Category Archives: Editing

First-time director of Beyond Transport calls on AlphaDogs for post

The new documentary Beyond Transport, directed and produced by Ched Lohr, focuses on technology and how it’s brought people together while at the same time creating a huge disconnect in personal relationships. In this doc, this topic is examined from the perspective of cab drivers. Shot on all seven continents of the world, the film includes interviews with drivers who share their accounts of how socializing has changed dramatically in the 21st Century.

Eighteen months in the making, Beyond Transport was shot intermittently due to an extensive travel schedule to countries that included, Ireland, Cambodia, Tanzania and Australia. An unexpected conversation with a cab driver in Cairns, Australia, and a dive trip to the Great Barrier Reef were initially what inspired Lohr to make the film. “I noticed all the divers were using their personal devices in between dives,” says Lohr. “It seemed like meeting new people and connecting with others has become less of a priority. I thought it would be interesting to interview cab drivers because they have a very unique perspective of people’s behaviors.”

A physician by trade, Lohr had a vision for the documentary, but no idea on how to go about creating it. With no background in producing, writing or even how to use editing systems, Lohr assembled a team of pros to help guide him through the process, including hiring the team at Burbank’s AlphaDogs to complete post for the film.

AlphaDogs colorist Sean Stack distinguished differences in climate between the various locations by choosing specific color palettes. This helped bring the audiences into the story with a feel and vibe on what it might feel like to actually be there in person. “The filmmaker talks to cab drivers from a variety of climates, ranging from the searing heat of Tanzania, to the frigid temperatures of Antarctica,” describes Stack. “With that in mind, I navigated through the documentary looking for ways to help define the surroundings.”

To accomplish this, Stack added saturated warm colors, such as yellow, tan and brown to locations in South Africa and South America, making even the dirt, cars and buildings radiate a sense of intense heat. In contrast, less saturation was given to the harsher climate of Antarctica, using a series of blue tones for both the sky and the water, which added depth, and also gave a more frigid and crisp appearance. Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve Power Windows were used to fix problems with uncontrolled lighting situations present in the interviews with cab drivers. Hand-held footage was also stabilized, with a final touch of film grain added to take away from a videotape feel and give a more inviting texture to the documentary.

In addition, Stack created an end credits section by pulling shots of the cab drivers looking into the camera and smiling. “This accomplished the goal of the filmmaker to have pictures accompany the end credits,” explains Stack. “It also added another element of connection to the drivers who are telling the story. Seeing them one last time reminds the viewer of some of the best moments in the documentary and hopefully taking those memorable moments away with them.”

AlphaDogs audio engineer Curtis Fritsch completed audio on the film that included clean up on noisy audio files, since most all of the interviews take place inside of a cab. To keep the audio from sounding over processed, Fritsch used a very specific combination of Cedar and Izotope plugins. “We were able to find a really good balance in making the dialogue sound much clearer and pronounced,” he says. “This was of particular importance in the scene where a muezzin is reciting the adhan (call to prayer). I was able to remove the wind noise so you not only heard the prayer in this dreamlike sequence but also to keep the focus on the music, rather than the VFX.”

Kathrin Lausch joins Uppercut as EP

New York post shop Uppercut has added Kathrin Lausch as executive producer. Lausch has over two decades of experience as an executive producer for top production and post production companies such as MPC, Ntropic, B-Reel, Nice Shoes, Partizan and Compass Films, among others. She has led shops on the front lines for the outset of digital, branded content, reality television and brand-direct production.

“I joined Uppercut after being very impressed with Micah Scarpelli’s clear understanding of the advertising market, its ongoing changes and his proactive approach to offer his services accordingly,” explains Lausch. “The new advertising landscape is offering up opportunities for boutique shops like Uppercut, and interesting conversations and relationships can come out of having a clear and focused offering. It was important to me to be part of a team that embraces change and thrives on being a part of it.”

Half French, half German-born, Lausch followed dual pursuits in law and art in NYC before finding her way to the world of production. She launched Passport Films, which later became Compass Films. After selling the company, she followed the onset of the digital advertising marketplace, landing with B-Reel. She made the shift to post production, further embracing the new digital landscape as executive producer at Nice Shoes and Ntropic before landing as head of new business at MPC.

Cinna 1.2

Behind the Title: Arcade Edit’s Ali Mao

NAME: Ali Mao

COMPANY: Arcade Edit in New York City

Arcade is a film and television editorial house with offices located in Los Angeles and New York City.


Being an editor is all about storytelling. Whether that means following the script and boards as designed or playing outside the parameters of those guidelines, we set the pace and tone of a piece in hopes that our audience reacts to it. Sometimes it’s super easy and everything just falls into place. Other times it requires a bit more problem solving on my end, but I’m always striving to tell the story the best I can.

