A Day in the Life of a Soap Opera Editor: Lugh Powers Cranks Out Five One-Hour Episodes a Week

by Robin Rowe (originally published 6/10/10 by www.editorsguild.com)

“Days of Our Lives is a completely in-house operation,” says lead editor and associate director Lugh Powers. “Deadlines are intense. The production company requires the maximum in speed, flexibility and reliability to produce a daily one-hour program. Because we have such a fast turnaround from production to air, we get pretty aggressive with time management and efforts to streamline the workflow.”

The Emmy-winning daytime drama Days of Our Lives has been renewed by NBC for 2010-11, its 45th season. Days is produced by Corday Productions Inc. in association with Sony Pictures Television. Executive producer Ken Corday’s parents––Betty and Ted Corday––co-created Days of our Lives.

The edit suite is located at NBC Studios in Burbank. Powers chose Avid systems when he designed and implemented the changeover from linear to digital editing, and he and the post team at Corday use four Avid systems to turn out a one-hour drama every day, five days a week.

“Pressure?” asks Powers. “What pressure? Change, especially of this magnitude, can be daunting and one of the most important parts of leading this type of change is helping people to understand that the technology is there not to supplant them, but to support them.

“The workflow is built around me, a second editor, our assistant editor, the online editor, music directors, and the audio mixer,” he continues. “I gravitated toward the Avid systems because of the seamless interconnectivity between its picture editing machines, ProTools and the Unity Shared Storage solution. The editors also needed a powerful, yet flexible multi-camera editing bench.”

Days has four Avid Symphonys, the GenArts Sapphire package for effects, a Unity Storage system, and a ProTools HD audio workstation. “It seems that the budgets get tighter and tighter while the deadlines get closer and closer­­––so any method or machine that lets us spend less time being technical and more time being creative, and also helps us to meet our timetable is a must-have,” Powers explains. “The Avid multi-cam feature is still second to none for ease and efficiency of use. Add to that the Avid’s preservation of metadata, true frame accuracy and the ability to manage and organize large amounts of media quickly and easily, and Avid seems the obvious choice––especially when you look at post-production as a process rather than as a single machine.”

Before joining Days, Powers was already known as a creative editor with the technical skill to design and implement workflow, someone who taught how to use new technology and supported people through the learning process. It was being invited to present a seminar on the value of digital editing workflow at Corday Productions that led to Powers joining Days. “Based on that seminar, and a very in-depth discussion about my views on the art of storytelling, I was asked to join the Corday team specifically to bring a new perspective to the editing process,” says Powers.

“On my first day with the show, NBC engineer Mike Vick and I built Avids, lots of Avids,” he explains. “The next three months were about building the machines, troubleshooting the workflow and training the other people how to use the equipment, while at the same time editing a daily show.”

Powers’ approach to editing any project starts with a few basic questions. “Who is the audience we are trying to reach?” he asks himself. “Stylistically, how do we want to reach them? Thematically, what are we trying to say? The answers to these questions can change with every production depending on the vision of the directors and producers. The one thing that never changes, however, is that ultimately the story tells me how it wants to be edited. The way it is written, the way it is shot and the type of performances all guide me on pacing, feel and style.”

The editor admits that when he joined Days of Our Lives he had no experience editing soap operas, or even watching them. “For Corday, that was part of the attraction,” says Powers. “I brought a fresh eye to their program and a commitment to the art that is visual storytelling. I was specifically asked to give the show a different editorial look and feel. One of the attractions to the job for me was the creative latitude I was given by the executive producer, because I was able to take the show from being edited in a very traditional soap opera style to being cut in a more cinematic style. This allowed the directors to be more visually expressive, and the actors to stretch in their performances.” They must be doing something right. Days has gained five Emmy nominations and two wins in six years, and just earned nine Daytime Emmy Award nominations for the current season.

