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  • Writer's pictureDorsa Sajedi

Old Friends: (Role #1 Editor) Preparing for Edit

In preparation for the editing of Old Friends, I decided to do a little bit of script analysis by highlighting it and taking some brief notes. I did this prior to shooting, and of course, my script supervisor role provided me with additional notes to help me in the edit, but here are some screenshots to provide you with a general idea of what I did.

As we didn’t expect to be doing three shooting dates, I was booked in for the editing suite on Monday morning to start the edit, or at the very least the transcribing. Nevertheless, I still went, and I managed to transcribe (almost) everything that we had gotten so far up to that point. I realised the benefit of this and may continue doing this in the future - if I am not overworking myself that is, as transcribing takes a very long time and obviously delays the start of the edit. Since we had to shoot so late, time was a very precious thing, so I am glad that I went in that day to start transcribing some of the stuff we got.

To start, after transcoding everything (and labelling all audio and footage files by scene/slate/take/any additional relevant info), I had to sync it all - which, for the first half of day one, we did not have a clapperboard. BUT, we used a clapper app, which worked fine - but we did a second sticks with clapping our hands as a just-in-case precaution, and also, doing it on a phone made sure that all the shot details would be visible for each bit of footage recorded (thank god). Although tedious, I managed to get it done ok. The most annoying part of it all was that the Tascam audio recorder had recorded on 6 tracks per take, to which three of them were blank. Because of this, I had to find the blank ones, colour code them red to avoid confusion, and then find the ‘clap’ on one of the three audio files, to then apply the in points on the same timecode across all tracks for each take. Sounds easy, but it was time-consuming. It definitely delayed the time I had in the edit which I did not like, but I was lucky to discover this issue on the morning of day 3 in the editing suite when I was transcoding, so I was able to let the sound team know before we started shooting later on in the evening.

Since I had labelled all the materials I had, it was easy to find which shot was which, so I am very fond of this method of organisation. Also, as I was script supervisor, I instantly knew which shots had been scrapped so I knew to single them out elsewhere (they were unusable nevertheless). I went through all the takes for each shot, colour coded them like so: Green = best take, in my opinion, Red = unusable, just does not work, and Blue = 2nd best, if the green ones don’t work for whatever reason, I would use this take. Referring to the director and showing them my progress, if he decided he wanted a different shot, I would mark them in pink so I would remember. Although doing this may seem time-wasting to one, this is the way in which I work the best (also it seems tedious but really it doesn’t take all that time at all — besides, the project should always be organised in a way where another group member could pick up the edit if something happens to the editor).

After organising everything, I made an assembly sequence from all the shots I deemed the best so that my starting point could be to simply pick shots from that sequence, but if I needed to change or refer to substitutes for those shots, I would have my colour coordinated takes in my tidy bins. Following the storyboard was my first starting point for the sequence, obviously, a lot had changed because of some issues that we ran into on set (be it shots that were far too grainy, had a reflection in the neighbour's windows, or anything else) so I labelled the storyboard I was given with handwritten notes to refer to (see below for photos).

I will be making a post in a couple of days just to go through some of the progress I have made with the edit, and I’ll put in one of my drafts to discuss how I got from that stage, to picture lock, and how the hand-off to sound went. Until then, bye for now!

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