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Chelsey Rogers's picture

When Someone Edits Your Footage, Horribly.

Has this happened to any of you? Lately I've been hired to shoot for a short surf movie. I'm also not the only shooter, there are four of us. The director of the film used to date a video editor, so she's decided to edit the film herself. And it's really not going well. She's calling it a grassroots film when she describes it to others, and sucks air through her teeth, but says it's been a fun process. Now I'm worried to really claim the DP role, because it's just not how my footage should look (and as an editor I hold my breath every dropped frame and weird lighting filter she uses).

As filmmakers, is this something we should be worried about, or just water off a duck's back? Have you ever given footage to a director or editor, and they didn't let it live to it's full potential? I want to hear from you all!

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Tom Collins's picture

I had a similar experience last year as DP for a low budget sunglasses TV commercial (big brand though). Firstly, it was meant to be a sunrise beach shoot and the client (also acting as producer/director) didn't factor in make-up time for the actors. So they arrived two hours late, and what was meant to be a quick and easy golden hour shoot was now an unnecessarily complicated shoot with flat and harsh light. The worst part was that we shot on Blackmagics and exposed slightly favouring the shadows knowing that the highlights could be pulled back and it would keep the bright beachy feel that the client wanted. We handed over the footage and when we saw the final edit, not only was it cut terribly, but it barely had any grading done at all - probably just a Lumetri preset in Premiere, and it looked awful!

I don't associate myself with that commercial now (which is a shame because it was a big name brand). I generally do worry about handing footage over to an editor I don't know, especially if it requires some creative editing. If it's straight forward corporate stuff, I don't mind because I don't add those gigs to my reel/resume anyway.

Cole Black's picture

I remember feeling so weird the first time I saw a cut of something I shot but didn't edit. Unfortunately, its the nature of the beast. You do your work, move on, and try and build up positive associations with the work you are proud of.

Its the same with editing corporate for clients, you deliver what you think is a tight, considered edit, then you have to disassociate yourself from it to some degree as its hacked to pieces.It's especially painful when you come from a one man crew background. But ultimately its not your baby so if someone wants to draw on it with crayons they can. :/. Maybe you can pull a shot or two you like from it for your reel?