Late 2014 and Early 2015 Work

To call this blog neglected would be a vast understatement, but there’s a good reason; being too busy to give it the attention it would need… In other works, doing what I really love; Cutting.

Since the last update was at the start of post-production on Restricted Intelligence Season 2, we’ll start there… This is the season 2 trailer, and as I’m writing this Season 3 is already in post as well, so look out for that coming soon as well!

After finishing Season 2 and launching it to great acclaim (it won an award!) we made a web series for Alcatel-Lucent called The New Guy, about a new CIO coming into a big company and trying to drag them into the 21st century. It’s been a phenomenal success, with the trailer over 190,000 views and counting, and the series in total with over 500,000 views across the five episodes and teaser.

Following that series we had a bit of a change of pace. Slowed everything right down. Yes, we did another slow-motion job. Here is the first of the videos, shot on the Sony F7 at 120fps;

If anyone is interested, they were all cut on FCPX. The thing that struck me cutting the slow-mo project in particular was how easy the UI makes it to see what shots you have available. The skimming paradigm makes it so easy to go through your footage and mark out the golden moments from each take (using Favorites or Keywords – I tend to prefer Favorites) and the implementation of a Used Media indicator has made it even easier to look up alternate takes.

There’s Nothing Like Doing What You Love

2014 has finally kicked off for me; editing on the first big project of the year has begun!

Edit suite image

That big project is the second season of our “Information security awareness campaign in a box”, Restricted Intelligence, and this year we’ve gone global. The shoot is split between the US and the UK, and this week I’ve been cutting the US half of the project.


Nothing beats the excitement of having new footage, and turning it into a film. So far it’s been huge fun. I’m fortunate enough to have the freedom to create a first cut relatively independently, and being able to go into the edit cave for a couple of weeks and emerging with a watchable series of films is thrilling. 

I don’t use that word lightly, I really have had the most fun this week. It’s been an affirmation that this is the part of the process I was made to be in. Shoots are fun, but post is where the power is. You get to take all the cast and crew’s efforts in the form of footage, and push and pull them around to hopefully create something that is beyond the sum of those parts. And when you play the rough cut for people for the first time, and you see them react in just the way you’ve designed, it’s exhilarating.

There’ll be much more to say about the project over the coming weeks as we start releasing teasers and finishing the films, but immediately three things became quickly obvious;

  • Having a great cast makes editing a lot more fun.
  • Organisation will save your ass later.
  • Always keep a keyword collection (or bin or whatever, I’m an FCPX man) of Outtakes. The cast & crew will appreciate it.

Post sometimes gets the raw end of the deal when it comes to credit, but when it’s this much fun, who cares?

Run You Clever Boy

About a year ago, I took up running. I was in part inspired by my officemates and my sister who had all been extolling the virtues of it for the past few months but more importantly I realised that I was falling into the classic trap for editors, of sitting at the computer all day and snacking far too much. With a milestone birthday coming up, I decided that I had to do something about it before it became an impossible task.

So I started with the Couch to 5k programme in the gym, which I highly recommend, but I was beginning to get bored. At the gym the scenery never changes, and it always meant getting up early before work or staying late and losing an evening afterwards. My most satisfying runs of 2013 were whilst on holiday, running around Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis, not far from my in-laws home… My sister quite rightly kept pushing me to run outside when I got back to the UK and finally she convinced me to do it, to prepare for the charity run she wanted us to do together, 6 miles for Sport Relief.

I’ve found it much more rewarding to run outside and gradually I’ve been building up to 6 miles from my 5k starting point (6 miles is 9.66km). The hardest part is finding the time, but the effect has been three-fold; I feel a lot healthier, I’ve lost about 15 pounds since last year and I’m able to concentrate much better at work. It really clears my head and these days I think it’s no bad thing to be disconnected from the world for a while each week!

The Sport Relief run is on March 23rd, my sister and I have a team that she named Run You Clever Boy (though I admit, I hashtagged my running tweets with it already because it made me smile and kept me motivated), and we have a sponsorship page here if you feel like helping us out. You can find out a bit about how Sport Relief puts the money we raise to good use here;

The Greatest Story Ever Told

Have you ever wondered how social media would impact the greatest story ever told?

It’s become a yearly tradition that Twist and Shout make a film at Christmas… For the last couple of years we’ve made films about Santa getting hacked, but this year we wanted to do something more grand. Hope you enjoy it!

Massive thanks to the whole cast and crew for enduring the cold winter night with us, and for the gear-heads out there; we shot it on our trusty Canon 60D, post-production was all in FCPX and Motion. The opening music was by our good friends at Manike Music, who knocked it entirely out of the park.

Our little shorts are always fun to cut, with the gloves firmly off in terms of the content not having to be approved by anyone but us! For me it was nice to be able to change up the pace of the edit half way through the film, and to match the opening shots to be look like the arabian sunset rather than grey old England…

The Invisible Edit Suite

I’ve been thinking a lot since the latest Apple media event about the new Mac Pro. Gradually details have emerged and everyone got onto Twitter to vent their opinions, myself included.

I think it’s massively exciting because in my day to day job* I’m moving towards my ambition of The Invisible Edit Suite.

What I mean by that is that the combination of software and hardware will be so advanced that I don’t have to think about it or wait for it. It’ll just do what I tell it to. Because that’s what I want from my technology. I want it to get out of the way – it’s just a medium through which I manipulate virtual assets to create more virtual assets. If only I could get my own body out of the way too, that would really speed things up!

More time being creative, less time managing or waiting for the edit suite. That’s what excites me about a new machine. And though we don’t yet know exactly how fast the Mac Pro will be, it’ll be faster than the iMac I have right now, otherwise why would Apple build it?

We’re not there yet – my internet connection is too slow uploading for me to be able to not consider the time it will take. And of course the mythic Mac Pro isn’t even out yet, much less on my desk. Further than that, what you put into an edit suite will always progress as well – right now my job is 1080p footage, next year maybe we go 4k and/or some raw format and who knows beyond that?

But for now I’m going to let myself be excited. Life’s more fun that way.

*I’m cutting either DSLR or C300 footage at 1080p, usually narrative/comedy series, 3 minutes per episode.