For a lot of people who don’t work in the industry, they think editors just sit in a dark room alone all the time, and we do sometimes! But what I love most about editing is how collaborative a process it is. So much of what we do is working with the director and the creatives to find just the right pieces that help tell their story the most effectively.


Once in awhile the best cuts are not even what was originally boarded or conceived, but what was found through the exploration of editing. When you fall in love with a character, laugh at a joke, or cry at an emotional moment it’s a result of the directing, the acting and the editing all working perfectly in sync with one another.

I love going through dailies for the first time and seeing how the director and the cinematographer compose a particular scene or how an actor interprets lines, especially when you pick up on something in a take that you as an editor love – a subtle twitching of an eye or the way the light captures some element of the image – that everyone forgot about until they see it in your edit.

Not having enough time to really sit with the footage before I start working with the director or agency.

Early in the morning even though I’m not really a morning person…but in our industry, that’s probably the quietest time of the day.

Bumming it at the beach back home in Hawaii.

During the summer before my junior year of high school, I stumbled upon Vivacious Lady (with Jimmy Stewart and Ginger Rogers) on AMC. I don’t know what it was about that movie, but I stayed up until 2am watching the whole thing.

For the next two years, every Sunday I’d grab the TV guide from the morning newspaper and review the AMC and TCM lineups for the week. Then I’d set my VCR to record every movie I wanted to see, which at the time were mostly musicals and rom-coms. When my dad asked me what I wanted to study in college I said film because at 5’4” getting paid to play basketball probably wasn’t going to happen, and those old AMC and TMC movies were my next favorite thing.

When I got to college, I was taught the basics of FCP in a digital filmmaking class and fell in love with editing instantly. I liked how there was a structure to the process of it, while simultaneously having a ton of creative freedom in how to tell the story.


In January I worked with Saatchi on their Tide Super Bowl Campaign, editing the television teasers and 15s. This was the second year in a row that I got to work with them for the Super Bowl, and it’s one of my favorite jobs every year. They do some really fun and creative work for their teasers, and there’s so much opportunity to experiment and get a little weird

There was the Aflac Ski Patrol spot, and I also just finished a Fage Campaign with Leo Burnett, which went incredibly well. Matt Lenski from Arts & Science did such an incredible job with the shoot and provided me with so many options of how to tell the story for each spot.

I think you put on a different hat whenever you start any project, regardless of genre. Every comedy piece or visual piece is unique in its story, rhythm, etc. I definitely try to put myself in the right head space for editing a specific genre, whether that be from chatting with the director/agency or doing a deep dive on the Internet looking for inspiration from films, ads, music videos — anything really.

I worked as an editor on a documentary called Undroppable. It was about the school dropout rate across the US and followed students from different parts of the country, focusing on the challenges of graduating high school.

The film had already been edited by the time I got involved, but the producer felt it needed fresh eyes. I loved a lot of what the previous editors had done, and felt like the one thing I could bring to the film was focus. There were so many compelling stories that it sometimes felt like you never had a chance to really take any of it in. I wanted the audience to not just fall in love with these students and root for them, but to also leave the theater in active pursuit of ways they could be involved in our country’s education system.

As someone who was cutting mostly commercials and short films in Final Cut Pro at the time, doing a feature length documentary on Avid Media Composer was daunting, but so very, very exciting and gratifying.

Avid Media Composer.

Every once in awhile I get a job where I’m asked to create an edit that is not in line with the footage that was shot. In those instances, I’ll have to comp takes together in order to get a desired set of performances or a desired shot. I try not to make the comps too clean because I don’t want to put our Flame artist out of a job.

iPhone, computer, Roomba

I just had a baby, so coming home to my son and my baby daddy is a great way to end the day. I also play on an all-women’s flag football team in a co-ed league on the weekends. The first game we ever won I QB’d while I was eight weeks pregnant; it was my Serena Williams moment!

Review: Digital Anarchy’s Transcriptive plugin for Adobe Premiere

By Brady Betzel

One of the most time consuming parts of editing can be dealing with the pre-post, including organizing scripts and transcriptions of interviews. In the past, I have used and loved Avid’s ScriptSync and Phrase Find. These days, with people becoming more comfortable with other NLEs such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple FCP X and Blackmagic Resolve, there is a need for similar technology inside  those apps, and that is where Digital Anarchy’s Transcriptive plug-in comes in.

Transcriptive is a Windows- and Mac OS-compatible plugin for Premiere Pro CC 2015.3 and above. Transcriptive allows the editor to have a sequence or multiple clips transcribed in the cloud by either IBM Watson or Speechmatics, a script downloaded to your system and in sync with the clips and sequences for a price. From there you can search for specific words, sort by person speaking, including labelling each speaker, or just follow an interview along with a transcript.

