Check out the insanely complex Media Composer timeline for 'Baby Driver.'
"The hardest job I’ve ever worked on." This is how Paul Machliss, ACE, described his experience working as the editor of Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver. The two had previously worked together on 2010’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. If you’ve seen the latter, then you’re aware that these guys know a thing or two about the world of post-production. Scott Pilgrim is a visually stunning piece that was masterfully cut together. Baby Driver, however, moved to an entirely different beat.
“It isn’t a musical, it’s a film full of music.” - Paul Machliss, ACE
The main challenge Machliss faced during the editing of the film was the fact that all of it was driven by various commercial music tracks hand-picked by the director. Wright had selected the tracks years earlier while writing the script and knew how he wanted to piece together various sequences to them. Once they cleared the rights to all of the music, Machliss and Wright attempted to strike a balance between editing to the music and not making the entire production seem overly choreographed.
Another interesting challenge was the fact that the most of the editing process took place during production. With Wright’s unique approach to post, it’s no surprise that he requested Machliss to be on set throughout the entire shoot. Machliss became so involved in the production that he found himself approving takes with Wright almost immediately after they were shot. This blending of production and post allowed the team to be sure they were capturing exactly what they needed while on location. If they happened to shoot something incorrectly, a scene could run too long and not fit with the selected track. Making the cut work was just as important as getting the take right.
In addition to this being the hardest job Machliss ever worked on, it was also easily the most dangerous—the usual danger an editor encounters include a hot cup of coffee or a bad case of carpal tunnel syndrome. However, for Baby Driver Wright strapped Machliss to the back of a production truck during chase scenes. He even found himself editing on the side of the road.
AVID recently shared a screenshot of Machliss’ completed Media Composer timeline for Baby Driver. Take a peek at this locked cut to capture some insight into Machliss’ workflow. Watch the full interview with Machliss on AVID’s blog.