing on a feature film. Some people, a surprising number of people, don’t understand the most standard workflow of editing on a feature film. In several cases, if the audio was recorded separately from the picture (which is always the case with celluloid film), you need to synchronize (or short hand “synch”) the audio to picture. That’s where you match the sound of the clap to the “Clapper” which is the slate. After that, the initial edit of scenes, in most cases is just a basic cutting of the scenes in script order and they tend to be long. The name for this edit is THE ASSEMBLY, or assembly edit or assembly cut. This can often mistakenly be called a “rough cut”, but the rough cut is really the NEXT edit. The assembly of APOCALYPSE NOW and THIS IS SPINAL TAP are bootlegged as “rough cuts” and that propagates the misnomer.

The 2nd edit is the ROUGH CUT. Once you start to attack the movie from the assembly of scenes, and really start to dig in, you are doing something beyond the basic cutting of the film. The 3rd cut, often called THE FINE CUT is where all the notes from relevant personnel from the producers to directors, etc. are incorporated from the ROUGHT CUT and trimmed away, or put back in as may be the case. The FINE CUT is where radical re-arrangement of scenes, dropping scenes, etc. usually (but not always) occurs. This is usually where pick up shooting comes from, etc. You also wouldn’t’ want to screen anything but the FINE CUT to any kind of audience. The FINE CUT is what studios usually show to test audiences, and never any earlier versions. This is where temp music is placed and used to really start selling the movie.



After the FINE CUT comes the FINAL CUT, which means picture lock. That may or may not have the final FX shots, color correction or sound mix, but they often call it PICTURE LOCK because you aren’t really cutting any more or re-arranging the shot to shot edit.

So these are the four main stages of editing, especially on a feature film.

ASSEMBLY -> ROUGH CUT -> FINE CUT -> FINAL CUT

It terrifies me that people making movies don’t know this simple procedure on a feature film. I never went to film school, but even I know this. The procedure has been around now for nearly 100 years (since the mid-late 1920’s). It works. It works well.

One thing is for sure, I really am learning how much I know and don’t know about making movies every single day. All I know is that I don’t want to keep teaching people what I know. I want to work with people that I don’t have to explain this stuff to. I want to work with professionals, not amateurs. I’m done babysitting.

- Peter John Ross
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