The Films That Influenced a Sound Design Master

(Courtesy of Filmmaker U Blog - go to

There are a lot of things that go into mastering a craft. Hours of practice, mastery of your tools, numerous mistakes to learn from, and years of experience that pushes you to become a better craftsperson. You also need to explore and learn from your colleagues work to see how others have tackled something differently than you might have approached it, so you can be influenced and intellectually challenged.

We sat down during a break in shooting our course with Eugene Gearty on Sound Design (Available here), to discuss what films influence and inspire him. Here are the films that stand out for him.

Apocalypse Now | Sound Designer: Walter Murch

For Eugene, Apocalypse Now is the “holy grail of sound design... I didn’t even hear an edit… everything sounded like it dissolved, overlapped…” This film is what inspired Eugene to explore more about sound design in film. Apocalypse Now helped revolutionize sound in film, not only did it usher in 5.1 Stereo Surround Sound Format, it created an immersive experience where sound had a “density and psychedelic” feel to it.

For Eugene, Apocalypse Now sums up why it’s essential for you to get “out of your head and experience something that challenges you auditorily.”

Barton Fink | Supervising Sound Editor: Skip Lievsay

As Gearty said, "Skip Lievsay's work on Barton Fink is miraculous." It's a great example of sound becoming a character in the film. The whine of a mosquito, the gross peeling wallpaper all have that unique sound that makes this hotel feel like its own grimy character. Lievsay helped the Coen Brother's bring this character to life and make Barton Fink an exceptional film.

The Conversation | Sound Designer: Walter Murch

The Conversation is another project where Walter Murch plays a pivotal role in creating the overall sound design. For Eugene, it was “pretty self-evident,” the use of the now legendary scene where Hackman records the conversation and how sound shifts and alters the viewers perspective is now mandatory viewing for students of film sound. More to the point, the use of sound to highlight Hackman’s character’s psychological breakdown helps make the sound key to the storytelling process.

The Terminator & Terminator 2: Judgment Day | Sound Design: David Campling & Gary Rydstrom

These two films show the power of sound to build a hyper-reality and how layering different sound effects can build a unique world. David Campling on The Terminator and Gary Rydstrom on Terminator 2: Judgement Day show how the sounds in and of themselves have unique characteristics that you can use together to build a unique sound that fits that particular character or action.

Check out this sound effect build example below:


The Godfather | Supervising Sound Editor: Walter Murch

Walter Murch appears several times in this list, but as Eugene says, “there’s a reason for this” he uses sound as a storytelling tool and he looks at how the sound can support the film, the characters, and the scenes. He’s well respected for a reason. Murch uses sound to help reinforce Michael Corleone’s transition from reluctant mobster to the godfather through use of sound that helps place us inside Corleone’s head. The dinner scene with the subway screech getting louder is a stand out example this and is used to build tension.

Want to learn from Eugene his Sound Design techniques? Check out his course here.

4 Films Every Colorists Should See from Filmmaker U


(Courtesy of Filmmaker U Blog - go to

Mad Max: Fury Road is continuously referred to as a stunningly beautiful film. John Seale, the cinematographer, was nominated for an Oscar and colorists everywhere were looking at Eric Whipp’s work on the film as a triumph for color correction. With so many people looking to Eric’s work as a colorist for inspiration, we decided to ask him what films he feels every colorist must-see.  

After we filmed his course on color correction (Available here), we sat down to discuss his four must-watch films for colorists.

Amélie | Colorist Didier le Fouest

This film was Didier's first film as a colorist and is the start of a stellar career with films such as The Fall, Micmacs (another Jean-Pierre Jeunet Film), and Kar-Wai Wong's 2046, among numerous other great films.

When asked, Eric said "It's one of the first films I ever remember seeing that was so beautifully treated, it's very stylistic in terms of its color… you know, I was doing a lot of commercials [and] I had literally every other session, people were coming and going, 'can we have the Amélie look?'" at the time.

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? | Colorists Julius Friede Intermediate & Mike Bellamy Final Colorist

The Cohen Brother's films are always visually stunning. So why, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? Well, "for historical reasons, I would watch Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? One of the first films, mainstream films, done with a DI (Digital Intermediate) process." Not only was it one of the pioneering films to use the DI process, but it's stood the test of time. Many early adopters of the DI process weren't looked upon favorably. Yet this film is still referenced and looked upon for its visually stunning imagery, and because of that, it's one all colorists should see.


