Editorial is the last checkpoint.
Keep communication open with DIT, Continuity, Camera Assist and Sound Recordist as the footage comes in. Anomalies or problems need to be tactfully relayed back to them and answers chased when necessary. This is where those relationships and a well-trained 1st Assistant Editor really count.
Assistant Editor Skylar Bingham
The Role of the 1st Assistant Editor
1st Assistant Editor is a career path of its own – it is an entirely technical role, which sets up all of the digital parameters and relationships for the edit to progress smoothly. It is a completely different function from that of a creative Editor and is no longer a path to becoming an Editor.
They should have specific and detailed technical training, so your cheap student mate will not do unless you want to spend half your schedule showing them what to do and then correcting their mistakes at Handover.
Cheap assistants have a bad budget impact. Well-trained assistants are worth their weight in gold.
Here’s some of what they do:
- They need to be able to do all the functions mentioned above
- And understand why they’re doing them
- Liaise with Editor & Producer in order to:
- Set a robust workflow in place for that specific production
- Run a workflow meeting with the Producer
- Prep ScriptSync if required
- Receive rushes, check, sync, log and prepare rushes screening reels
- Act as gatekeeper for the integrity of the footage
- Be first contact in Editorial so the Editor can focus on creativity
- Liaise with set and crew
- Keep track of all edits; make and send required outputs
- Prep sequences, tracklaying/grading if necessary for screenings
- Liaise with post houses and do Handovers
- Handle the emails
- Troubleshoot any digital/computer problems
- Make good coffee (or tea) and cake!
The Assistant makes sure Editorial has everything for what was shot: picture and sound, logs, reports, the right formats, codecs, metadata for each shoot day.
Dropouts, pixels, missing files (ascertain by cross-checking all that paperwork), lack of coverage, drifting sync, incorrect LUTs, performance issues, sound levels, soft focus, crew in shot (especially anything that calls for a reshoot) – all these are the Editor’s responsibility to raise with the personnel who need to know.
Changes are often happening on set as compromises are made due to time, budget and conditions – good relationships keep that information flowing.
Media from other sources and pickups, picture and sound, must all receive the same systematic input as Rushes.
Source of external media and their formats is crucial information to be retained. This is where problems can occur in Online and Sound Post.
Editorial needs to support the set.
Might involve output requests for shots or edits of troublesome scenes; letting crew members know when work is really useful to Editorial; Assistant can edit a crew screener of where they’ve been (not edited scenes) for the 3rd or 4th week of the shoot to boost morale/spirits in the long hours at the mercy of the seasons.
And support the Director.
Give feedback quickly on problems, performance and coverage.
Nothing leaves the edit suite for any reason unless authorised by the Director. No edits can be seen by anyone (including producers) unless approved by Director.
Conversely, take care not to overload Editorial during the shoot.
And the Producer.
When footage volume increases exponentially, or any of the problems in Inputs become endemic or require a reshoot or pickup, the Producer needs to know because it’s going to impact budget and schedule – which means less in post-production for Editorial and post houses.
Last updated on 25 September 2020
Top Image: Filming webseries Friday Night Bites (Courtesy of Flat3 Productions Ltd)
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