Sixteen19: Minimizing Post-Production Insanity on The Three Stooges

The culmination of a twelve year odyssey, The Three Stooges is a testament to the tenacity of co-directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly. But despite the antic chaos that unfolds on screen, editor Sam Seig reports that the production itself was smooth sailing. “This was a completely buttoned-down shoot. The Farrelly Brothers polished every scene for a tight but realistic three-month shooting schedule.”

Seig, who previously edited the Farrelly Brothers’ Hall Pass and served as the first assistant editor on their There’s Something About Mary, was invited onboard The Three Stooges very early in the game. “It took years to bring this film to the screen, but it was worth the wait,” he says. “Bobby and Peter crossed every ‘T’ and poked every ‘eye’ in pre-pro. They were ready for action.”

When it came time to edit, Seig turned to New York-based post-production services company Sixteen19 (www.sixteen19.com), which he first encountered when editing 2008’s Ghost Town. “I edited there for eight months and got to know company principals Jonathan Hoffman, Pete Conlin, Claire Shanley and their crew very well,” he reports. “They’re total pros and constantly went the extra nine yards for me throughout my stay. When The Three Stooges was greenlit, they were my first choice for our editing setups. I knew I could depend on them for top-flight gear and reliable support.”

That trust turned out to be well-placed. “Every element of the system they put together for me was brand new, including the 52” plasma screen,” Seig says. Other components of his setup were three AvidMedia Composer v5.5 systems connected to 16TB of shared Unity storage. “They had the whole configuration up and running when I walked into our first location’s edit suite in Atlanta. A couple months later, they broke down our setup on a Friday and shipped it to Cape Cod for the next lap, where it was installed and ready for work at the end of the weekend.” The production’s months in Cape Cod included the Hurricane Irene scare: Preparation for worst-case scenarios involved relocating the Unity storage to avoid possible flood exposure and a full orderly shutdown supervised by Sixteen19’s technical team.

Following the months on Cape Cod, the schedule included further moves: “Sixteen19 flew the systems out to Ojai, California for additional location work,” Seig explained. “With consistent technical support and equipment resources, the multiple relocations didn’t pose a challenge for the editorial process. Sixteen19 even customized the rig so that I could work standing. I found that much more energizing than sitting at the desk, and I plan to keep cutting that way from now on.”

“Thanks to Sixteen19,” says the editor, “I didn’t have a moment of technical downtime at any point in the shoot.”

Seig worked with Peter Farrelly on the initial rough cut during the first stage of production and then with Bobby Farrelly on the second pass. When Sixteen19 relocated the editorial set up to L.A., Seig collaborated with both directors as they honed the final cut. “In addition to great fun, this was a surprisingly straightforward edit,” Seig concludes. “Cinematographer Matthew Leonetti was shooting with two 35mm cameras, but we didn’t have an overabundance of footage. The script was fine-tuned, and the cast honed split-second timing for every gag. They were like a crack team of Navy SEALs… Well, maybe circus seals.”

The Three Stooges, starring Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos and Will Sasso as Larry, Moe and Curly (respectively), opens nationally this Friday, April 13th. For more information, visit www.threestooges.com.

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