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Tag Archives: audio

Spotlight on Jazmin and Steven Young

Despite a six-year age difference, sister and brother Jazmin and Steven Young have always been close. Now, 20 and 26 respectively, that closeness has translated into shared professional passion and career opportunities for both.

One of the challenges of a career in film, according to Jazmin, is finding exactly where you fit. As a little girl, she through of being an actress – but soon realized she didn’t want to be in front of a camera.

Jazmin Young
Jazmin Young

This didn’t stop her from wanting to express her creativity, however. She developed an interest in producing music videos while in high school, and when she saw the music video “Ride” with Lana Del Ray, realized that she really wanted to be telling stories in her videos. Her love of cameras grew, and now, her main focus is on editing and camerawork.

Steven likewise started his film career with music. His wide musical background included writing his own songs and producing music, so for him it was natural to develop an interest in audio.

Steven Young
Steven Young

Jazmin was the first of the duo to attend the Digital Film Academy. The DFA opened her eyes to cameras and to a whole new perspective on how to tell a story. It wasn’t long before Steven joined the DFA as well and both their careers began to flourish, starting with the production of short films which they wrote together. The first, a psychological thriller titled Love Jacket, is now in the editing process.

Last summer, they had the opportunity to work together on a Bollywood film being shot in various US locations, Uncommitted. Steven first joined the production as the sound engineer, and recommended Jazmin for camera assistant.

On the set of Uncommitted.
On the set of Uncommitted.

A big pro of working together has been helping to set each other up with such opportunities. People enjoy the sibling teamwork Steven and Jazmin bring to their sets.

The brother-sister pair are now legalizing their own production company, Selective Vision, along with partner Sid Polar. They love the creative process and, in addition to producing work they feel strongly about, want to continue to put music and film together. Music, according to Jazmin, “is like another subplot in a film.”

Of course, the challenge of starting a company is daunting, but if anyone is up for it, it’s these two. Jazmin says that while it’s true that there’s a lot to figure out when starting a business, in the end, figuring it out and moving forward makes you better in your chosen field. She also stressed that, when learning how to start the company, the DFA was hugely helpful. “The DFA helped a lot,” she said. “We’ve learned so much.”

Selective Vision is on its way.

By Digital Film Academy Blog Manager Sara McDermott Jain.

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The Devil’s in the (Editing) Details

Johnny Depp, playing the part of producer-writer-director Ed Wood in Tim Burton’s movie Ed Wood, states at one point in the film that “Filmmaking is not about the tiny details. It’s about the big picture.” Unfortunately, Ed Wood, while a very upbeat and positive person, was never considered a serious filmmaker. One reason why he wasn’t taken seriously might be because he really believed that filmmaking was just about the big picture. Of course, serious filmmakers know that filmmaking is all about the tiny details. Thousands and thousands of tiny details. Especially when it comes to editing.

Johnny Depp as Ed Wood: "The big picture!"
Johnny Depp as Ed Wood: “The big picture!”

As an editor, it’s important to keep track of every detail of the footage you’re editing; from initially copying and organizing the video and audio clips into properly named folders on your hard drive, to renaming the video and audio clips correctly (by Scene and Take if it’s a scripted program to keeping detailed notes if it’s a reality / non-scripted show). As an example, if you name a video clip Sc_A_Tk_03 and you name your audio clip ScATk03, it’s going to make finding either of those clips (in order to sync them) much more difficult than if you named them exactly the same.

Further, when it comes to syncing your video to your audio clips, you must be very detail-oriented and make sure that you’re syncing them perfectly; you need to make sure that you’re marking your video clips exactly on the slate’s ‘clap’ and that you are marking your audio on that same ‘clap’. Even if one of those marks is ‘off’ by a frame or two, your audio and video will ‘look’ funny – in other words, it will look like the actor is either talking early or late. Again, it’s all in the details, details, details.

Working in FCP X - keep your sound and image in sync!
Working in FCP X – keep your sound and image in sync!

