To say this is difficult is an understatement. It has been a learning process for all of us, but after a few weeks of work I feel like we’ve finally hit our stride as a production team. How is it physically possible to edit a 40 minute – 1 hour show in two days?
First of all, the technology helps a lot.
Thunderbolt ports for dumping the footage cuts the data transfer time by over 50%, so the poor camera person (doubling as the DIT) can sleep a little more.
The boys at BTBTV bought a fabulous 27″ iMac with a 3.7GHz quad core processor, 32gb of RAM, and a graphics card with 2GB of VRAM
Premiere Pro, the light of my life, the editing platform that I love, natively reads the .MXF files from the Sony PMW100 (among many other cameras). Yes, while it does have to process the files and generate the preview files in the background, it is considerably faster than transcoding the footage.
Aside from a fabulous program and computer, the real key here is the file organization folks. Sean English the wonderful Director of Photography whom I also knew from interning at Rule Boston Camera, has been a key role in making sure the 5 cameras have consistently named file structures and are synced using timecode before the start of filming any races. It definitely took a couple episodes to get the kinks worked out (which meant some crazy overtime) but afterwards it has worked fantastically. Here is what it looks like when the footage is all dumped, and just to give you an idea of the scope of this, each episode is 500gb + of raw data.
After the footage is dumped, the lovely Camera Person/DIT brings it in to my Premiere Template and organizes the footage in to the bins, so acting a bit as an Assistant Editor as well.
Then I come in Monday morning at 7:30, sync up the 4 races using multiclip. Each race has 5 cameras running simultaneously and all roughly an hour long each. That’s around 20 hours of footage! I then watch those races for the remainder of the day and whittle them down to 4-6 minutes per race. Then Colt the writer, director, producer, host of the show comes in and records his voice over and I do some light prep work for the following day. This usually consists of syncing any two camera interviews, and putting each interview on the proper timeline for its segment in the show. I edit the entire show in segments on different timelines, and then when I’m done I nest all those timelines into a larger timeline. It’s really the only way to stay organized and not lose footage in a shuffle or delete, at least I have found for myself.
Day 2, I come in 7:30, put the Voice Overs on the Races and balance out the natural sound from the cameras and finally I have the first half of the show edited! But then I go through all the interviews, cut out the ums, balance the audio, color correct anything glaring, cover them with a bit of b-roll and then move on to honestly the hardest part of the two days.
By 5:30-6pm we’re hopefully watching the episode and placing markers for any weird occurrences or things that need to be addressed. Then for the last half hour of the day I fix everything like the speediest tiredest person in the world. In perfect world I would have another day to tweak, fix, and perfect, but people need their cyclocross content ASAP!
There you have it, a roughly hour long show edited in 2 days.