Replay: Everything Everywhere All At Once pretty much swept the board at 2023's Academy Awards. Here's how it won the crucial editing Oscar for Adobe Premiere Pro and Frame.io.
Clean sweeps of the likes of Everything Everywhere All At Once's domination of the 2023 Academy Awards are unusual, especially when a movie is up against some fairly stiff competition - notably All Quiet on there Western Front which has dominated other Awards ceremonies this season such as the recent Baftas.
One company very much celebrating its success this morning therefore is Adobe as Paul Rogers and his team at Parallax Post relied on Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Frame.io to bring Everything Everywhere All at Once to life. “Premiere Pro is wonderful and I couldn’t imagine cutting in any other program,” says Rogers. “Combined with Frame.io, the whole workflow was very intuitive. I was able to focus on the film, not the tools.”
This is, in fact, the first editing Oscar for Adobe Premiere Pro. You get the feeling it might not be the last. Have a look at the BTS below where Paul Rogers and the Daniels (Directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) explain how they worked on the title.
For a really deep dive on both this movie and everything else up for the Best Picture award this year, frame.io's Brobdingnagian Our Epic Workflow Breakdown of Every 2023 Oscars Best Picture Nominee is well worth a read. As it's currently listed as a 104 minute read, do yourself a favour and make yourself a decent beverage of your choice before diving in.
Editing in the time of Covid
One thing to remember is that the film was put together during Covid. In fact, Rogers was living in a tiny two-bedroom house at the time and cut it on an iMac in his living room while his three year old son ran around the house.
This and more is detailed in the excellent interview Rogers did with Steve Hullfish in frame.io's blog Art of the Cut. The full article is here, and definitely worth a read if you're into film editing in any way, shape, or form. But here are some of the relevant quotes regarding the ins and outs of using Premiere and frame.io to put this particular movie together.
"Premiere has always been wonderful because it disappears when I’m using it," says Rogers. "I love to split the screen and combine performances or just change the timings between actors, make someone react or speak over a line versus waiting their turn. And I love to be able to do that in a two shot or a wide shot, but that’s just not how the scene plays out.
"So I use Premiere all over this film to do that, to the point where I just didn’t tell them. When they got into finishing the VFX supervisors, Zak Stoltz said there were about 30 VFX shots that he wasn’t aware of. There are all these little split-screen things or changing an extra out in the background, or, even a prop.
"Sometimes the way a prop was placed was better in one shot than another shot, so I would throw that in. I can temp together VFX in Premiere in a heartbeat.
"A lot of this movie relied on us being able to show what the heck was going to be there eventually. So we would mock together so much in Premiere without having to go to After Effects. It’s really powerful in that way. Not having to get a bunch of temp VFX and get a temp mix or some temp sound designed from anywhere except for ourselves.
"We’d be working up until the hour before the screening and that was really valuable to be able to do that. I think that in Premiere, that’s the only way that I imagined that could have happened."
Frame.io in the workflow
Frame.io was also a big part of the way that Rogers worked on the title.
"What I did use a lot of in this project was Frame.io as a plugin. So we use Frame.io to post our cuts and do our screenings. We would all get on Zoom. I’d send out a Frame.io link, and then we would say “three, two, one,” and everybody hits play, and I could watch everybody’s face.
"It’s such an important part of it, which is nice actually about the Zoom screenings. When you’re in a room for a screening, it’s awkward if you’re sitting directly in front of someone and staring at them, but that’s what you get to do on a Zoom screening. And if you like someone’s reactions, you fill the screen and you just watch them.
"We would do these remote sessions where they would give me verbal notes. But what Frame.io allowed us to do was to sit and watch a scene over and over and over again, frame by frame, draw an idea, draw a thought then leave me a well-thought-out note or idea versus the pressure that’s in the room.
"Sometimes with a director and editor they’re like, “I need to tell this guy what I want, but I don’t quite know what I want.” Frame.io allowed them to take their time, and it was nice for me because I would get these well-formed ideas and they would also be in the comments on Frame.io.
"So it was useful for me to see the way that they’d go through that, but I also had the Frame.io plugin for Premiere. They could give 70 notes or ideas, and then I could import them directly into my timeline. I think our first cut was two hours and fifty minutes and I think we got it down to two hours and ten minutes, which was a lot. We lost a lot of fun stuff."
In other words, watch for the Directors' Cut of Everything Everywhere All At Once no doubt coming soon to a theater near you...