Avid’s ScriptSync is an invaluable plugin, in my opinion, when working on shows with interviews, especially when combining multiple responses into one cohesive answer being covered by b-roll — often referred to as a Frankenbite. Transcriptive comes close to Avid’s ScriptSync within Premiere Pro, but has a few differences, and is priced at $299, plus the per-minute cost of transcription.

A Deeper Look
Within Premiere, Transcriptive lives under the Windows menu > Extension > Transcriptive. To get access to the online AI transcription services you will obviously need an Internet connection as well as an account with Speechmatics and/or IBM’s Watson. You’ll really want to follow along with the manual, which can be found here. It walks you step by step through setting up the Transcriptive plugin.

It is a little convoluted to get it all set up, but once you do you are ready to upload a clip and get transcribing. IBM’s Watson will get you going with 1,000 free minutes of transcription a month, and from there it goes from $.02/minute down to $.01/minute, depending on how much you need transcribed. If you need additional languages transcribed it will be up-charged $.03/minute. Speechmatics is another transcription service that runs roughly $.08 a minute (I say roughly because the price is in pounds and has fluctuated in the past) and it will go down if you do more than 1,000 minutes a month.

Your first question should be why the disparity in price, and in this instance you get what you pay for. If you aren’t as strict on accuracy, then Watson is for you — it doesn’t quite get everything correct and can sometimes fail to see when a new person is talking, even on a very clear recording. Speechmatics was faster during my testing and more accurate. If free is a good price for you then Watson might do the job, and you should try it first. But in my opinion Speechmatics is where you need to be.

When editing interviews, accuracy is extremely important, especially when searching specific key words, and this is where Speechmatics came through. Neither service has complete accuracy, and if something is wrong you can’t kick it back like you could a traditional, human-based transcription service.

The Test
To test Transcriptive I downloaded a CNN interview between Anderson Cooper and Hillary Clinton, which in theory should have perfect audio. Even with “perfect audio” Watson had some trouble when one person would talk over the other. Speechmatics seemed to get each person labeled correctly when they spoke, I would guess it missed only about 5% of the words, so about 95% accurate — Watson seemed to be about 70% accurate.

To get your file to these services you will either send your media from a sequence, multiple clips or a folder of clips. I seem to favor a specific folder of clips to transcode as it forces some organization and my OCD assistant editor brain feels a little more at home.

As a plugin, Transcriptive is an extension inside of Premiere Pro, as alluded to earlier. Inside Premiere you have to have the Transcriptive window active when doing edits or simply playing down a clip, otherwise you will be affecting the timeline (meaning if you hit undo you will be undoing your timeline work, so be careful). When working with transcriptions between clips and sequences your transcription will load differently. If you transcribe individual clips using the Batch Files command, the transcription will be loaded into the infamous Speech Analysis field of the files metadata. In this instance you can now search in the metadata field instead of the Transcriptive window.

One feature I really like is the ability to export a transcript as markers to be placed on the timeline. In addition, you can export many different closed captioning file types such as SMPTE-TT (XML file), which can be used inside of Premiere with its built-in caption integration. SRT and VTT are captioning file types to be uploaded alongside your video to services like YouTube, and JSON files allow you to send transcripts to other machines using the Transcriptive plugin. Besides searching inside of Transcriptive for any lines or speakers you want, you can also edit the transcript. This can be extremely useful if two speakers are combined or if there are some missed words that need to be corrected.

To really explain how Transcriptive works, it is easiest to compare it to Avid’s ScriptSync. If you have used Avid’s ScriptSync and then gave Transcriptive a try, you likely noticed some features that Transcriptive desperately needs in order to be the powerhouse that ScriptSync is — but Transcriptive has the added ability to upload your files and process them in the cloud.

ScriptSync allows the editor or assistant editor to take a bunch of transcriptions, line them up, then, for example, have every clip from a particular person in one transcription file that could be searched or edited from. In addition, there is a physical representation of the transcriptions that can be organized in bins and accessed separately from the clips. These functions would be a huge upgrade to Transcriptive in the future, especially for editors who work on unscripted or documentary projects with multiple interviews from the same people. If you use an external transcription file and want to align with clips you have in the system you must use (and pay) Speechmatics, which for a lower price per minute will align the two files.

Updates Are Coming
After I had finished my initial review, Jim Tierney, president of Digital Anarchy, was kind enough to email me about some updates that were coming to Transcriptive as well as a really handy transcription workflow that I had missed my first time around.

