Category Archives: Editor

Editor Ran Ro uses fashion as means of storytelling in new video

Born and raised in South Korea, Ran Ro loves being a film and video editor. She enjoys arranging different shots together to tell a cohesive story, especially when a project largely relies on sound and music. As an editor, she gets to create moments between characters and helps the audience feel and see the world from the perspectives of those characters, and that, for her, is pretty special.

“Editing for me is almost similar to speaking in public except I get to trim or cut out parts that aren’t necessary before the speech happens. I’m a terrible public speaker though so editing is a much better way of communication for me because I can then finesse the ‘speech’, so to speak,” said Ro.

Ro has become a leader in the editing industry and recently has worked on many prolific projects, including a commercial for BackBeatRags celebrating their environmentally-friendly clothing line as well as a series of videos for Tastemade, creating culinary travel videos for digital distribution across all platforms, from Facebook to Instagram and everything in between. The highlight of Ro’s career, however, came just last year after her film In Between premiered and was recognized at film festivals around the world.

“It was very meaningful to me since the project was written based on my childhood experience of growing up with my grandmother. I was initially very hesitant to make the film, especially with difficult scenes that were set in otherworldly places and were complicated to execute. But with the help of my crew, we were able to make it happen and it was rewarding to see that the viewers resonated with the story,” she said.

Earlier this year, Ro collaborated with Elite Models to create a teaser video showcasing the new face of the agency. After noticing a lack of videos for the Los Angeles based branch, the director and Ro reached out to Elite Model Management and pitched an idea about making a showcase video for the new models at Elite. Once the project was approved to be made, Ro reached out to a team to get them on board, and the work began.

“It was incredible to work with such a passionate team and help Elite Model Management to showcase the new models by making content with beautiful imageries and a high production value,” said Ro.

Elite Model Management is one of the top agencies worldwide, and Ro recognized the need for a high-production value video for their marketing. The main goal on this project was to highlight the natural beauty of the models. Ro and her team had an idea of building a spacious palace with sheer linens where the sunlight would diffuse through them. She worked on making a visual treatment together with the director, pitched the idea to the management, and also found the music piece that best complimented the video. Also acting as a producer on the project, Ro recruited many that she believed would be a good fit.

Knowing that her editing would be driven by the music that would be chosen, Ro communicated with the cinematographer about the pace of the music, which affected his decision on the use of slow motion effects. She was very specific about the speed of the slow motion and it really enhanced the editing.

By understanding the director’s vision thoroughly while still having a vision of her own, Ro was essential to the project’s success. She was involved from the very beginning, and her commitment is evident in the final piece. She made sure that every detail in the production – from styling to the choice of music – was in line with the concept that was initially pitched. Her deep understanding of the project also facilitated the editing process, as throughout the entirety of filming she had a clear idea of which shot to use and how to structure the video while blending the visuals and music together to tell a powerful story about the agency.

“In addition to the company’s immense success, I really admire Elite’s mission – they embrace diversity, change and inclusiveness – I think those are the values that we need to be reminded of as filmmakers,” she said.

Using fashion as a means of storytelling was fascinating for the editor, and she believes it broadened her horizon as an editor. She knows the importance of versatility in her career and is always looking for new mediums to explore with her talents. She encourages those looking to follow in her footsteps to do the same.

“I think it’s extremely helpful to work on as many projects possible as an editor to find your editing style and what kind of content that you want to edit. I found it very helpful to work on the administrative side of post-production, as I learned and gained knowledge about the business and the post production workflow,” she concluded.

 

 

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Go behind-the-scenes of ‘Pumpkin and Fried Noodle’ with Editor Meibei Liu

From the time Meibei Liu was a child, growing up in Shanghai, China, she loved watching movies. They would make her laugh, they would make her cry, and spending two hours enjoying a film became her favorite pastime. But being so young she would only take in the entire production, not appreciating the many roles scrolling past in the credits that it took to achieve the movie that just entertained her. However, this all changed when she was a teenager and decided to try making a movie of her own for fun. Despite enjoying films all her life, she knew nothing when it came to actually making one. It was a much harder process than she could have ever imagined, but she found herself constantly playing, pausing, rewinding, and cutting down parts of the film that she had made. She was a natural editor, and it was then when she fell in love with the art of editing. Now, years later, she has never looked back.

“Although the story was as naïve as it could be, the fun of making and editing the film just aroused my huge interest in filmmaking and also changed my life,” she said.

This past year, Liu has seen a lot of success worldwide. Her work on The Ballerina, The Shoemaker, and His Apprentice,Headshot, Dear Mamá, and Faith Need Not Change Her Gown have been celebrated at many international film festivals. Her first taste of such success, however, came back in 2013 when she worked on the documentary Pumpkin and Fried Noodle.

Pumpkin and Fried Noodleis a short documentary shot in Taiwan. It tells the stories of how two different families make their living as an outsider in a small village. Though tough, they still find their ways for inner peace and happiness. The film was selected for the Golden Sugarcane Film Festival, Taiwan’s first film festival where the filmmakers have to shoot and edit on site.

“I really liked that the documentary showed the culture of the village, and documented that beautiful, peaceful and friendly place, which was very different to the culture I was in growing up. It tells stories of outsiders in the villages and shows how they fight to live a better life and struggle to be part of the society over there. It’s also a story about women empowerment, telling how they managed to support the whole family without any help. Making a documentary about them was important because their way of living life and being in a difficult situation needed to be seen by others,” said Liu.

