There are three reasons why I decided to edit Lamentation myself: One, is that I don’t feel comfortable barking orders over someone’s shoulder in the edit suite as it makes me feel like a dictator. The second reason is that I did not want to schedule the days I come into the edit with any potential editor of mine’s schedule. The flexibility of coming in to edit myself whenever I had the time to was invaluable, especially during the tail end of the semester when so many other people are busy with their own projects and may not be free when I am free. And thirdly, it’s because I myself enjoy editing.
The edit suite is where the film you shot actually becomes a film; editing being the only aspect of filmmaking that is unique to cinema. I’ve nearly always edited (or co-edited) the projects I’ve worked on in the past and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
The only problem with a director of a film editing their own movie is that they lose an objective eye on their material. Something I noticed in my experience editing Lamentation which is something I’ll go into detail in my next post about the feedback I received from the rough cut screening.
Moving on to my actual process in cutting Lamentation together, the process was longer than I thought it would be. This would be due to me having to sync the sound together. This is something that I have never done before in post as in my previous experience I had used cameras that have the XLR cables of the boom microphone connected to them, recording sound and picture on to one file.
This process was lengthened even further due to the fact that we did not use a clapper board throughout the shoot so I could not use the auto sync on Premiere as there was no point of reference. Coupled with the fact that Rita, as my 1st AD, did not fill out the camera reports properly (not using the proper camera report template) and not having a sound report, this made sifting through the sound files take much longer than need be.
This hit home to me the massive importance that clapper boards, camera and sound reports have when it comes to editing the picture of a film together as they make the life of an editor all the more easier when sifting through heaps of footage.
I managed to put together a fine cut of the film relatively quickly as I knew in my head exactly how the film would look like edited (another one of the advantages being both director and editor).
The sound mix with Peter Williams was relatively quick also as there were only a few sound effects that I wanted in order for me really make the film come to life, not relying solely on the ambient noise. Me, Rita and even Peter himself contributed to doing the Foley on some of the sound effects which was a lot of fun. After our session, I looked forward to playing around with the sound effects we recorded in the edit and see what I could create.
The colour grading took me a few days as it had been a while since I used DaVinci Resolve so I had to get my head around it. But in the end I managed to colour grade all of my clips to suit a colour palette that I wanted which resulted in a bluish tinge for the first half of the film (symbolising my protagonist’s grief and depression) and a golden hue in the second half of the film to illustrate the change in disposition of my protagonist Donald to a more optimistic one.
Looking for a composer as well as getting the music onto my film on time proved to be a major challenge of the post production process. I contacted a colleague of mine who I went to the BFI Film Academy Residential with in 2013 at the NFTS who just happens to be a freelance composer and asked him if he was available to score on my film.
Initially he was happy to do it, but he contacted me a few days later saying he had too much paid work on his plate with similar deadlines to my film and therefore could not devote time to working on it for free. Seeing as me and Rita did not have the money to spend on him (considering we went overbudget already), we decided to look elsewhere for a composer.
Luckily Rita stumbled across a 3rd year music student,Josiah, who was looking for film’s to score on. We met up with him after our sound mix session and I communicated to him what I wanted musically for the film. He took all of my direction on board and after sending him a rough cut of my film I awaited his contribution.
After sending me his first rough composition of the music I sent him a comprehensive email of the changes I wanted to the music.
Now, I have never directed a composer before (in the past I usually plucked royalty-free music from free music websites) so I made the rookie mistake in initially sending Josiah a cut of my film with the audio still attached (I had not yet tweaked the audio levels). This resulted in him sending me a rough edit of my film back with the music and sound effects being too overpowering.
Therefore my submission was a film where the audio levels were not crisp. I asked Josiah to send me the music files separately from the video and he did so, allowing me to incorporate the music to my original timeline edit with the audio levels adjusted, furthermore allowing me to edit the music levels also.