Live on the Net Without a Net: Cutting Live
CreativeCOW presents Live on the Net Without a Net: Cutting Live -- Broadcasting Editorial


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Editors make great Technical Directors. They just don't know it yet.

The post business continues its radical shift. With the cost of entry dramatically reduced and the accessibility of awesome tools ever increasing, this situation has generated many after-work chats with fellow editors and post production pros regarding the future of our industry and the editor's place in it.

One additional opportunity I have found to be fun, exciting, and profitable is live streaming. As a full time editor, I have found that many of my skills and experience in post production directly transfers to the role of technical director for live streaming shows. Editors bring valuable skills in, like knowing the story-mind and the ability to manage technical formats and a variety of show elements like graphics, video clips and audio. There are a few things, however, that pose roadblocks to the transition from post editing to cutting live. The first can be overcome with education, but the second may prevent many of us from making the move over to the "live side."

With education, we can learn the elements that are not common knowledge to editors such as wireless technology, web hosting, encoding and social media integration.



Image above, Mitch Jacobson in his cozy editing suite. (Photo: John Clifford, NYC) Title image: Nirvana's Nevermind Anniversary Concert, on-location at Experience Music Project, Seattle. Mitch Jacobson, Director (Photo Courtesy: Rich Hobby)


As for the second typical roadblock to making the change, the real deal-breaker is the demon known as Mr. Pressure. Mr. Pressure is a real feeling. If you've worked on live events, you know this feeling well. You know the one -- from watching time-locking plots in movies where a bomb is about to go off and the action hero only has a few seconds to disengage it before it blows up the entire universe... This is the feeling you get from movies that have a slow buildup with the clock running -- Mr. Pressure -- as the buildup drags on and on, your heart sinks.

Well, that is the same feeling you get in a live situation when the event is rapidly approaching while you're trying desperately to get ready for your show... You know, the show that is live any minute now...and the clock keeps ticking. The show must go on -- that is Mr. Pressure. Not everyone can take Mr. Pressure -- especially post professionals who are used to cozy edit rooms and living in the luxury of having the opportunity to fix elements that don't work, or experiment and try different things without destructive timelines.



© and Photo Credit: The NewTek Tricaster® Control Surface


Sure, we all feel pressure as editors, but it is nothing like the racing towards a live event! With the live shows, you don't have a second chance. It is live and you must make every decision in a split second -- and it has to be perfect. You must juggle everything all at once and execute with style, precision, flair and confidence.

You are live on the net without a net.


Mitch Jacobson cutting live from India with Beast.TV director Igor Kovalik (Photo Courtesy: Gary Bryman, Rocket Entertainment)


So, if you think you've got what it takes -- a thick enough skin -- to get over the pressure of doing live productions, maybe you should give it a shot.

While we editors know a lot about putting together a show, formats, and most likely cameras too, the second part of the equation is preparing yourself for the Internet side of live streaming.

You'll need to understand the best way of encoding your video and sending it via the Internet to your hosting channel. This is something we can all learn pretty fast, as we already know a lot about encoding video clips. For example, there are 4G wireless networks, there's Wi-Fi and there is channel information like RTMP codes. There is also social media integration, such as Facebook and Twitter, and using chat rooms in the live streaming experience...of course, this too, can be learned. In the meantime you can load up some multicamera angles and practice cutting live from the editing suite, where you are safe and sound.



Working from a standing desk at a John Legend concert in Paris for The Bridge and Western Union's World of Betters tour.


In the articles to come, I'll get into the finer details of the components of multicamera livestream event productions.

But for now I say, why not get into live streaming? Get out of the suite and into the street! Mr./Ms. Editor meet Mr. Pressure. Who knows, you may get along very well together... and pretty soon, you'll have additional income opportunities, as more jobs for live stream technical directors and encoding engineers are created.