Finding the Perfect Balance Between Style and Substance While Editing ‘Parnassus’

By in Timeline Tuesday, Video Editing

Parnassus is a film by first time director Robin Boissevain. It tells the story of the impossible love between Jonas and Linde, set in a war between two small diners opposite of each other on a bridge in Amsterdam.

The film was made with the help from an initiative called ‘3LAB’ in The Netherlands, which stimulates young filmmakers with developing and making ‎new formats for the web and television.

Director Robin Boissevain contacted me when his script was green lit by the people funding the project. A lot of the visual style was inspired by Dennis Kelly’s series Utopia, so we kept that in the back of our heads while cutting.

Yannick de Waal as Jonas

The biggest challenge of the film was the balance between style and substance; telling the story in such a suggestive way with the edit, while maintaining the visual style set out by director of photography Nina Badoux. It was no easy task to spread out all the information during the film, and find the perfect way of introducing the side plot.

Film poster for ‘Parnassus’

Editor Robin de Jong in his edit suite

#story #structure #balance #storytelling Maar ik probeer eigenlijk gewoon een moord op te lossen.

A photo posted by Robin de Jong (@robindejongfilm) on

One of the things we changed in the edit was to deliberately switch perspective after everything had been set up. The story focuses on our protagonist Jonas, but halfway the film we switch over to his father. This way we created more space for the viewer to feel empathy for him, which added up significantly at the end of the movie. Because of this we had less time for the subplot to develop, so we had reduce the importance of some of the supporting characters.

Hanneke van der Paardt as Linde

The ending required some effort from the viewer to understand, so we had to clear some things up a bit. Instead of explaining things, we help the viewer with the puzzle to have an extra look inside the mind of Linde halfway through the movie by adding a monologue about her view of the world, while the love between Jonas and her unfolds.

Timeline showing ‘picture lock’ for ‘Parnassus’

Zoon op set eigen film #parnassus

A photo posted by Daniel Boissevain (@daniel_boissevain) on

The workflow for Parnassus was pretty straightforward. It was shot in just 10 days on the Red Epic in 4K. We had about 12 hours of footage, which we transcoded to DNxHD 36. After that the assistant editor synced all the audio and prepared everything for the edit. We reached picture lock at version 9, after that I created an AAF linking to my OMFI MediaFiles for sound and an AAF and EDL’s for the conform, color grading and VFX.

John Buijsman as Marcel

Raymond Thiry as Robert

The premiere will be on October 13th. The new season of 3LAB starts on October 18th on Dutch television and will kick off with our movie. Afterwards we hope it will be accepted into film festivals worldwide. We had a lot of fun making the movie and figuring out in the edit the best possible way to tell the story, and I hope our enthusiasm and love for movies and stories in general will be felt by the audience as well.

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I started out as a VTR operator and worked my way up becoming an editor, cutting mainly feature films. I’m currently based in Amsterdam and you can find me on Twitter at @robindejongfilm.