Remote Collaboration

Editor Fred Fouquet Talks Shop: Working Independently while Collaborating Globally Ameena Adil

Ameena Adil
Mar 7, 2023
5 min read

Editor Fred Fouquet has built a diverse body of work that includes everything from spots to music videos to documentaries. A few of Fred’s notable credits include cutting the big game spot for “Wonderful Pistachios,” conceptualizing and editing the opening scene to “Pacific Rim“ for Guillermo Del Toro, and closely collaborating with actor Chris Evans on a documentary. He’s cut the opening to Monday Night Football, edited projects for the MSG Sphere in Las Vegas and cut many iconic music videos including Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA.”

We sat down with Fred to talk about creativity, workflow, and collaboration.

Can you describe your experience with the evolution of remote workflow over the last few years?

For me, setting the stage for a fun and collaborative experience with my clients has always been a key priority. In fact, I’ve gone as far as hiring my own client service people to meet their needs when I 4-wall in LA. Even when the pandemic hit and we all went remote, I made sure that nothing changed. For me, it’s all about finding the right tools to maximize efficiency while still allowing me to connect and have fun collaborating with my clients.

At the start of the pandemic, I was in a unique position. I didn’t have multiple edit bays, and editors or producers that needed complex systems to solve. I am my own company, the sole editor and producer. This meant that I could pivot quickly and adapt to each client’s ecosystem, ensuring that their needs were met regardless of their location.

Smooth playback is crucial for my clients to see the edits as intended, whether they have a wired internet connection or are sharing Wi-Fi with three kids homeschooling on Zoom. I obsess about every frame of the edit, so my clients need to see edits in sync and without any stuttering or lag. Over the past few years, I’ve used many different platforms for remote viewing, some of which have been less successful than others. After having a great experience with a remote colour session through ClearView with CO3, I reached out to them for my remote editing playback. The playback has been smooth in my sessions ever since.

For me, remote editing has been a game-changer in my career. Suddenly, I’m able to work with ad agencies and production companies from all over the world, which has opened up countless opportunities. I can wake up early to jump on a session with New York, be available to kick out a quick revision for a job that wrapped two weeks ago or be able to download footage in 20 minutes to start a last-minute project.

With so much work being done remotely, how have you adapted the way you work with clients to understand their creative goals?

I’ve found that every client approaches the editorial creative process differently. Some prefer to communicate through email, sending feedback and notes for me to implement in the edit. I then post cuts for them to review. Others prefer to use Slack to give feedback as the day progresses. Some prefer to have short 10-minute ClearView sessions to review takes and edits together, while others join me for the entire day to collaborate.

It’s fascinating how much more efficient this new way of working is. We can work together in shorter, focused bursts instead of spending hours in a room, with distractions like lunch orders.

Are there specific projects you can discuss, and how you were able to work on them with ClearView Flex?

On a G/Fore brand film, Director Tony Kelly had to go to Europe after the shoot but still needed to be involved with the edit. He was in various hotels with less-than-ideal Wi-Fi. Within ClearView, I adjusted the bandwidth so that he could stream at a very low bit rate. It worked like a charm. We worked on a few sessions together and he was thrilled.

Another campaign I worked on, was for Amazon Blink with Matteo Mosterts, who was the director but is also the executive producer at the ad agency Wongdoody. When I began editing with him, I was mindful that he has to juggle not just our edit, but also an array of other projects and responsibilities that come with being the EP. Thankfully, ClearView has made it easy for us to connect for quick check-ins multiple times a day. We leave our session open, and I shoot him a text whenever I want him to look at my latest edits. We also use Zoom to talk things through as we go. There was a time when edits needed to be locked, and Matteo was in the car. He pulled over, and we screened several different takes on his phone. We took a couple of minutes to go through some options, and then he went on with his drive. He appreciated the flexibility that ClearView offered, allowing him to keep tabs on progress while keeping up with his schedule.

Working with Director John Bonito on FOX Sports spots, throughout the edit he and I frequently jump on quick sessions, relying on ClearView playback for smooth and accurate judgment. John is known for his meticulous attention to detail when it comes to the editing process. He values the ability to fine-tune every aspect of the final product, down to single-frame adjustments. ClearView gives us the tool to judge at that granular level. I tend to do a lot of composite VFX work on these jobs. With the draw tool, I can show the VFX team where my elements and matte lines are so that they can fine-tune in finishing. John can also draw on the screen to communicate clean-up notes.

How did ClearView play a role in your ability to work from wherever, and however, you need to?

I use ClearView just as a playback tool. Even though it has an audio interface to talk with clients, I don’t use that feature. Instead, I have clients use their preferred platform for virtual meetings such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Webex, etc. By doing so, I respect their communication ecosystems which allow them to have full control over how they communicate with me. At the same time, I maintain control over when and how my clients see my edit output through ClearView Flex.

Since I typically work on projects for one to four weeks, it doesn’t make sense for me to be locked into paying a monthly subscription for a live session tool that may sit idle for extended periods. With ClearView, I can pay for a week at a time when I need it, which turns out to be much more cost-effective for myself and my clients.

How do you see the role of the editor evolving as technology impacts the industry?

I originally was a videotape-based editor, where there was a roomful of expensive buttons and dials. I jumped into computer-based editing (Avid) when a friend offered me a job working with clients who were starting the next day. I paid a company $50 to lock me in their Avid edit bay overnight with a manual so that I could learn it. The edit session the next morning went off without a hitch. I’m always excited to embrace new technology. Back then an Avid was 250k to purchase, allowing editors to access them only at work. Flash forward to today where I can edit on my laptop and post cuts for clients in the passenger seat as my wife drives us through the desert. Evolving technology makes it easier to work with each other and frees us up to just be creative.

Editing isn’t about expensive edit bays, plug-ins or the latest software. I have Microsoft Word, but I’m never going to write like Stephen King. We, as editors, are hired for our specific creative point of view and our ability to collaborate. I’ve been fortunate to have been trusted to shape campaigns for decades.

Having ClearView allows me to relax in knowing that my point of view will be conveyed as I intended.

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