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Cutting edge: How Final Cut craft control over Covid

Olivia Broadley
Jun 4, 2021
5 min read

Final Cut is a creative editorial company with offices in London, New York and Los Angeles. For over twenty-five years it has collaborated with top directors and agencies on the most prominent commercials, feature films and music videos. A global pandemic wasn’t going to stop that.

One of Final Cut’s roster of sought-after editors is Ed Cheesman. He explains that when Covid first hit, the facility still had a large number of jobs in production that would need to be finished to the same high standards as before.  

“Editing is a craft that relies heavily on close collaboration,” says Cheesman. “So often an offline edit suite is fit to bursting with the sheer number of people contributing physically in a room together. Covid looked like it might put an end to this. Unlike production, editing was not forced to stop work, but we did need to offer an immediate response. How could we offer the same edit suite experience without actually having anyone in the suite?

“At first, we began experimenting with video conferencing apps such as Zoom and Facetime, but their flaws were immediately apparent. We also worked alone sending QuickTimes for review. This led to delays in the post workflow. Sometimes feedback didn’t come for hours and clients didn’t get the experience they were used to. We wanted our clients to see what we saw, at the same time.”

It was Final Cut engineer Antony Fetigan who introduced them to Clearview Flex. “Clearview enabled us to recreate the same ‘over the shoulder’ experience as before,” Cheeseman says. “We could edit in real time with directors and agencies seeing exactly what we saw in frame for frame accurate pictures.  

“We were able to have everyone together without actually physically being together. All we had to do was ask our clients to download Google Chrome if they didn’t already have it. The benefit of everyone being able to quickly check edits, review takes and problem solve all in real time was huge. It sped up the edit process. We could give our clients the confidence and reassurances that jobs in the post production stage would still be carried out to the same high standards as pre-Covid and that collaborations could be carried out to the fullest.”

Fortunately, during the lockdowns Cheesman was able to continue working alongside respected clients Dom & Nic (Outsider) all via Clearview. He explains that, once rushes were loaded, Cheeseman was immediately able to review them and begin to sketch ideas out on the timeline just as before in real time.

“We would open Clearview in the morning and have it run for the duration of the day. People would join and leave as they wished without ever experiencing lag or glitches.”

Dom & Nic pick up the story; “Aside from the terrible global health problems, the pandemic also looked like it was going to create a lot of disruption to our working practice during lockdowns. We were relieved to eventually get back to work, but unsure how the editing process would work out. Ed introduced us to Clearview and from the first day of offline it worked seamlessly in combination with video conferencing.  

“It's as close to being in the room as possible with a reliable, live shared editors screen for us to follow. We also used Clearview in postproduction for grading and VFX work. Of course, we miss the social side of being in the same room altogether but the creative and practical side of the process with Clearview has worked without fault.”  

Final Cut has also used Clearview to edit the latest campaigns for Tesco (BBH), Ebay (Craft WW), The National Lottery (Adam & Eve, DDB), Capital One (Mother), Ocado (Lucky Generals) and many more.

“As we enter Lockdown 3.0, Clearview has become an integral part of our workflow. Remote digital working is key and with Clearview we can offer our clients the confidence to continue working locally and internationally. Travel may have stopped, but collaborations across the pond most certainly haven’t.”

Whilst virtual workflows are not a replacement for real physical interactions, Clearview has proven how seamlessly this new digital route can work.

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