Because of the circumstances of the Golden Sugarcane Film Festival, only a pitch was submitted in hopes of qualifying as one of the ten slots. Once Liu and the rest of her team were selected, they were invited to Taiwan to make the film. During the week, Liu was with other filmmakers finding the subject to shoot and finding structure and stories. This allowed for faster editing, as she was able to spot what would work while filming. Then she finished each day with the editing. On top of this, she conducted interviews each day.

“Going there to make the documentary without knowing whether it will work or not; finding the story during shooting was like an adventure that needed a great sense of filmmaking, which I liked and wanted to be part of,” Liu recalled.

The film exemplifies how important editing is. Liu and the other nine filmmakers on the crew conducted several interviews with over ten different people, but in the editing room, Liu cut that down drastically, only showing two of the subjects that were interviewed. The film focused on their lives in detail, showing their philosophy of living rather than small aspects of many lives. Liu also made the decision of blending the two stories rather than showing one after the other, which helped lead to the warm and touching climax at the end.

“Meibei is very hard working. She edited our entire film within three days. She was very easy to work with, always there in the pre-production, making sure everything was right and very insightful about the story and production. In the post-production, she sacrificed her own personal time, which made the impossible schedule work in the end. Meibei is an editor who is very insightful and creative about creating story structure. She is amazing in terms of editing skills and at the same time, also very sensitive of capturing emotions of characters,” said Song Huang, Director.

Because of the competition, time was limited when making Pumpkin and Fried Noodle, requiring a fast, hardworking and passionate editor like Liu. On top of this, she was able to connect with the two women’s stories in a way that audiences can instantly see when watching the film, making it a true masterpiece.

 

Editor Xiaodan Yang refines artistic story in upcoming film “Summer Orange”

Xiaodan “Christy” Yang was a teenager when she realized she was meant to be a filmmaker. At the time, she and her friends at their high school in China were just having fun with a video camera. They were so excited and curious about the tool and would pretend to interview students during lunch breaks. Quickly, this transformed to casting classmates in small productions, and Yang was the leader.

“The most classic one was a Titanic parody where I picked two leading characters to play Jack and Rose from the “audition”. Then we shot the “I’m flying” scene. Their acting was so hilarious and the whole process was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it and that’s the first time I started thinking that maybe I could be a real filmmaker someday. I wanted to bring larger audiences to tears of laughter and allow them to experience all sorts of emotions through my work,” said Yang.

Despite being in charge of her high school short films, Yang found her way to a more behind-the-scenes role in editing. Now, she is an award-winning editor and is recognized far beyond China for her talent. Through her work on dramatic films such as Kayla, Witness, Sixteen and It’s Not Just About a Film, Yang’s contributions as an editor shape these important stories into pieces of art, and all those who work with her know what an asset she is.

“I worked with Xiaodan on my film, Ashram, as well as a short film called The Review. I directed the films and she was my editor for both of them. To work with Xiaodan is to have a very smart, skilled and sensitive creative partner. She is very thoughtful about her editing decisions, and a very even-keeled and well-balanced guiding creative force for the project. She’s very competent and efficient, but also artistic and intuitive. She has strong communication and learning skills, which make us work efficiently,” said Matt Marlin, Writer and Director. “Xiaodan is a strong creative presence and also very flexible with working with different types of personalities. She often juggled multiple projects when working with me, and still made me feel like my project was at least an equal priority with the other things she was working on. She can roll with any notes I throw her way, and also push back when she believes in a creative decision strongly. She has a great intuition for how to best bring out the story from the footage provided.”

When working on the upcoming film Summer Orange, an artistic story, Yang knew it would be defined by the editing. When she first read the script, she was immediately captured by the characters and could feel the desolation they felt in every word. She instantly said yes to the project.

Summer Orange is about a filmmaker dealing with his real life and the film he’s shooting. As a filmmaker myself, I felt close to him. As I was editing the film, the film also affected me in many ways. I was thinking deeply while working on this one,” said Yang.

The film follows Da, a film student in Los Angeles. During the time shooting his thesis film, his old friend, Lu, comes to visit him. It has been a few years since the two have seen each other, and they both have changed. At the same time, the relationship between Da and Xintong, the leading actress of his film, becomes ambiguous. With so many things going on, Da feels confused about film and reality.

“This is a very personal story for the director. Some plots and details come from his actual life experience. If other films are considered novels, this one is more like a prose. The story is sincere, but also abstract. Although nothing dramatic happens, the tone of the story is attractive. Sometimes life is just overwhelming, and people can’t do anything about it. The best part of this story is the dynamic between the characters. That was also my emphasis during editing,” said Yang.

Summer Orange is directed by Chen Xu, who also wrote the film. He had previously worked with Yang on Witness and It’s Not Just About a Film and knew her extraordinary editing talents would help captivate audiences to his subtle story. As the editor, Yang understood the director’s intentions of this story precisely. When going through the footage, every decision Xu made while shooting made sense to her and she knew just how to approach the editing. She could transform and breakdown the script without disrupting the artistic conception. As it was a calm story, the director chose to shoot the film in an objective way, meaning most of the shots were long takes. When Yang was editing, she watched each shot over and over to make sure she was choosing to highlight the best performances from each actor. After doing this, she still made sure not to cut the long takes, therefore ensuring the dynamic between each character was as close as possible to how it was originally shot, refining every take. She also slowed down her pace while editing and instead of simply thinking about what would be useful, she cared more about what felt right for the atmosphere.

