Editing Software is Not New, it’s Ancient

Odds are you made yourself a cup of coffee this morning.

Go back to that moment. You may have trashed the details of it already, but reconstruct it a bit.

Look closely at the coffee pot, at the mug.

Now step back further, and look at yourself taking the mug from the cupboard. Try to get a full body view. Now watch yourself pour the coffee.

Hm, let’s see where you are emotionally. Try to reconstruct a view of your tired face as you approach the cupboard. Don’t worry, no one else is watching. Now watch your face as you take out the mug, grab the pot, pour the coffee, add cream or sugar. Work out the details of this moment as it happened to you, trying to watch your own face.

Ok go back. Let’s start with your face as you emerge into the kitchen. Now jump out and see that image of your full body reaching for the mug in the cupboard, now look at the pot as your hand grabs it. Look very closely at the coffee as it spills into the cup. Watch the cream swirl. Now try to capture the look on your own face as you take that first, blessed sip.

Programs like Avid, Premiere Pro, or Final Cut are outgrowths of the old physical form of cutting actual film – but the principles they are built upon are analogous to processes that have existed far longer. These programs reveal something about how our minds work upon the images within our head – they externalize something everyone does.

For me, the hardest part of the above exercise is seeing the look on my own face. It’s really hard to envision in an honest fashion. Maybe that’s something I’m looking for when I look at art – “is that what we look like?” And we don’t know until we see it, but when we do we smile, we laugh, we are moved, because we are revealed to ourselves, and in seeing something true, somehow we feel seen.

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