Insights on Editing TV Shows From Top Editors
Arrested Development is a fantastic show, and if you’ve not seen it, well you’ve made a huge mistake. Although you can catch up on most of the memes in this 8 minute supercut. More importantly though you can listen to editor Kabir Akhtar share a ton of great insights on editing a hit comedy show, building a career and a lot more in this double header of interviews from LACPUG and AOTG.
Game of Thrones editor Oral Ottey is a fine chap (I met him at Edit Fest London) and in this extensive interview from High Definition Magazine, you get a great sense of the challenges involved in editing a complex, multi-layered series with a huge fan following.
“[The Red Wedding] scene alone, the Director, a guy called David Nutter, he actually shot in a single day eleven and a half hours of footage. So that was quite daunting to edit that down to one hour. He was asked to direct that episode and because I had worked with him before, they wanted to keep that continuity and we get on really well. They all do that you know, it’s better the devil you know.
“We had a meeting before he shot it about camera placement and the tone he was after. He was working at an awesome speed. I started cutting it the next day and managed to cut it in a day! I thought there was no point agonising over it just go at it with gusto, you get the shape of it and then you start planting the little looks here and there, the odd punctuation moments. You then polish it.
Editing Breaking Bad
In this 40 minute, two part interview, editor Kelley Dixon shares a ton of great insights on her career progression, the importance of cutting pilots and what it takes to edit Breaking Bad season after season.
In this third Kelley Dixon video, you can step back in time to a year before these first two videos and is joined by post coordinator Trevor Baker, for her first time at LACPUG. Trevor’s story is a great example of how to go about getting your first break in the industry.
In this written interview with Kelley Dixon you can pick up a lot of technical details on the post workflow and timings that a TV show editor needs to adhere to, such as episode length and schedules.
Breaking Bad is one of the last TV shows shot on film (35 mm, 3 perf.) Cinematographer Michael Slovis, ASC has been behind the camera for 44 episodes (2009-2012). Dailies are flown from location in Albuquerque, NM to Burbank, CA to be processed at FotoKem laboratory and then digitized and color graded at sister facility Keep Me Posted.
Then Kelley’s assistants, Mel Friedman and Chris McCaleb input the material into her Avid Media Composer so she can start looking at the footage. “Each episode would shoot for eight days and we would have to deliver the editor’s cut two days after the last dailies arrived,” she explains. “So if I got the last day of dailies on a Wednesday, my cut would be due on Friday.”
Lastly as a gem for all fans of the show you can soak up this hour long question and answer session with the cast of the show and creator Vince Gilligan.
Alan Ball on True Blood and Six Feet Under
Natalie from Mentorless has written up a handy breakdown of this two hour interview with Alan Ball on creating Six Feet Under and True Blood. Although not about editing for TV, you’ll learn a ton about shaping a modern HBO TV show. Part 1 | Part 2