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?
Our Budding Berries Filmmaking Workshops, run by myself (Joe) and Callum from Berry Productions, created a great film called ‘A Time To Change’, about Climate Change with year 3 children from St. Mary Queen of Martyrs in Hull. It has been screening at various film festivals and competitions around the world, even achieving a best short film award in China, so it has been a great success.
However, the main reason for creating this film was for the Close Up Campaign by the Climate Coalition. ‘A Time To Change’ received high praise as being a “particularly creative and inspiring example of youth voices on climate change.” We were invited to London to take part in the Climate Coalition’s close up on climate change event, led by Oxfam, CAFOD and Into Film, and a trip to Westminster to show our film to members of parliament!
Myself, Mrs Monahan and five of the 8-9 year old children who made the film from St. Mary’s, met at Hull train station at the un-Godly hour of 6am to catch the train to the capital. We were kept entertained by games of chess and cards. What a sophisticated group!
From King’s Cross we headed to the tubes to get to the Waterloo Action Centre, where the event was taking place. It is tricky taking one child around the underground let alone five and in rush hour! Luckily we didn’t lose anyone and the kids love hopping from tube to tube!
At the Close Up Campaign event there were a lot of other children of all age ranges in attendance from all over the country, but we had travelled the furthest! The children took part in a great, fun workshop about climate change and learned some interesting facts about our government and how they are the decision makers when it comes to policies regarding our planet. They then made some brilliant animations with Into Film about global warming and the melting polar icecaps.
After lunch we took in the sights of London as we walked to Westminster Abbey. The children loved the hustle and bustle of the London streets, the graffiti artwork and crossing Westminster Bridge and passing Big Ben.
Westminster is such an amazing building so it didn’t matter that we had to wait to get inside. Everyone was enjoying looking at the gargoyles and statues adorning the building and intrigued by the amount of police, security and x-ray scanners!
Inside the Palace of Westminster we all had a great time exploring the corridors and seeing the amazing architecture, paintings and sculptures. The children felt like they were in Hogwarts!
We then showed the film to the group and it was received with a huge applause – they absolutely loved it! Some of the MPs made an appearance to talk to everyone about climate change and what they hoped to do about it. Unfortunately, our MP couldn’t make it, but her assistant promised us that she would visit the school very soon!
It was time to go home, at least our three hour journey back home anyway! All very tired after what was a brilliant day! We’re over the moon with the success of ‘A Time To Change’ and will keep submitting it to festivals and competitions all over the world, in a hope that the message the incredible kids that made it are saying will be heard by all!
Please watch their film and share it with your friends.
As they say themselves:
“People from all over the world must come together and work as one. This is our only home. Trust us, you’ll miss it when it’s gone.”
10th October 2015
This week we were back at Age UK filming another scene from our ‘meant to take a couple of months but have ended up taking half a year to make’ film ‘Wonderful’. This time we were in the reception and we promised Pam from Age UK that it wouldn’t be a twelve hour shoot like last time. Thankfully we held up to our promise!
This is the opening scene to our film so it had to be right. David Aston was back as Donald, and we had Hannah Davies on board as our receptionist/nurse. With Len, Pam and our own Ben Wade as extras, everyone involved did a great job! Even our actress Jo helped out on sound! (shocker! Only joking… or am I?)
For the opening we had an epic shot planned following David across the reception. To deliver this we borrowed a wheelchair from Age UK. With Callum in the chair filming and Joe pushing the chair, we were able to capture a smooth run through the scene! One day we might be able to afford an amazing dolly, but for now we’ll stick to the wheels!
Keeping our promise we had finished in time for dinner. A nice feeling finishing early after most of our previous shoots had been full days or longer. We even managed some Bacon and sausage sandwiches provided by Pam! I think we’ll come again!
Another great shoot and a brilliant opening to our film! Now everyone… pull a silly face..
We have received a great amount of comics for our film and have now received the amount we need! Thanks to all those who sent one in!
Calling all comic book artists out there… want to see your comic book appear in ‘Wonderful’, our newest film?
We’re in the final stages of production of our new film ‘Wonderful’, all about an old man who believes he was once a superhero. Obviously we have a lot of connections to superheroes and comic books throughout the film. In one of our last scenes to shoot, our main character is looking at comic books in a comic book shop.
As we’re an independent filmmaking team, and support all forms of independent art, we wanted to help promote some indie artists out there and have your comic books on the shelves instead of the usual Superman, Batman, Spiderman etc.
So if you’ve got a comic book front cover that you’ve created – we want it! Here’s some things to remember:
- It’s only a short scene so your comic book won’t be on screen for long – but still it’ll be fun to see!