“One of the things I enjoy about my job is that I have the opportunity to interact with almost every department on the show,” says Powers. “As lead editor and general catch-all, my cutting room is the central hub of post-production. On any given day, I could be required to do everything from editing a show to researching and implementing video conferencing. I work with the producers on show structure and presenting the storyline. I interact closely with the ProTools mixer and the music directors so picture and sound work together to further the emotion of the story rather than in opposition with each other. We craft the look and feel of the show.”

As lead editor, Powers makes changes based on the producer and executive producer notes, does the fine cut on each episode, cuts it to time,and edits the “Next on” promo that tags the episode. Then the entire show has an audio sweetening session in ProTools. “One of the unique things we do in our ProTools environment is using the Avid Picture media [the ProTools SDI Mojo option] instead of a QuickTime movie or a chase tape,” says Powers. “It’s a fantastic feature that, among other things, helps to ensure quality sync between picture and sound.”

As part of the online process, Powers will prep various elements that recur in every show. He may then start with a first pass edit or move on to color-correcting an episode. Along with color correction, he’ll rebuild any show effects or graphics for online. New responsibilities that have become an everyday process include compressing and uploading files to the server for review and approval. They also provide elements for the Sony website and the Sony Soap Net promo editor. To pull the elements and build the reels required to support those projects, Powers often has two or three computers churning away most of the day.

Days has a second editor who exclusively concentrates on the first pass edit to enable her to move as many shows down the line as possible in a week. “The choice as to whether or not the first pass of the show is done by one editor or by both is really a time consideration,” says Powers. “Our environment is set up in such a way that all of the players on our post team, with the exception of one, are allowed to focus on one very specific job area in the post-production workflow. At some point, I will start on a first pass edit and keep working on that until it’s done. This helps keep a constant flow of episodes coming through my cutting room for notes.”

Days has an online editor whose focus is building credits and checking the video edits to verify the re-digitized shots are in the right place. Once the sweetened audio is approved he’ll take the files from ProTools and marry audio to picture. Then the show is output to tape for a final quality check. He also handles all of the paperwork associated with delivering the episode to NBC. The assistant editor digitizes, creates a circle take string-out, and generally prepares projects for editing.

“As well as editing, I have been responsible for some of the more elaborate effects that have been used on the show,” says Powers. “At one point, our head writer was very enamored with extreme visual effects, so he would write a large number of fantasy sequences into the show. We were rarely given guidelines but were asked to come up with appropriate effects that satisfied the writer and served the story. We were able to accomplish this by combining a healthy dose of creativity, the native Avid effects, and the GenArts Sapphire plug-in package.”

Days of Our Lives is no different from any other show in that music plays a big part in effective storytelling, according to Powers. “Fortunately, I have the luxury of working directly with both music directors, so when a particularly special moment in the story requires it, we have the approved-for-air composition to edit to,” Power says. “This allows us to jointly create genuinely special moments that the audience can enjoy and hopefully relate to emotionally.”

Powers still teaches from time to time at Video Symphony in Burbank. “Take every opportunity to learn from everyone,” he advises. “Be open to every story. Be open to every insight. Be open to every job. You’d be amazed at chances and experiences that can come from what might appear to be the most inconsequential of projects. A simple technical seminar led to my position on Days of Our Lives, and that led to two Emmys.

“The truth is that you can replace everything in your life except time,” Powers concludes. “It’s your responsibility to make sure that your time is being compensated in some way that has value for you. Serve the story. Serve the audience.”

Robin Rowe is a freelance writer as well as the president of MovieEditor.com. He’s worked on productions or created technology for DreamWorks Animation, NBC and the BBC.

Catch the Exclusive L.A. Engagement of an Inspiring Oscar-Contending Documentary, Co-produced & Edited by VS Grad Tyler Lindsey, this Friday!

The screening will be followed by a Q & A with Tyler.

"Long Shot: The Kevin Laue Story" opens on Friday, November 1st at AMC Burbank Town Center 8 (located inside shopping mall).

The film follows Kevin Laue's roller coaster ride through life as he strives to overcome enormous odds and become the first scholarship basketball player in NCAA history to play with only one arm.

