An Editor's Dream Comes True Thanks to The Artist and Media Composer
Anne-Sophie Bion had a dream—someday she would become a successful film editor. This year, her determination paid off big when she was nominated for an Academy Award for “Best Achievement in Film Editing” and won the ACE Eddie Award for “Best Edited Feature Film (Comedy or Musical)” for her work on The Artist. It was a dream come true—and she credits her mentors and Avid Media Composer for helping her along the way.
But her editing career didn’t start in film—it started on the small screen. After going to school to study video editing, she landed her first editing gig at Eurosport in 2004, an international television sports network based in France. However, her dream of working in the film industry lured her back to school to earn a BA in Film Studies, where she immersed herself in the theory of filmmaking while working in a photochemical lab for practice.
Finding the right path and mentors
After countless hours of studying and practice, she eventually landed a job as a technical assistant at a post facility called Artistic Images. It was her time here that not only helped her start making a name for herself, but also where she got to know Media Composer inside and out—from ingest to conform—thanks to her technical director and mentor Marc Boucrot (editor/colorist of Mirror Mirror, Enter the Void, 8).
“[Working at Artistic Images] allowed me to meet many editors, directors, and assistant editors,” Bion recalls, “and I was lucky to meet [editor] Hervé Schneid, who needed an assistant for the Mesrine series, directed by Jean-François Richet.” Working alongside Schneid, whose past work includes Alien: Resurrection and Amélie, Bion gained the hands-on training she needed while they worked on Micmacs, a 2009 comedy directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
“He [Hervé Schneid] became my artistic mentor,” she says, recalling their time working together. “He taught me a lot. Every morning, I sat next to him and watched him watch the dailies… That's how I really learned to cut.”
Achieving success with The Artist and Avid
In 2010, writer/director Michel Hazanavicius was helming an ambitious modern-day silent movie and began looking for the right editor to help him cut his project. He wanted someone with a fresh set of eyes—someone who would be totally comfortable with the technical side of things. Bion’s reputation won him over, and she began working by his side as co-editor on The Artist in the fall of 2010.
“Michel was in Los Angeles shooting, and I was in Paris with my assistant, Camille,” Bion says of the project’s beginning. “As soon as he arrived, we watched my rough cut and we edited the movie together. Just working with Michel was in itself a magical experience.”
She’s just as full of praise for the tool that helped her shape the charming story of a silent movie star, without the guidance of sound. “Media Composer is my one and only tool, so I use it all the time—from the first to the last day of editing,” she enthuses. “I have a Mojo DX box for capture, and my assistants use two Nitris DX devices in order to input and output easily.”
Asked why she chooses Media Composer, she answers, “Because it's simple… I find it easy to use and it's clear.” She also likes its media and format management capabilities. Without the software getting in the way of the creative process, Bion was able to focus more time on the pacing of the story and take advantage of the advanced features and tools in Media Composer, namely to create visual effects.
“For The Artist, we had a lot of crowd multiplication to do,” she explains about the process of duplicating groups of dozens of extras to fill a scene with hundreds. “I went as far as 20 tracks and managed to edit the shots, or at least do mock-ups within [Media Composer].”
The proof that dreams do come true
The Artist premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2011 to rousing critical acclaim and then picked up momentum, screening at festival after festival around the world before opening in theaters. The movie went on to win over a hundred awards, including six César Awards, seven BAFTAs, one Goya, three Golden Globes, and five Academy Awards.
For their editing work, Bion and Hazanavicius together received five nominations (Academy Award, BAFTA Film Award, César Award, Critics Choice Award, and the San Diego Film Critics Society Award) and won the Eddie. “February  was super intense,” she recalls. “But most especially, winning the ACE Award—the prize for Best Editing from the American Editors' Guild—was incredible [and] truly unique, so thank you Michel!”
While Bion knows that the road to success in the film and television industry doesn’t necessarily happen as quickly as it did for her, she points out that knowing Media Composer can make an impact on your career trajectory. “In fiction, many, many editors use Media Composer, and most post facilities in Paris use Media Composer. So there you have it—it's the movie editing tool!”