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Editor of Spike Jonze's HomePod ad details production process

Apple already gave us a behind the scenes look at the making of their incredible HomePod commercial starring FKA Twigs and directed by Spike Jonze. Now, Frame.io offers a closer look at the technical side of the production in an interview with editor Jeff Buchanon.

Jeff Buchanon Editor Standing

Credit: frame.io


Buchanon, who has worked with Jonze on a number of other productions including the popular indie film Her, was in charge of editing the highly regarded Apple ad.

Like all Apple projects, the timeline was tight, which meant that editing needed to begin as soon as the footage was shot. In rare form for an editor, Buchanon was on set nearly the entire time during the filming of the HomePod commercial.

The entire ad spot was filmed in only four days, and post-production was completed in two weeks. Buchanan recalls the first footage was already being edited no more than two hours after filming began. Instead of being locked away in a remote editing bay collecting the dailies, footage came straight off their ALEXA XT cameras, to the DIT, to the assistant editor, then to Buchanan.

All of the footage, which was 1080p encoded in Avid's DNx36 code, was cut in Media Composer and handed off for color correction and conforming.

Jeff Buchanon Editor Sitting

Credit: frame.io


A big detail that was revealed in the previous behind the scenes footage, was that most of the effects were practical, and shot on camera. Barring the mirror shot that relied on some light motion capture work, the lion's share of effects were elaborate hydraulic and human-powered set pieces.

This made the load a bit lighter on the editing team as there was not much VFX work to be done.

Another focus of the editing team was sound. Buchanan even highlighted setting the mood of the spot as one of the most difficult challenges. As soon as he saw the script, Buchanan was sourcing different sound effects to create that mood, especially the gloomy and dismal opening shots of the spot with heavy rainfall and the monotonous rumble of the train.

The full interview on the frame.io blog provides further detail.

Frame.io, for those uninitiated, is a video collaboration platform. It allows users to privately upload, review, and share video with the rest of their team, regardless of location. Aside from other editing platforms, they also have a plugin for Apple's Final Cut Pro X.

Apple's Spike Jonze ad, one of the most recent HomePod commercials, has received acclaim from viewers and critics. So far the YouTube video has racked up over 9 million views. It stars British performer FKA Twigs as a tired and overworked city dweller who has her day turned around by the HomePod and features a lively, and colorful, dance number choreographed by Ryan Heffington. Heffington is known for choreographing scenes in Baby Driver