NEW YORK CITY — Nutmeg (nutmegcreative.com) is providing a full suite of post production services for FYI’s new culinary series Scraps. Produced by FYI in partnership with Sur La Table, the series is executive produced by journalist Katie Couric.
Nutmeg is providing a range of post services for the show, including editing, audio mixing and color grading. The series will feature ten 30-minute episodes, and debuted on Sunday, May 21st.
The show proved challenging for the Nutmeg team, as there wasn’t a lot of time between shooting the episodes and the ultimate air dates. Episodes had to be cut very quickly so Nutmeg assigned three senior editors to work simultaneously: Rich Jack, Liz Burton and Amanda Hughes. Freelance editor Sky Gewant was also brought in to work on the show, following his work on Baz Luhrmann's Netflix series, The Get Down.
Lead editor Hughes says the process benefited greatly from having both producer Tim Whitney and host Joel Gamoran in the edit rooms for the duration. The show is cut using Avid systems.
“Tim impressed us every day,” she says. “He values what editors bring to the table and he really made this a creative collaboration. We rough-cut the first two shows before the next eight were shot and that really helped determine what worked and what didn’t, allowing the crew to focus their energy during the tight shooting days.”
One of the show’s biggest challenges is its unscripted format. “Joel is fabulous with ad-libbing, but that means we have to craft the story,” says Hughes. “Recipes take 30 minutes to make, and we needed to get the essence of that communicated in four minutes. Having Joel in the edit rooms was a delight. His passion for the project is infectious, and he has great direction for how he wants the show to feel. He's always smiling and positive, and he makes the edit days a lot of fun.”
For mixer Brian Beatrice, the challenge wasn’t the fact that Scraps is a cooking show, but the fact that it’s a road show, filmed at various locations in uncontrolled environments, including Joel’s converted vintage VW van.
“We rely on creative mic techniques to capture the best location sound possible,” explains Beatrice. “There are several microphones hidden within the cab of the van to capture dialogue but they also pick up a lot of ambient sound. The challenge in post is to reduce the rumble of the van and the noise of the road while emphasizing the dialogue.
“We replaced a lot of the cooking sounds to make them more prominent,” he continues. “The producers want that element to be a foremost driving force, so I am doing Foley of pots and pans, and emphasizing the sounds of grilling and liquids.”
Beatrice relied on Avid’s Pro Tools system for audio editing and mixing.
Colorist Gary Scarpulla also contributed a slightly-better-than-reality element, informed, perhaps, by the expectations set by millions of exquisitely filtered food photos on Instagram.
“Besides the usual concerns of working on a reality series such as continuity, matching cameras, etc., Scraps is unique in the reality world insofar as the fact that we are creating a more organic, narrative film feel to the footage—flares, film roll out, film grain — which, I believe, lends itself naturally to a food show. Best of all, my main creative instruction from Tim [Whitney] was: ‘Just think food porn.’ Game on!”
Scarpulla used Assimilate’s Scratch to give the show it’s look.
“I feel so fortunate to be doing post at Nutmeg,” says producer Whitney, who is head of development at Rain, one of the show's production partners. “Our team here can handle anything and it’s great to have everything under one roof. The whole team has really tapped into the creative vision of the show. Our schedule was very tight—we needed to start editing while I was still out shooting—but Amanda and the team did a phenomenal job carrying the torch and helping me work remotely. And it was a seamless transition to come back in the room with them while working on four episodes concurrently. It’s been a fantastic collaboration.”