Undoubtedly, Summer Orange will be a tremendous film and showcase what a formidable editor Yang is. It will premiere this May at none other than the prestigious Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner and will expectedly make its way to several more festivals in the coming year.

“I feel so excited about the Cannes Film Festival, since it’s one of the best film festivals in the world. I believe this is just a good beginning, and more and more will come,” Yang concluded.

SUN SHINES BRIGHTLY WHILE NOT SEEN

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If you’ve ever known an artist, ever read a book about one, seen a film about one, or perhaps been one yourself…then you know that the goal is not to achieve fame (although that’s nice) or riches (also not horrible) but rather true artists simply want to create. The work for them is “work” only in the sense that it requires immense effort but not in a sense of begrudgingly performing a day to day task. Editor Wanqiu Sun eagerly communicates that she loves what she does and that every production she works on allows her to hone her skills. Ranging from TV productions to feature films to web productions and practically everything in between, Sun feels that her job is eternally one which allows her to shape a story, regardless of the medium or its presentation. While she has edited many an award-winning-film, she has also found herself utilizing her talent for commercials like those for Chang’an Automobiles. This series of 3-three minute commercials presented the company’s commitment to consumers and did so with the emotion that Sun’s touch is known for.

Chang’an’s relationship with their customers is analogous to that of editor and director. Passion, beauty, structure, and trust are requirements for a mutually beneficial partnership and pleasing results. People help display the story. In a film they are actors but in these commercials they were real employees of Chang’an. Each commercial presented an employee and how their work led to the benefit of the company’s customers. In one spot, we meet safety engineer Xin Li and the crash test dummy he works with exploring and ensuring the safety of the vehicles. Another presents the Designer Zheng Chen exploring his idea of design, how nature inspired him, and his concept of “power inside.” The final third commercial delves into the future of autonomous vehicles with Zhe Wang. This MIT graduate explains the culture which drew him to Chang’an and what lies ahead for the advancements in automobiles.

The structure of the advertisements were similar to TV and films in the sense that they were based around stories but there were still differences substantial enough to warrant a different approach from the editor. Sun focused on the initial visual impact. The ability of a commercial to attract the viewer’s attention supersedes that of a continual storyline. Wanqiu notes that the story during these productions was more prominent than most, a happy occurrence, but imagery was still the most crucial element for her to present. She explains the process stating, “For commercials, we sometimes won’t break down to what exact shots we will shoot before production. It’s more flexible in comparison to film. For these commercials, they had manuscripts before shooting. They were planning to go with a documentary style, to combine interviews with other footage. The locations were all real locations inside the factory, which meant that it looked different every day. If the majority of shots were planned before, it might have caused more problems during production. As the editor, I had to figure out where these shots could be placed according to the content we had in the manuscript. Cutting according to the original manuscript was around five minutes. I had to combine and rewrite the manuscript to bring the entire thing down to three minutes. Any information we’d lost from the manuscript had to be presented visually.”

Wanqiu’s work on these Chang’an commercials is proof that when there’s a great editor on the production team, especially one involved in pre-production, it makes the production much more efficient. Editors like Sun have the big picture and help the production team to predict problems and also fix those remaining in post. Transforming good material into great material and manifesting the unforeseen, editors are like ninjas who conceal themselves to make the cuts seamless. This analogy resonates with Wanqiu who remarks on her favorite editing, “There’s a fight scene in rain in The Grandmaster (Directed by Karwai Wong, Edited by William Chang), which is one of my favorite scenes in all of Chinese Film. Unlike other action movies, this one doesn’t focus on showing every movement of Kung Fu but more of the atmosphere and the spirit when people are fighting. It is very emotional. Everything seems so vague in the rain but you can feel their exact mood. Some people fight for power and fame and some fight for dignity. It is possible to analyze why we are feeling this way from editing.” The majority of her work has been in English speaking productions; the fact that her family in China gets to see her work every day on these Chang’an commercials gives her the chance to show that she is very much “in the ring.”

HOLLYWOOD THROUGH THE EYES OF SHIMAN HU

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Shiman Hu has loved movies for as long as she can remember. The feeling of being whisked to another reality and feeling that you are placed in the lives, the emotions, the reality of others and allowed to experience any motion that the creators of the film desires for you to experience…it’s been said many times but, it’s magic. This led her to investigate the secret behind this “magic” and to a career in film (and television) as an editor. Her skill and her love of cinema also led Yangyang Mu (the production manager of Hollywood Chinese TV) to offer Hu the position as editor for “Hollywood Club.” Yangyang states, “Our program shows the best part of great films within a limited duration. Beyond the other content we present, the demands of presenting these films and matching the original rhythm and message are quite substantial. It required a truly incredible editor and Shiman did an amazing job.” The program aspires to interest viewers in a wide array of movies, not just American films, in hopes of cultivating wide interest in all that the industry has to offer. The same diversity of films that first enchanted Shiman are what she worked to expose in a modern avenue, as a seed to present day and future film aficionados.