He mentioned that they are working on a Power Search function that will allow for a search of all clips and transcripts inside the project. A window will then show all the search results and can be clicked on to open the corresponding clips in the source window or sequence in the record window. Once that update rolls in, Transcriptive will be much more powerful and easier to use.

The only thing that will be hard to differentiate is if you have multiple interviews from multiple people. For instance, if I wanted to limit the search to only my interviews and for a specific phrase. In the future, a way to Power Search a select folder of clips or sequences may be a great way to search isolated clips or sequences, at least easier than searching all clips and sequences.

The other tidbit Jim mentioned was using YouTube’s built-in transcriptions in your own videos. Before you watch the tutorial keep in mind that this process isn’t flawless. While you can upload your video to YouTube in private mode, the uploading part may still turn away a few people who have security concerns. In addition, you will need to export a low-res proxy version of your clip to transcode, which can take time.

If you have the time, or have an assistant editor with time, this process through YouTube might be your saving grace. My two cents is that with some upfront bookkeeping like tape naming, and after transcribing corrections, this could be one of the best solutions if you aren’t worried about security.

Regardless, check out the tutorial if you want a way to get supposedly very accurate transcriptions via YouTube’s transcriber. In the end it will produce a VTT transcription file that you will import back into Transcriptive, where you will need to either leave alone or spend adjusting since VTT files will not allow for punctuation. The main benefit to the VTT file from YouTube is the timecode is carried back to Transcriptive and enables each word to be clicked on and the video will line up to it.

Summing Up
All in all, there are only a few options when working with transcriptions inside of Premiere. Transcriptive did a good job at what it did: uploading my file to one of the transcription services, acquiring the transcript and aligning the clip to the timecoded transcript with identifying markers for speakers that can be changed if needed. Once the Power Search gets ironed out and put into a proper release, Transcriptive will get even closer to being the transcription powerhouse you need for Premiere editing.

If you work with tons of interviews or just want clips transcribed for easy search you should definitely download Digital Anarchy’s Transcriptive demo and give it a whirl.

You can also find a ton of good video tutorials on their site. Keep in mind that the Transcriptive plugin runs $299 and you have some free transcriptions available to you through IBM’s Watson, but if you want very accurate transcriptions you will need to pay for Speechmatics or you can try YouTube’s built-in transcription service that charges nothing.

Brady Betzel is an Emmy-nominated online editor at Margarita Mix in Hollywood, working on Life Below Zero and Cutthroat Kitchen. You can email Brady at Follow him on Twitter @allbetzroff.

Cutter Mark Burnett returns to his Australian roots and The Editors

Editor Mark Burnett has returned home to Australia and The Editors after nine years of cutting in London, most recently at The Whitehouse. Launching his career in Sydney, working at The Post Office before joining The Editors back in 2007, Burnett moved to London in 2009 to edit at Speade, joining The Whitehouse in 2014.

Burnett’s style and comedic timing have brought him industry recognition with Clios, BTA Arrows, Cannes Lions and APA Crystal Awards. Last year he won a Bronze Kinsale Shark Award for his work on McCain’s We Are Family and his quirky approach has seen him cut for comedy directors such as Jim Hosking, Zach Math and Hamish Rothwell.

Also behind this year’s Sundance film An Evening With Beverly Luff and the Palm Springs Film Festival 2017 opening film Edmund The Magnificent, Burnett is no stranger to longform and has delivered on past Sundance hits The Greasy Strangler (2016) and the LCD Soundsystem documentary Shut Up and Play The Hits (2012).

On his recent signing, Burnett says, “After nine years in the UK and after many long winters, many teas, many pints, many new friends, a child, a lot of travel and a bit of whinging, the time felt right to head home. It made sense to head back to the company that has always been a home away from home, and I am stoked to be welcomed back to The Editors and to be surrounded by not only amazing talent, but amazing people.”

Avid president Jeff Rosica replaces fired CEO Louis Hernandez, Jr.

Avid’s board of directors has named company president Jeff Rosica as chief executive officer, effective immediately. The board also announced the termination of former CEO Louis Hernandez, Jr., due to violations of company policies related to workplace conduct. Hernandez has also resigned from his position on the Avid board and Nancy Hawthorne has been elected chairman.

Rosica, who joined Avid in early 2013, is a well-known industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience in broadcast, media and entertainment. Prior to his role as president of Avid, he served as senior VP, chief sales and marketing officer for the company.

According to an Avid press release, with the assistance of independent external legal counsel, a special committee comprising independent members of the board of directors conducted a thorough investigation into allegations of improper non-financially related workplace conduct by Hernandez. After reviewing the findings of the special committee’s investigation, the board of unanimously concluded that the findings warranted immediate termination of Hernandez’s employment.

