If you are an editor on any system, the non-linears or even tape, there are certain comments or phrases from clients that will strike terror in you immediately. Luckily we don't have the rhetorical, "Do you mind if I smoke?" anymore, but there are plenty more to ruin what would have been a lovely calm edit...

Ok, here we go with the top ten, start the Led Zeppelin track:


10 Have you seen...?
The latest advert/TVseries/film that features a certain effect. The client will have been impressed with a look or effect that they have seen on the TV the night before. Never mind that the commercial was storyboarded, shot on greenscreen, matchmoved, composited and colour corrected in Flame; you will have to recreate that effect in FCP after having to smile whilst the client plays the example back to you off YouTube.


9 I've got all the footage we'll need here on these DVD's
They look so proud when they pull the disks out of the cases. You then have to go into a five minute speech about compression that they don't understand. It takes you a few hours to rip the bits out of 6 disks with the right codec and then the client complains at lunchtime that you haven't done much.


8 We need to get the stuff off YouTube
Worse than the above. You have another chat with the client about compression which they still don't understand. You then look like an idiot because YouTube have changed something so you have to search Google for the best way to download their videos. At this point the client mentions his/her son has a skateboarding channel on YouTube that you must take a look at.


7 I have all the music here on my iPod
Where is a disk when you want one? You then have another conversation with the client about compression followed by a conversation about copyright. After a few minutes trying to work out how to get the track off the iPod, you come to the conclusion that to get home quicker, 99 cents for a track on your iTunes account is worth it.


6 Why does the footage look so dark?
It's dark because you shot it on a handycam without any extra lighting, that's why. Whilst we are talking about it, if you'd have used a tripod and done a white balance those would have helped too.


5 Can you remove the echo or distortion?
When the 'unfortunately not' answer is delivered, normally you get a "Why not?" straight back followed by "Nothing on TV sounds that echoey," enter into a conversation about radio mics and ADR at your peril.


4 What are all those numbers on the screen?
You realise that your client has no idea about the existence of timecode. This of course will mean that they haven't logged anything. You may as well phone the wife now and tell her you're going to be late.


3 Cutaway? What's that?
An hour long speech from the CEO and you have to boil it down to 5 minutes. Unfortunately that is all you have, an hour long speech, one angle, no cutaways, no reframes. You suggest text bullet points, fade up and down from black, do a 120% blowup, however the client in their wisdom goes for ugly option four, the quick mix. 


2 My son has FCP on his laptop
There is nothing more encouraging to know that this is your last job with them and their offspring has already been lined up to edit the next production. Of course the client will have learnt from all the above failures so the new video is going to look and sound a lot better anyway. The client mentions the son's skateboarding channel on Youtube again and as you dodged it before you have to watch it this time. It is annoyingly quite good and has a view count a daytime TV programme could only dream of.


1 Haven't you got the new version of FCP? My son has!
Time to go home.


Seriously, all of the above apart from the last one have happened to me in my editing career. Please feel free to add any more in the comments. In the interests of balance, maybe I should do the same with "Top ten things you don't want your editor to say."

© fcp.co 2011

Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.


BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.


Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!


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