Sunday, June 12, 2011

And the winner is...

As you might recall, this year's 2-Minute 2-Step featured a new twist – Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5 editing software instead of the default Final Cut we'd been using for the past four years.

I say "default" because when talking about editing in the independent film world people practically assume you'll be on Final Cut. That's the system everyone knows. They've cornered the market, right? They certainly act like they have, as they pretty much ignore you once you've bought their hardware.

Since year one of the 2-step, I've been saying that Final Cut is vulnerable to a takedown by a company that evolves the software, provides cross-platform capability, and understands the needs of production. Has Adobe done that?

Judging from the spontaneous cheers that broke out when I mentioned their name at the closing night party, I'd say yes.

From Left to Right: 2-Step Winners Jon Hill, Tommy Smeltzer; DWF's Robert Mellette; from Adobe, Michael Kanfer; from Canon, Tim Smith

During the 2-step, we had a couple of Final Cut editors hit the ground running on Premiere Pro and finish our high-pressure competition without a hitch. Not only does Premiere Pro provide options for Final Cut users to automatically set the keyboard to FC standards, but their best technicians were sitting in the chair next to the editor answering every question. Not that there were many, but try getting that kind of support from Apple. You won't. I know, because we tried for four years.

And I haven't even talked about native editing of Canon 5D files, aka, no conversion time. Cards were flying out of the camera, over to the editors, and back to the set before the crew finished the new set-up. In most cases, editors were twiddling their thumbs waiting on new footage. Compare that to last year when we had to wait, and wait, and wait for the time-and-a-half conversion of the 5D footage. As I told the audiences when introducing the 2-steps, I got a lot more sleep because of Adobe.

Thanks, guys.

On another topic. We had some films, including the 2-steps, screen off of Blue Ray DVDs, even though we strongly, to the point of pretty much require, films to screen from HD-Cam tape. Why? Because Blue Ray is still a DVD, and homemade/semipro made DVD's fail at an extraordinarily high rate. For the purposes of a live audience screening, they are pretty much one-and-done, and even then run a high risk of failure, as one film experienced.

I know a lot of smaller festivals around the country only screen off DVD or Blue Ray, so as a word of warning, I suggest only do this as a last resort, definitely have a back-up in the booth, and make sure it is a brand new disc.

That's it for now. This year's festival was logistically the biggest we've ever had, so thanks so much to everyone for your patience and understanding. I hope it was as fun and informative for you as it was for us.

If you weren't in this year's fest, but are thinking about making a film, I hope you will read through past posts on this blog. They are written with you in mind. Please share them with your friends before you make your movie – so I won't have to see the same kind of mistakes over and over next year.

Posts here will slow down during the off-season, but keep checking in as you never know.

Thanks for reading.


Tommy said...

Thanks for another great year Robert! We really appreciated the incredible support provided by Adobe and Canon and look forward to working with them in the future. You guys did an awesome job pulling off the 2-2 with the usual challenges to overcome. Have a great year.

Tommy Smeltzer

JohnW said...

Thanks for the great blog Robert. Any chance you want to give us a rundown of your personal top 5 highlights of this years festival?

RSMellette said...

Top five? Hmmm...

#1 is easy: Interviewing Alan Heim.

2) Watching the judeges sweat over their decisions. It really was hard. Each of them had so many favorites, and as I was a part of each film being in the festival, I was glad to see them have a hard time of it.

3) Charlise Holmes, line producer of the 2-steps. Because of her excellence in hitting the ground running on an extraordinarily difficult job, the festival was 100% more relaxing for me this year.

4) The Q & A's. They are always fun. Asking The Corridor's Josh MacDonald "What the hell were you thinking?" seemed like just the right thing to say after the film had blown my mind for a second time.

5) The Closing Night Party. All the work that Tracey, Jean, and so many others put into making that Thank You reel - and then having the show so well organized - made it one of the best we've ever done, I think.

Anonymous said...

Hi Robert,
Josh MacDonald here, but forced to post as "anonymous": I laughed out loud when I found your first Q&A question to me / the guys in your Top 5. Glad THE CORRIDOR warped your mind a second time through, and know that the Canuck Contingent had a great time at DWF: thanks again for all the hospitality. Now you should have a much-deserved nap!

RSMellette said...

Glad you guys had a good time. I can't wait to have my mind warped a 3rd time when I see The Corridor via international distribution.