“The board is committed to the company’s core values and to upholding an environment of the utmost respect and integrity. We remain confident in the strategy and the long-term business plan of the company,” reports Hawthorne.



David Walton Smith joins digital agency Grow as head of film

Norfolk, Virginia-based digital agency Grow has expanded its film and production capabilities with the addition of David Walton Smith, who will take on the newly created role of head of film. Walton Smith will be charged with overseeing all content development and video production for the agency’s clients, which include Google, Spotify, Adidas and Adult Swim.

A multidisciplinary filmmaker and creative, Walton Smith has produced commercials, as well as branded and documentary content, for brands like Google, Volvo, Mass Mutual, Hyundai and Aleve. Prior to joining Grow, he was a director and producer at CNN’s branded content division, Courageous Studio, where he created broadcast and web content for CNN’s global audiences. He was also editor of Born to Explore with Richard Wiese, an Emmy Award-winning show that aired on ABC, as well as creative lead/director at London and Brooklyn-based LonelyLeap, where he spearheaded campaigns for Google and Tylenol.

Grow works with brands including Google, Spotify, NBC, Adidas,, Oxygen Network and Adult Swim, to create digital experiences, products and interactive installations. Notable recent projects include Window Wonderland for Google Shopping, Madden Giferator for EA Sports, as part of Google’s Art, Copy & Code initiative, as well as The Pursuit, an interactive, crime thriller game created with Oxygen Media.

Configuring an iMac Pro for video editing

By Larry Jordan

Ever since Apple released the iMac Pro, my inbox has been clogged with people asking advice on how to configure their system. This article is designed to help you make more informed decisions when you don’t have an unlimited budget. Also, while the iMac Pro is designed for many different markets, I’m focusing here on digital media.

If money is no object, buy the top of the line. It will be blindingly fast, it will work great and you’ll have enormous bragging rights. But… if money IS an object, then you need to make trade-offs, balancing the performance you need with the money you have. The good news is that you don’t need to buy the top-of-the-line to get a system today that can meet your editing needs for the next several years.

Some background
When Apple rebuilt Final Cut to create FCP X, they focused on upgrading its underlying architecture to take advantage of coming advances in hardware. This includes an all-64-bit architecture, optimization for core technologies including Metal, tight integration with both CPU and GPU and the ability to take advantage of faster I/O — both to the processors and storage.

There are no optimizations in Final Cut, Motion or Compressor that focus specifically on the iMac Pro. Instead, Apple’s media apps take advantage of whatever technology or performance benefits are provided in the hardware. In other words, there are no new features in FCP X that appear if it is running on an iMac Pro. What does appear is faster performance.

This is from the Apple website, comparing the iMac Pro to the fastest Quad core iMac:

“The iMac Pro takes Mac performance to a new level, even when compared to our fastest quad-core iMac.”

  • Photographers can work with enormous files and perform image processing up to 4.1 times faster.
  • Music producers can export massive multi-track projects up to 4.6 times faster and use up to 12.4 times as many real-time plug-ins.
  • Video editors can edit up to eight streams of 4K video, or edit 4.5K RED RAW video and 8K ProRes 4444 at full resolution in realtime without rendering. The iMac Pro can also export HEVC video three times faster.

Keep in mind that Apple reports these performance numbers are based on: “Testing conducted by Apple in November 2017 using pre-production 2.3GHz 18-core Intel Xeon W-based 27-inch iMac Pro systems with 128GB of RAM and pre-production 3.0GHz 10-core Intel Xeon W-based 27-inch iMac Pro systems with 64GB of RAM, both configured with Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics with 16GB of HBM2.”

Do You Really Need an iMac Pro?
Well, “need” is a relative term. If you principally work with SD or HD material, an iMac will be perfectly fine. The performance benefits of the iMac Pro don’t justify the expense. If you are hobbyist, no, you don’t need an iMac Pro. You might “want” one, but you don’t “need” one.

However, if the bulk of your work involves 4K or greater frame sizes, 360-degree VR, RAW files, or HDR, the performance benefits of this new system make it worth considering, because the design of the iMac Pro significantly speeds working with larger frame sizes, faster frame rates, more effects and more processor-intensive codecs (such as HEVC).

With that being said, let’s take a look at the specific components to see which ones make the most sense for video editing.

The iMac Pro uses the same display technology as the 5K iMac. So everything you see on a current iMac looks the same on the iMac Pro:

– 5K display
– One billion colors
– P3 wide color gamut
– 500 nits

But, while the display of the iMac Pro is the same as an iMac, the display capability of the iMac Pro is greater:
– It can drive two other 5K displays or up to four other 4K displays.
– It has enhanced external connectivity and more Thunderbolt 3 ports (so you still have Thunderbolt ports left over for other accessories after connecting a display).

