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December 2015

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PRIMETIME 21 POST DECEMBER 2015 fast-paced show, in that docu-style, I do think we all are very happy to sit in a moment if it is warranted." Victor agrees, "Randall pays a lot more attention to framing and lenses, and there's also an encouragement when we can, to let chunks play in one take so that often times you're not creating the pace in the edit. Which we do a lot to make sure there's some variety in the pace." Edelson says that one of the challeng- es of working on a show where the stars are essentially puppets, is 'the non-hu- man' aspect of it. "It certainly affects us on a technical standpoint. I don't know about the style. I think I try to cut it stylistically as if they were human. As if there was no difference. But technically, there's lots of stuff we have to be aware of when we're cutting that you normally wouldn't be. Like a performer's head, or occasionally, you'll see one of the Muppets is trying to pick something up and you realize that it's not actually in his hand — it's just floating [laughs]. You have to pay a lot of attention to things that you normally wouldn't have to. I can't express enough to you, though, how unbelievable these performers are. Because they do the voices at the same time they do the puppetry and the amount that goes into expressing emotions and expressing what they're trying to get across through their voices, through the puppetry, through these puppets whose eyes don't move. It's astounding to watch them work. And so complex hand movements, eye lines, and stuff like that, and occasionally there are moments that slip by. So you need to be hyper aware of certain things." Victor agrees that some of the editing challenges he encounters are in the eye lines. "If they're off a couple of inches, it can be pretty challenging," he says. "There are also challenges where you can have a fantastic take and you see a hand or a head or the rod of one of the Muppets." Victor explains that in some instances, "because they're Muppets, you can take the dialogue that you really like and stuff it in a different take. Because you're not using a human mouth, that generally makes a very specific shape with a vowel or a consonant. It's easy to do some ADR. We've done it a few times where we find a way to improve upon dialogue, even if it's occasion- ally rewriting a whole talking head. If you can make the syllables match, the performers are talented enough that you can certainly change the tone of things — seeing as puppet mouths aren't specific in terms of the shapes they make, versus a human mouth, you can do a lot in terms of ADR. That's one thing that's great, that you can change dialogue that way." Assistant editors Elizabeth Praino and Tyler Earring work closely with Edelson and Victor, and help manage the workflow, saying that the editing team receives the dailies the following morning on a drive from Encore (www., which processes them overnight. Footage is stored on an Avid ISIS. When asked what really brings the Muppets to life, Victor says, "I feel a very strong sense of collaboration. I try to get on-set as much as I can to see what's going on and see the performers. And they come up, and we do ADR, and we have a lot of interaction with the cast. I feel like because it's Muppets and be- cause the puppeteers are so wonderful, that everybody feels that this is a special show we're working on and there's magic to them. Everyone's pulling in the same direction to make the show as good and as special as it can be." Edelson adds, "Honestly, I think it starts from our production design — the sets that are built — everything looks so incredible. It's so detailed. And, the performances blow me away. These guys are astounding. The stuff they come up with on the spot. Sometimes when I'm cutting, I lose site a little bit that I'm working with Muppets. They're so expressive. Sometimes I'll be looking for a reaction shot — and I think, 'Oh, I'm not gonna get a reaction to this.' But sure enough, the [puppeteers] figure out ways to react to things. I think it's astounding to watch this world. You're just brought into it." Editors (L-R) Victor and Edelson, who cut The Muppets on Avid Media Composers, credit puppeteers with giving them good "reaction shots" to work with, such as scenes with Gonzo and Kermit (top left) and Fozzie Bear (top right).

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