Archive for the 'editing' Category

The Graphics of Transformers

July 18, 2007

A note from abroad: Popular Mechanics has a phenomenal article on the special effects used in Transformers. The article features some great insight into the process ILM uses: the way the animators conceptualize scenes, meeting the demands of Michael Bay and working from finished pose to compact car.

It’s always nice to see a glimpse into the relationship between a director and his crew, and the ILM team provides some interesting insights into Bay’s needs. You may not be directing a $150 Million flick in the near future, but it’s probably worth taking the notes anyway.

Check out the article.

– chris


Video: Breaking Down Visual Effects

May 23, 2007


This is a great video highlighting the power of visual effects and composition. Apparently the clip was put together to showcase the skills of RI0T Manhattan, a portion of RIOT Inc a bi-coastal production house. The vid features some really fast cutting, but it’s an excellent look for anyone interested in how this stuff works.

To check out more great videos from RIOT head to their official site. Be sure to check out the excellent HOWTO the cut, showing off all the killer effects and composition they put together for a recent Orbitz commercial.

– chris

Procrastination Friday: Walter Murch Speaks at BAFTA

April 27, 2007


Looking to be inspired? Well sit yourself down and settle in for a serious Q&A lecture session with the great Walter Murch. Murch spoke during the 2003 BAFTA ceremonies about the craft of editing and his creative decision making.

Murch is going to cover the history of film editing in detail over the next 90 minutes, so you may need to get out your moleskine. Watch Part 1 and then Part 2.

If you still need more Murch be sure to check out our previous coverage.
– chris

Multi-Touch Fever

April 5, 2007

Tropist Handbrowse

What’s that he’s browsing?

A few weeks ago, this video of Jeff Han’s multi-touch display began making the rounds on the web. The excitement over this thing has been overwhelming. It’s a pretty cool idea: imagine cutting a scene or retouching a photo while working intuitively with only your hands. There’s only one problem though: Jeff’s display will take years to move through the market and currently he’s selling these things for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But there’s hope yet! We stumbled across this camera-based interface a few days ago. The software uses simple background subtraction techniques to detect a user’s hand gestures. While this type of solution can’t really compete with Jeff’s multi-touch display, it has the advantage of being dirt cheap (all you’d need is a webcam). Hopefully I can convince Brendan to build me a plug-in like this for Final Cut.

– chris

How Reality TV Shows Are Edited

March 30, 2007

BBC Editing

Charlie Brooker, of BBC’s Screenwipe, has a great piece illustrating some of the devious editing techniques used in the creation of reality TV shows. While this isn’t breaking news for editors, it’s still shocking to see how quickly and efficiently the editing room can change the context of a scene.

– chris

Procrastination Friday: The Cutting Edge

March 16, 2007

Cutting Edge

The Cutting Edge is a documentary about the importance of film editing. Coincidentally, this film shares its title with a horrible figure skating movie. My apologies if you read the title of this post and got excited for the wrong reasons.

Film editing is one of the most under-appreciated arts, especially given it’s daily impact. You might think that I’d be biased since I am an editor myself. But doesn’t that make me an expert? Suck on that.

Anyway, the entire film has made its way online. We’d be honored if you’d watch it right here, embedded in our blog. That way our Tropist branding will affect your dreams tonight.

(via TheEditBlog and TickleBooth)

– chris

Creepy Clown Rap Wins StockStock Film Fest

March 12, 2007


StockStock, the stock footage film festival we covered in January, just released the finalists for this year’s competition. The winner, Noise and Clowns, is an entrancingly bizarre combination of manufactured beats and creepy clown visuals. You can watch it below.

I think editing competitions are an excellent way to showcase and compare new talent. Hopefully we’ll see more like this in the future.

– chris

Ronald Reagan’s Crusade for Drugs and The History of the Mashup

March 6, 2007

Nancy Reagan Is this presidential address the original mashup? This video was an urgent message put out by President Ronald Reagan and his First Lady promoting the use of drugs. It was cut together in 1988, long before the advent of accessible non-linear editing systems. Pretty impressive.

With the proliferation of online video, re-editing scenes from popular movies has become increasingly popular as an effective way to show off one’s editing skills. Because mashups use content that audiences are already familiar with, it makes clever editing all the more apparent. We’ve assembled a list of some of the best and most successful remixed trailers along with what’s become of their creators. Enjoy.

The Shining Redux – Robert Ryang (September 2005)
Arguably the video that started the trailer remix craze, The Shining Redux was created by Robert Ryang of New York based post-production house PS260. Soon after its release, Robert was getting calls from studio heads.

Brokeback to the FutureChocolate Cake City (December 2005)
Released shortly after Brokeback Mountain hit theaters, this remix was an instant viral hit. The incredible amount of press it received helped put Chocolate Cake City, a sketch comedy group at Emerson College, on the map.

10 Things I Hate about CommandmentsSmacky Prod (2006)
Smacky Prod is Mike Dow and Ari Eisner. These guys also did the equally popular Jaws re-cut, Must Love Jaws. They’ve recently been creating comedy videos for MTV Overdrive, including Laguna Beach: Summer of Stupid.

Toy Story 2 – Requiem for a Dream – Mike Hindes (2005)
This is a phenomenal re-cut, unfortunately a Google search for “Mike Hindes” doesn’t turn much up.

Titanic: Two The SurfaceRobert Blankenheim (April 2006)

Robert’s website makes no mention of any current projects, but his video was seen by millions and was featured on a number of major news networks. Clearly his talents haven’t gone unnoticed.

Still want more? Check out for an enormous collection of re-cut trailers.

– chris


Update: It turns out that Robert Blankenheim, the Titanic remixer, has a great version of his mashup with commentary here.