Before the shouting starts, let me say again that if money is no object, buy the top-of-the-line iMac Pro. However, for most of the editing that most of us are doing, we don’t need to buy the top-of-the-line system to get significantly improved editing performance.

The 8-core system is fine for most editing and compression. For example, H.264 compression takes advantage of a hardware encoder that is built into all current Macs. This hardware encoder is independent of CPU cores. However, there are benefits to more cores, especially when decoding and encoding heavily threaded codecs like ProRes or HEVC. Also, the 10-core system offers a higher Turbo Boost speed of 4.5GHz versus 4.2GHz for the 8-core CPU. This additional speed benefits rendering and exporting.

The 14- and 18-core systems are designed for applications other than video editing. I would invest my money elsewhere in the system because video editors will see greater benefits in upgrading RAM and GPU when using Final Cut Pro on an iMac Pro.

An exception to staying within a 10-core system is that editors using Red Raw media or working with multiple streams of ProRes — for example, multicam work — will see improved performance with higher-core systems.

I recommend 8 cores for general editing and 10 cores for multicam editing and RAW video workflows.

Performance vs. Heat 
One of the issues I’ve heard about the current Mac Pro is that it has a problem with heat under heavy load. What I discovered is that, even more than the Mac Pro, the iMac Pro internals are designed specifically to dissipate heat under heavy load.

Outside, the iMac Pro is millimeter for millimeter the same size and shape as a standard 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display; outside of the space gray color and a few extra vents on the back. But, on the inside, it’s radically different.

One of the key things Apple was able to do is make the system all flash-based; 3GB/s of fast SSD is pretty darn fast! Switching to all flash allowed Apple to remove the 3.5” hard drive and use that large space for a dual blower design and a massive heatsink and heat pipe architecture.

This delivers 75% more airflow and 80% more thermal capacity, enabling far more CPU and GPU power in the box over a traditional iMac. It is also worth noting that it does all this while still being super quiet (it is an iMac, after all), letting you focus on your work.

In general, cutting video tends to use more of the CPU while effects and graphics tend to rely more heavily on the GPU. Increasingly, both FCP X and Premiere rely on the GPU for more and more tasks. Also, the greater the VRAM, the better the GPU performance. Whether you use Motion, After Effects, Premiere or Final Cut, investing in the best GPU will be a wise choice.

While VRAM is important, it is not the only determinant of a superior graphics card. For example, the Vega 64 is significantly faster in addition to the larger amount of VRAM. Also, more VRAM offers benefits when working with large frame sizes, multiple video streams (i.e. multicam), multiple displays and complex motion graphics.

The 32GB default RAM is fine for virtually all editing. If, on the other hand, you run multiple applications at once — say FCP X, Motion, Compressor, Photoshop and a web browser — 64GB of RAM is better.

While there is value in more RAM beyond 6GB, you won’t get enough bang for your buck to justify the additional cost.

The iMac Pro ships with a 1TB SSD. I haven’t measured it, but it is probably way past blindingly fast. (Apple says 3GB/second!) The problem is that most media projects today far exceed 1TB in storage. You will need an external high-speed, Thunderbolt 3 RAID system for even medium-sized projects.

Video Compression
Unlike video editing, video compression has its own requirements for system resources. While this is worth its own article here are some thoughts.

Both H.264 and HEVC are relatively highly compressed formats. This compression, of course, leads to smaller file sizes, but the resulting compression requires more processing power. With H.264 and HEVC, decoding and most encoding actions are processed via dedicated H.264 hardware within the system.

A select set of custom H.264 encodes in Compressor may use the H.264 software encoder, which is threaded across multiple cores. So while ProRes encoding benefits from faster, higher-core CPUs, H.264 and HEVC are not similarly CPU bound. Also, it’s important to note that video compression often includes other operations including retiming, scaling, and color conversion — all of which use the GPU.

If you are interested in HDR, 8-bit HEVC does, in fact, support HDR. Still, 10-bit encoding is recommended for the highest quality HDR output when using the HEVC codec. The reason this is important is that current Macs only support hardware acceleration of 8-bit HEVC. This makes the iMac Pro about 3x faster in HEVC encoding than an iMac.

For 10-bit encoding, the HEVC software codec is threaded and can therefore take advantage of multiple CPU cores when encoding; more cores means faster video encoding.

Wait, What About the Mac Pro?
First, Apple has announced and reiterated that they are working on a new, modular Mac Pro. However, they haven’t announced specs nor a release date.

The current Mac Pro is getting long in the tooth. In terms of performance, the iMac Pro is a better choice.

