Late nights with your editor

Seriously, how many monitors do I need on my desk to work?

Last night was round 3 (I think) of changes to the 'Bite' edit with Chad Archibald (director) sitting in on the session. How late did we go? Well...I saw the sun come up as my head hit my pillow.

It helps when the director comes with a list of changes and then we spend time going through them right there. No trying to communicate back and forth via an ever-growing email thread. Just tackling all of the changes immediately and discussing them as we went.

Only occasionally would we have to pause and talk about a certain change to the timeline that he wanted. It's healthy to have a different point-of-view looking at your movie. We would chat about how to re-arrange some scenes to make the entire movie flow better, using alternate takes of actor's performances and look at which moments of the movie were no longer needed and belonged on the cutting-room floor.

There's more work to yet be done once the movie gets seen by other pairs of eyes. Until then I could really use a strong, kick-in-the-face coffee.

Leaving some Bite marks - Day 2 of Editing Bite In-Production

Final Cut Pro Project Folder Organization for Bite

The search for the most appropriate hashtag continues. For now, #BiteMarks is in the lead. Edit: Or how about #PostBites? Editors should be nodding solemnly in agreement with that one.

Edit Progress:

  • The 3 scenes filmed yesterday were edited and shown to director Chad Archibald today. He gave me some minor changes that were then immediately made. Simple.
  • Appr. 4 minutes of the final film assembled

After the 30-minute brisk walk to set (I love the walk because any chance to get some exercise is a glorious break from sitting at a desk all day) I arrived to find yesterday's footage transcoded and waiting for me.

For those who care by the way, we are taking the Dragon/Epic 5K clips and converting them to Quicktime ProResLT 1920x1080 clips for the offline edit. Much easier for my comp to digest and to store right on my internal drives.

The production shot 1TB of footage yesterday, which converts to roughly 100GB of proxy files for me. With 16 days of principal photography ahead of us, I've made sure my drives are able to store up to 2TB of proxy footage. Obviously I'll have to check with DIT to see if keep to that daily number or if we start going over.

Those who know me know I CRAVE organization in my project folders as I work. Setting up a neat and tidy folder and naming system for your project at the outset will pay off in spades towards the end of the edit. That image up there is a snapshot of how I generally organize each feature project. It changes depending on the needs of the particular production I'm on, but it's a good base to lay down at the start.

Once any new scenes are finished and ready to show, I throw them onto the iPad and leave it with Chad to watch at his leisure. Or he (or anyone approved to review scenes) can stop by my editing station and request to see a particular scene or shot.

Aside from that, DIT and I discussed storage for the film's raw footage to make sure we are good for disk space throughout production. And I snooped around the set when I had a moment to see what it looked like off-camera. Let me just say for the record that the art department have done an incredible job at building a set that does NOT appear as a set in the scenes. You won't be able to tell which was an actual location and which wasn't.

I also began building a library of temp music and sound effects to use. This film calls for a heavy emphasis on sound design and even though I'm only building rough scenes to look at, I still want them as polished and complete as I can get them. Not all directors or producers can use their imagination so easily when looking at dailies. Picking the right temp music track to set the atmosphere of the scene or a creepy, gurgling creature sound effect can make the scene go the extra mile when first viewing it.

That's all. Sleep now. More tomorrow.

To get more quips from set and updates on how the edit is progressing, follow Merc on Twitter and follow the Merc Facebook page for more pics and stills.

Eat Edit Sleep mantra

What Does It Feel Like To Be Part Of The Team - Day 8 of Antisocial 2

As the production moves into Day 8 on Antisocial 2, my timeline gets more and more full. As you can see from the image above, we are up to 18 minutes of cut footage.

Director Cody Calahan has gotten used to popping into the edit suite here on set to view any new scenes. I'm set up out of the way of production and where none of the cast/crew can look over my shoulders for a glimpse of any scenes, but accessible for the director and producers to drop in whenever they can.

This is why I love editing on-site. Editing a film is satisfying to begin with, but being here I get to work directly with the crew. Ordinarily the editor comes in after production wraps and misses out on working with so many of the crew hands. Filmmaking is a collaborative and social experience so by being here on set I get to feel more like a part of the production.

Not to mention that the production then gets the benefit of seeing the scenes come together as they film them. It becomes a more immediate gratification knowing that what you shot yesterday has been pieced together today...and it works!

Yesterday there was a particularly freaky scene cut together that offered just that. Cody watched  short and scary sequence that actually shocked him. The director was prepared for the scare in the scene and it STILL got him! He called in the make-up artists to watch their work and they were PUMPED to see it play out. Everybody got a good high off of seeing proof that their hard work was giving killer results.

This is why I love doing what I do. Feeling like an important part of the amazing group of filmmakers here and seeing that what I do is helping to give a boost to the production. Puts a smile on my face at night.

Know what else makes me smile? When the camera department leaves messages for the editor when they slate, such as this birthday message from a scene shot last Thursday...