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60s style movie editing

Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 3:52am

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GuitarsRule89

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If computers were invented in the mid 80s, how did they edit there films in the 60s and 70s?
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 3:55am

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Pooky

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I've always wondered that. confused
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 3:59am

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xbreaka

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they had to physically cut the fil using scissors and tape.

Im not kidding
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 4:10am

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Steeb

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And computers weren't invented in the mid-80s. wall
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 4:14am

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GuitarsRule89

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xbreaka wrote:

they had to physically cut the fil using scissors and tape.

Im not kidding
Is that why old movies have low contrast ?
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 9:57am

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A Pickle

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GuitarsRule89 wrote:

Is that why old movies have low contrast ?
Well, most of that has to do with the cameras they were filming with, the film they put inside those cameras, and the lenses on those cameras.

But... yeah.... *slap!*

Computers debuted around the mid 40's, and the first digital image was made in ... like... 1948.

Actually, archaologists discovered the Antekythera Mechanism, which would technically be the first "computer"... but.. that all depends if you can all that babbage sort of stuff.
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 1:56pm

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Simon K Jones

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GuitarsRule89 wrote:

Is that why old movies have low contrast ?
Erm, most old movies have much more contrast and hugely more vivid colours, due to the different kind of film that was popular back then. We use a far more muted stock these days.

I suspect your perception of them having low contrast is due to watching bad quality video copies or dodgy TV broadcasts that have been created from decaying and old prints.

Lots of people still edit linearly - Spielberg prefers to edit traditionally, rather than on a computer, last I heard.

And as somebody else pointed out, computers weren't invented in the 80s. Plus, films were actually being made prior to the 1960s!

What did happen in the 80s is that EditDroid was invented by the bods at Lucasfilm, which was the start of the whole non-linear editing thang. Mr Lucas seems to be involved somehow in just about every filmmaking advance of the last 25 years, it's quite remarkable.
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 2:01pm

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cinemafreak

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What they did was the manually scrolled through the film, marked cuts with a special type of pencil, and manually cut and paste film on to film. Special effects were added directly onto the film reel. It would have been extremely complicated stuff.
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 2:02pm

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Sollthar

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I've edited my first film using two VCRs. No computer and no scissors. smile
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 2:09pm

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pzgamer825

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I read in "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Filmmaking" that the first NLE appeared in 1971. My guess is that it didn't make that big an impression or everyone would be editing NLE 30 years later.
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 2:15pm

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Simon K Jones

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pzgamer825 wrote:

My guess is that it didn't make that big an impression or everyone would be editing NLE 30 years later.
um...everyone is editing using NLEs 30 years later. smile

EditDroid is the earliest I know of - or, at least, it's the one that most resembles what we have today. Do you have any further info on the 1971 NLE? I'd be rather interested to know more about that.
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 4:26pm

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Arktic

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Rating: +1

The problem with early computerised NLEs was that video took up SO much hard-drive space, at a time when you could fit about 4 min worth of video on a computer the size of a standard washing machine. Hence computerised NLE-ing didn't take off until it became more practical.

For an interesting article on the history of the development of computerised video editing, read this webpage from Broadcast Engineering, an industry magazine.

Incidentally, I think we've been using the terms 'linear editing' and 'non-linear editing' incorrectly - as technically, editing film on a flatbed using scissors and tape is a non-linear process, in that you don't have to start from the begging and work through to the end, and you are able to change the order etc of shots that have been laid down so far (which isn't the case with analogue video editing, where shots must be copied from one tape, or tapes, in the right order onto a master tape, from start to finish, with no opportunity to go back and alter what is on the master tape, without starting all over again).

Filmmaker.com's article "What is Non-Linear Editing : A beginner’s guide to NLE" says:
Editing film on a flatbed or workbench is basically non-linear editing. That is, the film can be assembled in any order from beginning to end, and changes can be made in the cut anywhere at any time. Contrast this with editing on video, where an editor must begin the cut at the beginning of the program and lay down shots in story order.

So there ya go - it probably doesn't make much difference to the way we use the term "NLE" and such, but I found it interesting to note that film editing is a non-linear process! I hope some of you do as well!

Cheers,
Arktic
(King of Geekdom wink )
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 4:29pm

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CurtinParloe

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if you want to be all pedantic about it, they were doing NLE in 1910 (probably before), because that's what non-linear editing actually is burst

It was only when video came out that people made the distinction, because it just wasn't possible to cut the videotape accurately, so they used tape-to-tape, like Sollthar - record the first scene, then find the next scene and record that after, then find the next scene. If you didn't like the order you had to start again, because it's recorded in a single line (linear). With celluloid you could chop bits out and move them (hence non-linear).
With the advent of edit-droid, or whichever was earlier, it was a way of doing the same thing with video that you could already do with film, which is what a lot of us do now. mrgreen

(as far as I know, Tarn, nobody in the industry ever edits linearly, except perhaps dogme advocates and people who edit in camera wink )

I'll shut up now...
whistle
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 4:40pm

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Waser

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back in the day, when I was about 11 and just started making movies, my editing software was the record button on the camera. whenever we had a bad take or something, we rewound the tape, and jsut filmed from there. recently we tried making a movie the same way for fun, and it actually turned out great smile
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 4:43pm

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Simon K Jones

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OK, OK, so I used the wrong term. Trust you guys to spot it. razz You know what I meant. smile

I thought EditDroid was developed to edit film, not video. Could be wrong, though. As Arktic points out, storing data would have been a problem back then - but I imagine they'd just use really low res files, then up it for the final.