Skyfall | Colorist Mitch Paulson

Skyfall was done by Mitch Paulson whose work includes the jaw-dropping Blade Runner 2049, but it's how Mich Paulson and Cinematographer Rodger Deakins, ASC, use color and lighting as a storytelling tool. "There's a scene where James Bond is hiding behind reflections of light through the building… just the way they play light, and the way they play into color and everything" is stunning. This is one thing that Eric discusses in his course, how important color can be to the story and how the filmmaker, cinematographer, and colorist need to work together to get the color right for the story. Check out his video series here.

The Grand Budapest Hotel | Jill Bogdanowicz

The Grand Budapest Hotel has color baked into its DNA as a Wes Anderson film, but for it to stand out, it needed to be something more. As Eric Whipp noted, "It's a lot of art direction and the color compliments everything" throughout the film. It's a "great example a more modern, quirky look and color." and it pushed against the standard color palette of orange and blue making it stand out with a "pinky feel" so for Eric it's great for inspiration and ideas and something other colorists should check out.

Bonus Look to commercials for inspiration

One thing that Eric pointed out during our talk was that commercials push filmmaking boundaries as they are constantly vying for the viewers' attention. Not only do they push story and filmmaking techniques but also color. So the next time you're watching TV keep an eye out for some inspiring commercials.

Want to learn from Eric his color correction techniques? Check out his course here.

(Courtesy of Filmmaker U Blog - go to

Introducing Shutterstock Elements, Thousands of Cinema-Grade Video Effects for Filmmakers

Blockbuster-quality video effects created by industry professionals, including 4K lens flares, essential transitions, captivating video kits with smoke, fire, explosions and more

NEW YORK, NY July 16, 2019 -- Shutterstock, Inc. (NYSE: SSTK), a leading global technology company offering a creative platform for high-quality content, tools and services, today announced its new footage offering—Shutterstock Elements. Over 3,000 elements captured on cinema-grade cameras and lenses have been added to the site, including transitions, lens flares, VFX (visual effects), video kits, film overlays, HUD (head-up display) and UI (user interface) elements. Compatible with all major video editing programs, Elements also includes detailed tutorials on how to optimize effects. 

Video consumption rates continue to grow and consequently, the power of video content has never been stronger. According to Mary Meeker’s 2019 Internet Trends Report, digital video is now up to 28% of average daily watching time and 59% of Gen Z users cite YouTube as their preferred learning channel. As marketers respond to this trend by making video a top priority in their marketing mix, Shutterstock Elements offers popular, easy-to-use video effects that anyone can apply to make their content stand out.

“The demand for high-quality video is growing while budgets are only getting smaller and timelines are getting shorter. Video editors, compositors, and vloggers are constantly faced with the challenge of maintaining quality and making the content stand out in today’s golden age of video,” said Sylvain Grande, SVP of Product at Shutterstock. “Elements is a one-stop shop for creatives who are churning out projects at an unprecedented rate, providing assets made with cinema-grade equipment that can make any project look like a big-budget production in no time.”

The new offering includes expertly curated categories for specific genres, from content for everyday moments to blockbuster action scenes. Video kits like “Yum” are tailored for food vloggers and How-to’s with over 100 elements including lower thirds, transitions, animated characters, and loopable backgrounds. Film overlays like “Illuminate” offer 120 different light leak elements and practical effects shot in 4K resolution. The curated collections are designed to take any video project to the next level by adding polished elements and finishing touches like flares and sizzle for a more professional feel.

The wide selection of elements ranges from digital assets, like transitions and overlays, to physical effects like explosions or glass shattering. The physical assets were each filmed on location with specialists using high-end gear—like the Ricochet VFX pack, which includes authentic muzzle flashes filmed working alongside gun experts, or the Detonate VFX pack which offers explosions as wide 250 feet. 

Explore Shutterstock Elements here

Sight, Sound & Story: Post Production Summit Returns June 13th!

MEWShop’s one-day summit returns to New York on June 13, 2019, at the NYIT Auditorium on Broadway.  Panels include the art and processes of editing documentary film and episodic television.  Our closing panel will highlight the career of an acclaimed feature film editor Mary Jo Markey, ACE with author and film historian Bobbie O’Steen.  The summit culminates in a gala reception and networking session for guests, panelists, and vendors.  


