Birkhead Editorial

Birkhead Editorial: Making people, places and projects better through storytelling, compassion and passion."

Andrew Birkhead
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Posted on May 12, 2010 in: Uncategorized by Andrew Birkhead

I finished another short testimonial for the New Warrior Training Adventure, this one featuring my friend, Arnie Benton.  In this project I came face to face with the Flip camera’s biggest shortfall, the microphone.  The next series of interviews will be shot indoors!


Posted on May 2, 2010 in: Cuts, Editing, Projects, Television by Andrew Birkhead

I’m enjoying a little downtime between paying projects.  I’m catching up on things around the office as well as working on a few pet projects.  One of the pet projects is titled ‘Drysdael’s little problem.’  My guilty pleasure is playing World of Warcraft.  For awhile, I had the habit of killing a particular bunny outside the auction house in Silvermoon City.  I decided to capture movies about it and edit them together.

I’m also shooting short interviews with my Flip camera.  I’m enjoying using the Flip camera for some basic storytelling.  Last fall I started a series of interviews about the New Warrior Training Adventure.  I attended the NWTA in October of 2004 and it was a life-changing experience for me.  I decided to ask other graduates what they learned at the training and how it impacted them and their families.  I’ve used some downtime to edit Pat Sullivan’s interview.  Look for more interviews in the near future.

Psychology and the Edit

Posted on March 23, 2010 in: Editing, Television by Andrew Birkhead

Joy of Film Editing has an interesting post centering on ‘Hollywood style’ editing, shot duration and how shorter shots resonate with the natural rhythm of the brain.

“Good storytelling is the balancing of constraints at multiple scales of presentation… film editors design shot patterns with care, generating a visual momentum in the viewer, who tracks the narrative.”

If you’re an editor, love movies, or just a geek, it’s worth a read.

What I learned as a Show-Choir Chaperon

Posted on March 21, 2010 in: Blogging as Therapy, Parenting by Andrew Birkhead

As I’ve previously noted, I learn a lot from my daughter, Sarah.  For me, the key is to keep my eyes open and pay attention to what she’s trying to teach me.  Her gentle instruction recently took me to Lawrence Central high school for a show choir competition.  My stated role that day was chaperon, my covert role was student.  My duties were primarily reminding the young adults what they already knew, and getting keys to lock, or unlock the doors of the changing rooms.  Since my duties were light, I had plenty of time to soak in the show choir culture.  What struck me immediately was the amount of joy and spirit the participants carried with them.  Even at the call time, 5:50 A.M., it was palpable. I observed the Pike High School choirs throughout that long day, all the while discerning what they might be trying to teach me.  Here’s what I came up with:

1.  Encourage others with abandon.

It’s the practice to support the school’s other choirs by making ‘the tunnel’ and cheering them as they leave the changing room for warm up and performance.  This is a wonderful show of encouragement that everyone is expected to take part of.  What struck me though, was the encouragement that was shown to other choirs, even the competition, as they walked by.  Everyone in the Pike area stopped what they were doing and applauded them and said good luck as they passed.

It takes so little effort for me to encourage the people around I’m around.  Friends, family and even strangers can benefit from a little encouragement.  All I need to do is pull my head out of my own little world and look around at the people I’m sharing my space with.  What are they doing?  How can I offer encouragement?  As I move around in this world, I want to look for opportunities to bless, affirm and encourage the people around me.

2.  Support means showing up.

During a competition, it’s the expectation that everyone shows up at every performance.  Every solo performance, every show choir performance, every concert choir performance.  The lesson here is that I can’t properly support someone if I’m not there.  Support means showing up.

It’s so very easy to say the words ‘I support you and your efforts,’ and as I’ve learned recently, those words are incredibly important for others to hear.  Even more important is the language of action.  Showing up and being present is a way for me to show my support, to show that I care about you, and that your interests are important to me.

3.  Success takes focus.

Before each performance, the choirs enter a period of focus time.  This is an intentional transitional period where the performers focus on their routine.  It’s a time to quiet down and receive final instructions for the performance.

I often forget that transitional time is important.  It allows me to focus on a task by intentionally transitioning into that space.  How many times have I rushed headlong into work or family time and been blindsided because I didn’t take the time to properly transition into the space?  Focus time is a preparation ritual that can be utilized by all of us.  Take the time to intentionally transition into the important areas of your life.  It can be as simple as a deep  breath before exiting your car or house and can make all the difference in the world.