The program presents film as varied as: Avatar, No Country for Old Men, Confessions (famous Japanese film), Jurassic Park, and many others displays a range from Science Fiction to Dark Humor to love stories and much more. Hu divides each film into three different sections: the background (the work, the life and the problems encountered in the film), the climax of the film (how the character solves the problems he/she has encountered), and finally, the end of the film (what are they going to do at the end? Is the end good or bad?). As an editor of acclaimed films like The Sound of the Sea, Plus Slash Minus +/-, and others, Hu feels the weight of responsibility in maintaining a congruent tone to the original filmmakers desired message.

Not all films are equal in the challenge to present them in a condensed time frame. “Confessions” starring Takako Matsu was a formidable challenge to edit. A black comedy with a very tight rhythm to it, the film’s pace and excellence caused Shiman to make several attempts at editing it before she felt that she was respectful to both the film and filmmaker’s original intention. Matching the original film’s rhythm and ensuring the integrity of the narrative, she concedes that she learned an increased respect for the original editor’s work on this film…as with many others she has reviewed since. In particular, the early Hong Kong film “As Tears Go By” with its many complex stories, character cues, relationships between characters, and emotional interlacing created a Rubik’s Cube or editing for an editor. Of course, it’s Hu’s love of discovery that first led her to a career in film and challenges like this only stoked the fire.

“Hollywood Club” is not only for cinephiles. This also allowed the editor to exercise her TV editing chops honed during her time working at many different Sino TV programs. Everything from gossip surrounding celebrities like Justin Bieber and others to the top songs on the charts is covered on this program. The program not only plays the songs to the audience, but more importantly, introduces viewers to the background of the songs, producers and singers of the songs and explains the meaning of them. Hu combines the recordings of the songs and dialogue of the hosts, adjusting the appropriate volume and controlling the length of songs according to the time requirement of the program.

All of this means that the breadth of editing work encompasses serious/award-winning films to playful pop culture. Shiman concedes, “The skill required for this program is quite substantial. I might be reediting an existing movie trailer to meet the length of our program. The trailer’s sense of rhythm is very strong. I’m editing a film and distilling it down while keeping the voice of the filmmakers and the story intact. Hosts are presented on green screen and special effects software is used to give a modern look and accessibility that multimedia presentations demand and viewers expect. There are many layers in the editing software of the program. When we are making up the entire show, we pay careful attention to whether there are missing parts. The appearance must be very high-quality in spite of the limited time that we have to produce this. It takes a lot of work to make it look effortless and that is always my goal.”

Shiman Hu’s work on “Hollywood Club” is an example of how the most talented professionals in the production industry can vacillate between mediums, using their skills to better any scenario which they encounter. Whether at work on feature films, television talk shows, or any combination of these, Shiman Hu has carved out a welcome place for herself in the international production community.

 

HOW YOU WILL SEE, HEAR, & FEEL “CHRISTMAS IN MISSISSIPPI”

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In the entertainment world there are those who seek the spotlight and then there are those like YuXin Boon. This sound editor prefers the work off screen creating and supporting the performers and story onscreen. It’s not a vocation for those who love attention but for the professional who finds their fulfillment in creativity and empowering the story, it’s the perfect environment. Boon’s work is always about creating the perfect environment. It often focuses on the background sound elements which, if they weren’t in the periphery, might take one out of the story because of their omission. For the Lifetime Television film “Christmas in Mississippi” she was tasked with using her abilities to draw viewers into the relaxing holiday atmosphere that supported the storyline. As the background editor, YuXin created a cheerful ambience that many of us associate with one of the happiest seasons in our year.

“Christmas in Mississippi” perfectly communicates the sentiment behind the season in modern times. Photographer Holly Logan (Jana Kramer) returns to her hometown of Gulfport, Mississippi for Christmas as the town is recovering from a terrible hurricane that devastated it years earlier. Holly finds herself working alongside her high school sweetheart, Mike (Wes Brown) who she discovers gave up his music dream to take care of his brother’s son while his brother served in the country’s military. The two are swept up in the rekindling of their feelings and the joy of the season. The production’s post-sound supervisor Eric M. Klein loved Boon’s work on ‘Enchanted Christmas’ and thought the skills and professionalism she showed on that project could help take the sound of the new project [“Christmas in Mississippi”] to a new level.

YuXin’s approach to her work as Ambience and Foley editor is something she enjoys because it is both methodical & calculated as well as highly creative. During early spotting session that displayed characters walking inside a warehouse with numerous background actors preparing props for light show, Boon divided the movements into sub groups like: present wrapping group, decoration group, and tools carrying group. She inserted the sounds of paper rustling sound for the wrapping, cable tangle sound for decoration, and metal clicking for tools, all contributions via the Foley artist on the film.  Adding ambience for another room in the warehouse in order to make them sound as if coming from the other side of the wall increased the depth and multidimensional feeling of a natural space. The essence of great sound/Foley editing is to present several perspectives of the sounds we experience in real life. YuXin’s highly detailed and though out plan for her work has made her such a sought out professional in a variety of productions. She gives a deeper insight into her mindset when creating as she explains, “I found out the recreation of warehouse ambience was the most difficult part of my work in this movie. The warehouse had a myriad of sounds happening at the same time. (Construction, decoration, paper wrapping, people talking, goods loading, fan spinning, etc.) and I wanted to cover those background movements as much as possible while keeping them balanced. Most of the construction ambiences I found in the [sound] libraries were too heavy for this movie and just didn’t match the scene. Instead of using one construction background with multiple sounds like drilling and sawing, I chose the ambience with one particular movement and combined different layers. For the scene with light construction, I added hammer, ladder, and pallet jack sound to make the scene sound busy. In this way, I provided more options to the director and supervising sound editors. It was easier for me to take out the ambience they didn’t like and keep others.”

