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Management

Post Production is a Zombie-class situation

Yes, a Zombie-class situation:

You can’t fight the ocean. In a zombie-class situation, heroes ultimately won’t get far trying to defeat their opponents, who have the advantage of both numbers and replaceability. Rather, your hero must set an achievable goal such as escape, survival, or retrieval of a key asset.

Sounds a lot like unscripted post, right?

Solid state digital recording has made it so easy for productions to create outstandingly high shooting ratios. From my experience, it is now common to hear editors and producers talk about a hundred hours of raw material for a one hour show. Shooting ratios of 200:1, once fables you heard about on films like Apocalypse Now, are everyday occurrences in the realm of reality TV.

No matter which tools we use, despite the help of loggers, assistants, and story producers, it always seems like we are one step behind. Because deep inside we all know this is a fool’s errand. Time and money make it impossible for the editorial to watch every raw minute.

In an interview with the New York Times, Andrew Jarecki, talks the Robert Durst’s “confession” that was discovered after it was recorded:

That was at the tail end of a piece of an interview. I don’t know if you’ve ever edited anything — things get loaded into the editing machine but not everything gets loaded. The sound recorder isn’t listening after a guy gets up and says he wants a sandwich. It often doesn’t get marked and get loaded. That didn’t get loaded for quite a while. We hired some new assistants and they were going through some old material. That was quite a bit later. Let me look at my list. It was June 12, 2014.

Like John August’s heroes, today’s unscripted producers and editors can’t wrestle down ratios of 200:1, instead they have to set an achievable goal and just accept that some really good material will go undiscovered, buried in the sub-sub-folder of an unlabeled hard drive organized by a logger you never hired.