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Can You Make the Cut?

Cut Masters: Reality TV show based on the Fine craft of video editing By John Virata

A reality TV show focused on the fine craft of digital video editing? Yes. There will be. The Fuel Network, a 24 hour cable channel focused on action sports, will air Cut Masters, a TV show that pits video editors against each other to come up with the most insane, yet crafty video segments, on January 28, 2005. The editors will be working on Apple Final Cut Pro editing systems with footage provided by a guest star athlete each episode. The competitors will showcase their editing talents around the talents of the athlete.

The show's ideaman, creator, director, and co-executive producer (and surfboard/skateboard video editing guru), Brian Meehan spoke with DMN's John Virata on how the whole concept came about, who the sponsors are, and the criteria for the show.

DMN: How did the idea of a TV show on editing come about?
Brian Meehan: I thought of the TV Show (“Cut Masters”) after watching a skateboard DVD. In the DVD’s bonus material section they supplied un-edited footage of the riders who were featured in the movie. To be honest, I was in between projects at the time and I decided to digitize the raw clips into my computer and re-edit the video to sharpen my own skills. While in the process of editing a light bulb went off in my head and I said to myself “this would be a interesting format for a TV show” Then from there everything fell into place as far the format of the series and I wrote a treatment and pitched to MTV and the FUEL network.

DMN: Will this show play on a local cable station or are you still shopping it around?
BM: Fuel has picked up the series from pilot and has ordered 13 episodes. However, at first they were a little skeptical regarding the series. Their concerns were that the series would not be compelling enough to captivate the audience at home with a behind the scene video editing TV show competition. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried either. I’ve edited/produced/directed a number of surfing & skateboarding videos (Progression Video Magazine) but this was my first television series for a network. Needless to say, we nailed it on the pilot episode and made sure the audience wasn’t just watching the editors punch their keyboards. One segment in particular we’re especially proud of is “The Nougat of Knowledge”. In this segment the editors explain certain aspects to the editing process (timeline, digitizing, rendering, etc.) so that audience at home can learn about editing while being entertained. 

DMN: What kind of footage will the editors be tasked to work with?
BM: The editors will be working with action sports footage (Surfing/Skateboarding/Snowboarding). In each episode we will have one guest star athlete from within the industry and their footage from previous video parts will be given to the editors to work with. The footage will range from MiniDV, Super 8, and 16mm film. On top of that we are supplying the editors with five songs from various musical artists to choose from. We want the competitors to have as many options as possible while creating their new segments. 

DMN: Who shoots the original footage that the editors have to edit?
BM: The footage for the show is all shot beforehand by the professional athlete’s sponsors and other sources. The pro athletes’ sponsor usually makes a new video promoting their products and team riders once a year.

DMN: Do you have sponsors lined up to help support this show?
BM: Apple Computer and the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) have been immensely helpful. The grand champion of “Cut Masters” receives the following; PowerMac G5, two 23-inch flat screen monitors, editing suite package (Final Cut Pro HD, DVD Studio Pro, Motion) and from FIDM a scholarship to the school valued at $25,000.

DMN: Will each editor be using their own editing system of choice or will the editing system be supplied by the show?
BM: Both Apple Computer and FIDM are excited to be a part of the show and we are grateful for their help. Apple has donated three edit bay packages (Same as the grand prize) and FIDM has been kind enough to let us use their campus to film the series. We will begin filming the series on January 29 (Saturday) 2005 and are looking for contestants for the show.

If any of your readers are interested in entering the competition they may do so by e-mailing me at [email protected]. Once your readers e-mail me I can send them the rules of the competition and schedule them to appear on “Cut Masters.”


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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at [email protected]
Related Keywords:The Fuel Network, Cut Masters, Brian Meehan

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