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Step Inside the Cutting Room with Eddie Hamilton, ACE and Analyze the Timeline of “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”

On Kingsman: The Golden Circle, director Matthew Vaughn reteamed with editor Eddie Hamilton, ACE, to cut the action of this exhilarating sequel to the 2015 spy flick.

Now you can follow the action from a different “editorial” angle, as Eddie Hamilton, sent us screen grabs of the full Avid Media Composer timeline and Workspace of the film!

We invite you to click the timeline, zoom in and analyze Hamilton’s timeline setup and creative workflow for the edit of Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Enjoy!

“Avid Media Composer is rock solid. On Kingsman: The Golden Circle we were editing in many countries with multiple Media Composer workstations and laptops, mostly in our main cutting rooms but also in hotel rooms, at the director’s home, on the mixing stage, during flights, in a forest, on the side of a mountain and even travelling in a cable car. Avid Media Composer’s powerful media management tools meant we could have multiple copies of our complete media and project wherever and whenever we needed it and everything worked reliably and quickly. Avid Media Composer gives me peace of mind. For a film as complex as this, I wouldn’t trust any other editing software.”

—Eddie Hamilton, ACE

Read this Avid Blogs article, to analyze Eddie Hamilton’s Media Composer timeline for Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.

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Building an Editing Career with Avid Media Composer

I started out as an assistant editor four years ago and was constantly switching between different nonlinear editing systems such as Final Cut Pro and Premiere. I had a basic knowledge of Avid Media Composer but knew that to step up my game and become a feature film editor, I would have to master the art of Media Composer.

To do that, I enrolled in an Avid training course at VET Post Production in London in January 2014, took the Avid Certified User exam and became the first certified Media Composer editor in Jordan.

Not long after that, I got my first feature as main editor on Zinzana. Initially the producers were looking for an editor to cut together the first 10 scenes so they could make sure they were getting the material they wanted, and I was in the right place at the right time, with the right set of skills. I wasn’t briefed before I started work; I just received a hard drive containing the footage.

I cut the scenes, and a couple of days later, I got a call from the director, Majid Al Ansari. I went to the set the same day, and he was very excited about the sequences I had sent. He said they were exactly what he had in mind for the edit, so I was brought on board to edit the rest of the film.

“Zinzana” means “cell” in Arabic, and the setting for the film is a cell in a rural police station in Jordan. The story revolves round Talal (played by Saleh Bakri), who is a recovering alcoholic and is in custody. Events take a bizarre turn with the arrival of a charismatic but clearly insane police officer (Ali Suliman) who wreaks havoc and threatens Talal’s family. From there, it becomes a game between the two men.

The film was shot on one set/location, so it was important to establish the environment without making the shots feel repetitive. I would sometimes resize them and shift their positions to make sure that the audience’s eyes follow the movement from one cut to the next, engaging them in the story despite its confined setting.

At the beginning I was working without an assistant, and I set up the project by myself in the way I’m comfortable with — syncing the footage, labeling the clips and organizing the bins. I was using Media Composer v8.4.2 on a Mac Pro with Nitris DX. The great thing about Media Composer is it allows me to do all that easily and efficiently, without holding up the assembly cut. I imported the footage as DNxHD36 and synced the audio instantly based on timecode using the Auto-Sync function, creating grouped clips for multicam shots.

The Commit Multicam Edits feature is one of my favorite functions. I would switch between camera angles in grouped clips as I was editing and then would use the Commit Multicam edit just before export to commit to my final choice of camera angle.

I always work with the standard Avid keyboard settings, but I map out the shortcuts Shift F5 and F6 to toggle between the Source/Record Editing workspace and Effects Editing. I had saved that shortcut to my command set a while ago, and now it’s a natural hand motion for me on the keyboard.

In terms of effects, Zinzana has a major sequence in which one character spits alcohol on a lit match to set someone else on fire. I had plates of the stunts blowing out real fire on set, so I used Animatte to isolate the flame and composite it on to the clean shots of the actors. Temp effects make it much easier for me as an editor to visualize the scene better and pace it accordingly.

