As an owner of a major video post-production house, and a former film editor, I read with great interest Keith Bradsher's Aug. 23 story ("New Video Editing Techniques Are a Cut Above Film") regarding new and improved methods of post production for television production. As with all new methods and technologies, there are mixed reviews for electronic editing. Promoters (and I do mean promoters) have emphasized the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the electronic methods, while detractors bemoan the loss of quality and the shortsightedness of using the electronic process.
As a seller of video services, I would be well-advised to keep my mouth shut and simply play this electronic thing for all it's worth. The truth is, however, that the long-term goals of a producer are hurt, not helped, by the ever-increasing dependence on electronics. Technology can be intoxicating. Bradsher presents the questions of cost, quality and speed. Another important question concerns the long-term benefits to the producer.
The trouble with electronic post production is that you no longer have a film negative carrying the entire script. The final product is only on video tape. When advances such as high-definition television become widely available, the poor quality of the tapes edited through the electronic process will be made obsolete just as fast as you can say Beta.
If the speed of electronic editing is of such great importance, then what is lost? Perhaps the greatest loss is the eventual diminished ranks of qualified, experienced and knowledgeable film editors and assistants who aren't being used because of electronic production techniques.