The present and future of post production business and technology | Philip Hodgetts

Feb/11

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Can A Computer Do Your Job?

Can A Computer Do Your Job? http://tinyurl.com/4nt5kf8

The examples in the article are surprisingly “high end”, pitting humans choosing potential University entrants against a simple algorith, and the algorithm wins.

Could a computer do your job as a ‘creative’ individual? An editor, writer or producer?

If your role is truly creative probably not. But as we try and take the boring out of post, we’ve realized a lot of so-called ‘creative work’ isn’t. It’s not creative synchronizing separate system audio and video. It’s not creative stringing out a first assemble of scripted content. That’s grunt work, to get to a point where the final story can be crafted out of the script and shoot. (The first assemble bears little relationship to the final edit.)

We’ve even established that, with the right metadata a basic first cut can be pulled out of log notes – that’s First Cuts, which we released more than two years ago.

So, can a computer do your job? If someone can analyze what you do, it can be replicated in software. Fortunately most “creative’ tasks are hard to analyze as to why something “works” – intuition is hard to replicate (at least until we understand what mechanisms happen beneath the intuition).

Anyway, with hindsight, I found most of the facade put forth by various departments (eg, auto lending, health care lending), was very misleading. Everyone made the simple complicated. I think deep down, no one likes to think a computer can do their job, and there are many instances where exceptions matter, so a great deal is made out of these special cases. Yet the false positives made them great anecdotes, but horrible for generalizations. Thus, simple rules dominate their much more costly, confusing, and non-quantitative product created by teams of analysts.

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5 comments

  • EJINLA · February 2, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Interesting, but creating an assembly is a stage of learning the material and is an important process that will lead to refinements in everything from performances to structure. It’s the first step down the road that has to be taken even if it could be automated.

  • Dan Wolfmeyer · February 3, 2011 at 10:19 am

    I would have to disagree to the notion that doing a string out isn’t a creative task. This is an editor’s first chance to see how material works or doesn’t work together. It is also the first time that an editor begins to get a sense of story and pacing. Not every editor works in the same way. Some will string scenes out exactly as scripted leaving no gaps and keeping all audio on default tracks, others build string outs more loosely adding additional material or even leaving things out during the initial edit. Still other editors do more of a hybrid string out/rough cut, where they actually cleanup dialogue and lay in coverage as they are doing this initial cut. This is particularly true in non-fiction editing.

    It is crucial for an editor to know their material inside and out. Leaving too much work to automated tasks can take away from this familiarity. I’m all for letting a computer do the syncing, but leave the first assembly to a human being.

  • Admin comment by Philip · February 3, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Curous to know why gaining the knowledge of the material has to happen before/during assembly rather than after. You’ll still have every clip, just contextually available rather than out of context in a bin.

    And chances are you’ll be going over this material for the following three weeks/months.

  • karla · February 11, 2011 at 8:47 am

    May can be useful have the 1st process the computer do, for a producer or not so high level projects but in the bottom line the editor must need to refine and tune as well interact with the material. The creativity from our humans being touches

  • Admin comment by Philip · February 11, 2011 at 11:32 am

    I don’t think anyone is arguing that the computer can do a finished job as well as a human, experienced, skilled editor. But for the first assemble or finding stories in footage, absolutely.

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