Behind the Title: Reel FX editor Chris Collins

NAME: Chris Collins
 
COMPANY: Reel FX (@wearereelfx) in Dallas
 
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Reel FX is made up of directors, editors, animators, VFX artists, audio engineers and more. We work on everything feature length projects to commercials to VR/360 experiences.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Editor

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
What it means to be an editor depends on what kind of editor you ask. If you ask me, the editor is the final director — the person responsible for compiling and composing the hard work of production into a finalized coherent piece of media. Sometimes it’s simple and sometimes there is a lot of creative problem-solving. Sometimes you only cut footage, sometimes you dive into Photoshop, After Effects and other programs to execute a vision. Sometimes there is only one way to make a video work, and sometimes there are infinite ways a piece can be cut. It all depends on the concept and production.

Now with VR, a whole new aspect of editing has opened up by being able to put on a headset and be transported into your footage. I couldn’t be more excited to see the new places that VR can take editing.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
I think people look at editors and think the job is easy because they sit in a cozy office on the computer… and sometimes, they’re not wrong. But there is a lot of hidden stress, problem-solving and creativity that is invisible within a finished piece of media. They may watch a final cut and never notice all the things an editor did or fixed — and that’s what makes a good editor.

WHAT DO YOU EDIT ON?
I cut on Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere but I also use Adobe’s After Effects and Photoshop in my work.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PLUG-IN?
Right now it would have to be Mettle’s Skybox VR Player because it allows me to edit and view my cut of 360 footage within the Oculus headset — so ridiculously cool!

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
Screening a cut to someone for the first time and watching their reaction.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
The fact that the majority of people will never see or know all the unused footage and options that didn’t make the cut.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
I’d have to say those first few hours in the morning with my coffee and late at night after hours because that is when I am the most creative.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
Photography.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I’ve been shooting and editing videos since I was a little kid. It carried on into high school and then into college, since that’s really what my hobby and passion was. It was one of the only things I was good at besides video games so it seemed like a no-brainer.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
TGI Fridays Countdown, Ram Division of Labor, Jeep Renegade campaign, Tostitos Recipe Videos and Texas Health Resources.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
A video I cut called Jeep Legendary Lives. It started out as a personal project of mine that I was cutting after hours, and eventually became part of a presentation video that opened the Detroit Auto Show. It’s also one of the first things that got my foot in the door as an editor.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
Phone. Computer. Camera.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
Facebook. Instagram. Twitter.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK? 
Only if the footage does not have audio and I am in the organization and melting phase. It’s usually some sort of chill electronic — typically instrumental.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
Playing video games or taking photos really helps to distract my brain, but typically all I have to do is remind myself that I am getting paid doing something I love and something that I’ve been passionate about since I was a kid. With that thought, it’s hard not to be anything but grateful.


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