We open on wide shot of a forest. A river runs in the distance. Not far from the river, emerging from the trees is a bloodied man in a torn business suit, limping and desperate for water. Cut to an over the shoulder shot of him staring at the river. Cut again and the camera is right on the water as he leans in for a drink. The focus (for our purposes) isn’t the man or his torn and blood soaked suit (I just added that for some flair). From a sound editorial standpoint, the complicated element here is the river. It’s far off in the distance, now it’s close to us, now it’s full frame in an extreme close up. As a viewer, the camera is our proxy here. Wherever the camera sits, so do we. And so, as the perspective of the camera changes so does our perception.
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The first piece of advice I give any new sound editor is to get Pro Tools and learn the keyboard shortcuts. Forget proficiency in typing, that's child's play. In order to compete in the real world of post production sound, you need to be FAST. Knowing your way around the keyboard doesn't just shorten your workday, it tells the clients - who expect requests to be carried out quickly - that you are on top of your game.
Basic keyboard shortcuts - switching the tools, changing the view - need to be second nature. But with literally hundreds to learn, there's bound to be a few that have slipped through the cracks. Here are some of the best 'lesser-known' Pro Tools keyboard shortcuts to help speed up your workflow.
In the world of freelance sound design, it's likely you will be hired to do a job remotely. The internet allows us to share our talents on all kinds of projects without ever meeting face to face. The advantage here is a vast network of sound professionals that can very easily utilize your services. Here’s the downside; short of a few email exchanges, you are communicating skill and professionalism entirely through your completed work.
On the most basic level, a lot can be said by how your sessions are laid out. Experienced editors know that following a few basic steps to ensure compatibility and expediency down the line proves not only helpful, but a very succinct way of showing you know what you’re doing. Expanding on a previous post I wrote about "thinking downstream," (i.e. thinking beyond yourself to each subsequent step in the post audio workflow) here a few basics tenets of smart sound editorial layout which will scream THIS IS THE WORK OF A PROFESSIONAL and help set you apart from the pack.
Ageism is prevalent in Hollywood. Everywhere you look, the emphasis is on the next big thing; younger, faster newer. In our industry, I'm talking about gear. The equipment we use is constantly being overhauled and upgraded. And rightfully so. The demands of our job continue to increase (although this may be a chicken and the egg style scenario because the faster equipment certainly creates higher expectations). Regardless, as a creative professional you have to make choices. You need the gear to learn and practice the trade. Starting out with the top of the line equipment however will simply break most editors financially.
A month back, I wrote and article for the A Sound Effect blog that argued for a powerful Pro Tools setup on a budget. This wasn't intended to be a bible on how to set up the average pro tools rig or even a recommendation for everyone. I aimed the advice at freelance individuals or small studios that want the power to be creative on as little money as possible.