Monday, August 8, 2011

Thoughts on picture lock

Picture Lock.  This is when the editor and director of a movie have decided (or the executive producer decides for them) that the movie is visually done.  No more editing.  Once picture lock is declared, you're supposed to hand off the production to the finishing folks for various things like: musical score, VFX, color timing, and other loose-ends business.

Declaring picture lock too soon means one or more of the following:

  • you live with a stinker
  • you shake your fist at the studio and cobble together a director's cut
  • you revoke picture lock and fix things

I just went with the last option for my current project in post production: Project Z-6463.  It was not a lightly taken decision since I have a composer working on the score, but it had to happen.  There's no excuses for this movie to be a stinker and I have no studio to answer to.  This left only the last option.

I screened the movie for two test audiences and notices two things:

  • they laughed at the places I expected (this is good)
  • they yawned at the places I expected (this is bad)

Revoking picture lock means that I can go in and try to remove the places where people yawned and leave intact the places where they laughed (or were scared, this is a thriller after all).  So, the moral of this posting: revoking picture lock is not a cardinal sin.  Your crew will adjust and everyone is going to appreciate the better edit after all is said and done.

Now to actually finish this project and get it listed on IMDb.

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