Making the Cut: Chris McCaleb—Cracking the Code

By in Making The Cut, Video Editing

Since 2014, editor Chris McCaleb has received multiple Emmy and Eddie (American Cinema Editors) nominations for Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad. But he first made a name for himself by earning back-to-back Emmy nominations for Sam Has 7 Friends (2006) and Prom Queen (2007).

When picking a project, McCaleb says, it’s important to have a good feeling about the people with whom you’ll be spending lots of time working. He also says that an open mind is an important attribute for an editor. For example, while working on the AMC series Halt and Catch Fire, he saw that a particular scene simply wasn’t working.

To fix it, McCaleb dove deep into Media Composer’s toolset. As a result, he was able to turn a two-person scene with dialogue into a one-person scene with no dialogue by using Media Composer’s Animatte feature to completely remove the actor. While not as written, focusing only on the actions of the remaining character allowed him to rework the scene in a way that wouldn’t have been possible without an open mind and robust toolset.

“Yeah. This is it! We sort of cracked the code on that. And we couldn’t have done that without an editorial exploration and all of the tools that we have in the Avid.”

—Chris McCaleb, editor, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul

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