Post Magazine

February 2010

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E D I T T H I S ! L ONDON — James Herbert is director Guy Ritchie's go-to editor. The two have worked together on, among other things, the films Revolver, RocknRolla and now Sherlock Holmes. Over the years they have developed a sor t of shor thand that helps keep the process a pleasant and productive one. Here, Herber t shares his experience editing Sherlock Holmes. POST: Can you talk about the editing sys- tem you used on the film? JAMES HERBERT: "We used four Avids, all running off a Unity — three PCs and one Mac, which the visual effects editor used. The system was an Avid Media Com- poser V.2.8 with Mojo. It's the same system I used for my last three pictures, RocknRolla, Lesbian Vampire Killers and Revolver. Even though there have been upgrades, I prefer working on the 2.8. It's a stable system and it doesn't have that second delay when you press play or stop. We used this system for a year while editing Sherlock. It traveled back and for th from America with us and we never had any problems." POST: You used Mojo instead of Adrenaline? HERBERT: "Yes, except for Alex's ma- chine [Alex Fenn, assistant editor] — as the Adrenaline box allows digitizing from tape — our rushes came as files from Midnight Transfer and we rarely needed to digitize, so we needed one system capable of doing that. It makes no difference to our workflow and keeps budget costs down, which pleases producers. As producers ask for DVDs and facilities work with QuickTime files, we never needed to do tape playouts. Even for test screenings we would consoli- date a sequence to a FireWire drive and screen from out of the Avid, allowing us to ride split track audio." POST: Can you describe the workflow? HERBERT: "We never had time to all sit in a theater together, as me and my team — assistant editors Phil Hedgecock, Alex Fenn, Angus Munro and visual effects editor Laura Jennings — were all based in London and Guy and his merr y men were in Lon- don, Liverpool, Manchester and a few other locations. Joel Silver [producer] was in LA, so we were all here, there and everywhere. We would get the selected takes from Guy and Phillipe [Rousselot, the DP], create a DVD of those takes and send them to the relevant people. "Mine and Guy's workflow was simple: I would look through the rushes while he was shooting, I'd cut the scene and score it how I felt it should be, then once Guy had wrapped he would come to the cutting room to watch the scenes. And nine times out of 10 would say, 'Great, that's it,' which means we went up the pub for a pint of Guinness, or the one time out of 10 he would call me a rude name — '@£$£$$' — and I'd have to work late. "I like to think we are on the same page when it comes to storytelling and movie mak- ing. Guy is the most relaxed director I have ever worked with, he knows exactly what he wants — that's why he doesn't work with six cameras or do 20 takes. He keeps you on your toes as his attention span doesn't last very long, so you have to cut quick to keep him entertained, which is probably why all his pictures are fast paced; he just wants to get to the point as quickly and as quirky as possible." POST: Guy says you essentially speak the same language when you work. HERBERT: "Yes, English. It's the only lan- guage I know. However, Guy can speak flu- ent Hebrew." POST: He has also said that essentially everything that was shot was used — that you had a pretty tight script. HERBERT: "The script was done in such a linear fashion it was quite hard to change things around. Sherlock Holmes is a detec- tive, so when he uncovers a clue that leads him to the next scene, so in the respect of losing scenes or information, or moving around a scene, you really can't. So it just becomes a simpler process of concentrat- ing on pacing and performance. "Sherlock was easier than the last picture we did, RocknRoller, as the script was in Editing Sherlock Holmes James Herbert helps make looking for clues fun. 14 Post • February 2010 By RANDI ALTMAN E D I T O R - I N - C H I E F James Herbert (inset) and team didn't want to mess with success, so they stayed with Media Composers V.2.8 because of its stability.

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