3:30 pm: Check-In

4:00 pm: Opening

4:15 pm - 5:15 pm: Anatomy of a Scene: Deconstructing Documentary Films 
Moderator: Jeremy Workman (Magical Universe, The World Before Your Feet)
Speakers: Carla Gutierrez, ACE (RBG, La Corona, Chavela) & Jean Tsien, ACE (Scottsboro: An American Tragedy, Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing) 

5:30 pm - 6:30 pm - The Emergence of Peak TV: Television's Cinematic Revolution
Moderator: Gordon Burkell (
Speakers:  Kate Sanford, ACE (The Marvelous Ms. Maisel, The Deuce, The Wire) &Leo Trombetta, ACE (13 Reasons Why, True Detective, Mad Men)

6:45 pm - 8:30 pm: "Inside the Cutting Room with Bobbie O’Steen": A Conversation with Acclaimed Editor Mary Jo Markey
Moderator: Bobbie O'Steen "Cut to the Chase," "The Invisible Cut"
Speaker: Mary Jo Markey, ACE (Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Star Trek, Mission Impossible III, Charlie's Angels)
8:30 pm - 10:00 pm - Networking Party & Tech Lounge sponsored by American Cinema Editors

Special VFX Plug-in Giveaway for Sight, Sound & Story Attendees! 
Boris FX will provide a FREE 1-month subscription to SapphireContinuum & Mocha Pro - the industry's leading plug-ins for video editing and visual effects on Adobe, Avid and OFX hosts.  Attendees will be receiving this offer once the event has completed. 

General Admission:  $49 

Editor Michael Berenbaum, ACE on Editing "Sex & the City: An American Girl In Paris (Part Deux)" - VIDEO

From Manhattan Edit Workshop's "Critical Ends" series, featuring award-winning editors discussing their craft as a part of our Six Week Editing Intensive.

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Film Editor Lee Percy, ACE Discusses the Opening Sequence of "Boys Don't Cry" - VIDEO

Lee Percy, ACE, has worked with director Barbet Schroeder from the Academy Award-winning film, "Reversal of Fortune" to "Murder by Numbers." Lee also edited the Academy Award-winning "Boys Don't Cry," and the critically acclaimed film, "Maria Full of Grace." He also worked on "The Ice Harvest" for director Harold Ramis as well as Sundance Film Festival 2009 nominee "Taking Chance."

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How to Add Slug in Final Cut Pro X - VIDEO

Manhattan Edit Workshop Instructor Ari Feldman shows how to add slug in Apple's Final Cut Pro X.

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How to Use Timecode Overlays in Final Cut Pro X - VIDEO

Manhattan Edit Workshop Director of Education Janet Dalton shows how to add Timecode Overlays in Final Cut Pro X.

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How to Add Transitions to Connected Clips in Final Cut Pro X - VIDEO

Manhattan Edit Workshop Instructor Ari Feldman shows how to add transitions to connected clips in Apple's Final Cut Pro X.

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Sound Editors Phil Stockton, Eugene Gearty, and Sam Miille, discuss the Storm from "Life of Pi" - VIDEO

"Sight, Sound & Story" - Soundshow NY: "Life of Pi" Part 3. From Sight, Sound, and Story on June 8th, 2013.

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Editor Jeffrey Wolf, ACE on His Process Editing Eddie Murphy's SNL Sketch "White Like Me" - VIDEO

Artist in Residence Jeffrey Wolf, ACE on SNL Skit "White Like Me."  From Manhattan Edit Workshop's "Critical Ends" series, featuring award winning editors discussing their craft as a part of our Six Week Editing Intensive. For more information on Manhattan Edit Workshop's Six Week Editing Intensive and Artist In Residence program please visit:

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How to Adjust Audio Levels in Avid Media Composer - VIDEO

Manhattan Edit Workshop Training Series: Adjusting Audio Levels in Avid Media Composer.

Manhattan Edit Workshop instructor Janet Dalton's tutorial for adjusting audio levels in Avid Media Composer. For more information about our courses please go to

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Editor William Goldenberg, ACE Discusses Cutting Varying Performances in a Scene from "The Insider" - VIDEO

Editor William Goldenberg, ACE discusses putting together a scene featuring actors with wildly different performing styles, as seen in "The Insider." From the panel "Inside the Cutting Room with Bobbie O'Steen," at "Sight, Sound & Story" on June 13th, 2015.

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How to Change Connection Points in Final Cut Pro X - VIDEO

Manhattan Edit Workshop Training Series: Clip Connection in Final Cut Pro X Manhattan Edit Workshop's Director of Education Janet Dalton shows how to change clip connections in Final Cut Pro X.

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