That being said, there are still two reasons to consider the existing Mac Pro:
– You can add any monitor you want
– Many of the components inside are upgradeable

For me, while these benefits are not trivial, the hardware inside the system has not be upgraded in several years. If you are focused on video editing, the existing Mac Pro is not the best current choice.

Here are my two recommendations for an iMac Pro for video editing: A budget version and a top-of-the-line version for editors. (The mouse and keyboard come standard, so I make no recommendations about either of these.)

Budget Version:

Top of the Line

Here are two other configuration articles you may find useful:

Larry Jordan is a trainer, writer, editor, producer and director who’s been explaining technology since, well, forever.This article first appeared in his website:

Behind the Title: Weta Workshop editor Betsy Bauer

NAME: Betsy Bauer

COMPANY: Weta Workshop (@WetaWorkshop)

The official company description is a creative development that creates weapons, props, creatures, make-up, miniatures, public art and merchandise for films such as The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Avatar, Elysium, District 9, Godzilla and The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

My description is it’s a hive of creativity and creation, filled with the most talented and humble people I have ever met. It’s a place that, as a 13-year-old girl in rural England, I dreamed of catching a glimpse of one day — and now I get to stroll right in every day!


At Workshop my role involves many aspects, but first and foremost it’s about supporting the crew and company however I can. I create production videos for our crew and clients to review the progress of things like props and costumes; promotional videos to show off our creations and collectibles; AV content for our CEO’s presentations around the world; video content for internal and external clients, such as our Tourism department or the National Museum of New Zealand; and managing and maintaining the beast that is our media server.

I think the breadth of influence an editor can have over the final product would surprise many people. Though each job has a creative director and producer, more often than not the story is found, firmed or finalized within the edit. Something else people might not realize is that a big part of editing is problem-solving. On any given day you’re up against seemingly endless technical issues or difficulties with the script, performances and story. As editor, it’s my job to wade through it all and come out the other side with solutions.

There’s always that turning point in every job where it goes from chaos to order, from a thousand muddled-up jigsaw pieces to starting to see the picture it’s supposed to form. I love that moment of clarity when you can knuckle down and craft the story that you can see amongst the footage. There’s also a great satisfaction in delivering a product that exceeds your client’s expectations.

The anti-social nature of the job can be a bit of a downside. Especially at Workshop, where I literally spend all day looking at footage of my colleagues, who are in the same building as me, but in many instances I have never even met them!

Unfortunately, my internal clock is out of whack with my work schedule and I find so often I obtain clarity on a project in the late afternoon, when everything magically clicks into place and I only have a few short hours to put this newfound purpose into action. Inevitably, I just end up staying late.

I haven’t a clue! I never thought I’d find a “career,” so I consider myself beyond lucky to have stumbled into my craft. I think I would still want to work in the entertainment business, possibly in some kind of organizational or production role as that would suit my strengths.

I think this profession chose me. I knew I wanted to work in film and live in New Zealand so I chose a film internship in Wellington at the production house Martinsquare. Within the first week I knew that editing was it for me. It all clicked into place like nothing ever had before. I was also fortunate enough to have a wonderful mentor, Jeff Hurrell, whose endless patience and generosity helped kick-start my career from nothing.


I recently had a great time editing the short film Cleaver with the brilliant Alex McKenna which should hopefully be released early this year. I’m also very excited that Status Pending, a feature film I edited, will be having it’s world premiere at Cinequest festival in March. And I’ve just signed on to edit a short documentary called Finding Venus with an amazing team of people. At Weta Workshop recently I have worked on videos for master sculptor Sabin Howard, Tencent Games’ Path of Exile and Thor: Ragnarok.

All of them. No matter the job and the content I always strive to achieve work I’m proud of. I love storytelling, be that in the classic drama cutting of the short films and feature I have edited, telling the story of an incredible piece of art our artisans at Workshop have made or bringing a smile to my colleagues’ faces by visually capturing their journey throughout the year.

Bose noise-cancelling headphones, my Wacom tablet (my wrists thank you!) and big-ass monitors.

I try not to become too reliant on social media, but on Facebook I do follow some editing/filmmaking groups, which, when working in such an isolated role, can really help make you feel part of the larger community. I also probably spend far too much time on Reddit.

Try to laugh it off as much as possible. It may be stressful, but it doesn’t need to be life threatening. Another editor friend of mine recently showed me the benefits of popping to the gym in our lunch breaks to de-stress. I try to switch off in the evenings and not take my work home with me… but that doesn’t stop me from often waking up in the night thinking about “that edit.” I find the best solution is talking to people, getting perspective and remembering that I do this job because I love it.

