Monday, August 27, 2012

How to Edit a Feature in 7 Days

How To Edit a Feature in 7 Days

DISCLAIMER: Editing a feature in 7 days is not necessarily a good idea. I would never chose to allott that time frame for a feature edit. However, sometimes extreme circumstances align themselves and you have to churn out something in a very short amount of time.  So, here’s my 7 day formula when you’re back is to the wall.

Day 1 & 2 – Hand Sync Footage/Review Footage

I know most editors will scoff. Why waste a whole day hand syncing when you can use something like plural eyes?  I use the sync process as a chance to review all the footage and takes carefully. I sync the shot and then watch it in its entirety, making notes of specific takes and bits that I may want to use.  You see, I feel that its super important to watch ALL the footage before cutting a single frame. You need to know what you have, before you can shape it. Even if you directed the material yourself, you can’t be 100% sure of everything you captured. If the clips were already synced the impulse to jump right into the cutting would be too strong and I would definitely miss certain takes.

Day 3 & 4 – Rough Cutting

Layout a rough cut. If I have reviewed all the footage completely and made proper notes and work hard, fast and concentrate you 1 cut 45 to 50 mins of material in a day. 

Day 5  - Clean up Cut
Clean up the cut. I tend to cut long in roughs, leaving handles and pregnant pauses. But I’ve also already captured the best angels and performances. So now it’s just a matter of cleaning up what I have.

Day 6 – Sound Design
I work with a top-notch sound guy in production, so I usually don’t have to worry about bad production sound. So cleaning up the audio is usually a breeze. I spend most of this day doing sound design. Adding folly and hard effects where they are needed.
**** The particular project I’m working on now is set in one room and is a drama. There is no complicated sound fx and much of the production sound folly work is actually usable.  Towards the end of the night, I will start and export and make a DVD.  The next morning, before starting color correction I’ll watch the DVD, making any final sound, or cut notes.

Day 7 – Review DVD / Color Correction
This is a task that normally takes weeks on a feature. In order to do it in only one day you have to limit you expectations. I’m simply looking to even out the picture as a whole. And fix any grievous miss-matches.
While working on this I’ll also implement any final changes from the DVD viewing.

Just before bed, I’ll start a new export.
That’s it.

Of course the next morning I’ll check that final dvd for quality control purposes before sending out, but the cut is done.


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