Editing: 'The Three Stooges'
Issue: April 1, 2012

Editing: 'The Three Stooges'

NEW YORK — The culmination of a 12-year odyssey, The Three Stooges is a testament to the tenacity of co-directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly. Sam Seig served as editor on the project and reports the production was the diametric opposite of the antic chaos that unfolds on screen.  

“This was a completely buttoned down shoot,” Seig says. “The Farrelly Brothers polished every scene for a tight but realistic three-month shooting schedule. Thanks to Sixteen19, I didn't have a moment of technical down time at any point in the shoot.”

Sixteen19 (www.sixteen19.com) is a post services company with offices in NYC and divisions in New Orleans, Los Angeles and London. The firm specializes in DI, color correction, editing and finishing, and also offers on- and near-set services. The NYC complex features 15 Avid editing suites, color correct theater/screening rooms, digital dailies, file transcode/encode and workflow management. 

Thanks to his flair for comedy, Seig edited the Farrelly Brothers’ Hall Pass, having worked with them as first assistant years prior on There’s Something About Mary. He was invited on board The Three Stooges very early in the game. “It took years to bring this film to the screen, but it was worth the wait,” he says. “Bobby and Peter crossed every ‘T’ and poked every ‘eye’ in pre-pro. They were ready for action.”

Seig first encountered Sixteen19’s team with Ghost Town in 2008. “I edited there for eight months and got to know company principals Jonathan Hoffman, Pete Conlin, Claire Shanley and their crew very well,” he reports. “They’re total pros, and constantly went the extra nine yards for me throughout my stay. When The Three Stooges was green lit, they were my first choice for our editing setups. I knew I could depend on them for top-flight gear and reliable support. Every element of the system they put together for me was brand new, including the 52-inch plasma screen.” 

Seig’s whose setup included three Avid Media Composer V5.5 systems connected to 16TB of shared Unity storage. “They had the whole configuration up and running when I walked into our first location’s edit suite in Atlanta. A couple months later, they broke down our setup on a Friday and shipped it to Cape Cod for the next lap, where it was installed and ready for work at the end of the weekend.” 

The production’s months in Cape Cod included the Hurricane Irene scare: preparation for worst-case scenarios involved relocating the Unity storage to avoid possible flood exposure and a full orderly shutdown supervised by Sixteen19’s technical team. 

Following the months on Cape Cod, the schedule included further moves: “Sixteen19 flew the systems out to Ojai, CA, for additional location work,” Seig explains. “With consistent technical support and equipment resources, the multiple relocations didn’t pose a challenge for the editorial process. Sixteen19 even customized the rig so that I could work standing. I found that much more energizing than sitting at the desk, and I plan to keep cutting that way from now on.”

Seig worked with Peter Farrelly on the initial rough cut during the first stage of production, and then with Bobby Farrelly on the second pass. When Sixteen19 relocated the editorial set up to LA, Seig collaborated with both directors as they honed the final cut. 

“In addition to great fun, this was a surprisingly straightforward edit,” Seig recalls. “Cinematographer Matthew Leonetti was shooting with two 35mm cameras, but we didn’t have an overabundance of footage. The script was fine tuned, and the cast honed split second timing for every gag. They were like a crack team of Navy SEALS...  Well, maybe circus seals.”

Starring Sean HayesChris Diamantopoulos and  Will Sasso as Larry, Moe and Curly (respectively), The Farrelly Brothers movie The Three Stooges opens nationally on April 13.