On Wednesday we finally wrapped on The Garden. For a short film it’s been a long haul, with principle photography having started back in February. But now the hard work really begins.
It’s also when a lot of the fun begins. Editing is painstaking work, but it’s where the movie really gets made. At the moment, we’re in the process of logging and syncing up shots. The footage we got in the February and June shoots has already been used in a rough montage.
But creating a rough cut is deceptive. An hour’s work will give you a crude first assemblage. And you think, “well, this is easier than I thought”. Then you get into the fine detail, agonising over the exact positioning of cuts – down to individual frames; replacing one take with another that you suddenly realise will work better; changing the order or dropping shots entirely. And that’s before you start on the audio.
This is also a nerve-wracking moment. Did we get all the shots we need? Will they cut together?
We were very careful about creating a shot list beforehand, but that was subject to change during the shoot itself. Sometimes you realise that you don’t need a shot. Other times you come to understand how two of the shots you planned simply won’t work together and you need something to link them.
In the July shoot, we shot two scenes that involve most of the film’s dialogue. While some of this was done as traditional reverses (filing one actor then the other, so that in the edit we can switch between them), we also tried a couple of different approaches, including trying to get most of scene 2 in a single shot (with some inserts shot as coverage). But until we start editing in earnest, we won’t know how well that worked, whether there are moments where the focus pulls and framing didn’t quite follow the action, and whether we have enough inserts in the right places to deal with any such flaws.
However it turns out, though, one thing is certain – we had a fantastic cast & crew who all provided energy, skills, ideas and enthusiasm. Filmmaking is a cooperative enterprise. And given that we rely on volunteers, we’re lucky to have had so many people willing not only to spend their time on this project, but also eager to contribute creatively.