- We can’t accept any work that has offensive images/wording
- Your comic book doesn’t have to be about superheroes. Any genre, any style of artwork will be great!
- We WILL credit you and your comic book/series in the end credits
- We WILL share links to your artwork on our social media sites and here on our website (if you want us to!)
- We WILL make sure you get to see the final film (not sure when/how just yet!)
- We WILL think you are awesome!
If you’d like to see your comic book front cover in our scene, please drop me an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and attach a high res copy of your comic book front cover. Please also provide your name, your comic book/series title and a link to more of your work or your facebook page/twitter feed etc. I’ll respond as soon as possible! Or if you’d like some more info, do get in touch as well!
Thanks – we look forward to seeing your work!
21st August 2015
One of the main problems with making a fully self-funded, independent film, is that it can take a long time to get a film made. With all of our crew and actors generously giving up their time for free, we have to work around when they are all available. And we have our own day jobs to do as well. It had been nearly a month since our last shoot for ‘Wonderful’, and it felt like forever.
It was time for the car scene, which was a challenge for many different reasons. As we’ve been editing the film as we go along, we have discovered that we are running very close to our 25 minute time limit. This meant that we would have to reduce the running time for the last few scenes, without taking too much away from the story. The car scene is one of the most important scenes in the film as it builds the characters of Donald (David Aston) and Elizabeth (Joanne Gallagher) and ultimately leads Donald towards the final showdown.
After several re-writes for the scene, I finally got it down to something I was happy with. We were good to go. Now all we had to do was make the scene visually interesting – something that is hard to do in the confines of a car, so hopefully we managed to do a good job, armed with our new camera – the Panasonic Lumix GH4!
David and Joanne (her last day on set) did a brilliant job in this scene. It is a highly emotional scene and they both had to well up and bring out the tears. At least they got to sit down in the car all day, along with Ben Wade on sound, whilst me (Joe Monahan) and Callum Smith were running around the car like lunatics. Filmmaking lunatics!
We ended the day with a little poster photoshoot with David, recreating the classic Superman pose and looking extremely heroic whilst doing it! Now it’s time to perpare for the next shoot…
31st July 2015
The sun was shining outside for the first time that week, and we were struck inside shooting another scene for our new short film ‘Wonderful’. Typical.
We were back at the parents house of our actress, Joanne Gallagher, completing a few scenes we had already filmed previously.
Seven year old, Chance Monahan, joined us for the beginning of the shoot, for a quick scene in the kitchen. He had to don his school uniform, which, being the summer holidays, he found highly amusing. Then after he’d been picked up by his grandma, it was on for the main bulk of the scene with our main star, David Aston, and playing his long suffering daughter, Joanne Gallagher.
For what was relatively an easy scene to shoot, we still took all day doing it. Maybe it was that hour long break for bacon and sausage sandwiches? We had to think of our priorities!
It was also the fact that we were down on crew members. It was a Friday, so people were at work, and Ben our sound guy was somewhere in Germany, so we had extra jobs to do each. Luckily we had Katy D’Arcy with us for some much needed reflector holding!
One little shot that took up much of our time was a scene in the kitchen. We have a brilliant shot from the inside of a cupboard, as David is searching for his much loved biscuits. In true indie film style, we erected a highly unsafe rig of table, chairs and newspapers, for our make-shift cupboard to stand on. Trying to get the correct camera angles proved tricky and time consuming, but ultimately worked a treat! Another scene over… next!
17th July 2015
Two little shoots today for our new film ‘Wonderful’. We filmed it at my (Joe Monahan) parents house – so thank you to them – and is the only scene in the film not to star our main actor, David Aston!
Shooting on a weekday has its plus points and its drawbacks. On the plus side, there’s less interference as most people are at work, so we were able to shoot our scenes with no interruptions. The drawback? Getting together our crew and extras is difficult because of the same reason – they are all at work! So we were unable to get all of the extras we needed, which was a shame, but we found a way to get around it and got the scene we needed anyway!
Richie Donaldson was back for the first part of today’s shoot, just before his big move from Hull to London. With only one little scene left for him to film still, we’re going to have to coax him back for a day with promises of lollipops. We also had one of our favourites, Kev Thompson, back with us. Kev has starred in a number of our films and it is always great to work with him!
A small, simple shoot completed. Small and simple maybe… but the scene is a vital moment in our film!
31st May and 7th June 2015
With only one day to rest from the epic fight scene we filmed at The Deep in Hull, we were back on set for a second day of shooting. A very different feel to today’s filming. We were filming in a nice, comfy house, with hot drinks on tap!
As we were looking for the house of an elderly man, the parents of our actress, Jo Gallagher, offered up their humble abode and it was perfect for what we were looking for.