The flashback scenes were probably the most challenging scenes to edit. They were shot against a black background and were not giving the right emotion for the story; instead of coming off as an ethereal, dream-like sequence, it was dark and confusing. I had to experiment a lot with the scene using crossfades, superimposing the footage and intercutting, as well as ramping time with key frames and adding audio effects to the dialogue. I managed to get the scene as close as possible to where we wanted it to be emotionally, which helped the director determine the exact shots and pace he would get in the reshoot, and it turned out beautifully.

Majid and I trusted each other from the beginning, and he let me complete the rough cut without any guidance or direction. I had the first cut ready within three or four weeks, and Majid and I worked on it at Optix, a post-production facility in Dubai. He had specific ideas of what he wanted to achieve, and he communicated his thoughts very clearly, which made editing a breeze.

Since completing Zinzana, I have been working on The Worthy, another Image Nation production that is set in a dystopian future. It was shot entirely in Romania, so for the duration of the shoot, I was working with a post team in Bucharest. We had two Avid stations set up and connected through a network server. The assistant editor, Natalia, would sync the material — which would include eight camera set-ups at times — and then save the bins for me in a folder on the server. This was very efficient for the tight shooting schedule that we had and proved even more useful when I had to move the edit to Dubai and still receive bins from the post team in Bucharest. I couldn’t have asked for a more comfortable and efficient workflow on what was a VFX-heavy film with a tight schedule.

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Analyze the Full Media Composer Timeline of ‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation’

Ever wondered how a finished blockbuster timeline looks like? Editor Eddie Hamilton, ACE, sent us a screen grab of the full timeline of the fifth installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise. And just like the actual movie, the timeline reflects all the action you would expect from the series … and more!

We invite you to click the timeline, zoom in and analyze Hamilton’s timeline set-up and creative workflow for the edit of Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation. Enjoy!

“What I absolutely love about Media Composer is the way it manages its media; it’s just bullet-proof.  A lot of times I take a portable system with an encrypted hard drive to the set. On that drive, I have all the media organized in Avid’s well-known sequentially numbered MXF folder structure. Working this way, I am absolutely sure that the actual media is never ‘offline.’ I can move these assets to any another Avid system, plug in the drive, and I’m up and running in a matter of seconds. You can’t underestimate how reassuring that is when you are working on a big film like ‘Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation’ and time is of the essence.”

—Eddie Hamilton, ACE

 

You can read the full interview with Hamilton on cutting Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation on Avid Blogs, where he shares his experience working with director Christopher McQuarrie and producer Tom Cruise in the cutting room of ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’.

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Lots of Edits for a “Little Mix” — Martin Craswell Crafts Long-Form Music Shows

I was a senior editor at a small London-based production company. We specialized in music TV: live shows and documentaries. Editing a concert video for British girl group Little Mix turned out being the last project I worked on before the company fell into liquidation.

Over my five years at the company, I worked on every type of music content imaginable. After studying film at university and starting as an assistant editor, then I became a well-qualified and well-versed editor. Essentially, I was given the opportunity to practice every varying technique of music TV editing in Avid, Premiere and Final Cut.

This lead me to the way I now cut live music. Avid is the only platform I feel truly comfortable with, like an old friend. It’s relaxing to know how intuitive and natural the system is and the stability it offers.

We shot the Little Mix show on Sony FS7/F55s at 50fps for the option of slow-motion when we needed it. I was DIT for the shoot, too — I like to go down to the shoot in some capacity or another to feel the vibe and understand things better for the transcoding/syncing process.

Avid transcoded everything down to DNxHD 36 for the offline, and the AutoSequence option sunk the cameras by time-of-day timecode. I sunk all the cameras myself and organized the project the way I like — when I have the time to do this, I find it immeasurably more useful to know exactly where everything is and how I want it.

My edits are all derived from a single sync map — so no multigroups. All cameras are stacked on top of each other, with a few empty tracks below for the edit. I section every song individually and, before cutting anything, I watch every single angle and add markers for moments I like or know I’m going to use — the higher the concentration of markers, the more I like that moment.

