Well, I guess I’ve gotten vain enough to assume that I might know a thing or two about Avids and editing. So perhaps the world would be a better place if I shared my seemingly limitless knowledge (?). Occasional tips that relate to offline and online editing, Photoshop (my right hand), After Effects (my third hand) and managing media and other files. Throw in the occasional rant to let off some steam and you get the gist . Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


008- I do a fair bit of dialogue editing for my cuts. And I usually take comfort that there are scores of professionals who take over when I’m done to properly clean up and sweeten the edits I put together in a mix session. But that doesn’t give me license to ignore the effect of a bad audio mix on my clients and even myself. Sound, to my way of thinking as a picture editor, is 50% of the experience. That’s right, 50%. So I spend a fair bit of time cleaning up audio while I am cutting.

“Why bother?” you ask. Well I have learned the hard way that I can’t assume that anyone who is watching my cut understands what is supposed to happen. I’ve had clients get confused about why the music is so loud, why the train sound wasn’t there, why a voice over wasn’t the right performer, etc.

All of that interferes with their ability to get lost in the cut. Or to use my favourite term: “The suspension of disbelief”. That is to say, when someone forgets who and where they are and immerses themselves into your story -it truly a magical phenomenon of the human species to do this. I look at watching movies as legal drug use and just as addictive. Getting them there (and you as well) is the best way of ensuring that they and you are judging your project fairly without distraction. (Hey buddy, turn off that cell phone while you’re at it!)

One of my regular habits is teeny, tiny 2 frame cross fades between dialogue edits. The Avid edits at 1/30th of a second increments (or 1/24, or 1/25 depending on what you are formatting) and because of this it is sometimes impossible to get around a dialogue edit without creating an audible click or pop. Let me rephrase, it WILL pop and often.

The effect of this clicking and popping is like someone sitting behind you while you are watching a film and constantly flicking your earlobe with their fingers. I find it hugely distracting and often annoying. But maybe you don’t.

Or maybe you do. Notice at top I said I have to clean up audio “while I am cutting”? Sometimes a dialogue edit that matches a picture edit point pops just a bit and makes it seem like the picture edit is too harsh or misplaced. Try a 2 frame cross fade. Magically the picture edit seems much better.

Still not working? Try the cross fade AND slide your picture edit point ahead of back by one second so the edit point isn’t in line with sound edit point. Blasphemous, I know, to change picture to favour sound. But I’ll bet that it is way better. And even if you don’t like the picture edit it should at least tell you if it is truly bad timing or awkward sound pops that are getting in your way.

The Avid makes the process of applying hundreds of these dead simple:
1) mark and in and out and select only your dialogue tracks.
2) make sure your timeline marker is over an edit point
3) add a 2 frame dissolve…but when the dialogue box appears choose two frames and apply from in to out and also choose to skip existing effects (so it doesn’t destroy previous work).
4) You probably don’t need to render them

But if you truly miss the pops, try breaking bubble wrap...it is much more fun.


  1. I like your style of writing about how you organize your editing: keep 'em coming!

  2. Nice tip. I didn't know the usage of "skip existing effects" in that dialog box...avid is full of those little things.