Editor David Fisher on cutting the new series of Doctor Who, his editing process and more
David Fisher is a film and TV editor known for his work on Vera, No Offence and the forthcoming series of Doctor Who, starring Jodie Whittaker as the legendary time-traveling lead. Here David tells Mandy News how he started out, how he ended up working on Doctor Who and what aspiring editors can do to get noticed.
Please introduce yourself and tell us how you got involved in editing for TV and Film?
I got into post production while studying a BA Hons in Media Production at Northumbria University. The course covered many different roles in the industry but editing was the one I found most interesting.
I then went on to work as a freelance assistant editor from 2006 to 2012 on productions such as Wire In The Blood (ITV), No.1 Ladies Detective Agency (HBO) and Wallander (BBC).
Since 2012, I've worked as a freelance editor on Mr Selfridge, Vera, Grantchester (ITV), Shetland (BBC/ITV), No Offence (Channel 4) and Doctor Who (BBC).
How did you get involved with Doctor Who?
I got the call from director Jamie Childs who I have worked with on a few productions and he said that he was directing the opening episodes of the new series of Doctor Who (starring Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor) and that he wanted to put me forward to edit his episodes. Of course I said yes. I've been a fan of the show since I was a kid and have loved it since it came back in 2005.
What was your process like working on the series?
My process was the same as it was on any job; receive the rushes the next day in the cutting room, assemble as per the script/continuity notes (listing preferred takes, or notes from the director), keeping communication with the director throughout the shoot and working closely with them and production in the fine cut to achieve picture lock.
I had a great time working on the show and it was really nice to be so close to the crew/shoot as I was at the studios. On many jobs the cutting room can be in a different city to the actual shoot, so this was a benefit as I could be in close contact with the director.
What do you prefer to edit on and what do you think of the advancements in editing technology over the years?
I prefer to edit on Avid Media Composer, I think an advantage of going digital has helped the speed in which the cutting room can receive rushes. I started on film as an assistant editor and there would be the time of waiting for the film to be developed, telecined to tape and then couriered to the cutting room where the assistant editor would then have to log the footage and digitise before the editor can start work.
Now with a D.I.T. (Digital Imagining Technician) being on location they can be given the camera cards on set and start the process of backing up/transcoding as the shoot is still taking place. The transcoded rushes (avid media) is then put on a transport drive and can be in the cutting room, so the assistant just has to transfer/import sound and sync.
It's really sped up and streamlined how the footage gets into the cutting room and the assistant and editor can start work earlier.
What are you currently working on?
I'm currently editing a new crime drama for ITV called The Bay (Production Company Tall Story Pictures).
This is the press release: When Detective Sergeant Lisa Armstrong is assigned to a missing persons investigation in Morecambe, at first it seems like any other – tragic, but all too familiar. As a police Family Liaison Officer, she’s trained never to get emotionally involved. Her job is to support families during the worst time of their lives whilst also to be the eyes and ears of the police investigation; a cuckoo in the nest. But there’s something very different about this particular case. With horror Lisa realises she’s got a personal connection with this frightened family; one that could compromise her and the investigation. As she grapples to get justice for the grieving family, Lisa discovers it could come at the cost of her own.
What advice would you have for upcoming editors?
The best thing for me was starting as an assistant editor. I learnt the dynamic of the cutting room and could see how different editors worked in the role. I learnt a lot of skills through editing short films, showreels, promos and even been given the opportunity to assemble scenes for editors.
My advice would be to edit as much as possible.
Doctor Who is made by BBC Studios Production and transmits on BBC One on Sunday October 7.
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