Save Yourselves! is a zany sci-fi comedy about a Brooklyn hipster couple who try to escape their dependency on technology by heading to an isolated cabin in the woods. While unplugged from the outside world, aliens attack the Earth, and as strange events unfold, the couple must figure out a way back to what’s left of civilization.
John Reynolds and Sunita Mani star as the couple. The project was writen and directed by Eleanor Wilson and Alex Huston Fischer. Save Yourself runs 93 minutes and premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, January 25th. Editor Sofi Marshall cut the project and recently took some time to answer Post’s questions about putting the project together.
How did you get involved in this project?
“The directors - Alex Fischer and Eleanor Wilson - were familiar with my work from the indie film scene. We had a ton of mutual friends and had worked with many of the same people. I also knew of Alex from his previous film Snowy Bing Bongs Across the North Star Combat Zone. When they reached out about working together - I loved the script - the three of us had a great creative chat, and I officially came on board a few weeks before production.”
What format was it shot on?
“The film was shot on the (Arri) Alexa at 3.2K, (by Matt Clegg) framed for 1.85, in the ProRes 4444 codec.”
Can you talk a bit about your Premiere workflow for this project?
“We used Adobe Premiere Pro for the offline edit, after creating synced 1080p ProRes LT proxies in DaVinci Resolve. The co-directors and I worked closely together throughout the post process and Premiere's flexible timeline allowed us each to work in our own preferred styles, with our own keyboard shortcuts and workspace setups, while easily sharing project files back and forth. Initially, we used a system of colored markers in Premiere to note all the dailies so that we could easily refer back to which portions of different takes we liked, as well as search the markers’ text to find very specific moments.
“We also relied heavily on Frame.io and its integrated Premiere panel for our many rounds of edit notes. We were able to note our cuts and upload them for review without having to leave Premiere, which was a huge time saver.
“We ended up doing a lot of temp (and sometimes final) VFX work right in Premiere. We used quite a few split screens to combine the best parts of different takes, as well as time remapping, basic compositing and a ton of audio effects.
“I also designed a DIY live edit set up to stream our edit sessions from New York City, where I live, to LA, where the directors live, using just our laptops. We often spent hours editing together in Premiere, in real time, right from our own living rooms. It was integral to our process!”
Is there a scene that you would call attention to because of the editing challenges or success in helping to tell the story?
“I don’t want to give too much away as far as plot goes, but the very last scene in the film was probably the most challenging for both the edit and for its role in the story. It’s full of practical VFX that included shooting in front of a projected, moving image, so finding the takes with the proper timing was key. In addition, there was a lot riding on the scene emotionally since it was closing out the film. The scene was shot in a studio, unlike the rest of the film, so the actors really had to work hard - and of course, they delivered - to put themselves in the moment. We went through a lot of iterations to find the right emotional tonality for those final moments, but I think it’s safe to say we’re all very happy with where we ended up.”