Makeweights and Snap Ins step by step example
By Louise Heren (Reybridge Films Ltd)
Working on a standard cut to clock structure of 5 part breaks with 5 secs of black between parts, therefore six parts or acts, and a TRT of 43.30, you may be asked to deliver snap-ins and makeweights that will extend your TRT to 48.00 or more.
Total running time with part breaks
Take your picture lock version of your film, copy it and rename it appropriately so that you and someone else who may have to take over your edit knows what it is.
Remove the 5 x 5 secs of black between part breaks. This will reduce your TRT by 25 secs overall and will give you a seamless version of your film, although where part breaks have been collapsed, you’ll now have some very dodgy sequence to sequence continuations that need to be ironed out. This is where you need to make your snap-ins.
Remove any teases to the end of part (EOP) sequences and any intros at the start of part (SOP). The 5 x 5 secs of black plus the material lost by removing these elements is now what you have to replace with snap-ins – they will bridge the holes you’ve made and allow the last sequence of part 1 to flow into the first sequence of part 2 without a horrible clash.
Remember, your snap-in does not have to be exactly the duration of the material you lifted out. What you’re looking at here is making snap-ins that editorially continue your narrative if there were no commercial break and if that means being shorter than the lifted material, then so be it.
If your snap-in proves to be shorter, you just have to accommodate it in the durations of your makeweights so that you can still produce a seamless version of your film that runs to 48.00.
Removing part breaks, end of parts and start of parts
The snap-in needs to cover the duration of the hole you have made plus handles so that audio mixes can happen smoothly. Most Tech Specs ask for 15 secs handles either end of the snap-in, but you may need to make longer handles to allow for a clean cut for picture and audio. So you will have to take into consideration commentary and/or music and any graphics or even FX that are going on at the point you wish to start or finish your snap-in and the junction they make with the main show. All the time you are thinking ahead how to make this easy in post and dubbing so that all snap-ins are fully post-produced to be dropped into the main show at the correct moment without any further repairs to be made by the broadcaster using them. This means that the handles on your snap-ins may be a minute or more in duration in order to finish the sequence in the main film and start your snap-in at a clean junction point.
Once you have made snap-ins to cover all the commercial breaks that used to be in your film, you can now judge how many makeweights you’ll need to bring your film up to a TRT for the seamless version.
Add up the total duration of all the snap-ins – this is the new material used, not duplicated material that you need to include in your snap-in to allow technically easy junctions. You must be frame accurate when doing your calculations.
If you are contracted to make a 48.00 seamless, and having removed commercial breaks and associated EOPs and SOPs, and having allowed for the new bridging material of the snap-ins, you now have say 43.22 of seamless master, you will need to make makeweights of 4.38. This could be a single makeweight of that exact duration but that’s not being terribly helpful to the poor editor who’s going to be using this material back at the broadcaster’s facilities.
Adding makeweights to complete programme duration
Now you need to decide which is your strongest material for makeweights, cut it like a proper sequence, but constantly keeping an eye on durations. Your broadcaster may have specified how many makeweights they want or they may leave it to your editorial judgement how many you make depending on the duration you need to make up.
Bear in mind that some makeweights, say 2-3, of different lengths spread across the programme will be the most helpful.
Once you have cut your makeweights and checked their durations, you need to slot them into place and look at their overall effect on the narrative of the film. You’ve got your picture locked, signed off version of your film, so the makeweights are not really intended to add to the editorial, they are simply to make up time with footage that is innocuous, but interesting.
Again, makeweights need 15 sec or more handles to allow for smooth picture and sound junctions with the main film (see snap-ins).
Adding handles to Makeweights
Checking that it all works
Now you have to check it all works perfectly and accurately, and that’s a number crunching job for your editor. The tried and tested method is:
1. Once you have a seamless 48.00 version of your film, duplicate it – this is your Master Sequence. Now you need to check if it works by cross-referencing it back to the individual snap-ins and makeweights.
2. Take your first snap-in and put it in your source monitor. Go to the first frame in this sequence and mark IN. Now go to your Master Sequence in your sequence monitor and by eye find the exact same frame, note down the timecode and mark IN.
3. Now go to the last frame in your snap-in and mark OUT. Do the same with the same frame in your Master Sequence, note down the timecode and mark OUT.
4. Remove the marked in and out sequence from the Master Sequence, replace with the snap-in and check the pictures and sound to see if they match.
5. Repeat this process for all your snap-ins and makeweights.
6. Once all snap-ins and makeweights are in place in the Master Sequence, it should now have a TRT of 48.00 dead and all pictures and sound should be identical to your 48.00 seamless version you originally made. If it is, then you’ve got it right.
7. The timecodes in and out that you noted throughout this process now become the information you pass to your online editor when he is making the snap-in and makeweight slate in your online session.
As the producer, your job is to ensure that your voice over script clearly shows where the snap-ins and makeweights are intended to fit, what the new pieces of VO are and any changes to existing VO on the junctions into and out of the new pieces. In the online , you are the person with the overall view of the film, so it’s your job to show the online editor where the new pieces fit and to assist in checking the front slate on the film that gives the broadcaster precise information on where to use the makeweights and snap-ins.
Your role is the same in the dub – to guide the mixer and check for accuracy.
Finally, if you’re a nice producer, all your paperwork should be emailed to your production manager to make his life easier when it comes to completing the delivery paperwork for the channel. If you leave the job without handing over the scripts etc., you’ll only be chased weeks later by a grumpy PM