"Rudy" meets "Hoop Dreams" in this heart-warming documentary.

The film crew also features various Video Symphony graduates, including: co-producer/editor Tyler Lindsey, Lars Koerkemeier, and Meyghan Hill.

Post & F/X Magazine Now Available on Flipboard

Check out our first installment of Post & F/X Magazine, only on Flipboard! You don't have to have the app to view it, but if you'd like to subscribe you'll need the app on your mobile device.

Stay tuned for weekly updates to the magazine and be in the know about the latest in industry news, tip, & tricks.

What the Man Behind Some of Hollywood’s Biggest Movies Can Teach You About Marketing Your Business

via http://scheincommunications.com

I met Mike Flanagan this summer during my trip to L.A. Romeo Elias, the CEO ofInterneer (a fantastic client of ours) introduced us. Mike and I met up at a diner near his office and talked for hours.

Mike owns a school called Video Symphony that teaches people post-production. A lot of the special effects, edits, and seat-shaking sounds in your favorite movies come from students of Mike’s school.

While the movies that Mike Flanagan helps bring to life probably have slightly bigger budgets than your blog posts and podcasts, it’s all content. And expert content creation shares many of the same principles, regardless of the medium.

At the same time, Mike’s no slouch when it comes to building an organization from scratch. That’s why I’m thrilled he’s agreed to speak with us to share his secrets. Michael: We talk a lot about creative content on this blog, but it’s usually in the realm of marketing. What can people looking to successfully market their businesses learn from the process of turning raw footage into a complete Hollywood film? Mike Flanagan: Have a storyline. It can be short and sweet. A business should have at least one “storyline”, “pitch” or “unique selling proposition” that they can easily and quickly communicate to prospective clients. of venues are multiples more than what existed when I started my first business 26 years ago. It takes more time now to exploit all of these venues—that’s a negative if the business owner/marketer has many other responsibilities on their plate. The positive spin is that many of these marketing venues do not require an outlay of hard dollars. In past years, if you wanted to get your message out via media, you had to buy media placement, which was usually pricey.
Catch the L.A. Premiere of Documentary by VS Instructors at the 2013 Burbank Film Festival

"Walk On", a documentary film directed and edited by Mark Bashian, VS Director of Education, and shot by Scott Crawley, VS New Media Associate Course Director, is having it's Los Angeles Premiere screening at the Burbank Film Festival.

The uplifting film documents the journey of Joseph Kibler, a physically disabled 21-year-old who was born HIV-positive. Despite medical forecasts, Joseph has gone from wheelchair to walker, walker to crutches, and at the age of 18 he took his first steps with a cane.

"Walk On" follows Joseph as he trains for his lifelong goal of walking in a six-mile AIDS charity walk, while educating others about HIV and other disabilities. He is joined on his mission by a quadriplegic stand-up comic, an amputee paralympic sprinter, and a purple heart veteran.

It only takes 21 years to walk six miles. Don't miss the the inspirational documentary, "Walk On" at the 2013 Burbank Film Festival.

short-SHORTS Screening

Join us for the next short-SHORTS screening on 9/10 @ 7pm. Some of the films being screened include:

-"Wealth" by Darius West
-"Paradigm" by Matt Seidner
-"Workplace Hazard" by Matt Seidler
-"Insincerely Sincere" by Brad Bucklin and Kristian Gabriel
-"Black Hair, Red Car" by Team 2880 from the 48 Hour Film festival

Editing & Graphics Make Forbes List of Six-Figure Professions

Forbes recently released its findings on the most surprising six-figure jobs after combing through data gathered annually by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). To make the Forbes list, the top earning 10% of employees in the profession had to rake in more than $100,000 in 2011*. Here is how the editing and multimedia professions stacked up:

Multimedia Artists and Animators

• The top 10% make an average of $109,370
• The average annual income is $68,060
• Top-paying state: California

BLS job description: Create special effects, animation, or other visual images using film, video, computers, or other electronic tools and media for use in products or creations, such as computer games, movies, music videos, and commercials.