There’s perhaps no better way to gain appreciation for those whom you work with as well as improve and excel in your own work than to experience firsthand the challenges of others. Boon was particularly excited that “Christmas in Mississippi” gave her the opportunity to work alongside Martin Quinones (ADR & Foley Recordist of ‘Christmas in Mississippi’) …literally! Because Boon was so microscopically aware of the actions of the actors/characters in the film, Quinones invited her on one of the session to do some of the actual Foley work, creating the recorded sounds that make audible movie magic, like squeezing a moist cloth to mimic the sound of straw stirring the cream in milkshake or the simple sounds of fabric rustling. While it could be easily overlooked and considered mundane, Boon felt that the simple recordings of leather and denim rubbed on a boom microphone would add to the believability of Mike (Holly’s high school sweetheart) during one particular scene, giving emphasis to his movement…which of course it did. Martin professes, “This was the second movie that ‘Wendy’ YuXin Boon and I worked on together and I was able to realize how thorough and detail oriented she is. Her laser-focus approach to sound editing, as well as her willingness to learn new methods and techniques clearly confirms that she makes the process of filmmaking better and more efficient.”

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While she works at it, YuXin readily admits that being hyper focused and detailed is simply a part of her nature. Noticing every small detail might be an irritating trait for a person to have but finding a way to use it in a beneficial manner, such as this editor has done, results in appreciation and a successful career. Using the correct tool for the job is the way that YuXin Boon approaches her work on every production she takes part in and it’s doubtless that this is the way that those who hire her view her contributions to their productions. “Christmas in Mississippi” feels like the holidays and thanks to YuXin it most definitely SOUNDS like it as well.

Editor Peter Hein digs into the emotion of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’

As an editor, Peter Hein does not begin his work until later in the process. He doesn’t figure out how it is shot, who will play what part, or what costumes they will where. He doesn’t stand behind the camera, looking for the right angles to frame a face. His role is much more nuanced. He does not write the story; he finds its heart and soul. During editing, he sees the emotion in each scene, and tweaks the storyline to truly hit home with its viewers. Whether it’s to make people laugh or cry, he gets every frame just right to connect with his audience. As an editor, he is responsible for the story coming together, and he is brilliant at it.

Hein is known in the United Kingdom for his exceptional work on many popular television programs. The Denmark native has worked on shows like X Factor and First Dates, as well as award ceremonies like The BAFTA Awards. He uses his extensive knowledge to glue audiences to their seats, ensuring they watch every moment of a show, feeling connected to the cast they see on screen.

This is perhaps most exemplified with his work on Britain’s Got Talent. The editor has been part of the show since its second season, and is consistently asked to come back due to his substantial contributions. Sophie Coen, the Senior Producer of the talent competition, says that Hein’s work is incredible, and he plays a large role in the editing team.

“Peter is a real team player and always goes the extra mile. He is a dream in the edit. He is creative, decisive, and hugely experienced. He is always positive and upbeat, even when presented with a very tricky story, and with incredibly tight deadlines he manages to make it work. He is a real joy to work with,” said Coen. “On Britain’s Got Talent, Peter would often be the editor that the show would depend on to make a story work. His passion drives his talent. He is one of the best editors I have worked with. He understands narrative, humor, and emotion. Peter is able to draw upon his varied experience to make the edit work. He is a lead editor – he can inspire, direct, and lead others. Peter thrives under pressure and always delivers amazing work.”

The Got Talent format has been extremely successful in many countries, and the United Kingdom is no different. Hein’s work is what makes auditions so captivating, and even those not living in the UK have been privy to his talents. Many of his videos from the show have gone viral, including the iconic Susan Boyle audition, which has tens of millions of views on YouTube alone. The video starts in a comical way, with the audience laughing at the unassuming singer. By the end, viewers are in tears by her talent and the judges’ reaction.

This is what Hein does with every scene he works on. During the audition process, he spends weeks sifting through footage for seven minutes of the show, but it is worth it. As the show progresses into live shows, he works to edit videos of the talents’ journeys prior to their performances. His work is what makes viewers root for different contestants.

Britain’s Got Talent is one of the two hardest shows I’ve ever worked on. The days were very long in the earlier series because the show was still finding its feet. But the teams on that show have always been great, and the success and team effort makes it worth working on it. You get given a story and you try and make it the best you can, bring something to it nobody thought of before, whether that be the style or music choices. Anything to make it ‘pop’,” said Hein.

With Hein’s work, the ratings have grown substantially each year, and now it is one of the most successful television formats in the world. Hein brought his own sense of comedy and emotion to the show, resulting in such a feat. The show’s third season final was the highest rated television show that year, when Susan Boyle won the show. It even won a BAFTA award.