In-camera editing was always fun...especially when your camera had a start/stop time of about half a second. Trickiest editing job I did was distilling 4 hours of holiday footage down to an hour-long documentary, including a fully dubbed musical soundtrack and all sorts. That involved a mind-bendingly complex mix of the camcorder, a VCR and a minidisc.

No idea how I had the patience (or thumb control), but it was good experience. Means I really appreciate how amazing and revolutionary NLE editing on a PC is, unlike all you young'uns. smile
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 4:57pm

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CurtinParloe

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drat, Arktic, you geeked me to it biggrin

I made a film in 1989 using in-camera editing called Space Buggers (hmm... due for a remake I feel) in which I acted, directed and edited (using the remote control). There was one part where a character teleported in and everyone ended up in odd places, and it wasn't until later I remembered that there was a mannekin head revolving on a record turntable at the back of the shot (really don't ask). Amazingly it lined up perfectly!
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 5:00pm

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Arktic

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Heh, did Curtin Parloe and I just have one of those simultaneous thought moments? biggrin

EDIT - heh, only just read that post! Stop posting at (nearly) the same time as me razz
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 5:02pm

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Mellifluous

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Both exactly 3 minutes after the other...
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 5:17pm

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CurtinParloe

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that's just freaky.

*looks around for Arktic's 3 minute post...*
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 6:07pm

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Arktic

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D'oh, I missed that one (I was doing laundry).

Ah well, it was nice to have a posting double/tag team while it lasted wink
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 6:31pm

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Atom

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Waser wrote:

back in the day, when I was about 11 and just started making movies, my editing software was the record button on the camera. whenever we had a bad take or something, we rewound the tape, and jsut filmed from there. recently we tried making a movie the same way for fun, and it actually turned out great smile
Yeah, when I was 6 or so, and got into movie-making, etc. I'd do the same thing. However, when I started doing more fillming and directing, (commanding my little brothers)

Sollthar wrote:

I've edited my first film using two VCRs. No computer and no scissors. smile
I figured out how to edit via dual-VCRs. However, our VCRs (before we FINALLY got a DVD player) was old and didnt always work right. In fact, theres a tape stuck in it right now that is being pulled apart. ('cause it's so frickin old and crappy)

Ahhhh.....the good old days. Yesterday, I found some old tapes of Ben and me from like 5-6 years ago and they were hilarious! I found one of myself doing a "White Rap-Off" (that I have no recollection doing) and one of Ben showing "the correct way to clean a room". Ahh.......good times. Good times.
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 6:41pm

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pzgamer825

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Tarn wrote:

pzgamer825 wrote:

My guess is that it didn't make that big an impression or everyone would be editing NLE 30 years later.
um...everyone is editing using NLEs 30 years later. smile

EditDroid is the earliest I know of - or, at least, it's the one that most resembles what we have today. Do you have any further info on the 1971 NLE? I'd be rather interested to know more about that.
I meant as in there would not even be any trace of LE anymore, as far as I know there are plenty of directors who still edit with NLE. We probably wouldn't have film projectors either, it would all be digital. But that is just my speculation.

I quote:

The last significant advance in editing came with the computer. In 1972 the CMX-300 was one of the first computer based editing systems. It was originally designed to be a non-linear editor but the disc technology it employed never came to market. However the technology evolved and the CMX-300 allowed the user to control both the VTR's and audio and video switcher. Created a list, provided auto-assembly, and was the first editor to use Time Code for color framing. It provided much of the foundation for today's non-linear editing systems.
So maybe the book was off a year. biggrin
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 10:15pm

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CurtinParloe

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I found this about the CMX, and some other editing machines...

So it looks like the first computer based editor was the CMX300, but this is only LE systems, which makes Editdroid the first computer based NLE.




Or so I thought...

this article was interesting, and so was the ILM timeline, but it was this article that I found most interesting (and bizarre)...

It's a tossup between electronic and computer based...



PS Wow! New Helman's Mayonnaise ad!
Posted: Sun, 6th Mar 2005, 10:43pm

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Aculag

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Sollthar wrote:

I've edited my first film using two VCRs. No computer and no scissors. smile
I'm in this boat. But I will never again edit anything manually. Computers or nothing for me. Even if I have to edit film.
Posted: Mon, 7th Mar 2005, 5:28am

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VisualFXGuy

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Tarn, I hear ya. I have never had to cut film, but i've had several years experience editing in a video editing suite. Two decks, two monitors, a mic, cd player, and an Amiga titler. LOL. That's the definition of the word PAIN when it comes to editing.

As was said before, Mr. Lucas has had a hand in advancing the pre, pro and post sides of filmmaking for a long time now. (Digital NLE and Photoshop within a few years of each other? Now THERE'S an accomplishment. wink ) I'm waiting for the next Lucas to come about with their ideas and methods for redefining how the medium is used. I think the closest we've come to in a long time is Massive.