4.  Everything worthwhile is difficult.

A show choir competition is an ordeal.  For the Lawrence Central show we arrived at the school at 5:50am and the busses returned to school at 12:30am.  And that’s just show day.  They practice 5 days a week during school and one weekly after school practice.  There’s also choreography to learn, physical conditioning, and an intense focus on constant improvement of the show.  I am totally impressed at the difficult work these young adults perform.

How many times have I gotten discouraged and given up because something was too hard?  How many times have I NOT EVEN STARTED something because it seemed too difficult?  Too many to count.  The members of the Pike choral department throw themselves into show choir season oblivious to the incredible difficulty of the task before them.  The lesson here is that everything worthwhile is difficult, and to not let that stop me from getting what I want.

Great Gigs

Posted on March 14, 2010 in: Cuts, Editing, Projects by Andrew Birkhead Tags: , ,

I recently wrapped up two weeks at Screenscape Studios in Des Moines, Iowa. Screenscape is a bright star in midwest post-production. Their work is uber-solid. You could relocate this company and it would be competitive in any other market. Screenscape Studios has been in business for 23 years and has successfully withstood the decline of the full service post-house. The staff is both excellent and fun to work with. I always look forward to working a gig at Screenscape.

As a side note, their producer staff is centered around the excellence of three producers named Sarah. This is is the second time in my career that I’ve encountered same-named staff members. The first… three Jasons in the new media department of the now defunct Pathway Productions.

The Sun

Posted on February 22, 2010 in: Blogging as Therapy, Cool Stuff, life by Andrew Birkhead Tags:

I’ve read The Sun off and on for too many years to count. One of my favorite parts of the magazine is Sy Safransky’s Notebook, short notes about whatever crosses Sy’s mind. After reading it for all these years, I feel like I already know Sy, it’s almost like we’re friends, or could be if our paths crossed. This selection is a good example of the writing that resonates in me:

YES, WE’RE IN A RECESSION. But sooner or later each of us will lose something more important than our savings or our job. Will we have the resilience to deal with sudden illness or injury? With the death of a loved one? With any of the innumerable misfortunes life may have in store? I remind myself that every experience can be a teaching if I’m willing to see it that way; that suffering, too, can be a teaching. In fact, suffering usually gets the teacher-of-the-year award because I always sit up and pay attention when I’m in physical pain or when my heart has been broken or when I witness the anguish of someone I love. To honor the teaching doesn’t mean welcoming suffering with open arms, or looking for the silver lining of a tragedy with the kind of relentless optimism that denies painful feelings. I remind myself that blessings in disguise remain disguised until they’re good and ready to reveal themselves — and even then, the blessing might simply be that a particular setback has taught me to live more fully in the present, or deepened my compassion for others going through a similar difficulty, or underscored the paradox that we’re ultimately alone and inextricably bound to one another.

The Nutcracker

Posted on February 4, 2010 in: Cool Stuff, Editing by Andrew Birkhead

Through the miracle of social media, I recently got reintroduced to an old colleague from my WFYI days. He introduced me to a creative team that needed a trailer for a documentary on The Nutcracker. They had the video and needed an editor. The piece turned out great! I hope you enjoy it as much as I loved putting together. By the way, the documentary is still seeking funding. If you’ve always wanted to fund a documentary on The Nutcracker, I’ll hook you up!

Slomo with the Phantom

Posted on January 22, 2010 in: Uncategorized by Andrew Birkhead

I just finished a project that was shot using the Phantom high-speed camera. It captured some wonderful slow motion water shots that nicely show how the product works.

Editing Links

Posted on December 17, 2009 in: Editing by Andrew Birkhead

Scott Simmons at EditBlog has a great article on edit suite etiquette for facilities operators and freelance editors.  It cover’s a lot of great ideas on best practices, including the two biggies.

• Never remap a keyboard that someone else has setup.

• If you have to change the Final Cut Pro capture scratch folders then please put those back at the end of your session.

He also covers how to make dupe detection work while using footage shot on the Canon 5D and 7D.

That means you have to add a reel name in FCP. This can be accomplished by bringing up the Reel column in your FCP bin. I’ve got into the habit of copy and pasting the name of the 5D/7D file into the Reel column as it will be a unique name:


Films for Editors

Posted on December 14, 2009 in: Editing by Andrew Birkhead

Oliver Peters has posted a nice list of films that editors might enjoy.

With Oscar time approaching and movie-going, as well as, movie-giving a holiday tradition for many families, I decided to post a list of some films that are fun for editors to watch. These aren’t all Oscar-contenders, although there’s plenty of bling in this list. They are presented in no particular order, so I hope you enjoy.

My Netflix que just got longer. Here’s a link to the list.