Once everything’s been viewed, the edit begins. I’ll start by building things around the moments I like, and over the course of a few hours, the song comes together.

You may ask why I use Avid for this. The way I edit isn’t specifically attuned to a particular NLE. But I’d say that makes the choice even more important. Since I don’t use any overriding software feature, it has to be about the platform and where I’m most relaxed.

Watching every camera angle always takes the most time. But for me, it’s absolutely necessary. For example, before the Little Mix show, I’d been editing the MTV show Live Lockdown, which uses only eight cameras, meaning this pre-edit watch is a shorter process. But for Little Mix, we had 20 cameras, so a lot of time was spent just watching. And I can confidently say I’ve watched every single angle — more than 32 hours of footage.

On a basic level, this means I definitely find all the little gems of a show. But beyond that, it gives me the ability to think about every cut. For me, I’m considering everything in a cinematic way — I almost come to it with a feature-film frame of mind: introducing characters, creating a narrative, steering emotion, or controlling tension and pace. With live music there’s less control had during the shoot, as compared to a live-action film or TV drama. But I don’t feel like that’s any reason why the edit shouldn’t be any less considered.

Multigroup editing offers a great way to make instant decisions and tweak them after. In my five years at a production company, I saw freelancers come and go, and it struck me that the majority of live music was cut on what looks good, with less consideration given to the why or the when (usually because of budgets). But I’m always wanting to push things further.

Let’s have a shot/reaction-shot of the crowd to really feel the mood; let’s go to a close-up because the story behind the song demands it; let’s hold back from introducing a new camera angle until it’s absolutely necessary because its meaning is connected to a change in the protagonist’s dominance. Such things don’t always apply, but such things should certainly be considered.

And what naturally seems to happen is that you know where the edit is going. The thought process has lead to that moment so you immediately know what shot you’ll need next: “Right, I need a long shot to break the tension. This jib camera has a marker and its wide, cut that in.” And it seems that Avid is set up in the perfect way to necessitate the way I work and make it equally as streamlined.

By the end of an edit, I always revel in letting Avid take control. Relinking back to the rushes is always an instantaneous process because of its organization during the transcoding, so I rarely worry that anything has changed in my edit. Recently, Da Vinci Resolve has become a more prominent feature in our finishing workflow, and the AAF into that system seems to work like a dream. I’ve many times witnessed an assistant editor recoil in fear when trying to match back to rushes in Resolve from a project cut using Premiere.

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Seven Year Old Auteur Shows Ed Asner What’s Up!

My name is Bailey. I am seven years old and I am in second grade. I am also in Girl Scouts. In my opinion, I think I’m pretty darn good at directing and editing things.

I’ve always liked a lot of different movies. Some of my favorite movies are Amelie, The Quiet Man, Sing Street, School of Rock, Mary Poppins, A Hard Day’s Night, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy, The Bowery Boys, Abbott and Costello, Popeye cartoons and much more. My favorite kinds of movies are comedies. My name is Bailey because I am named after George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life.

My dad is a producer and editor so most of the time I am in edit bays when I visit his office. My dad is very good at editing and he has shown me how to make movies. We have made short documentaries about movie locations.

I’ve met some movie stars at celebrity conventions. One of my favorite memories was meeting Dick Van Dyke. Sometimes we dress up for pictures with the movie stars to make it look like we were in those movies. I’ve met actors from Alien, Jaws and Tim Curry from Annie.

The Alien cast: Yaphet Kotto, my dad, me, Veronica Cartwright, and Tom Skerritt

The Jaws cast: Richard Dreyfuss, me, and dad

The Annie cast: my dad, me, Tim Curry and Aileen Quinn

Now I want to talk about the movie I made recently.

At my school there is something called PTA Reflections. PTA Reflections celebrates the arts. For PTA Reflections, the school asks you to do a dance, draw a picture, make movies and stuff like that. Last year I won first place for making a movie. This year’s theme is “Within Reach” so that’s what I called my new movie.

