Stewart cut the Robin Williamsâ€™ picture Worldâ€™s Greatest Dad for Bobcat Goldthwait premiering today at the Library. Look at this photo on the right: itâ€™s the meticulous storyboard that earned Stewart an initial look of bewildered suspicion from Goldthwait (â€œwho wastes this kind of time?â€?). But Stewart says Goldthwait caught on after about five minutes and was soon converted to the Way of The Wall.
The idea is directly stolen from Walter Murchâ€™s book â€œBlink of an Eyeâ€? (which Stewart read last summer), and other people do it. But as a 10-year-veteran editor it was Stewartâ€™s first time and thatâ€™s what matters. He describes a modern twist on Murchâ€™s process: he assembled about 350 still frames in the Avid to represent all the scenes and printed them out at Kinkoâ€™s; he built a wood and canvas frame to hold them and bought a jumbo box of bullnose clips to hang them up. When he gets to the part about using the Avid titling tool to label each still, I flash on those people who label all the stuff in their garage with P-touch machines (me).
â€œIt was like a huge art installation of images from the movie,â€? Stewart says. The Wall took care of the usual analog problems of figuring out which scene number the director was talking about. â€œIt told us at a glance what time of day it was in each scene, what they were wearing, so we could know which scenes could cut together or not–quick reference things. Every time weâ€™d make a move weâ€™d move our cards around, and if we wanted to know something we could just turn and look at the wall instead of dragging through the time line.â€?
Remembering that our theme is â€œhyper-organizedâ€? and youâ€™ll now see why Stewartâ€™s upgrade to Media Composer 3.0 was transformative. ForWorldâ€™s Greatest Dad Stewart went on an upgrade mission, bought the Avid-recommended workstation configuration (HP xw8400), a Mojo DX and a matching set for his assistant Stacy Katzman. Thatâ€™s when he noticed something on the menu drop down: Script Sync. â€œIâ€™d always seen it thereâ€”greyed out.â€? Itâ€™s actually an ancient feature that has been around in some form since the beginning of Avid. But Avid brought out of the shadows, updated with phonetic audio scanning, and supported it with seminars. One of which Stewart attended in LA.
â€œStacy wasnâ€™t familiar with it either and I told her â€˜weâ€™re using the crap out of this, so get up on itâ€™.â€? Katzman did. Script Sync allows you to drag and drop clips onto the script and it scans and connects the scenes to the script. So that means no more hunting for all the takes with a given line in them. In seconds you can audition every take that relates to a given part of the script, At a glance you can know how many takes there are on any scene, you can quickly identify those that do or do not have a specific line in them (great for pictures with a lot of improv). You can inspect every piece of footage as it relates to the script.
â€œNo more rifling through the line script for scene numbers, no more scrubbing and searching around the bins, no more wondering â€˜was there another take of that or not? Was there a better take?â€™ â€˜did she really say that line or was it my imagination?â€™ â€œ Stewart says he got two big things for the first time: he feels that they saw every line in the editorâ€™s cutâ€”the director doesnâ€™t have to wonder if they missed a gem. And the efficiencies of time gave them a virtually complete film 10 weeks in and left seven weeks to really sit back and really look at the film. â€œMost of the time you donâ€™t get that on an indy, you hand it off and you hope itâ€™s good.
â€œFor me itâ€™s not an option; we have to have Script Sync. I hope I never have to do a film without it and go back and get the line script out.â€?