Despite his accolades, Hein finds working on the show to be a team effort. He loves who he works alongside, and finds everyone pulls together to make the best show they possibly can.  The show has been on for eleven years and still entertains audiences with the same format, and that is because of the stories they are sharing with the world; stories that Hein plays a large hand in telling.

In the beginning, Hein wanted to work on Britain’s Got Talent because it was a new and growing format that would provide a different editing experience. At the time, he was extremely grateful for the opportunity. He still is today.

“I still find it incredible when people love what I do. It’s a real compliment to know that after all the years on the show I can still surprise and entertain people with how I edit. Britain’s Got Talent has a special warm feeling about it, it has always had that, and I feel like I done my part to give the show that well-loved feeling,” he concluded.

Behind the Scenes of 24 Hours in A&E with James Ralph

When you think about your favorite television show, what comes to mind? Is it your favorite actor’s Emmy-worthy performance? Or is it perhaps set in a part of the world that you’ve been itching to explore for all of your life. Is it funny, or is it sad? Is it dramatic, or is it scary? No matter what comes to mind, each component that makes it the show you love and cherish is rooted in an editor’s ability to tie every element together seamlessly before your eyes. Without the help of a skilled editor, storylines would falter and viewers would lose interest. Films and television shows that dominate the industry require a seasoned editor, one with a keen ability to captivate an audience and ensure that only the best quality content makes a final cut. They require an editor like James Ralph.

Ralph’s versatility as an editor makes him difficult to define, but a mere glance at his work will tell you that his talents are profound. His ability to transform his skill set to meet the demands of the project before him allow him to ease into new premises, scripts, and storylines flawlessly. He brings a certain authenticity and creative edge to his work that makes him instrumental to every job he accepts and over a twenty-year career he has accepted many. His unique editorial style can be understood through a variety of different projects he has worked on, from British favorites like X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK, to hit reality television shows like Love Island and First Dates. He differentiates himself as an editor through his natural ability to transition between different genres without weakness. According to Ralph, he doesn’t have one specific style or technique that characterizes him, which makes him all the more suitable to work on a diverse array of projects.

“I wouldn’t say that I have a definite style as my work spans multiple genres. I think my work is always smooth in that you can watch it without ever being aware that there are edits – unless I’ve placed them there deliberately. Editorially, I am thoughtful, intelligent, visually creative, and musically dynamic, all of which are crucial to any story you’re trying to tell. I think that there is a certain energy in everything I do,” tells Ralph.

Over the last three years, Ralph has worked on a number of series for the well-known British television show, 24 Hours in A&E. 24 Hours in A&E is a medical documentary set in a busy hospital in London, England. The unique docuseries offers an inside look at one of Britain’s busiest Accident & Emergency departments. For the show, cameras roll for 24-hours straight over the span of a 28-day period.

With a reputation as unparalleled as Ralph’s, it is not uncommon for a production company to solicit his talents. When 24 Hours in A&E’s production company, The Garden, were looking for an editor to flavor their series with the perfect amount of suspense and truth, they demanded that Ralph come on board. In fact, the show’s Executive Producer, Spencer Kelly, had worked with Ralph in the past and knew he was the perfect fit for the job. For Ralph, the opportunity was too great to turn down and knowing The Garden’s respected reputation in the factual and documentary making world, he was eager to accept.

Despite Kelly’s experience working with Ralph, he never ceases to be amazed by the quality of Ralph’s editing skills. Ralph is a rarity in his field and production companies are extremely fortunate when they come across talent as remarkable as his.

“I have worked with James on prime-time series for BBC 1 and for the last three seasons of 24 Hours in A E. Throughout each, he has brought a unique combination of consistency and editorial clarity. His work is beautifully crafted and his editing delivers compelling, thoughtful and entertaining television,” states Kelly. He also points out that Ralph’s “good humor and hardworking, collaborative attitude make him a pleasure to work with. Most importantly, he is quick at what he does so he can quickly sift through material and implement changes to meet pressured deadlines.”

As an editor, speed is crucial; however, the true art of editing shows in an editor’s ability to produce content quickly without sacrificing quality. Ralph is well-versed in this skill and it makes him a true asset to the teams he works on. For 24 Hours in A&E, this skill is paramount to the show’s success. Due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter, it is important for Ralph to be able to accurately portray each situation with every aspect of authenticity and human nature possible. The show’s audience become privy to very intimate parts of people’s lives, ranging from birth to death and everything in between and as a result, Ralph has to thoroughly explore all of the footage, identifying any stories or themes that can be developed into an episode. On the surface, the show is about medicine but in reality, it is about people and the often fascinating stories of their lives. It is a challenge unlike any of Ralph’s other projects.

“It can be very challenging when you’re faced with the reality that people sometimes die or appear on the show with appalling injuries. As an editor, I have to work with this footage and find ways to tell these people’s stories without glorifying or reveling in the gruesomeness of the situations. It’s all about being sensitive and respectful to the people on the show and to your audience as you tell each story and ensure that you do them justice,” notes Ralph.