Film and Video Editors

• Top 10% make an average of $126,250
• The average annual income is $66,690
• Top-paying state: California

BLS job description: Edit moving images on film, video, or other media.

*The BLS culls its information from surveys it mails to businesses, and it releases its Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Data each spring.

VS Voices

“Video Symphony is a professional institute in every possible way. This is no kiddie school. The atmosphere is professional. Classmates are often Hollywood studio professionals. The instructors are industry masters. The amount of access to studio level systems is like nothing I found when researching other schools nationwide. But one of the premiere benefits is the school’s focus on jobs for graduates. It’s central in every class, in the curriculum itself, central to instructors and especially to staff. Video Symphony is like the Julliard of digital media training.”

— Carly Mayberry, Former Student & Film Reporter for “The Hollywood Reporter"

Indiegogo Fundraiser at VS

Students & Alumni, wanna screen your short film outdoors for free? VS is hosting an Indiegogo fundraising campaign for the movie "Hunter: Vampire Killer" on the evening of 8/24 in the courtyard. If you'd like to screen your film as part of the activities, please submit your Quicktime file to Jon Isaacs (pvp9@yahoo.com) by midnight, 8/16.

You can also attend the event in support of the campaign. The event begins at 7pm. Meet the cast and crew of "Hunter" Vampire Killer" and participate in a Q&A. Admissions is FREE for anyone screening their film (general admission for the fundraiser is $11).

For more info on the "Hunter: Vampire Killer" Indiegogo campaign please click below:

VS Grads in the Industry

Congrats to Chad Sigston as he starts a new AE gig on an upcoming Sony blockbuster and to La'ikū Soares for his work on the new truTV series 'Cash Dome', which premiered last night.

See What Our Grads are Saying on Yelp!

Posted on Yelp.com by Krista H. on 7/11/13

"I graduated from Video Symphony, TV & Film Program January 2013 and I got a job in February 2013!

I researched a lot of film schools in the LA area before I made a choice and I am so grateful I chose Video Symphony.

In any school, you get back what you put in to it and I gave my everything when I attended. I knew I specifically wanted to learn about editing and I felt that I would benefit going to a program that strictly focused on this skill and art rather than a 4 year college that teaches a little of everything and graduate a master of nothing. I wanted to specialize in a particular field to give me an advantage in the job market. After attending for 14 months and graduating I invested wisely and owe a fraction of student loans from Video Symphony instead of a 4 year college. I will definitely see a return of my investment within a year or so.

This was my home away from home. While attending I connected with many instructors and the administration too! There are many others that deserve a shout out as I am fond of many there, but please know that Kurt, Mark, Barbara, Kevin, Drake, Tamara, Wanda and Sue are some of my favorite people there. So many teaching styles and I embraced them all.

Each class was a challenge for me as I had never edited a thing before Video Symphony, but if I needed support the instructors were there to help me get it. And I did! And you attend all the classes with the same students each time, which they call a cohort. My cohort was fantastic and it made it so much fun for me to learn. Even after graduation, many of them are still my dear friends.

You get a lot of opportunity to sign up for lab time too. The school allowed me to work with my clients in the school labs, I could bring in my clients footage and edit on the schools systems and work with my clients in the schools labs.

Towards the end of your program, you are enrolled in a couple of Job Placement classes and they teach you where to find jobs, how to make contact with employers, help you with your resume, help you with your website and will give you pointers on your reel.

I highly recommend this school and the company I currently work for has hired many students from Video Symphony over the past 10+ years."

Casio Features VS Grad in Smartphone Web Series

VS grad Alex Jones takes on Wildlife to promote the rugged G'z One Commando 4G smartphone from Casio.

Alex's first video, "Snake Hunt", follows the adventure seeker as he explores a dangerous rattlesnake together with his G’zOne. The movie presents Alex overcoming various harsh environments taking advantage of excellent features of G’zOne Commando 4G LTE such as its toughness performance, EARTH COMPASS, BAROMETER, among others.