Our lead actor, David Aston, who plays Donald, was made to look older and run down, and even came with his own granddad slippers! Looking the part, he now had to play the part, and play it he did perfectly. A great balance between a sad man, suffering from the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, and a grumpy old bugger who just wants to be left alone!
Jo Gallagher played the part of his long suffering daughter, Elizabeth, brilliantly. Showing a warming, caring affection for her father, but also the struggle of looking after an old man and feeling under appreciated. Obviously not when she’s sticking two fingers up at the camera. There’s always one. And it’s always Jo!
We also had Chance Monahan, our amazing little seven year old actor, in the scene, playing Donald’s grandson Charlie. As always with children, things take a little longer and you have to have a little more patience on set. Luckily Chance is my (Joe Monahan, the writer and co-director) son so it did make things easier! Plus he loves superheroes so is thrilled to be appearing in a film all about his new favourite superhero, Mr Wonderful!
This was the opening scene to the film so we had to make sure we had everything right. People judge a film from it’s first scene, a short film is judged even sooner – the first shot, possibly even the first frame! Luckily for us, filming went smoothly (except for one particular shot that took about seventeen takes!) and everything looked amazing, but time seemed to fly away from us. Before we knew it, it was time to finish up after an eight hour shoot. We’d only got the living room scene filmed and therefore would have to return for the other scenes set in the house.
It was another great scene ticked off our list and we were all really impressed with the outcome of the day! And that we got to drink tea and coffee and eat lots of biscuits! Perfection!
29th June 2015
The day had arrived for our second trip to one of the highlights of Hull – The Deep – one of the UK’s best aquariums, home to over 3500 fish! Of course we weren’t going there for fun and to go ‘Ooooh’ and ‘Ahhhhh’ at all the spectacular marine life. We were there to complete our scenes for ‘Wonderful’.
Luckily we only had one room to shoot in. It was the area we were unable to complete last time. The Cool Seas area, where our epic battle at the end of the film takes place! The great thing about this room were the lights. Little neon strips of light that change colour, scatter the walls of the room, making it feel like you’re on some kind of spaceship. Perfect for a villains lair!
Our two actors, David Aston and Richie Donaldson, pulled out all of the stops. You can tell that they both relished their roles and loved every second of it – as did we just watching them!
The tricky thing when making a film, is keeping track of everything going on. You have to concentrate on the shot you’re trying to get, make sure all of the lighting is in the correct place and consistent between shots, make sure the actors are aware of their markers and know exactly which part they are filming, and much, much more! The great thing is that we have an amazing crew working with us and we all work really well together in order to make the best film possible!
Even though we only had the one scene to complete, and had everyone working at the top of their game, we were still there until 10pm! Once again, all shattered and hungry, we pushed on to get the shots completed! And bless the staff at The Deep who opened it especially for us that night, and happily waited around for us to finish, helping out as much as they could! Many thanks to all of them, you guys rock!
Another great shoot, another great scene completed. Next!
29th May 2015
After months of planning; script writing, casting, shot listing, storyboarding, location scouting and costume design and creation to name but a few, we were on set of our first scene for our new short film ‘Wonderful’. And what a scene it was.
We were filming what was possibly the hardest scene in the film to shoot! Typical!
Our scene takes place in our villains evil lair. For this location, we approached The Deep in Hull, which is one of the UK’s largest aquariums, home to sharks, penguins, jellyfish and more!
They were absolutely brilliant and more than happy to help us out. We had access to three different areas in The Deep after closing hours, and the staff were so helpful, we cannot thank them enough!
With our brilliant costume maker, Elli, on set, along with our great make-up artist, Andy, and our amazing crew (including Carl, Ben and Neil), we were all set to go.
Our first scene took place in front of the giant shark tanks. So not only did our actors (David Aston and Richie Donaldson) have to perform for us, we needed the sharks to do well too!
As they seemed to swim in constant circles around the tank we had to time the action to start just as our finned friends passed the front of the tank. With a three camera set up, we made sure we captured the action piece from every angle. Everything went smoothly… success!
We then filmed in the Cool Seas area, which is a dark room that has some great neon lighting and an amazing jelly fish tank! A true villains lair!
Time was against us as we only had a limited time in the room so we didn’t manage to get it all completed. Stress levels rising! It was getting late in the evening too…
Onwards to the final area to film – a really impressive tunnel of colour changing lights! A great moment for our hero, David, to stride through the tunnel, as we slid backwards on our dolly.
We were able to finish everything in this area, much to our relief. By now it was about 9pm and everyone was starting to droop! It was time to call it a night.
We got some brilliant footage and was a great start to our film. Yes, we would have to return (if The Deep would have us!) but it was better to get it all right, rather than rush.
Time for us, and the sharks, to get some rest!