Post Production: The Edit
Your script was the best thing ever written. There’s an absolutely amazing cast and crew involved. The locations are incredible and everything went brilliantly whilst shooting. Some of the shots your cinematographer and camera operators filmed are outstanding. This is it! You’ve just wrapped on the film of the decade!
But wait… it’s not over yet. In fact you’re not even half way through. The next stage in the production of this incredible film is one of the most important. Post-production. The edit!
Editing a film is a bit like decorating a cake. You’ve made the mixture, baked the cake, but now you’ve got the mammoth task of making it look really, really good! Fail and you could end up with… well… a complete mess! All that hard work by everyone could be destroyed in an instant. And a bad edit, or an editor who does not get the directors feel of the film, could change the entire tone of the production.
We edit on Adobe Premiere Pro and, to try and speed up our post-production, we began the edit as soon as we’d finished our first days shoot. The first task is like sorting your sock drawer. Going through everything you’ve filmed and finding all that works, all that you want in the final film, and everything that you don’t. We also have to do tedious tasks like syncing audio to the visuals etc.
Finally beginning the actual edit is a very creative process. You have to be able to visualise the final film, from a large number of clips that were shot by the filmmakers on set. As independent filmmakers working on a zero budget, inevitably we end up doing everything ourselves. This can be both a blessing and a curse.
The blessing: Myself (Joe) and my co-director Callum plan every shot meticulously. We shoot for the edit, meaning that when we film a scene, we already have in mind exactly what we want the edit to be and therefore know exactly what shots we need to capture. It makes our job as editors that much easier, rather than trawling through hours of footage.
The curse: Because we shoot for the edit, we sometimes find that things don’t always work exactly the way we envisioned them to. If this happens, we have to try and ‘fix’ the scene in the edit suite. Not a great idea as more than often you’re just trying to cover up mistakes. Editing your own footage is also very hard because, inevitably, there will be some shots that are absolutely amazing and you have great memories connected to it, that you have to throw away and not use. Giving up one of your favourite things can be very hard.
Luckily, whilst editing Wonderful, we haven’t stumbled upon too many problems. Because we planned so well in the initial stages, our shoot for the edit technique really worked. Our major setback (that always seems to happen) is that we have overrun on the length of the film. What was intended to be a 20 minutes short, is now just under 30. We’re hoping that our film won’t suffer because of this when it comes to entering it into festivals.
Overall, editing Wonderful has been fun as it’s great seeing the film slowly coming together. We’re really proud of everything that everyone has put into it. As perfectionists of our own work, there will always be little bits to tidy up and tweak. But that could go on forever. At some point you’ve got to step back and say, “Right, that’s the edit locked down. Time to move on to the next step of post-production.
Sound effects, music, colour correcting… colour grading… visual effects… What? You thought that once the edit was done the film was completed?