Last year I got a call from Simon, a producer from A.K. Films, to help out on the edit of Caroline's Story- a monologue of the protagonist coming to terms with cancer. Which was interesting to work on a single monologue within this subject matter. Having it it all in FinalCut X (or as I like to say IMovie X) was a bit of a chore as the producers hired in a Mac for me. But with that aside it was completed and the producers were happy with the result.
Fast forward to beginning of March 2016, A.K. Films got back in touch with Selma and Louise project, about an a British Asian family living in Birmingham. It's a teaser trailer to hopefully be expanded into a full length drama or a small mini series. This time they wanted me as a main editor and happy to deliver the raw files to me, so I can use the N.L.E. of my choosing. For this project due to it being 5-8mins long I decided to use Blackmagic Davinci Resolve 12.3 as my main N.L.E. (the timeline is abit like FCX, lol).
The hard drives arrived from Simon with no paperwork, so I spent a day reviewing the footage taking notes and writing down shots. I've got to say the shots we're nicely lite, composed and some great movements in there as well. It was filmed on a Panasonic camera using AVCHD codec and Davinci Resolve 12.3 handled them very easily. The sound was spot on, hats off to the sound guy.
I firstly did a rough cut in chronological order. The first two scenes with 1 shot takes with some nice jib movement, the problem with these shots are that if you haven't rehearsed them thoroughly, it's hard for the actor to nail it on one take(esp on this production where I believe the actress came on last minute.com). Luckily the first segment of the shot started on a window and panned to the actress washing dishes. So I suggested that we start on her (after voice over of exterior shot) and use the window segment of the clip as a cutaway (her POV looking out of the window shot). So we can then use another take that was better delivered.
The second scene was the same one take with no cutaways, followed by 2 scenes of the older and younger generation of girls talking, which had maximum coverage:-) It ended at night as the husband walks in and deliveries his monologue. I uploaded it to dropbox for the producers to view. After some feedback it was decided to cut and mix the scenes into a non-linear narrative structure. Also we didn't have any shots to break up the scenes as they all happen in the kitchen, it was decided to have a day of pick ups - exterior shots of the house and the city.
So while Pickups were being done, A.K. films decided that they wanted a photo montage between India and England, so I searched for 'CC' photos on Flickr. Which aren't that many when you take into account picture size and the 'CC' license. I wanted to have matching content for example kids playing cricket but with the cultural differences. Also I graded the pictures so the India's photo's were saturated (India's vivid colours) and the English photo's desaturated (England's dull days) just to give them that little difference. Below is a sample of the montage photos...
I paced the montage into lengths of 10 frames inter cut with titled still frames of the actors, which I cleaned up and added some blur - to make the actors face stand out. The montage sped up after main title to 5 frames per clip, slowly getting longer until we hit the first shot of the zoom onto the house.
Once the title sequence was done and the pick up shots arrived I started on a few different cuts of the scenes to save them for when the producer turned up to maximize his time in the edit suite. When he came we screened the different cuts via creating different timelines in Davinci Resolve and Simon decided on the cuts he liked which we then tweaked to get the final cut. The scene with the husbands monologue had the cut away to the dripping tap, which we used and the producer liked how I implied the husband turned off the tap, at the end, signifying him ending his depression. I cut it from one of the shots of him about to fill up his glass. Please see below...
With the locked off edit we moved onto sound and for some reason the producers composer pulled out of the job, so I passed on details of a really talented composer that I use on many projects - Casual-T, which we sent over the files and CT did a fantastic job in bringing the title sequence and emotional score to life - a fusion of Asian and western sound while keeping it modern. Once we had the score from CT, the producer came round and we did a final mix and tweaked the dialogue sound.
For the colour grade we wanted to keep it quite desaturated carrying on the theme of England's dull days feel. I cleaned up acouple of shots, there was a hot spot in the hallway by the left top side of the door, also the scene where the wife is taking at the end her face was abit dark so tried to match it with the following shot. But overall I tried to keep it minimal with the grade.
All over the producers and myself are pleased with the final cut, it works well and we pull in a range of emotions as the edit flows though the narrative. A big shout out to the all the team working on this from production to post as I know there were some hick ups, but we have a cracking little film here, that you all should be proud of. Well done!
To see the film please click here