When first embarking on Dragon Challenge project we decided that it was a necessity for myself to be on set in China allowing me soak up the atmosphere and culture, really helping me to tell the story of this amazing venture.
With this being the first time I’d worked with Sam Brown (of production company Carnage) it was noticeable from the get go that we were working in a very interesting and distinctive way for this particular edit. After reading the script, Sam decided that the best way to realise the script was to team up with Documentary specialist Tom Barbor-Might. The two directors worked beautifully together to film both Doco style interviews and incredible car shots to make this fantastic 6-minute film, which shows the full challenge.
Back in London, I began working with Tom first after he had finished the paper edit of the translated Chinese and English interviews. Together we created a structure from the interviews of the challenge, all the incredible characters, our driver and the support team. We then faced a problem (albeit a good one); both Sam and Tom had done such an amazing job in capturing an abundance of quality footage. Now the task was to know what to leave out, because the people and the actual challenge was so engaging that we could have produced a 15 minute film.
Sam then came in to work with me on narrowing down these incredible car shots and show the remarkable Chinese landscape and to create the overall pace and feel. The creative team worked with us very early on in the process, this really helped us make the film quite special.
Process in offline, grade and online:
In the past we would have had very clear cut-offs between edit lock, colour grading and VFX. Not so much now. In this instance, shortly after starting the edit worked commenced on rough VFX. These rough shots were then dropped into the edit, which helped enormously with our client presentations, as they were able to get an instant visualisation.
With Land Rover’s preference to see near final graded shots in the offline presentations, we’re ideally suited down to our ability to have a seamless and fluid workflow between offline and online all situated under one roof. This meant that their creative team and director could work on the 113 VFX shots and grade as we were cutting. We didn't lock on the last edit until 4 days before delivery. This is something that we find more and more important.
Overall this was a new and exciting way of working and I think it is reflected in the astonishing end film.
Colin Sumsion - MD & Chief Big Chop Editor