I was brought onto this project pretty late in the game, after principal photography was wrapped. Evidently, the production was rushed and there wasn’t a lot of order to the footage and sound files. It was a perfect example of an editor’s nightmare: files with out labels or proper slates at the beginnings of takes. I often felt like a private investigator, going through shots and sound files, trying to determine who was speaking when, using door slams or horns honking as a sync point.
This third segment was probably the most difficult when it came to organizing the footage. Some of the best b-camera shots were done with long lenses, shooting through tinted glass. There was a lot of guessing involved in determining who was driving when. “Hmmm. I think that dark blob’s silhouette looks a little like Teeqo.” The same was true for the drone footage which was often shot from fifty feet in the air.
One thing that Premiere does reasonably well is the multicamera sync function. Basically, you select the sound and picture files that you think show the same action and it will attempt to sync all media together in one track. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work if the video doesn’t have at least a scratch track for sound because Premiere uses the sound wave files to match up all the media. I’m particularly proud of the split-screen moments in this segment where you can see the same moment simultaneously from different angles. This would have been so much harder without the multicamera media tracks.
Another obstacle was dealing with different cameras running at different times. Because it’s documentary footage, there wasn’t always a director yelling “roll camera.” Lot of times I would use one shot for a scene but, for whatever reason, it would cut out in the middle of a conversation and I would have to cheat and use reactions or b-roll in order to create a continuous moment.
Just so we’re clear, I’m not complaining about this kind of troubleshooting. For sure it would have been easier if the media was more organized, but I also relish the chance to “cheat” and use editing tricks as a means of creating the illusion of continuous action.