The enduring wisdom of The Rule of Six in editing

-Senior Editor, Nick Jones

As editors go, Walter Murch is one of the more well known ones. Famous as both Sound Editor (Apocalypse Now!), Film Editor (The Conversation, The English Patient, Cold Mountain), and Writer and Director; Walter Murch is a seminal voice in the world of editing and post-production. In his book “In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing” he outlines, amongst other things, a hierarchy of 6 important factors in deciding where and when to make a cut.

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1. Emotion

How will this cut affect the audience emotionally at this particular moment in the film?

2. Story

Does the edit move the story forward in a meaningful way?

3. Rhythm

Is the cut at a point that makes rhythmic sense?

4. Eye Trace

How does the cut affect the location and movement of the audience’s focus in that particular film?

5. Two Dimensional Place of Screen

Is the axis followed properly?

6. Three Dimensional Space

Is the cut true to established physical and spacial relationships?

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As an editor, it’s something I’m constantly thinking about, and trying to improve my cuts by employing his theorem. It’s interesting stuff and you can watch this video for more information Walter Murch’s Rule of Six from Nikole Hidalgo on Vimeo.

or read Walter Murch’s book “In the Blink of an Eye”.

-Nick

Chris Skipper – Composer / Sound designer

Chris

Our friend Chris Skipper is back at Digipost, so we asked him some random questions to catch up.

  1. A secret talent people may not know you have?

I don’t think many people know that I’m quite a qualified drummer, like rock drums. I’ve actually got a qualification in playing drums but not many people would know because I haven’t had the opportunity to play drums in Vietnam.

Also I make a really good spaghetti carbonara. I’m a good chef…that’s about it.

2. Do you stick to your genre or do you have a guilty pleasure when it comes to music?

My guilty pleasure is 80s rock, like the Clash and Queen. And kind of more synth-pop stuff, so I like stuff like Craftwork, Nine-inch nails, all that synthy-stuff. I don’t have a specific genre when being a film composer but when it comes to listening to music, I still have some guilty pleasures…classical music as well. I love classical music.

3. Are you an adventurous or conservative eater?

I am a very adventurous eater. But I’m allergic to seafood. So that’s kind of keeps my options limited when it comes to being in a place like Vietnam. However, living in the Philippines now, I have been introduced to a whole bunch of new foods and so, yea, I eat anything…as long as it doesn’t have seafood in it. There are some foods that I stick to, like Italian food. In Vietnam, I like Bun Bo Hue, Pho and Chao long.

4. What’s your favorite project that you’ve ever worked on?

One of the most fun and challenging projects that I worked on was “Honda gift for dreams.” One of my first composition projects when I moved to Vietnam. That was really challenging.

 

And another one would be for Cambodia beer in 2015. It’s the TVC called “Bottle Band.” Basically I had to write all the music using the sounds from the beer bottle. That was really fun and challenging.

 

How we do original lyrics and music composition at Digipost

A chat with Reinier Blommaert, Digipost Senior Audio Supervisor, about original lyrics and composition for advertising in Vietnam:

 

Just to cover the basics, what does doing original compositions mean at a post-production studio like Digipost?

Original composition means a custom, tailor-made piece of music or sound design for a client’s product. This can vary from an atmospheric, ambient soundscape to a full song.

What’s the creative process for original compositions and writing lyrics?

There is a big difference in creating music for (artist) albums or for the corporate market. When creating an artist album, there is total creative freedom. So from improvisation (either on an instrument, or with electronics/computers an idea can emerge.
When composing for a corporate product, you are dealing with a concept and guidelines that need to be followed. A big part of the job is communication: translating the wishes and ideas into a real sounding end result. Another aspect is that the music mostly has a supporting role, so a lot of times the composition needs to be adjusted and timed so that it matches the visuals.

What’s the landscape for this like in Vietnam, is it widely available or not so easy to find?

From my (limited, 8 month) experience, I noticed that there are quite a lot of music composers and producers in Vietnam. Although the top will consist of just a few great ones, doing most of the jobs.  

How has this aspect of the audio department, both at Digipost and generally in post-production, evolved recently due to technology, trends or demands from clients?

Music composition and production in general, has undergone a great change since the rise of computers and electronic instruments. In the 80’s the instruments themselves digitalized. In the 90’s software instruments were created: virtual instruments that can be used within the digital audio software. Currently it is possible to do a full composition and music production using just a laptop and a MIDI keyboard or controller to play on the software instruments.

What’s the most important thing to keep in mind while doing original compositions/lyrics for a project?

Realizing that the composition and/or lyrics serves a purpose, namely supporting and enhancing the total product, usually an audiovisual one. So different from audio only, because the crowd or consumer will have both visual and audio senses triggered.

The Revolution of Post Production

DIGIPOST 2015We need to evolve.  We need to re-invent ourselves.  Sounds familiar?

These are the words that are commonly spoken nowadays.  With the emergence of technology coming at a breakneck pace, the post production industry is one of the industries struggling to keep up.

