1: Hello who are you and what are you known for?
I’m Alex Cho, Senior Video Editor over at Electronic Arts and Bioware. I’ve been involved in producing videos for various projects including Star Wars: The Old Republic (and its expansions), Mass Effect: Andromeda, Battlefront 2, and am now currently working on Anthem.
2: How did you get your break into games?
I actually started fairly early in life. As with any teenager, I was infatuated with games and would spend my days playing RPGs, Halo, all sorts of mods for Half Life 2, and more. One day, my parents “negotiated” with me that “If I want to play games, I need to do something constructive with it.” So I took that advice and starting learning how to game design, sound design, and 3d model. By high school I had contributed to a number of mods for Unreal Tournament 2004 such as Path to Victory (a WW2 mod), Atlantis (an Aliens vs Marines Stargate inspired mod), and Insurgency (a Half Life 2 modern combat mod that eventually became a full fledged game). I eventually took a break for awhile as I did some “soul searching” for my future and switched between 4 different University majors including Graphic Design, Photography, Psychology, and eventually Film. It was during my attendance in film school in Austin that I received the chance of attending an info session hosted by Bioware at the school. They were looking for passionate students and young professionals to assist with their production on Star Wars: The Old Republic (the MMORPG). I couldn’t believe it, Bioware was my most favorite studio of all time and I had an opportunity to join their ranks. I immediately submitted my resume…and after a few months of anxious waiting, received that fateful response of welcoming to the team. Since then I’ve been there for over 8 years.
3: Can you tell us a little about what a video editor in the games industry does and how this might differ from other fields?
I’ve luckily experienced both the development and marketing side of the gaming industry. I started out doing design and cinematics at Bioware before joining their marketing team as an editor. Video editor’s are responsible for presenting and promoting the studio’s projects by collaborating with marketing and the development team. The process often includes working with marketing to develop a strategy for the game’s media campaign…what kind of videos do we need (trailers, behind the scenes, gameplay), how many, and when. Say when we start producing a trailer, the steps often include: developing a brief, shotplanning, creating ripomatics, game capture and collaborating with cinematics (or creating them), selecting music tracks, editing, sfx and audio, motion graphics, localizing, and final delivery. Compared to development, turnaround and payoff are much shorter and I often find myself wearing more hats compared to when I was in design.
4: What advice would you give as a mentor to anyone entering the industry?
Be passionate about what you’d love to do for games and stick to it. There will always be moments where you feel like you’ve failed, but don’t give up. Also, never stop learning.
5: Is there any current or past game that you would have loved to have been involved with? How would you have changed them if you could?
The list would be endless. Although the future of the franchise is up in the air, I’ve always wanted to work on the Metal Gear Solid franchise. I’ve loved every experience I had with the games and the depth they provided for the story and characters. They’re trailers were not simple either…there aren’t many out there that’s often over 4 minutes long that can captivate the audience the whole way through. However, I’m also grateful for not working on many games I love so I don’t lose the magic of experiencing the final game.
6: Which title in recent history has really pushed new boundaries in your field in gaming and why?
I’ve been continuously impressed with the efforts from the team at DICE for their Battlefield and Battlefront trailers. How they artistically combine their visuals and sfx to synergize with and enhance the music track is unparalleled.
7: Have you ever worked on a turd of project and at what point did you realise it just wasn’t very good? Did you try and turn it around or just get it out of the door?
I thankfully haven’t, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on all the projects I’ve been assigned on.
8: Big picture question: Can you share your thought about your 10yr out look for games and how video media might change?
Community and user generated content will continue to grow and influence developers and their games. With Twitch, youtube, and modding, we will definitely see developers directly cultivate talent and utilize the community more in their games and platform than ever before. I also believe AR and VR will continue to grow, I’ll elaborate more in the next section.
9: VR hardware and gaming, a fad or here to stay?
I own a Vive and I have a blast with it. I also recently had a chance to try out the Void’s Star Wars experience in Orlando and was blown away. I believe it’s here to stay but it’ll be a few years before it the hardware improves so that it can be adopted mainstream. It’s not that simple for everyone to build a high end VR compatible machine let alone purchase an additional $200 peripheral for their console. However, as the technology and application grow and improve, I believe we’ll see it eventually integrate in everyone’s lives in a big way.
10: And finally, what motivates you to stay in the industry and what role do you see yourself in 5 years time?
The people I work with, projects I have the opportunity to work on, and the positive comments and reception I stumble upon for my videos inspire me everyday in my endeavors.
Thanks Alex, for a great insight to being a senior video editor and the video production side of games development!
If you would like to know more or to connect with Alex, check his profile out on Gamesmith.com.
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