And these are just a few of the basic details of editing; of course, once you start to edit your program, music video, or short film, you need to keep very detailed notes about your footage (whether or not certain takes are usable, or if any footage is usable or unusable) along with making sure that the footage is well organized within your NLE (non linear editor). Remember, for an hour-long reality show, about 40-50 hours worth of footage is shot – even more footage is shot for a feature length film. So, if you correctly and properly organize and name all of that footage from the start, it makes editing all of that footage much easier – and much faster – because you’ll be spending less time searching for clips and spending more time assembling your edit.

You'll be the one crying if you have to sift through 50+ hours of the Kardashians to find one small clip.
You’ll be the one crying if you have to sift through 50+ hours of the Kardashians to find one small clip.

Even if Ed Wood took detailed notes about his footage and sync’d them properly, it wouldn’t have made him a great filmmaker – an editor can’t turn bad footage into great footage. But, great footage that’s been sync’d improperly or can’t be ‘found’ quickly during the editing process, or has been edited without paying attention to all of the story’s details, might turn a great film into a bad one.

By Digital Film Academy FCP X instructor Blake Taylor

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Avid Re-Certification Course

When the Digital Film Academy was founded, Avid was one of the few programs taught.
Now, years later and with a much larger course selection, things came full-circle when the DFA hosted the Pro Tools 11 ACI (Avid Certified Instructor) Re-Certification Webinar/Seminar. The event was presented by Avid’s Andy Cook and Jon Connolly.

Jon Connolly
Jon Connolly
Andy Cook
Andy Cook

I was fortunate to be a fly on the wall during the seminar, in a room with ten ACIs (in addition to the 20 attending online). Only certified ACIs are qualified to teach Avid courses at Avid Learning Partner schools, guaranteeing that only the most up-to-date and capable instructors are teaching ALP students.

“We’re very happy to be an ALP and very proud to have been chosen to host the event,” said Patrick DiRenna, the DFA’s founder and president. “I look forward to hosting more of their events in the future and offering Avid certified courses.”

Having Guy Mor as Director of Operations certainly puts the DFA a cut above other film schools when it comes to Avid training. Mor is the only Master Pro Tools instructor in the New York/New Jersey area, and he also holds a long list of other Avid certifications.

Mor insists that “the Avid certified curriculum is the best and most complete way to learn Pro Tools.” As a former working engineer in broadcast television, Mor was already very skilled with Avid. However, it’s only been since getting certified that he realized he had “holes in (his) knowledge, holes that were plugged up by this extensive curriculum.” He now teaches these courses at the highest level, and can work faster and more efficiently than ever before. He sees his students go through the same transformation all the time.

Beyond being a master instructor, Mor is also very active in the community of Avid Certified Instructors. He was recently asked to be a moderator on Avid’s list serve. It was partially due to Mor’s relationship with Andy Cook, one of the presenters, that the re-certification event was hosted by the DFA.

According to Mark Matthews, a dedicated ACI from St. Petersburg College attending the event, the value of the certification is growing as Avid’s approach becomes “more progressive.”

As discussed at the seminar, in order to be re-certified, ACIs need to be up-to-date on the changes that come with Pro Tools 11. The presenters reviewed not only PT 11’s new capabilities (for instance, the faster-than-real-time offline bounce feature, which has many audio engineers excited), but also the reasons behind the upgrades.

Most importantly, they addressed the move to a new plug-in format, AAX.

“We needed to start from scratch (with AAX) to be able to work in the 64-bit realm,” Connolly said. The main goal was to enable greater interoperability between native and DSP environments.

Some people wonder why DSP remains necessary, what with the power of native, but Connolly discussed how DSP offers the power to handle extremely large sessions. While it might no longer be necessary for everyone, there is still high demand for it as projects continue to get bigger and more complex.

It’s often been said that, no matter how polished a movie looks, if the sound isn’t up to par, it just isn’t going to be impressive. For that reason, every filmmaker should make it a priority to find out more about Avid courses at the DFA.

By Digital Film Academy Blog Manager Sara McDermott Jain

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