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  • Sumesh Lekhi

From the Editing Table:

Was getting DMs on guidance about how to initiate and set up an edit after natural history film shoots. This snapshot is from a film project very close to my heart. This a much larger project with years of research and material needing multiple projects to feed the final film, but short films can be executed in just one project file in the software. So here goes:

To start with in the software of choice:

1) CREATE PROJECT & IMPORT MEDIA: I had to begin executing and subdividing progressing shots through 8 different projects in the editing software through 2 editing machines due to volume of shots and heavy file MBPS flow.

2) CONSOLIDATION FILES: Now have consolidated and brought them into 2 projects with working titles CentIndia1 and CentIndia2

3) CREATE BINS AS THE 1ST STEP: As the key species here are Bengal Tigers about 20 tiger shot bins have been created for individual tigers plus about 20 more for cubs/behavioral research etc. so that during edit sessions, the sequence being made of a particular tiger will have specific shots only of that tiger including the cubs. Say we are editing Maya's sequences, then only shots of Maya and only her cubs will be used throughout, which are taken from the bin/sub-bins related to her.

4) Good/NG SHOTS/BE TRUE TO INDIVIDUAL SPECIES MEMBERS in the BINS: Editing in Natural history is generally a detailed process that is clocked over 12-14 hours a day and for a project this size with immense research and filming it can also be a 4-year post production timeline from edit to DI. Begin with shots being studied on the editing table with good/NG shot divisions made and then individual bins created before even the edit can start.

5) FURTHER BINS: Each of the projects have about 70 species bins ie including mammals, birds and insects and about 15 flora/land features apart from the bins with the drone/gimbal and other inserts.

6) TIMELINES: In this project to build sequences we have about 50 timelines that eventually constantly feeds the 2-3 main Timelines where the film is being made in stages.

7) PERSONALIZED FLAG/KEYWORDS: I personally flag certain shots with different color flags for the treatment they may require whether for color grade, animal reactions etc and also assign keyword tags to some shots- say alert or rutting call, so that when sifting through a huge library of shots, just by typing a keyword the particular behavior or shot is displayed. In the sub-divided shot vertical thumbnails on the left, the shots are marked with a blue flag.This is important so that when you are editing sequences in the timeline you can insert your shots easily.


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