If you’ve ever had a personal conversation with me, you would know one of two things: I love post-production and my favorite show is Saturday Night Live (SNL). This is what made me so excited when I found the podcast, “You Think Your Schedule Is Tight? Try Editing SNL” from Fitness in Post. It was an interesting listen, hearing Adam Epstein breakdown his schedule and workflow while being senior editor of Saturday Night Live.
If you think your package deadline is tight, imagine getting all your footage 24 hours before it airs. If you are not familiar with the show, SNL is a live production that is written and filmed all within the same week. Although the show is live, SNL features a few “shorts” that were film before the previous episode airs. Because of the tight deadline between rehearsals and filming, all the footage is delivered to Epstein the night before. He makes the rough cut that night and comes in early morning to finish the product – with the help of a DIT on set and assigned colorist.
The part that blew my mind is the fact that the final sequence is exported to it’s codec, minutes before the live airing. Seriously. Epstein estimates that the final version is received ten minutes before air time. The pressure the editors of SNL feel are high, but are greatly rewarding. The podcast also touches on other subjects, such as NLE and timeline setup. You can listen to the full podcast here!