From an editing standpoint, 24 Hours in A&E was a thrilling job. With full creative reign, Ralph was trusted to make his own decisions in terms of which stories he followed and developed. He thrives in an autonomous environment, allowing his unrestricted creativity to reach the surface. He loves the responsibility that comes with being able to showcase such raw, human stories. There are moments of humor, as well as moments of grief. It can be touching, but also devastating. The show is characterized by a wide spectrum of emotions and Ralph gets to choose how he wishes to present each and every one. He has been instrumental to the show’s success and is without a doubt one of the main reasons that his viewers absorb the show in the way that they do.

“I take a great deal of pride knowing that the show is so popular, not only with the public but also amongst my colleagues. The fact that it is repeatedly commissioned, as well as on repeat across many of Channel 4’s subsidiary channels, is a tribute to the hard work and dedication that goes into making it. It’s one of those shows that a lot of my friends in the industry always say, “I wish I worked on that,” concludes Ralph, and he is proud that he does.

From Trailers to Long-Form Projects, Editor Ge Zhai Draws Viewers in with her Work

Editor Ge Zhai
Editor Ge Zhai

After all the production meetings, castings and lengthy shoot days are finished is when the story we see in a film or series really begins to come together. Naturally the writers and director have a strong idea of how they want their project to play out, but nothing is ever fully set in stone until the project makes its way onto the editor’s desk. It’s there that the best footage is identified and methodically pieced together into the unfolding story we enjoy as viewers.

Editor Ge Zhai, who is originally from Beijing, China is one of those genius editors who manages to turn hours of footage into a seamless story that grabs the attention of viewers around the world and keeps them watching.

Since moving stateside six years ago, Zhai has made a huge impact in the industry with her work as an editor. She got her start working as an editor for KO Creative, an LA-based creative advertising and strategic marketing group that creates audio/visual and print campaigns for domestic & international theatrical motion pictures, television and more. As an editor at KO Creative Zhai served as the lead editor on over 30 film trailers.

As the editor of the theatrical trailers for films such as multi-award winning director Chris Mason Johnson’s (The New Twenty) dramatic film Test and Coury Deeb’s ( The New Sudan) documentary BBOY for LIFE, Zhai managed to streamline each story into a concise and intriguing snapshot that made audiences want to go out to watch the films; and her success in cutting each trailer needs little further proof than the international attention received by both films upon release.

She was also the lead editor for the online trailers for several films including those for the Dutch film Boys, a coming of age tale about a homosexual teen and his budding relationship with a fellow teammate on the track team, which won the Golden Calf and Dutch Critics Awards from the Nederlands Film Festival and was nominated for an International Emmy Award; and, the Image Award nominated film drama Life of  King starring Oscar Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr. (Men of Honor, Selma).

Editor Ge Zhai
Editor Ge Zhai

In addition to sifting through hours of footage, selecting the most revealing and powerful moments, and creating a streamline story that would enthrall viewers, Zhai’s work cutting trailers at KO Creative meant she had to understand the divergent audiences each trailer catered to– something the value could be seen as no more integral than when it came to cutting sales trailers, as those are the visuals that actually sell the film to distributors and ensure the project actually reaches audiences. Without a strong and appealing sales trailer, a film may languish alone and unnoticed in a filmmaker’s library and never see the light of day. Thankfully for films such as Oscar Award nominee James Franco’s 2014 film The Sound and the Fury and Adam Levins’ horror film Estranged, Ge Zhai cut strong trailers that attracted the attention of distributors and helped each film make their way onto the big screen.

“I think in today’s world, there are so many choices as to video content, you got Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, with hundreds of thousands of films/tv/videos. So for an audience, why do they spend 2 hours on this specific film? The trailer is the first step to involve your audience visually following the poster. Trailers have to grasp their attention in 20 seconds and leave them wanting to see more,” explains Zhai.

“My strength is noticing details in a shot and maximizing them to convey the intimate emotion without relying on explanatory dialogue. I’m very good at telling the story of a film in a different way that is condensed, rhythmic, gripping, while remain true to the film. Plus, I have a good sense of music, which is super important to trailers.”

Though Zhai got her start as an editor in the industry cutting trailers for massively successful film projects, which is impressive enough in itself, she quickly moved on to cutting longer form projects, such as season 4 of the series Being featuring celebrities like three-time Grammy Award winner Erica Atkins Campbell and singer & movie star Tyrese, the comedy series According to Him + Her with Monica Collier (The Watermelon Heist), the poignant documentary Just Extensions and many more.

“Ge has the magic power to make ordinary materials look stunning. It was a blessing to have Ge on our team when we expanded from a trailer house into a full service post-production facility,” explains KO Creative CEO Kristi Kilday. “She was not constrained by her past experience when facing the challenge of editing long-form content like ‘Just Extensions’ and ‘Being.’ All the storylines and characters charged with emotion reflected her talent in editing.”

Zhai’s ability to breathe life into the characters we see on screen coupled with her ability to move each story forward with her natural (and virtually unnoticeable) cuts is one of the unique assets she brings to the table, and one of the driving forces behind her success that separates her from others in the industry. She doesn’t approach her work from a mechanical, step by step process devoid of emotion– instead she allows her creativity and emotional connection to the work and to the characters to guide the process. This is one of the reasons why the end products of those she’s lent her editor’s wand to have been so successful.

When it came time for the creation of season 4 of the series Being, Centric, the show’s network, which is a cable channel owned by BET,  wanted to appeal to a more specific audience and embody a different vibe than that of previous seasons– that is where editor Ge Zhai came in.

