By Joe Paulet Outlaw Partners Video Producer
When I started my education in the film industry, I was fortunate to have
access to a piece of technology that’s unusual in today’s world of video
production: film. I’m not referring to the term we so often throw around to
encompass all things video, I’m speaking of actual 16mm Kodak film stock.
At the time I was in school, in 2000, it was fairly commonplace for a film
student to shoot on real film, but today an aspiring videographer may never
shoot a single old school frame. While I take pride in keeping up on the latest
video technology, my experience with shooting, editing and projecting film
gave me an understanding of the industry’s golden days.
Nearly every term and standard today stems from the old world of film. For
example, the term 24P refers to 24 frames per second. We still shoot at this
speed on modern video cameras when applicable, but why?
When film was in its infancy, the industry was in contention over the desired
frame rate at which to shoot. You may even remember seeing family films on
Super 8, which shoots and projects at 18 frames per second. You may also
remember the strange, jumpy way it seemed to play back. To accurately
portray smooth motion, our eyes need at least 24 frames every second to
have persistence of vision – the term referring to the eye’s ability to retain
enough information to fill in the gaps between frames, rendering what we
perceive as fluid, real-time motion.
While filming and projecting have a fairly consistent history, editing has
evolved leaps and bounds even during my filmmaking tenure.
Editing film was a much more tactile process than editing digitally in today’s
video world. As recently as 10 years ago, filmmakers would project a
workprint of what they had shot (as opposed to handling original negatives),
take notes on where they wanted to make cuts, and eventually proceed to
cutting apart the film and literally taping it back together. This working edit
would then go to a negative cutter – if you were working on a well-funded
production – which cut the original footage shot according to the notes. This
type of editing process was known as linear editing.
The industry now uses “non-linear editing,” in modern editing software,
pertaining to a non-destructive form of filmmaking.
Today’s editing suites give filmmakers the ability to edit in a non-destructive
way, saving time and effort. Your original media is never in jeopardy of harm
or decay, your tools and timeline are always at your fingertips, and if you
make a mistake the magic of the undo button is only a click away.
My experience with traditional editing techniques now gives me an
appreciation and understanding of where contemporary filmmaking is
Outlaw Partners’ video producer Joe Paulet has sat through Lawrence of
Arabia no less than 10 times. Contact the Outlaw Partners at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (406) 995-2055 for all your film and video