After a week of public voting, we have a winner – Trailer C! This trailer was cut by Weibo Feng, who will have his choice of 3 prize packages.
If you haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, have a look below.
Congratulations, Weibo — and great work by all the finalists!
Grand Prize Winner: Weibo Feng
We recently had a chance to sit down with Weibo and get a behind-the-scenes look at his editing process.
It’s a quick read…enjoy!
FEP: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
WF: I am a graduate student majoring in Film at Savannah College of Art and Design. I just moved to Los Angeles 3 months ago in preparation for life after graduating. I’m originally from China and I came to the US after undergrad to learn filmmaking.
FEP: You did a great job editing your trailer for this contest. Let’s talk about your cut a bit. What was the general process you followed as you were getting started? Did you begin with a paper cut, music, a specific section of the cut? Take us through your workflow.
WF: As the lessons suggested, I began with dialogue/footage breakdowns and a paper cut. But I failed to complete a fully-formed paper cut before I started assembling my trailer. As a result, I had to reconsider the lines and voiceovers during the cutting process. I cut the beginning and the button first.
I think the example in the course is tough to improve upon but I told myself that I have to try some different things. So I decided to use the “button” technique in my cut, even if it might be not as good as I initially imagined. I filled in the picture and cut the montage at the same time. Once those were all done, I moved to sound design and mixing.
FEP: Your music choice with the female vocals gives the piece a mysterious and ethereal feel. How and why did you decide to use that cue? Did you try many others before finding something that worked? Did you have to modify/edit the cue much to work in your cut?
WF: When I was trying to put the lines and voiceovers from my paper cut into the timeline, I found that some lines were not as evocative as I had hoped. I even tried to cheat on some lines to create new sound bites using different words from different lines, but this proved difficult due to the actor’s tone of voice. So I was worried that the sound in some parts of the trailer could feel “empty.”
During the music auditioning process, I did try several music cues for the beginning of the trailer. When I first heard the female vocal cue, I thought the vocals could reduce the “empty” feel and it also seemed like a good fit for Act one tonally. I also realized that I could use the crescendo from this cue in the “landing” scene around 0:40-0:50 in the trailer. I felt like this would lead nicely into Act Two, making it big and shocking. The mysterious feeling of this cue would heavily influence my picture choices later. There is also an instrumental version of the music but I didn’t feel like it fit as well in my cut.
FEP: In your back-end, you created an interesting sound motif using hits, bass drops and ticking sounds. Tell us a bit about how you created that audio bed and what led you to the idea.
WF: To be honest, I didn’t create that part from nothing. There are actually some ticking sounds embedded in the very end part of the music cue.
I liked the music very much and knew right away I wanted to use it for the ending montage. But, at this point I still didn’t know exactly how I wanted to organize Act Two and how to connect it to Act Three. It was then that I realized I had not done enough planning before I started cutting.
I was stuck for around 3 days. I realized I wanted some silent moments for the section of the trailer where Ed is exploring. I felt like this would give it a release before the final montage. So, I decided to use the ticking for that part because I felt like it was a good way to create some tension. Then I did an audio mix-down of the ticking to emphasize the bits in other parts of the music. To me, this process is just like a reverse of the techniques used in creating a sound motif. I think I still need some practice on it though.
FEP: Which part of the editing process did you enjoy the enjoy the most? And the least?
WF: Normally, I enjoy every step of editing a story. But, for a trailer, I found that I enjoyed the paper cut process a lot. I love trying to create new lines using different words from an actor to give it some new feeling.
I think I struggled most with connecting different music together. I gave up a lot of interesting music choices because I was not able to combine them together organically due to their stylistic differences.
FEP: What inspired you to enroll in The Art of Trailer Editing in the first place? How did you like it?
WF: I was planning a trailer for my friend’s film and it was a full length feature. I watched the 3 sample videos several times and I thought the course would really teach me some great things specific to trailer editing.
I really like the course because it is systematic and detailed at the same time. The examples in the lessons are wonderful. It is good to see the breakdown of each of those examples.
FEP: Had you ever edited a trailer before this? What are some of the new things you learned?
WF: I have only edited a few trailers before this course. I have cut a few trailers for some student films I worked on. Each of these were only about 30 seconds long. I also made a few trailers for a web-film. I tried editing some trailers for a film festival while I was working as an editor at school, but those were not “story-based” trailers. They were more like bumpers.
I didn’t know how to make a trailer professionally at all (of course I am still learning). I always tried to find some suitable music first, and then started putting whichever shot I thought was good onto the timeline. I learned a lot of techniques relating to sound design in this course. But I believe the biggest learning point for me was guidance on exactly how to plan when cutting a trailer.
FEP: Is there anything else you’d like to mention about your editing process? Any tips or suggestions for other editors?
WF: I had no idea how long it took to properly cut a trailer. Having gone through the course, I see how critical it is to do a paper cut before diving into editing.
I am still a beginner at trailer editing. But I feel the trailer breakdowns from the course really helped me learn the techniques I would need to edit a quality trailer. I cannot recommend these enough to other students.
One final tip I have would be to invest in a proper workstation. I use a 2013 version Mac Pro to edit with one 27’ Apple display. Yes, for my cut I used only one display to do all my editing. This was definitely less than convenient. I had to use an iPad as an extra display for the audio mixer.
FEP: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us, Weibo! Do you have a website or contact method you’d like to leave for people who want to get in touch with you, for work or otherwise?
WF: Unfortunately, my website isn’t online yet but for now but I can leave an email: email@example.com.
Congrats again to Weibo and all the contest participants on their hard work and great editing!
If you’re interested in learning more about The Art of Trailer Editing and possibly even entering our next contest, sign up below. We’ll send you 3 sample videos from the course with details on how to join.