The “sidewinder rattlesnake” he explored in this episode is a viper living in the deserts of the Western United States. When the snake moves in the desert, it wiggles its body in S-shape and moves sideways. The name of “Side Winder” derives from the fact. When bitten by the snake, our body partially becomes necrotic. If allergy’s symptoms occur, they are sometimes fatal. The “sidewinder rattlesnake” is such a dangerous viper.

Alex Jones doesn’t think twice about tangling with venomous snakes, spiders, sharks or rabid bats in distant caves. He’s hand caught sharks, wrestled with 8 foot alligators, tangled many rattlesnake species and has explored mountain ranges at night for tarantulas on his leisure time.

Since he was at least 4 years old, Alex has been interested and amazed by the wild world. He caught his first rattlesnakes at 9 years old and has collected insects around the world ever since he could remember. When he finally got his scuba diving license at 16, the first thing he did was film his first wildlife film titled, "Under Catalina". In addition to crazy adventures, Alex considers himself a wildlife cinematographer and nature show host, sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm for animals. Alex can snowboard, surf, scuba dive, rock climb, hike and parachute. The open air is a playground for him.

He has traveled to many parts of the earth including, Africa, Australia, Peru, Costa Rica, Thailand, Indonesia and much more. He has even traveled into the deep forests of the Amazon for his love of reptiles.

Alex completed the TV & Film Editing program at Video Symphony in April 2011. He is a storyteller, cinematographer, wildlife filmmaker/host and researcher. His journey into the great outdoors is where he calls home. Alex Jones is a true, "Adventurer."

Enter a film in “On Location: The Los Angeles Video Project” for a shot to win over $50k


Enter a film in "On Location: The Los Angeles Video Project" and have a shot at winning over $50,000 in prizes!

Tell us your story in a narrative, documentary, commercial or animation format that positively highlights Los Angeles to the rest of the world. Create original, branded entertainment with Los Angeles as the experience.

On Location: The Los Angeles Video Project - What is Your LA?

The Los Angeles Video Project is a community outreach multimedia program that celebrates and enlists LA's remarkable pool of filmmakers.

By engaging these creative members of the Los Angeles community to act and serve as Ambassadors of LA, NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA), along with the support of the City of Los Angeles and and LA Weekly are able to share what these artists call their LA; an insider perspective into this diverse, cosmopolitan city and its neighborhoods.

VS Grad Rob Ashe Receives a Primetime Emmy Nomination

Rob's other career highlights include the short 'Trespasses' (official selection of the Temecula International Film Festival) and 'Anonymity' (Best Horror at the Alameda International Film Festival, an official selection of I Mistery Di Napoli, Calgary Underground Film Festival, Rhode Island International Film Festival, Dead Channels: The San Francisco Festival of Fantastic Film, and IFC (Independent Film Channel).

He is currently an editor and lead title designer for 'Conan' with various awards and nominations to be proud of for his outstanding work, including multiple Promax BDA, Webby, and Telly Awards.

Click here to listen to the Team COCO podcast in which Rob talks about the creation of the show's visual style, the idea behind the super special Thursday 'Easter Egg' openings, being marked by the great Burt Reynolds, and much more.

The 65th Primetime Emmys will air on September 22nd on CBS.

VS Grad Philippe Bergerioux Wins Emmy Award

Congratulations to Video Symphony graduate Philippe Bergerioux for his recent Daytime Emmy Award

Philippe and his colleagues were honored for their work on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and received the Daytime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Promotional Announcement - Institutional category.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show and PBS‘s Sesame Street led the 40th Daytime Creative Arts Emmys with six wins apiece at the annual awards presented Friday night by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. CBS tied PBS as the most-awarded network as honors were doled out in over 55 categories.

The Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards has been honoring excellence in all fields of daytime Broadcast production for 38 years. The Emmy® is awarded in 68 categories, including acknowledgements for series, performers and all other technical and creative areas. The Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards season culminates with a televised show that pays tribute to the exceptional work of daytime broadcasting's elite.