The movie is about a girl who tries to get a Teddy bear off of a roof. She tries different ways to get it off the roof then she comes up with using balloons to fly herself, just like in UP and in The Red Balloon. Then she goes too high. While she is in the sky, she sees Girl Scouts and then she sees the actor Ed Asner from the movie UP.

I wrote the script myself. My dad showed me a script format but I came up with the ideas and dialogue myself. From watching people like Charlie Chaplin and Jerry Lewis I learned how to make it a comedy but still have it be logical because that makes it funnier. I know about something in comedy called the Theory of Threes, when you build a joke in three steps.

Bailey directs the Girl Scouts of Los Angeles Troop 4491.

In the movie I was flying too high. In the script I had to come up with a way to get down. I came up with using a flying crow’s beak to pop the balloons. In real life when I tried to use the beak, it wasn’t sharp enough so I taped a toothpick to it!

To make the movie I had to buy and make props. I bought lots of bananas and I made a doll into my stunt double. The doll had to be floating with balloons but it was too heavy so we cut her legs off!!!

When I was writing the script, I thought it would be cool to have Ed Asner from UP in my movie. The only problem was I didn’t know Ed Asner personally. The theme was “Within Reach” so I knew I had to try. My dad found somebody from his family on Facebook and we sent him my idea and told him I was seven. I felt happy when Ed Asner said that he could be in my movie. He’s very famous and I’m only seven.

I had him say a line about my character having spunk because that was a famous line from The Mary Moore Show. I saw that on YouTube.

When I was done filming the movie, I recorded sound effects. I used a slide whistle which is a good comedy sound. For the sound of pee I filled a popcorn box with water and poured it into the toilet.

I edited it on Media Composer | First. It was very professional like my dad’s. I learned different things in editing like in point, out point and overwrite. It was hard to learn editing but I figured it out. It took a while to edit because it’s a pretty long movie. I usually decide to end the shot when people are done talking.

I liked putting in sound effects to make the comedy funnier. I made the titles on the Avid and put a shadow under the letters to make it look like you are looking up. There is a part where I go in my room and look at different posters of people flying. But most of those posters are not actually in my room. But with editing it makes it look like I’m looking at those posters. The magic of editing!!!

The Media Composer | First timeline of 'Within Reach'

Editing is like a puzzle but I make up the pieces. The pieces are the shots and editing them together makes the puzzle solved.

When I grow up I want to be a producer, editor and comedian actress. There aren’t enough girl directors! Thank you for reading this blog and I hope you like my movie. Have a great day.

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Editor Phil Bowman — Meeting the Challenge of Real Stories

Editor Phil Bowman has built a wealth of career experience in fiction and documentary that cover military missions, true-crime, and ghost stories that cross into sci-fi. On Avid Media Composer, he has cut the feature film Pickups starring Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones) about the life of a jobbing actor, which premiered at the London Film Festival 2017, the Discovery show Gold Rush, which follows crews as they hunt for gold in the Yukon, and Obsession, a series telling the harrowing stories of victims of stalking.

As editor for Arrow Media’s true crime documentary series, See No Evil, produced for Investigation Discovery, he cut the recently-aired Shadow of Hope, about missing South Carolina woman Hope Melton, and the ensuing dramatic investigation.

Programs in the documentary genre cover myriad topics, and producing an episode from start to finish can take as little as seven weeks. On such a tight production schedule, the success of a program relies on a talented editor with natural timing for drama and a journalist’s devotion to the truth.

Phil relies on Avid Media Composer for editing stories, and has developed a tremendous acuity with the software and its various features. It is also his ability to feel the timings, as well as the use of sound and music.

“Music and scoring are inherent parts of the editing process. Punctuation is so important.”

Phil talks about timing the music score to the beats in the story, and aligning the song endings with video segments by setting markers, and cutting frames and beats. “One of the features I use is the audio mixdown tool. I can add reverb in Avid to a single beat and create an artificial climax to a song that falls wherever I need it to on the timeline in order to help me punctuate a piece of action on line of sync. The editing functions in Media Composer let me be the boss of the material.”

