Being Good Isn't Good Enough


An afternoon in the editing suite

So on Monday I got to go on a really awesome work excursion to Chief Productions in Manchester, who are a fantastic production company who specialise in TV ads, music video's and TV programmes. Since Sharp has finished filming the latest Best Western TV idents, we needed to go to the editing studio (Chief) to get them ready. 

I got to spend the afternoon in the studio, watching how the whole process works, which was pretty exciting. The most poignant thing I learnt? The smallest of changes make a massive difference. We were focusing on 'colourgrading' - a word until Monday I'd never heard of. What it in essence means is editing all the footage in terms of colour/contrast/saturation/hue etc, the same way you would edit a final set of photographs ready for use. This process is all about knowing what you are looking for. I got a look at the idents last week before we got to the studio, and to me they looked great. But then once we started editing, I saw just how much time and effort it takes to get a piece of film ready. It was amazing to see all the small changes coming together to make the final piece look stunning. 

With these particular idents, we were looking to get a Wintery feel, so it was really interesting to see the different ways to tackle this. For example there was a dining room shot which was obviously filmed in broad daylight, but what they started to do was darken everything off to make it look a little more like evening time. What will also happen is when the footage goes to 'paints' (a process done in Aftereffects), some of the window hues will be painted differently to make it look like it's darker outside potentially with streetlamps. It was really fascinating for me to find out exactly whats possible in terms of editing, and actually just how much difference a small change like that can make to the mood and feeling of a piece of film. There were so many different things that were changed to make the piece look different. Another example was a hotel exterior shot which was in natural daylight. The hotel looked glorious, but they decided to add a little more colour to the brick, and it just lifted the hotel off the screen, and gave it so much more depth combined with a colour change in the sky. It's all about knowing what's wrong with a shot and exactly how to fix it. Sometimes it takes trial and error, but the difference it makes is massive. Overall, the thing I learnt is most important in this process is that keeping everything consistent is imperative. From keeping the sky the same colour throughout each shot, to trying to tie particular key colours into each shot. It all helps to make a great looking and successful piece of film.

Just before I left, someone showed me one of the sets they were building for an advert they were about to film which was really awesome! Because I was in the editing studio all day I totally forgot they built sets and filmed adverts etc there.

So this was a great learning experience, and just another example of why placement is so important. Understanding how other forms of design work is a really great way to inform your practice, so I may not have had any direct input, but I watched, learnt, and loved every minute of it. 

Below is a selection of idents we have already filmed for Best Western, so you can get an idea of what we were editing in the studio this week. 

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