Avid Everywhere provides editing backbone for 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1'
Issue: March 1, 2015

Avid Everywhere provides editing backbone for 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1'

BOSTON — Building to the climax of the film series based on the bestselling novels of Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 sees the return of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire director Francis Lawrence. Supporting the director once more was Catching Fire's editor Alan Bell, who shared cutting room duties on this occasion with Mark Yoshikawa. The two veteran editors worked together using a highly collaborative process that took full advantage of the Avid MediaCentral Platform.

Avid Artist Suite's Media Composer | Software and Avid Storage Suite’s ISIS shared storage system proved invaluable in a testing, time-pressured workflow that saw the two editors contend with two films simultaneously, because scenes for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 were filmed back-to-back with Mockingjay Part 1. 

“We divided the scenes to edit as they were being shot,” says Yoshikawa. “If I was ready for another scene, I would start on the footage shot the previous day. As strings of sequences began to come together, Alan and I would tend to focus on scenes that fell within our sections. However, in the end, we both worked on each and every scene together. We had nine or ten Media Composers hooked up to the ISIS, including the editors, assistants and VFX editors. It was vital in helping us instantaneously share our edits with each other and let the assistants turnover new reels to sound, music and VFX in a very timely manner.” 

The team had a cutting room set up throughout the shoot connected to an ISIS system as well as two systems in Europe. “Each of these systems were using their own storage but ISIS’ open infrastructure made it easy for us to keep the home base system up to date while I worked with the director in Europe,” explains Bell. “There were even times where I was cutting with the camera taps and sending those scenes back to LA to be confirmed for VFX turnovers. This was all possible because of the enormous flexibility of Media Composer and ISIS.”

“How vital Avid was in the collaboration became obvious when working on the climactic rescue sequence near the end of the film,” says Yoshikawa. “Due to the schedule, Alan was in Europe with production and I was back in our permanent editing rooms in Los Angeles. Francis really wanted to nail down this section, so Alan and I alternated turns taking passes at the sequence. Because of the time difference between LA and Berlin, we were able to bounce cuts back and forth around the clock. When Alan finished his night in Europe, his assistant would send his bins to us in LA. When I got into work in the morning, I would open his bin, read his notes and take a pass at it myself. That night, the process would repeat in the opposite direction. It was a very inspiring way to work.”

Yoshikawa and Bell

Once they were all back in LA, they worked together to lock the cut and communicate with sound, music and VFX. “Because the schedule on Part 1 was accelerated, we needed to get scenes to the VFX department as soon as possible,” explains Yoshikawa. “The ability to seamlessly share our scene bins between our multiple locations was essential to presenting a first cut to the director in pretty good shape.”

“When you can share edits and ideas without having to do a bunch of housekeeping it’s great!” says Bell. “The shared projects and storage allow a whole support team such as our assistants and VFX editors to help us along by updating VFX shots and adding sound work, as well as audio mixed by our sound and music team.”

“The media management and organizational features within the Avid platform provided the tools needed for our excellent assistant editors,” concludes Yoshikawa. “Now we’re barreling ahead toward the intense conclusion to this series and I can’t wait for the world to see Mockingjay Part 2!”