Broadcast Design

Pros Add More Live Action & Get Creative With Less Time.

by Marc Loftus

Originally published in Post Magazine, June 2013

Luis Martinez is the head of design at 2C Media in Miami. He’s seeing a simplicity being implemented into today’s design, including a focus on typography that works across all platforms.

Chris Sloan, creative director/president/owner of 2C Media, echoes Martinez’s statement on simplicity, adding there is a move toward a cleaner and more organized, European design. “At the same time,” says Sloan,”you see a post modern industrial pop and Japanese aesthetic. There’s a lot of bling out there too. Nobody says they want

that, but it’s there and it’s cool.”

Daniel Dörnemann is the creative director/lead animator at Loyalkaspar in New York, and like many of those interviewed in this month’s feature, is seeing an increased call for the use of live action in broadcast design projects. “Live action is the most straightforward in being able to tell a story,” he says. “It depends on the project and on the budget when you do live action. Look at USA — they have branded the entire station around a very distinct live-action package.

In the end, it’s always a question of what is appropriate?”

Dörnemann adds that another trend he’s witnessed is the diminishing of brand time. “Network IDs and image spots are making room for things that are straight up commercials, or that are elements that allow them to promote the show and the network. If you do IDs, you want to connect the network to the show.”

VS Grad Goes to Cannes

The entire VS community is proud of VS grad Erik Kench. and wishes him the best of luck at Cannes!

Eric is currently in Cannes for the premiere of "Max Rose." He served as asst. editor on the film, which stars Jerry Lewis, Kevin Pollak, Dean Stockwell, and a host of others. Eric also won the ACE Student Editing Award in 2012.

Web-based Productions are Taking Off in L.A.

Filming for Web productions in L.A. rose 46% over 2011. Such content has evolved from short episodes to full-length TV productions, some with budgets comparable to conventional TV shows'.

By Dawn C. Chmielewski and Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times

March 27, 2013, 5:00 a.m.

In offices that once housed Google, four computer geeks pursue their quest for a killer mobile app.

Their technology incubator, with its angular, modern furniture and shared kitchen and conference rooms, would be recognizable to any Silicon Valley entrepreneur.

But this start-up space was founded in Silicon Beach. The Santa Monica offices provided the backdrop for "Betas," one of 14 series pilots put into production by Amazon Studios, the production arm of Amazon.com.

The show, which will also film at a house in Encino and other locations around L.A., is the latest in a wave of digital productions that have taken off in recent years, as YouTube, Yahoo, AOL, Hulu and others have invested millions of dollars in developing original programming for the Web. Most of the new digital shows are produced locally.

Location filming for Web-based productions generated 1,633 production days in Los Angeles last year, up 46% over 2011. Web-based media now accounts for about 10% of all television production activity, according to FilmL.A. Inc., the nonprofit group that handles permits for the city and the county.

VS students and grads, enter “On Location: The Los Angeles Video Project” and have a shot at winning over $50,000 in prizes!

VS students and grads, enter "On Location: The Los Angeles Video Project" and have a shot at winning over $50,000 in prizes!

Video Symphony’s Admissions Advisor’s Film Wins 3 Golden Lotus Awards

Congratulations to VS Admissions Advisor Johnny Wilson for his recent work on the critically acclaimed and Golden Lotus Award-winning film Chittagong. Johnny served as Music Coordinator and Music Editor on the "uplifting and action-based drama" based on a true story. The film recently won three Golden Lotus Awards in India, representing the highest honor in that country's film industry.

In addition to the three Golden Lotus Awards, Chittagong has also won an award at the Sedona International Film Festival, Cinequest International Film Festival, and the Florence River to River Film Festival.

At Video Symphony, we offer a range of exciting programs to jump-start your career as an indie filmmaker. To speak with an expert about our new media production program, call our Burbank campus today at (818) 237-3545.>