Here are a few samples of the work I’ve created/produced/edited over the years. Much of what I’ve done cannot be shown, either because it’s disappeared in the mists of time, or the work was classified, or it was done under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), but I hope the examples below will at least give you some idea of the breadth of my experience.
TRAINING GUIDES, LEITCH TECHNOLOGY
Leitch’s customers included the CBC, BBC, ABC, NBC, Time Warner, and many other major video brand names and acronyms. I built and ran Leitch’s training department, and either wrote or edited all their training materials from 2001 – 2005. The products ranged from routers, to servers, to video-editing hardware and software for national news, and involved contracts costing millions. The quality of the training supplied was an integral part of the sale.
We created instructor and student guides for instructor-led courses…
… and training DVDs to ease the adoption of new systems.
DIGITAL PROCESSING SYSTEMS
This was a golden time: great products, great people, freedom to produce good support documentation. For five years I ran the technical communications department. Initially I was the sole creator; at the end I was the producer and editor, while at the same time I oversaw all corporate communications. And always, the editor. My first job for DPS was to write a 400+ page user guide for a broadcast-quality video editing program. After that came documentation for broadcast and security products.
My proudest moment, oddly enough, came with a project on which I wasn’t the primary author: “An Introduction to Non-Linear Editing”. I feel so good about it because I conceived the idea, really believed in it, got the corporate money to fund it, produced and edited it, and was really happy with the market reception. The package came as a video-editing textbook (ISBN 0-9679272-1-8), two CDs – one with a demo version of DPS’s NLE software and one with eighteen tutorials – and a VHS tape with five exercises, six lessons, and forty minutes of source footage. It was unique in the corporate world of video-editing products at the time, went into a second edition, and is still available.
Introduced at NAB 2001, the package succeeded in greatly expanding the educational market for DPS products because it created a full-service solution: hardware, software, user documentation, complete training. When I met with our dealers in Singapore, prior to NAB, and showed them the package, they loved it. In North America, it opened the door for our dealers to propose complete DPS hardware and software packages for education and training installations. In India, a technical institute in Hyderabad chose dpsVelocity systems exclusively to outfit their new video editing lab, and DPS became the system of choice in many other training institutions. In the Mediterranean, the educational package was a deal-maker in enabling a sale of forty systems to the Greek government.
From the Table of Contents:
Chapter 1: What is Editing?
Chapter 2: What is Non-Linear Editing?
Chapter 3: Understanding the Digital Process
Chapter 4: Principles and Techniques of Editing
Chapter 5: Pacing and Transitions
Chapter 6: Putting Sequences Together
Chapter 7: Graphics and Visual Style
Chapter 8: Developing Your Style
Plus, references for further reading, and a glossary and index.
My preface to the book:
The Artist’s Story
The artist began with a flat panel of willow, and filled all the small cracks with a mixture of glue and sawdust. When this was dry he covered the panel with a piece of fine linen cloth. He then made up a very wet mixture of plaster of paris – gypsum, or calcium sulfate – and fine parchment clippings, and applied it to the linen. This mixture was called gesso, and five to eight coats were normally applied, and dried, before the artist was satisfied. Then the surface was carefully sanded to a beautiful finish that looked like fine ivory. The artist’s “canvas” was now almost ready for paint, but first he would normally do an ink underpainting to guide him in his later work.
At last, the paints could be mixed. The artist laboriously ground the base for his paints by hand from coarse pigments and stones. Once he had enough powders he mixed them with egg yolk and a little water. Then he began to paint, carefully but quickly for he did not have long; the egg yolk would soon be too dry to work. When the yolk began to stiffen the artist would have to stop, throw out the remainder of what he had mixed, and start a new batch of paint. When he was finally finished with the painting he put it aside to dry. In six months or so it could be carefully buffed to an opalescent glow with a silk cloth, ready for display, finalmente.
The artist’s name was Bencivieni di Pepo – better known as Cimabue, teacher of Giotto – and he lived in Florence, Italy, in the late 13th century. By the 16th century oil painting had been perfected and had been embraced enthusiastically by painters everywhere. The technique of “tempera” used by Cimabue was continued only by icon painters of the Orthodox Church. Why did a great artist like Cimabue use such an arduous technique? For the same reason that artists in every place and time choose the tools and techniques they do: it was the best available to him to bring his vision to life.
For artists it has always been so. The medium is usually not the message – the message is the message. Whether painting with berry juice on a cave wall, egg yolk on linen, oil or acrylics on canvas, or electrons on a cathode ray tube, artists just want tools that will free them to convey their visions. The better the tools, the less they get in the way of the artist and the freer and more creative she or he can be.
For video artists, the non-linear “revolution” is old news. It came, it saw, it conquered. We’re now in the third generation of non-linear editing (NLE) systems. Difficult lessons have been learned, and NLE systems have acquired the stability, predictability and quality of linear systems – while keeping and enhancing non-linear’s productivity advantages. Video production facilities are long past deciding when to replace their linear suites with non-linear, and are now dealing with questions concerning overall digital asset management, and which of the new non-linear systems should replace their older NLEs for optimal integration into their businesses.
For the individual video artist of today, as well as for production facilities, dpsVelocity is a liberating choice. It embodies the lessons of earlier generations of non-linear editing systems, and integrates powerful hardware and software tools into efficient and productive interfaces. Non-linear video editors experienced in other systems will find the transition to dpsVelocity easy.
Those new to video editing will find this volume to be the perfect starting point for learning their craft. No matter what systems they edit on in the future, Matthew Murrray’s book will prepare them well in the fundamentals of video editing. Dr. Murray has done a superb job of combining theory with practicality, and has managed to infuse his clear text with his own pleasure at working in a field that helps give life to art.
dpsVelocity: because artists should be free to create
Finally, as a Senior Member of the Society for Technical Communication and member of several technical communication special interest groups (SIGs), I’m able to tap into an exceptional knowledge base and stay current with the latest trends and techniques in technical communications and training. We’re a great group.
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”