Editors in Edit Suites

Editors in Edit Suites

editors in edit suites

If you ever wondered what it looks like inside the professional edit suites of some pretty big films and TV shows, then in this post you’ll get a chance to peek in and see where the magic happens.

Many of the images in this post have been sourced, with permission, from Steve Hullfish’s superb series of in-depth interviews with film editors and first assistants, The Art of The Cut, over on Pro Video Coalition.

In those interviews you can hear from some of the world’s best editors on their craft and learn from their creativity, and pretty much every single interview is a must read!

art of the cut book review

I’ve also previously reviewed Steve’s book of the same name, which draws together in a topical fashion, the very best nuggets from the series. If you want to deepen your knowledge of the craft then check out the book, it’s a rare gem.

I personally conducted all of the interviews, then I personally transcribed most of the interviews, but it wasn’t until I saw them broken down into topics and edited into context that I realized the power of the book.

Even if you read every interview on PVC, you wouldn’t get the value that the book provides. It’s really eye-opening. – Steve Hullfish

editing timelines

If you like this kind of info, then you might want to check out one of the most popular posts on this blog – a look at the professional editing timelines from top film and TV shows. Timelines include a look at Suicide Squad, Mission Impossible:Rogue Nation, The Martian, Gravity and many more…

There are also a few more photos inside a few edit suites, and some detailed gear breakdowns, in this previous post about professional edit suites. Including Director Darren Aronofsky’s home made standing desk set up.

Inside Feature Film Edit Suites

inside edit suites of big films

Here is Fred Raskin’s fairly epic looking edit suite for The Hateful Eight. It’s interesting to see how many large viewing screens he is using, along with a large mixing console. I like the use of a music stand for the script and notes.

Check out Steve Hullfish’s interview over on Pro Video Coalition.com

Joe Walker Edit Suites

Sicario Edit suite

In the next 3 photos you can see editor Joe Walker, who is currently working on Blade Runner 2049, in his suite for Sicario and 12 Years a Slave.

Steve has interviewed Joe several times for Arrival, Sicario and 12 Years a Slave.

12 years a slave editor interview

Here is Joe Walker’s edit suite on 12 Years a Slave, it’s interesting to note the index card grid on the wall, to keep track of the current cut, at a glance.

12 years a slave

Charlie Austin’s Annotated Edit Suite

Charlie austin FCPX Edit suite

FCPX Guru and trailer editor Charlie Austin shared this photo of his edit suite, annotated for clarity. I particularly like the ‘Revision Generator’.

Inside film Edit suites

While we’re on the subject of FCPX, Lee Warner shared this photo of his edit suite, where he has “Changed my client/producer monitor to a split feed from my left dual monitor so anyone can see the bin selects.” Which I thought was a clever idea.

Correction – Not sure how I missed the fact that Lee is actually cutting in Adobe Premiere!

nice looking edit suite

In what has to be one of the nicest looking edit suites in this round up, not to mention that I’ve ever seen, is this one at Splice in Minneapolis, which is owned by editor Clayton Condit.

Steve interviews Clayton on editing Voice from the Stone, in FCPX at Splice.

My cutting room has a 110-inch projection screen with 7.1 surround. FCPX allows me to work in 5.1, which is a great way to offline and play and allows even better temp mixes throughout the process.

The edit position is centered and on a stage just behind a row of seats with console space to my sides for the director so we both are looking at the same thing. I use the projection for my program monitor and my computer monitors are ergonomically set to allow me to easily look up and down as needed.

I typically use 3 computer monitors to spread things out but mostly use the center 27” Apple display for my timeline and primary workspace.

I like to work in the dark like a theatre so I have a lighted keyboard and controlled task lighting from above for script and notes.

I have also gone to great lengths to have a very quiet environment so I can hear everything. I like to really refine my temp mixes to avoid having anything pull you out of the edit.

This setup also allows me to step away from my workstation and sit in a comfortable chair and watch scenes from a different perspective.

Tom Cross’ La La Land Edit Suite

tom cross edit suite for la la land

That said, Tom Cross does also have a nice looking edit suite, which he used to edit La La Land.

I’m not sure what kind of mouse he’s using but it looks a bit like a Razer Gaming Mouse. The shortcut button keypad under the left most monitor also looks interesting.

