Timeline Analog 1


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    The Timeline books are dedicated to Adrian Ettlinger (1925-2013)

    Adrian was a brilliant engineer, ground breaking inventor, astute observer and a much loved father during his life and career. In retirement he was a friend, advisor and mentor to me. Adrian is without question the father of nonlinear digital editing and his contributions to the editing field have been recognised by industry bodies and editors alike.

    Thank you Adrian, rest in peace.

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    In the spring of 1924, a small Germany company Lyta Cinema Works built the first dedicated editing device. A few months later the American made Moviola went on sale in Hollywood and become a huge success. Sixty five years later a digital equivalent arrived for professionals. In the intervening years individuals, and teams imagined tools that could join images together in the blink of an eye.

    They trialled technology, experimented with the impossible, quit secure jobs for the unknown, and ran out of money. All the while, they tried to ship the best editing product possible. 

    Curiosity soon had me searching for the story of Avid and EMC. Then CMX, Montage, Digital F/X and so on. But of course there wasn't such a book just a few breadcrumbs of information.

    I found two key names listed in submissions to the U.S Patent Office. Adrian Ettlinger and William Warner. Surely they knew. One had created something called the CBS RAVE, and the other, Avid. 

    They graciously took my phone calls, retold stories of electronic editing’s rich history, and connected me with lesser known individuals who had created the tools we use today. Adrian and Bill not only helped, but they actively encouraged me. Bill made time to talk, linked me to others and poured me coffee in his kitchen. Adrian braved the wet streets of Manhattan to tell me, over lunch at the Chiam, about a remarkable period of innovation.

    My part-time quest changed again when editor Art Schneider passed away. Art made major contributions to editing, both film and electronic, yet his efforts like so many others had gone largely unheralded. My book needed to be about editors and editing machines.

    And so here it is, a book that zig zags from people to places, within companies, across continents.

    Former Xerox scientist David Canfield Smith told me: “In any revolution, technological or otherwise, there are interesting characters. In fact, the characters often are the story”


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    This book series would not have been possible without the help of many people. Everyone has my appreciation but a few people deserve an extra shout out. 

Candace Machein sent her father’s files to make sure Kurt was remembered. Joe Roizen’s family did likewise. Tom Werner, Bob Pargee and David Crosthwait shared material that others had trashed while Carter Elliot bundled up pamphlets and drove them to Fedex. Marc Wanamaker shared his amazing Hollywood archive.

Egon Gräfen discovered archived KEM material, Heidi Heftburger found the best Svilova images, Ekaterina Gracheva did the same with Russian filmmakers. Bernd Perplies helped with German inventors while Håkan Lindberg shared his images of editing in Sweden, and Christelle Naili sourced the long lost Italian Moritone.

Pauline Duclaud-Lacoste ensured her great great grandfather Georges Méliès was honored, while Bob Phillips shared his own photos of Jack Mullin and Bing Crosby. Sumio Yamamoto and Kyoko Takahashi found materials in Toshiba’s vaults. Tarek Atrissi designed the book, and Sharleen Chen created the outstanding cover. 

My research was aided immensely by David Gleeson's amazing online resource www.americanradiohistory.com

Brett Wayn chimed in with measured advice. Gene Simon, John Delmont, and Barry Guisinger added humor to their notes just when I needed it. Loran Kary, Glenn Reid, Nick Schlott and Ralf Berger patiently explained the challenges of writing software code. Steven Cohen reminded me, “Editors are people, editing systems are the tools, don’t mix that up". 

Phil Hodgetts gave good advice, John Maizels opened doors, Ron Barker pushed me to try harder and Chet Schuler insisted on getting it right. Bruce Rady, Bernie Laramie and Bill Hogan remembered when others forgot. The ladies at the Jerzy Toeplitz Library inside the AFTRS in Sydney found dozens of books, manuscripts, articles and trade magazines to check facts.

The team at Stanford University had everything set for my short visit. Al Alcorn, Steve Wozniak and Steve Mayer replied when their inboxes must be full every day. 

The people who invented desktop video Eric Peters, Jeff Bedell, Tyler Peppel, Carl Calabria, Ivan Maltz and Randy Ubillos answered all of my questions, many that they had heard before, with a smile. They never let me doubt my plan. I have to tip my hat to the text editors, Bob Glover and Gary Buck.

They volunteered to read this book over and over, and diligently worked through the raw manuscript, corrected it and made great improvements. 

Ash Davies and Alex Eckermann from Tablo.io continue to make Timeline an amazing electronic and paper book series.

And there are people who have helped without knowing about the book.

Dave Pretty taught me more about filmmaking, and business at Marketforce in a month, than a college course had in a year. Max Pepper explained the value of a flatbed as we cut dozens of lemonade and burger commercials. Ross McDonald rescued me from an unemployment office and gave me a job. Drew Gibson taught me the BVE ropes. 

My long time friend Dan Flanagan pushed me to apply for a job in broadcast news. It was advice that changed my life. I owe John Rudd a lifetime of thanks for hiring me at TVW7, and giving me the freedom to experiment. Fellow editors Ray Furness, Nick Glover and Ray Neale guided me in the craft of editing, even when I pretended to know everything.

Peter Abbott and Tim Worner encouraged me to hone my editing skills while Steve Christiansen, Jacqua Page, Dave Galloway and Michael Horrocks believed in me, and my editing company. Laura Gohery helped me turn it into a success. 

Bill Orr, Pete Hammar and Ralph Guggenheim were endlessly helpful before the idea of a book even existed, and continued with insight throughout its writing. Ralph’s enthusiasm is infectious, Pete’s advice forthright. 

Despite the fact that Thelma Schoonmaker is one of the most awarded and talented editors ever, she answered my questions as if she were unknown and idle. Ted Horton and Vincent Zimbardi supported me with editing challenges through my transition from editor to editor/author. Andrew Morris starred in my 8mm movies, listened to my plans, gave me work and remained an unwavering friend throughout.

Donna, Manny, Tillster, Miranda, Elena, Mario, the Colettes and Wild Matt encouraged and humored me. 

Bill Warner changed editing forever. Without Bill there would be no Avid. There would be no book called ‘Timeline’. He encouraged me at every turn, welcomed me to his home, selflessly assisted my research, lent me documents and tapes, drove me around Boston, twisted former colleagues’ arms to talk, and opened up his heart to the project. 

Without reservation. Bill has faced challenges that would humble most, and never gave up. He is an inspiration.

The Bucks, Waddells and Kuehs have been hugely supportive of Timeline. 

Mum and Dad gave me the freedom to dream.

Tan gave me patience and understanding.

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About the Author

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1. No Editing

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2. Pair of Scissors

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3. Hollering and Screaming

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5. Electronic Splices

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6. No Rewind Here

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7. Remember this is 1970

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