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etflix's seven-episode series, The Queen's Gambit, is based on the book by Walter Tevis and centers around the life of Beth Harmon — an unremarkable orphan who grows up to become a world champion chess player. Beth is first introduced to the game at the orphanage and shows signs of being a child prodigy. As she grows into adult- hood, Beth finds the game as a way to control her life. For editor Michelle Tesoro, it was her work with the series' creator Scott Frank that led to her cutting all seven episodes. The two first worked together on a pilot for FX, and later on the Netflix limited series Godless. Much of the team from Godless reunited to work on The Queen's Gambit. The series was in preproduction back in June of 2019 and shot from August through December. Tesoro spent roughly year — August 2019 through August 2020 — cutting the show, which initially was planned as a six-episode series. "It started with six scripts," she recalls. "And throughout the process, we were trying to find balance with the first four episodes, and turning Episodes 2, 3 and 4 into four episodes." Based in Los Angeles, Tesoro traveled to Manhattan for the duration of the post process, which started at Light Iron on Broadway — the same space the team worked out of for Godless. The post su- pervisors, coordinators and two assistant editors were in New York as well. Then the pandemic hit and the team transitioned to a work-from-home scenario, leaving her to continue editing from the studio apartment she had rent- ed in Chelsea. "We were a week away from delivering first cut to Netflix," she recalls. "It was very upending for a couple of days." The team turned to Evercast, the glob- al video collaboration platform. "I had already gotten Scott used to working with Evercast," she explains. "That turned out to be great because when he had to use it, he was already used to using it." The Queen's Gambit was shot in 8K with Red cameras. Tesoro says most of the series was shot out of sequence, so she wasn't able to complete entire epi- sodes until production wrapped. Instead, she focused on sequences. "All six episodes were shot cross boarded," she recalls. "Whatever worked for the location and actors' schedules. Most of young Beth and the little girls was done at the same time, and ended up being Episode 1, but it was all over the place. It was not all complete until the last day. We were never going to have a complete episode. You would only have a complete sequence." Red footage was transcoded to DNx115 for editing on Avid 2018 software. "The reason why I did that was, when we worked on Godless, we had done a number of screenings in a small theater and I knew I wanted it to be able to play on a bigger screen, so I went with the higher resolutions. And nowadays, it's not so hard to work with those bigger files." While the series is not loaded with visual effects, they do play an import- ant part in how Beth views the game of chess. It starts during her time in the orphanage and continues into adulthood, whereby she lays on her bed and stares up at the ceiling. There, a chessboard and its pieces appear. The pieces reveal to her moves that help her create strategies and beat competitors as she moves up in the chess world. But, as Beth grows, she finds herself more dependent on substances to achieve this dream-like state. "They had already storyboarded this," says Tesoro of the ceiling-chess sequenc- es. "They were already talking about it during shooting — what was supposed to be happening. Once I got the footage for that, I put it together according to the storyboard and we would, right away, turn it over to visual effects to start their work, so they would have some template. "You put the whole scene together with reactions, and with what Scott had imagined, based on storyboards, and try to cut it as close as possible, and give that reference to visual effects to watch what we cut. They can start to think, 'What's going to be here?' A lot of times we'll put a card: 'Queen Captured Here'." Overall, Tesoro says the feel of the series is designed to reflect Beth, alone with herself. It shows both the good and bad, and how she perceives the world, as well how she uses the game of chess to bring some control to her life. "We are trying to open up a win- dow into her inner world," she explains. "Context plays into this, but you see the two sides of her through her face." Tesoro has a hard time pointing to a specific episode or scene as a good representation of the show. "There is not really one episode that encompasses it," she notes. "I had a hard time finding one episode to submit for (Emmy) consideration. I love the Paris match in Episode 6. Episode 1 has its merits. Every episode has something interesting." THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT BY MARC LOFTUS EDITOR MICHELLE TESORO REUNITES WITH THE SERIES' CREATOR N EDITING 18 POST JULY/AUG 2021 Red footage was transcoded to DNx115 for editing.

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