Steve interviews Tom on cutting the Oscar winning film here.

la la land picture boards

John To (1st Assistant Editor), Tom Cross (Editor), Josh Stein (Post PA).

In this photo with Tom and his assistants you can see their scene boards with large thumbnails posted on the wall. This helps to keep the flow and order of the film accessible without scrubbing through the whole timeline.

Documentary Editor Steve Audette’s Frontline Edit Suite

steve audette edit suite

In this still from a 360 video of Steve Audette’s Frontline edit suite, you can see a fair few things going on, not least the waterfall of script notes/pages/scene boards hanging from the wall on the left.

Steve even gave me a detailed breakdown of the components of his edit suite in this previous post, which is another opportunity to look inside some professional edit suites.

inside professional edit suites

I’ve interviewed Steve at length about documentary editing here. You can also learn a ton from him in this collection of previous posts.

Steve Hullfish also interviewed Steve Audette here.

Editing Teams Inside Edit Suites

In this video from MichaelBay.com you can get an inside look at the process and team behind Transformers 4, which includes editors Roger Barton, William Goldenberg and Paul Rubell as well as a how of additional and assistant editors.

It’s not often you get this candid a view into an edit suite and a team discussion!

Steve Hullfish has interviewed most of the team of editors behind Transformers 5 – The Last Knight, in a fairly epic post here.

To cover the editing of Michael Bay’s Transformers: The Last Knight, we spoke to four editors in three separate interviews. The exciting thing for readers of Art of the Cut is that when you get six top editors on a single picture, they all learn from each other in ways that are impossible without working on the same footage and with the same director. Those important lessons are at the core of this Art of the Cut.

In some ways it’s a bit disingenuous to split these ‘team photos’ out from the others, because all big budget films have an editorial department packed with numerous professionals bringing their skills to the mix.

editing The Martian

In this team photo from The Martian, you can check out the gang on ‘Pirate Day’, as well as the film broken out into Reels on the photo thumbnail grid.

Steve Hullfish has interviewed both Editor Pietro Scalia on editing The Martian, as well as an in-depth interview with additional editor Cheryl Potter.

editing the martian

Assassin’s Creed Post Team

editors in edit suites

Seated: Chris Tellefsen Standing: R to L: Sadaf Nazari: 2nd Assistant Editor Jens Baylis: 1st Assistant Editor Rachel Durance: 2nd Assistant Editor Sam Shelton: Editorial Trainee

In this photo of the Assassin’s Creed post team,  you get a better look at some of the assistants that support an editor during a feature film edit. If you read the caption closely you’ll also get a sense of the hierarchy that allows younger editors to work their way up from Editorial Trainee to Second Assistant Editor to First Assistant Editor and then finally, you get to sit in the chair.

Steve Hullfish interviews Chris Tellefsen on cutting the film.

I’ve previously put together a Chris Tellefsen focused round up here.

More Editors In Edit Suites

Editor Ben Mills

Editor Ben Mills shared this snap of his home edit suite set up, which I have to say looks pretty neat.

The dual support arm  for his monitors looks like it can handle the weight and allows for ready repositioning of each monitor, even the LG Ultrawide. He’s also using a huge mouse matt and Razer gaming mouse, along with some nice looking Genelec studio monitors.

I’ve previously interviewed Ben in some detail about what it’s like to work as a VFX Editor on top Hollywood films.

A Cure for Wellness

In this photo from Pete Beaudreau’s edit suite on A Cure for Wellness. He’s also cut some other interesting films including: Beasts of No Nation, The Gambler, All is Lost, My Week with Marilyn and Margin Call.

Here his ‘assistant’ is his 3 month old daughter Erin!

Steve Hullfish interviews Pete on the cutting of the film here.

Eddie Hamilton PVC

In this photo you  can check out a glimpse of editor Eddie Hamilton’s edit suite on Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.

Steve has interviewed Eddie on working on that huge franchise here. 

I’ve previously dissected Eddie’s Avid workspaces in this blog post on Premiumbeat.com and shared Eddie’s Razer Naga Chroma gaming mouse custom set up here.

1 Comment

  • Thanks for including the photo of my edit suite. However I just wanted to make a small correction.
    In your text you say “While we’re on the subject of FCPX, Lee Warner shared this photo of his edit suite, “. I’m using Adobe Premiere Pro.

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