I have heard from many editors, how visiting the set really messes them up. Being on set shows them parts of the production that they would rather not have in their head, which I definitely understand. Other editors like to stop by towards the beginning of production to make sure a proper work flow is in order, and then they can retreat to the comfort of their edit bay and get to work. And in a perfectly funded world, I would love to only be on set in an editor capacity and get to start playing with the footage immediately after it has been shot.
But to create, we sometimes have to make sacrifices, and to stretch every dollar on our Sabi Company productions, a small group of people have to wear several hats to get it all done.
Back in 2008 before we jumped into our short film, I F#&@ing Hate You, I realized that with a very small crew we had most of our bases covered, with the one glaring omission of sound. After a brief tutorial with borrowed gear from our amazing friends at SNAP Sound, I was instantly promoted from PA to Sound Mixer/Boom, and with the exception of a huge bump on my head (anyone who wants to build the Cobb-Boom Helmet prototype, please message me), it actually turned out pretty well and my new on set job was born.
After several push ups (arm strength is key), watching the SOUND DVD (highly recommend to those with production sound interest), and investing in some proper gear, I’ve actually turned into a decent production sound department. And who better to know the importance of striving for good sound on set, then the editor.
But there are a few things I have to be mindful of while I’m on set. Knowing that I am going to cut the footage later, I only look at the monitor to see the frame and how much head room I’ve got for the boom. I also never watch or internalize the performances live. I’m basically there only as a technician, focused solely on the boom, and how close I can get it to the actor’s mouth to get clean sound. I do this so the first time I’m actually watching and connecting with the footage, I’m not adding any on set baggage. And by the time I’m deep into the edit, my experience on set is just a fun, unrelated memory from the story unfolding in the bay.