Produced by WGBH-TV Boston and seen on your local PBS station, FRONTLINE is considered by many as the gold standard in investigative journalism. For over 30 years FRONTLINE has been bringing you stories ranging from domestic politics and social issues to international wars. Over the years FRONTLINE has won a total of 57 Emmys, 27 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards and 15 Peabody Awards.
I have been lucky enough to be asked to help out on some promo work for The Outpost, which is FRONTLINE’s post and finishing department within WGBH. Working alongside Emmy award winning producer Missy Frederick we produced the above promo for Syria: Behind the Lines. Our first step was to watch the entire film. Both of us took notes on what we thought were the key points and messages. The biggest aspect of the film was just how in depth filmmaker Olly Lambert and his team were to conflict, at several points being within striking distance of an attack.
When I set out to start editing, I was able to find 2 pieces of music that I thought would work. Each one had parts I thought would work, so I roughed the two of them together with those particular sections. At this point is was right around our :30 mark, so I was able to use the nat sound from the footage to blend the two tracks together. My goal was to use the nat sound to add to the “musicality” of the edited track. A good example of this is the gun fire at the :08 mark that acts as an upbeat to the next measure (upbeat in the musical sense, as it goes without saying upbeat as an adjective to this subject matter doesn’t really work.)
When you watch the film the river that divides the two sides is a major theme throughout. I originally wanted to use the river shots as text backgrounds for two or three key points throughout the spot, but it was taking away from the incredible footage the team shot on location, so I decided to use it just for the tag. The tag was done in After Effects. While it could have easily been done in Avid, the ability to create masks and motion blur I find easier and faster in After Effects.
The next promo was for TB – Silent Killer, a film that chronicles the lives of those living with TB and the struggles with the long and arduous treatment that goes along with it. Jezza Neumann and his team tell the stories of Nokubheka, Bheki and Gcebile and how TB, as an airborne disease, doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone. The key takeaway when crafting this promo was the human element. These are not faceless patients. We wanted to highlight that while there is sadness surrounding the disease and the treatment, there is also hope.
I encourage anyone reading this to connect with the team at The Outpost. They are extremely active in the post-production community and have given many presentations at local user groups including the Boston Avid Users Group and the Boston Creative Pro User Group. The best way to connect with the team is through Twitter.
Tim Mangini – @zip50
Chris Fournelle – @chrisfournelle
Megan McGough – @MMcGough_WGBH
Eric Gulliver – @GulliversEdits
Jim Ferguson – @jimferg
Steve Audette – @stevecutsdocs