It’s a production that used to be known as a Star Trek fan series. It’s been crowd-funded by Star Trek fans, and it features many Star Trek veteran actors (including Walter Koenig, Tim Russ, Nichelle Nichols, and a host of others from various Star Trek series) in roles that could be considered, with just a little squinting, to be their iconic Star Trek characters. And so Fan Film Factor is still keeping our eye on RENEGADES: THE SERIES.
Their big news at the moment is that they are now picture locked on both part one and part two of “The Requiem.” What is picture locking? Well, there are several steps in the film editing process…
The first is the assembly edit where footage is organized into scenes and roughly assembled. The editor chooses his or her favorite takes to use from everything that was shot. There’s no music or effects yet (waaaaay too early).
The next step is the rough cut. Now the director chimes in with his notes, and often different takes are substituted for what the editor thought was best. Cutting is done to trim the film length down, and scenes might get trimmed or moved around if things aren’t working. Actors might also need to re-film certain scenes or portions thereof if more is needed to make the plot work. That’s called doing pick-up.
The rough cut is also where the editor checks to make sure all the sound is synced correctly, and some temporary (not final) sound effects and music might be added at this point.
The third step is the fine cut. The director likely has made even more notes based on the rough cut, and maybe the editor has tweaked some scenes, as well, resulting in even more notes from the director (it’s a very collaborative process–or at least it should be!). But now it’s pretty clear which scenes are going where, which takes will be used, how long things will last, etc. So now it’s time to start making the project look a little more like a real movie or TV show!
For sci-fi, the fine cut is also where visual FX shots are framed out and rough versions are inserted. You’ve probably seen examples of this in the special features section of Blu-rays where you see a sequence and suddenly there’s a cut to a drawing or crude 3D animatic that says something like “TORPEDO HITS ENEMY SHIP AND EXPLODES.” Or maybe you see a bunch of characters talking in front of a window with a green screen that says “INSERT MOVING STAR FIELD.”
This is pretty much the last chance to tweak scenes or remove unnecessary dialog or fix anything else that might not be working. If you still need to re-record any dialog (ADR), now is the time to do it.
(For a really good example of how ADR (automatic dialog replacement) can be done badly, watch the TNG episode “Rascals” and keep a close eye on the lips of the young Guinan when she’s talking. The actress didn’t really understand the art of doing replacement takes of just her voice weeks after shooting her scenes, and her words don’t match her lip movements at all.)
This is also a good time to show the project to your friends or a test audience to get a feel for how it’s doing. If it’s still a mess, or if you really need a new scene shot in order to explain something that’s confusing, it’s pretty much now or never.
And finally, the production becomes picture locked. If you’re still thinking about moving stuff around again, adding or cutting or changing a scene, you’d better have a REALLY good reason or else the editor and/or director is going to do you physical harm. With the production picture-locked, work can now begin in earnest on the remaining post production tasks. These include doing the VFX scenes and compositing, meticulous sound editing, and composing and recording the final musical score. During this final phase, the editor and director are pretty much joined at the hip, doing detailed work down to the individual frames of the production. It can take weeks or even months, depending on the length of the project, the number of VFX shots that have to be done, the complexity of the music and sound effects, and a host of other annoying details.
That said, considering that principle shooting for “The Requiem” parts 1 and 2 wrapped only one month ago (August 10), RENEGADES is moving along quite smoothly and quickly. Of course, there’s no guarantee that the rest of post production will progress quite a fast, but keep your fingers crossed! Hopefully, we’ll soon see Walter Koenig’s and Nichelle Nichol’s final appearances as Chekov and Uhura…even if they’re not actually called Chekov and Uhura