In order to hand over the film to the sound team and the composer the picture editing element has to be finished or “locked”. There’s a basic reason for this: sync.
Each reel – and there’s usually five to six reels on a feature film – is locked and handed on. And we cross our fingers that that’s it for picture editing because the sound design and the music cues all depend on perfect timing. If a few frames change then everything has to be reassessed, re-positioned and checked for sync.
Further changes are not the end of the world but it takes time and therefore money to fiddle with it.
Therefore the final week of cutting is very focussing. Everyone – from Amit Gupta, the writer/director to Eddie Hamilton, the editor to the whole production team is feeling very close to the film. Perhaps too close. We all have our favourite moments but we also have things that drive us nuts. And the discussions can become circular.
The only way to establish the truth is to test it. Again.
To Thurrock! And a final screening at the Lakeside Vue cinema, in front of workers from Tilda and Ford. We’re all braced for the film to flat-line in its critical reception from this out-of-town, totally “real” audience… and then disaster strikes. The first sunny evening in days and days, and our volunteer audience is decimated.
With real trepidation we run the film in a great big barn of a place to not enough people spread out across the seats in a pattern designed to kill any laughter.
And the film works its magic. Scoring a near perfect approval rating and a wonderfully warm reception from the focus group.
Buoyed up, the next day the team submits its last few notes and the picture is locked. Or should we say “locked”?
Over the next few days and weeks we’ll be negotiating with sales agent and distributors who are bound to have thoughts based on intelligent market experience about what does and does not work: more/less food? The title? The end roller sequence? Nips and tucks, we hope.
And then Lock-Lock.
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