Photo Credit: Phil Bowman © 2018

And speaking of staying in control of the material, Phil’s feel for timing is supported by asymmetrical trimming in the timeline. Features like this within the Media Composer enable editors like Phil the unparalleled ability to keep up with a fast-paced production schedule.

“Asymmetrical trimming for transitions is another great feature. I make the trims by feel, and the ability to play a cut on the fly is fantastic. I often use it to trim the transition between outgoing and incoming scenes in order to get the pacing just right.”

Another important factor in editing documentaries is that the dialogue is key to engaging the audience. This means Bowman works hard to get the best from his audio. “I always strive to provide the best sonic experience possible during the offline, and Avid’s plugins allow me to achieve this.” And he looks for the best tips and practices from other editors. “If you look at (John Wick 2 editor, Ghost Protocol associate editor) Evan Schiff’s blog, he provides a lot of tools for fixing dialogue which I have used as my go to for a while now.”

Photo Credit: Phil Bowman © 2018

In film and television editing, like many other areas in the creative arts, specialization can be an advantage. “You can get typecast as an editor. Although I have worked on a lot of true crime shows, I like to keep it varied. The feature film Pickups was a far cry from my television work, but allowed me to put my documentary skills to good use in piecing together the narrative of the film.” This approach to work has allowed Phil to develop a rich resume in a short amount of time.

“It is a given to get drawn in to the story emotionally, especially when viewing the family interviews and listening to their accounts.”

In any production, the editor is the first audience member, reviewing the finished edit before anyone else. With subject matter that can often be delicate and heartbreaking, this is another unique factor that comes with a focus area. “I never lose sight of the fact that there are real people involved, and it is critical to do right by the families.”

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Making The Cut: Tim Porter, ACE, Talks Working With Avid on “Game of Thrones”

Avid sponsored the annual ACE EditFest in London this summer and had the chance to sit down with a must-see panel of talented editors. Our new Making The Cut blog series features award–winning editors discussing their craft, their workflows, creative processes and upcoming projects in an exclusive and intimate setting.

 

For someone who admits that he “never wanted to become an editor, I fell into it,” Tim Porter, ACE, has amassed a pretty formidable list of editing credits over the last decade – including long-running TV series Shameless, Doctor Who and, most recently, Game of Thrones.

With 3-5 editors, assistants and many workstations involved, the Game of Thrones production process is certainly extensive – but fortunately, as Porter remarks, “Avid is the leader in big projects”. Footage captured on ARRI Group Alexa cameras is brought to the dailies department, where it is graded, sunk and sent to the editor’s assistants.

“The great thing about working on a project like Game of Thrones is that everybody is on top of their game and everything is Avid, and all the technology has been put into place for editors not to worry about anything else but the editing.”

The benefit of having Avid as an editing platform is its inherent “simplicity”. “It always feels like I’m talking in my second language when I try and use anything [other than Avid] because it’s not as simple,” he says.

Full timeline of ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 6 – Episode 9

Battle scene of ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 6 – Episode 9

Detailed timeline view of ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 6 – Episode 9

“I love the simplicity of Avid’s editing.”

—Tim Porter, ACE, editor of “Game of Thrones”

A big thank you to the team at American Cinema Editors who helped organize the interview at this year’s EditFest London.

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Accelerate storytelling with the tools embraced by top movie, television, and broadcast editors. And power through HD and high-res editing faster and easier than ever.




‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Editor, Bob Ducsay, Shares Media Composer Timelines

To commemorate this year’s Star Wars Day (May 4, or better known on Twitter as #MayThe4thBeWithUs), Avid’s NAB 2018 special guest, editor Bob Ducsay, sent us a series of screen grabs from the Media Composer timelines of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Thank you, Bob!

Are you a Star Wars super fan? Then you can probably figure out which scenes the following sequences belong to (Quick Tip: a film reel approximately runs 11 minutes). Click the timelines, zoom in, and analyze Bob Ducsay’s creative editorial workflow for the ninth installment of the Star Wars saga. Enjoy!