Zhai explains, “‘Being’ previously had three seasons, but in totally different tone. For the new season they wanted to shift styles to better fit the rebranded network, which was catered towards educated African American women. I had worked with the same producers on the series ‘According to Him+Her,’ so they were aware of my skills, and at the end of the day that led to hire me to edit their number one show.”

Being series
Poster for the series “Being”

Zhai’s storytelling skills as the editor of Being season 4 served as a massive asset in creating the season’s unfolding story in a way that touched audiences. Her ability to identify the tiny, but impactful moments that a lesser editor might miss, such as the expression of K.Michelle’s (Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta) eyes while sitting in church in season 4 episode 1 or six-time Grammy Award nominee Tyrese Gibson’s (Furious 7, Fast & Furious 6, Ride Along) joyful look as he revisited his childhood school in season 4 episode 4, were all tantamount to creating an emotionally touching story that drew audiences in and kept them engaged as the season played out.

Zhai’s work as an editor is proof enough itself, so much so that she’s climbed the ranks much quicker than the majority of her peers in Hollywood. Most recently she’s been working on the viral marketing video content for the sequel of the Chinese smash-hit Monster Hunt where her work has embraced millions of viewers.

 From beginning her career editing trailers that have been integral to drawing audiences and selling films to buyers, to serving as the editor on highly-watched long form projects that have aired on major networks, Ge Zhai’s seasoned skill as an editor combined with her unique power as a storyteller have been integral to the success of a great many projects. This is one editor we know we’ll be seeing a whole lot more from as time progresses, so keep your eyes out for her name as the credits roll.

 

Videographer Maria Aguado takes us back in time with Button Barcelona

Maria Aguado has always known she was meant to be a filmmaker. Since the age of seven, she wrote screenplays and made movies. At the time, just a small child in Barcelona, she filmed her dolls, editing the footage, unaware of what she was really doing. She grew up holding a camera, and to this day, nearly twenty years later, that remains true.

Aguado’s unique eye has greatly contributed to the success of many brands who seek her services. Just last year, the company Button Barcelona reached out to the videographer to make a promotional and informative video about the brand that would be played at a Button Barcelona event, as well as two other videos to be used to promote the brand on social media.

“I really liked the romanticism that creates Button Barcelona and I wanted to be a part of it. They emphasize how everything worked in the old times, enjoying every step with serenity and a slower rhythm. I was happy to express this through audio-visual,” said Aguado.

Button Barcelona is a company inspired by the way people used to live sixty years before the industrial revolution in a small village in Barcelona. They sell all type of products with one thing in common: bringing back the traditional methods of production and elaboration with hand-made products. As a videographer and editor, Aguado had to transmit this idea to the audience. She filmed and edited three videos for Button Barcelona. The first one was a series of interviews explaining the story of Button Barcelona. The second was the “making of” of the photo shoot. For the third video, she edited the previous two videos together, for the Button Barcelona event. All three were posted and used on social media as their marketing campaign.

“The shooting was really fun. We immediately became a good team from the start. The event was also amazing, my video was screened and we were all there, overwhelmed by the story the video shows and the whole experience,” Aguado described.

While shooting, Aguado filmed the models in different parts of the village doing antiquated activities, such as washing clothes in a bucket of water, going to an antique cinema, and sewing clothes. She truly shows really the audience how these people used to live, emphasizing the essence of the company.

“Button Barcelona is everything that defines us, differentiates us and reaffirms our personality. That’s why I decided to select every single piece that showed a narrative in order to create a story inside a fashion video,” said Aguado. “Through the shooting and the editing, I transformed models into characters. This is the nice and tricky thing about editing, with just one look, a movement, a step, you can create a story, a narrative structure. The tricky part is to know when you are cutting a video and why, it all has to end up making sense in order to touch the audience. Also, remembering all the material in order to be fluent and creative. The brand’s idea is the opposite of frenetic; it’s all about taking your time to produce with love. I showed this by carefully selecting pieces of music and mixing them together. The rhythm plays a very important part too, music and video have to dance together.”

The final video is eight minutes long. It begins documentary style, interviewing the various people at Button Barcelona, and explaining the story behind the company. The final five minutes feature the “making of” from the photoshoots. Aguado perfectly blends the shots to the music, editing the cuts to the exact beat of the song. It does not appear to be a promotional video, but instead an artistic music video, where the models are simply people enjoying their life rather than working. The result is outstanding.

“Maria was given full freedom to create both videos and the result was even better than what we had expected. She is a very hard worker with a positive attitude and creative mind! Her creativity and passion for what she does is what makes her so good at it,” said Candelaria Turrens, CEO and Founder of Button Barcelona.

The three videos were crucial in branding Button Barcelona. They explain the company’s idea, and introduce the world to the members of the brands Button distributes. Without Aguado, the event would not have been the success that it was, and the brand itself could not have achieved what it has today. She captured the company’s essence through the lens of her camera.

“It felt like we were teleported to another time; the times Button Barcelona tries to keep in our lives. The story was clearly shown to the audience, they could feel the essence of the brand and really enjoyed it. The video was repeated every half an hour, people kept asking to see it over and over again. It was amazing,” Aguado concluded. “I believe I showed the value of the simple way people used to live, the romanticism of the old times, enjoying every step with happiness, calm and serenity.”