However where is decline, there will be opportunities.  Being in the post production business in the last decade and hearing the constant death knell in the visual effects industry, we believe there is only one path to the future.

Revolution.

Talent and passion is key

For too long, the post production business has created many visual effects operators who are simply technically competent on the machine.  Expensive software has made the industry practical inaccessible to any layman.

Technology has changed.  With cheaper software and hardware, there are no more barriers to entry.  For once in a long time, talents who are truly gifted and passionate in the art of storytelling (editors), painting (colourist), digital magicians (online artists, compositors, CG artists) can have a successful career.

They just need the imagination and the right nurturing from the studio.

 

To work in creative teams

The post production process workflow from offline to colour to online & CG to audio works no different from an assembly in a factory.  Often department do not communicate and worst, do not understand the purpose of the project.  Such environment creates a stifling and political work environment.

No practitioner in post-production ever started in the industry wanting to be worker in an assembly line.  Most enter because of a film they seen that inspires them, a fantastical world in a computer game that awes them or simply wanting to creative field.

Break the workflow.  The post production workflow needs to be destroyed totally.  We need to have organic teams that every member to understand the goal of the project.  They need to work in teams from A to Z, from concept to execution.

This brings us to the next step.

 

To possess multi-disciplinary skill-sets and be highly adaptable

The age of specialization is gone.  Factory workers are being replaced by robots, drivers are soon to be replaced by driverless cars and the internet is slowly (but surely) putting traditional advertising and media in decline.

Technology is replacing any job that is repetitive or at one time called a ‘specialization’.  Any position in post-production can soon be replaced by a plugin or a latest ‘easier-to-use’ software.

The new generation of practitioner needs to highly adaptable and possess different skill sets.  With the right tools, they can achieve the same quality that used to take more than 5 people, or even 10.

With the right team, it is amazing the quality of work that can be produced.

 

Build strong partnerships

The supplier mentality needs to be changed to a partnership.  Work with clients who value the creativity and the execution in the team.

If the client partnership lasts only because of a cheaper rate, then that is a partnership that will not last.  Lose them now, or lose them later.  It is only a matter of time.

Be brave.

 

This is not an evolution.  We cannot re-invent ourselves.  Change is all that is left.

Where there is decline, there is opportunity.

So who wants to join us on the new ship?

3 things CG artists wish people knew about the job

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A CG artist working at DIGIPOST

As CG (computer graphics) is practically everywhere these days, there comes a question: are we taking it for granted?

Therefore, we sat down with Sophon Seangkaew, a senior 3D and VFX artist at DIGIPOST, asking him to share what he thinks people are likely missing about CG.

Timing can make it or break it.

Creativity and techniques aside, timing is very critical in CG.

Depending on effects and techniques, the whole process – modeling and texturing, animation and rendering – can take you some time between a few days and a few months.

For instance, rendering a CG that is three seconds long, the shortest possible length to show the effect, can take up to six days.

Without giving a careful consideration to timing, you may find yourself waiting for years before your dream project can be finished.

Good references are a key.

Unlike other artists who thrive on spontaneity, CG artists cannot go into creation without a proper plan for execution.

Starting a CG job headfirst is a recipe for disaster.

Sooner or later, you will find yourself working on something without having a clear idea what it is going to be or when it is going to end. Even if you can finish it, what you get in the end will hardly justify all the time and efforts you have spent.

That’s why a good CG artist will spend time finding a good reference before starting anything. References can give you ideas about what you want to achieve and how long it should take.

CG is a fun job.

Unlike many other jobs, CG artists watch cartoons and films to do their job. It is one of the most fun jobs in the world.

Unfortunately, many artists are suffering from it, because due to unclear reasons, people mistakenly think CG as a tool not an art. They think CG people are there to create what they want, instead of discussing about what is possible and what is not in a given schedule.

When artists are not allowed to have a say in what they are creating, especially what they have expertise on, it kills their creativity and energy.

Digipost is Online

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In this 21st century, the advancement of technology has been advancing faster than ever and the need for an ‘online’ presence to keep up with the pace of digital updates and news is required to stay ahead.  Basically this announcement is the official launch of our blog, which will bring the latest news on our projects, technology, artists and the general outlook of our industry as a whole.

Digipost is a post-production company now headquartered in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam.  We are the first professional post-production service to set up in Vietnam since 2005.  The last 7 years have seen Digipost gone from strength to strength, amassing tremendous market support and attracting talented artists from around the world.

Owing our origins to Digipost in Singapore, which was the first non-linear post-house to open in 1994, we have continued our heritage in the specialization of the digital workflow, which has now gone mainstream in our business.

Our studios have also been evolving creatively and we now boast a range of services that include Editing, Colour Grading, 3D & Visual Effects, Animatics & Illustrations, 2D Design & Motion Graphics and Music Composition & Sound Design.

You can find more in-depth information on us via the following links:

Digipost Website ( http://www.digipostglobal.com )

Artist Reels & Showreels ( http://vimeo.com/digipost )

I thank you for patronage of this new project and welcome any feedback on any articles we posted.

Regards,

Andy Ho, Senior Producer, DIGIPOST