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ — Reel 1 — 9:40 to 10:10

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ — Reel 1 — 10:40 to 11:20 (audio only)

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ — Reel 1 — 12:30 to 15:30

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ — Reel 1 — 8:30 to 9:50

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ — Reel 9 — 1:40 to 2:50 (audio only)

Our on-demand video, featuring the complete interview with Bob Ducsay on the Avid main stage at NAB 2018, will be available soon. In the meantime, watch these short interviews with Bob at NAB 2018.

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Cutting ‘Nothing to Lose’ — Brazil’s Most Ambitious Feature Film

The biopic ‘Nothing to Lose’ (‘Nada a Perder’), about the life of controversial religious leader Edir Macedo, founder of the Universal Church, was conceived from the beginning as two movies. With four million tickets sold at pre-order, it’s already number one at the national box office for 2018.

The story encompasses various decades (from the ‘50s to the present day) and has scenes shot in various countries (including Brazil, Egypt, Israel, South Africa, and the United States).

Due to such colossal logistics, production decided to shoot both movies together, an unprecedented endeavor in Latin America.

To accomplish this feat, the crew spent more than 90 days shooting; all scenes were shot with at least two Alexa Mini cameras using anamorphic Cooke lenses. The most complex sequences, like the police ambush and arrest of the protagonist (Film 1) or the inauguration of the temple in South Africa (Film 2), would rely on up to six cameras.

At the stage I entered the project, half of those dailies had already been shot. In order to hasten the process without losing focus, I had assistant editor Maki Shintate working literally side by side with me. We spent a whole week just organizing the Avid Media Composer project, separating the footage by shot and scene. Above them hierarchically were two folders, one for each feature film. There was also an extra folder just for stock footage and archives from the Brazilian news, all of which would permeate both movies.

The 4K footage was all converted to DNxHR LB for offline editing. The 2.39 scope format, on-set color correction, and constantly exporting edited scenes to producers and the director all begged for a higher-resolution format. Fortunately, Avid provides that low-bitrate codec to a proper 2K offline – better than the usual DNxHD 36 or 115 for a 1080p resolution. All hardware was very new and there was a good storage system and network, so we could afford to take this step, and the whole team benefited from a better resolution offline.

When everything seemed to be going smoothly, the producers decided to advance the release of the first film by ten weeks. Thus, it was crucial to bring second editor assistant André Vital into the cutting process. Once all organizational parts were completed, Maki would focus on doing pre-cuts, while André handled the stock and archive footage and helped me tackle the researching and editing of temp scores.

With the first cut of the first film pre-approved, I sent it to PH Farias, an editor based in Rio de Janeiro. His job was to fine-tune the cut alongside Alexandre Avancini, the director. All DNxHR converted media had been sent to me and my team in São Paulo, and to PH in Rio de Janeiro. All I had to do was email him a single Avid bin, and he could then start working immediately. In parallel, my assistants and I would start working on the second movie.

Each one of these first cuts took approximately 10 weeks before being sent to Rio de Janeiro. Once there, the final cut of the first film was achieved in the stunning time of one month. Ultimately, cutting the film ‘Nothing to Lose’ was successful because of our well-oiled team, all working in a rock-solid NLE, Media Composer.

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Analyze the Full Media Composer Timeline of ‘Baby Driver’

Wondering what the timeline of 2017 smash Baby Driver looks like? BAFTA award-winning editors Paul Machliss, ACE and Jonathan Amos, ACE  sent us a screen grab of the full Media Composer timeline of director Edgar Wright’s quasi-musical on wheels.

Dive into the action, click the timeline, zoom in, and analyze Machliss’ timeline set-up, tracks, clips, color coding, and structure he used to cut Baby Driver. Enjoy!

“Avid Media Composer can handle a very large complex timeline—you can have all 120 minutes of a film up and running in a single sequence.”

—Paul Machliss, ACE

Learn more about the editorial process of Baby Driver. Watch this video interview with Paul Machliss in which he shares his experiences working with director Edgar Wright, and talks about how he edited a lot of the movie on the set of this summer blockbuster.

 

WATCH THE INTERVIEW

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Accelerate storytelling with the tools embraced by top movie, television, and broadcast editors. And power through HD and high-res editing faster and easier than ever.