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Anthony Bairstow – Senior Video Editor at MTV and Editor of Two and Two, BAFTA nominated short.
Who are you?
I graduated from the BA Film & TV course at Westminster University and gradually found my way into the TV industry, eventually working at MTV Networks Europe. However, I have always had numerous side projects on the go, one of the latest being a film called Two and Two, edited by myself anddirected by Babak Anvari. The film was nominated for this year's BAFTA short film award.
What do you do? What does your company do?
MTV Networks Europe is quite well known for its music and entertainment television, but I specifically work for the team in Digital Media who focus on making multi-platform music, entertainment content and producing live music content for the MTV Push, Live and Sessions franchises.
Typically the rushes come in as HD shoots on SxS, CF cards or HD CAM tape. We work with Macs running a Blackmagic Design Multibridge Pro, edit on Final Cut Pro (version 6 & 7) and master to both SD and HD formats.
When working on the film Two and Two, we also used a similar set up, using the Blackmagic Design stuff to enable the capturing, monitoring as well as up and down conversion and mastering. We shot the film on the ARRI D21 (precursor to Alexa) and HD CAM SR, so it required quite a complex workflow to ensure it all stayed as close to uncompressed as possible without impacting the footage quality. I did not color correct the film myself; an excellent colourist named Ben Rogers at Glassworks handled it.
Tell me a little about your previous experience, what you've worked on and with up to your current position?
My previous experience was quite varied but before working at MTV (I started as an assistant editor) I worked on a Channel 4 show called Dubplate Drama. That was my first full-time job after university. Before that I worked for numerous small post-production companies handling minor jobs and freebies. Additionally, I've always tried to supplement my CV by editing a number of music videos, managing to get some excellent projects under my belt including Maverick Sabre and Plan B.
What new technology are you working with?
At MTV we do a lot of work with DSLR and also HDCAM SR, which I guess you could say are still new. Because MTV is a TV station, they generally will not invest in new cutting edge formats or technology until it has proven itself worthy somehow or other. I think there will be a lot of interest around the Canon C300 due to the TV friendly specs of the camera sensor and the bit-rate.
We use a lot of Blackmagic Design kit and recently used the ATEM production switchers on the EMA last November and for some of our Live Sessions work. Its quite amazing what you can get for your money these days! They are pretty solid.
Post production wise, we haven't upgraded our Mac Pros to FCPX just yet! However I think there is a future in the way it is designed and its 64-bit architecture, which is much faster when it comes to rendering and exporting. I think it could work well with the HD multi-cam stuff we do.
What new products/technology are you looking forward to the most?
As mentioned, I'm quite looking forward to working with FCPX and the new ideas it has around the way an edit takes places. I see a lot of advantages with what they have done with the organisation of events and metadata tags. As an editor I'm usually quite organised in the way I work, so this is all good news to me. Also anything that renders faster is a plus! We spend way too much time hitting ALT+R and staring at progress bars.
I’d also like to move towards higher end onlining tools that are more cost effective. Generally for my work, both at MTV and outside, I use FCP to offline and online right up to the mastering stage. It has proven itself quite flexible in what it can do but something like DaVinci Resolve would help a lot in the grading and colour correction stage.
During your career in post what was the biggest “turning point” into new technology?
The biggest turning point during my career has to be the so-called 'DSLR revolution', which in my view was a positive thing, giving more people access cinema style cameras. I'm quite a techy guy, but I do not hold technology over the quality of a film's story or its message. Technology can just be a barrier sometimes, stopping people from looking at their real ideas and work.
What is your favourite / least favourite things about working in the industry?
My favourite thing about working in the industry is simply the art and technique of video itself. I don't particularly think that video as a medium is always used wisely or put to its best use, actually it is very often abused, but you can't deny the power of the moving image. Perhaps I have answered both questions in that statement!
What gets you out of bed to go to work every morning?
I think one driving force to always get out of bed and get to work is knowing that you will be dealing with a creative medium. Although you might not always be working on something ground breaking, its good to work amongst others who are passionate about the creative side in general and have ideas of interesting things you can do with video and film.

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