ACE crowns Eddie winners

On Friday evening, the American Cinema Editors held its 68th Annual ACE Eddie awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel with over 1,000 in attendance to celebrate. ACE president Stephen Rivkin presided over the evening’s festivities with actress/comedian Tichina Arnold serving as the evening’s host. Trophies were handed out recognizing the best editing of 2017 in 10 categories of film, television and documentaries.

Dunkirk, edited by Lee Smith, ACE, and I, Tonya, edited by Tatiana S. Riegel, ACE, won Best Edited Feature Film (Dramatic) and Best Edited Feature Film (Comedy), respectively.

Coco, edited by Steve Bloom, won Best Edited Animated Feature Film, and Jane, edited by Joe Beshenkovsky, ACE, Will Znidaric and Brett Morgen, won Best Edited Documentary (Feature).

Television winners included Black-ish — Lemons (edited by John Peter Bernardo and Jamie Pedroza) for Best Edited Comedy Series for Commercial Television, Curb Your Enthusiasm — The Shucker (edited by Jonathan Corn, ACE) for Best Edited Comedy Series for Non-Commercial Television, Fargo — Who Rules The Land of Denial (edited by Andrew Seklir, ACE) for Best Edited Drama Series for Commercial Television, The Handmaid’s Tale — Offred (edited by Julian Clarke, ACE & Wendy Hallam Martin) for Best Edited Drama Series for Non-Commercial Television, Genius:  Einstein Chapter One (edited by James D. Wilcox) for Best Edited Miniseries or Motion Picture for Television,Vice News Tonight — Charlottesville: Race & Terror (edited by Tim Clancy, Cameron Dennis, John Chimples & Denny Thomas) for Best Edited Non-Scripted Series and Five Came Back: The Price of Victory (edited by Will Znidaric) for Best Edited Documentary (Non-Theatrical), making Znidaric a two-time winner.

(L-R) Mariska Hargitay and Career Achievement Honoree Leon Ortiz-Gil, ACE

Producer Gale Anne Hurd presented the Student Editing award honor to Mariah Zenk of Missouri State University, who beat out hundreds of competitors from film schools and universities around the country.

Writer, producer, creator and showrunner of such hits as Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, Vince Gilligan, received the organization’s ACE Golden Eddie honor, which was presented to him by his long-time collaborator, film editor Skip MacDonald, ACE. Gilligan joins an impressive list of industry luminaries who have received ACE’s highest honor, including Norman Jewison, Nancy Meyers, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Robert Zemeckis, Alexander Payne, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, Frank Marshall and Richard Donner.

Other presenters at the ACE Eddie Awards included director Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049) and film editor Joe Walker, ACE, filmmaker Edgar Wright (Baby Driver), actress Parminder Nagra, Sam Lerner (The Goldbergs), actress Betty Gabriel (Get Out), actor Brett Gelman (Stranger Things, Lemon) and Lady Bird cast members Jordan Rodriguez and Marielle Scott.

Leon Ortiz-Gil, ACE, and Mark Goldblatt, ACE, were presented with Career Achievement awards by actress Mariska Hargitay and filmmaker Joe Dante, respectively. Ortiz-Gil is a three-time ACE Eddie Awards nominee whose list of credits includes TV series’ Law & Order, 24 and Dragnet. Goldblatt is an Oscar-nominated editor for Terminator 2: Judgment Day who also edited the original Terminator and other blockbusters such as X-Men: The Last Stand, Pearl Harbor, True Lies and Chappie, among many others. His latest project is Eli Roth’s upcoming Death Wish.

(L-R) Dunkirk: Jordan Rodrigues, Lee Smith, ACE, Marielle Scott

Here is a full list of winners:

Lee Smith, ACE

I, Tonya
Tatiana S. Riegel, ACE

Steve Bloom

Joe Beshenkovsky, ACE, Will Znidaric, Brett Morgen

Five Came Back: The Price of Victory
Will Znidaric

Black-ish: “Lemons”
John Peter Bernardo, Jamie Pedroza

Curb Your Enthusiasm: “The Shucker”
Jonathan Corn, ACE

Fargo: “Who Rules the Land of Denial”
Andrew Seklir, ACE

The Handmaid’s Tale: “Offred”
Julian Clarke, ACE, and Wendy Hallam Martin

(L-R) Genuis: Denis Villeneue, James D. Wilcox, Joe Walker, ACE

Genius: Einstein “Chapter One”
James D. Wilcox

Vice News Tonight: “Charlottesville: Race & Terror”
Tim Clancy, Cameron Dennis, John Chimples and Denny Thomas

Mariah Zenk — Missouri State University

Main Image Caption: (l-R) I,Tonya: Nat Sanders, ACE, Tatiana S. Riegel, ACE, Joi McMillon, ACE, Brett Gelman.