Editor David Tregoning uses Premiere Pro and Frame.io to edit Tribeca film “Waitress, the Musical — Live on Broadway!”

Still image from "Waitress, the Musical — Live on Broadway!"

Image Source: Tribeca Film Festival.

“Waitress, the Musical — Live on Broadway!” takes you on the journey into the life of Jenna Hunterson (Sara Bareilles), a talented pie-maker and waitress trapped in an unfulfilling marriage in a small town. Based on the beloved film of the same name, the musical adaptation captured the hearts of audiences worldwide. With original music and lyrics by singer Sarah Bareilles, the production beautifully captures the essence of the original story. The editing process of this production was streamlined by editor David Tregoning, who used Premiere Pro and Frame.io, to reflect and enhance the authenticity of the original production.

“Frame.io has simplified the process of both internal and client feedback immensely. The ability to import timecode comments as markers directly into a Premiere Pro sequence is really handy,” shares David.

“Waitress, the Musical — Live on Broadway!” is set to premiere at Tribeca on June 12th. Read on below to hear about David’s journey as a filmmaker.

Can you tell us about your experience as a filmmaker and how you got started in the industry?

I actually never intended to become a filmmaker, I came from a music background which ultimately translated pretty well into my current role. I graduated from University in 2006 with a degree in Music Technology. I had initially intended to get into dubbing mixing and sound design for film and I was also writing/performing/recording music on the side.

After graduating, I started (as many media graduates do) applying for runner positions at post-production houses and recording studios and ended up getting a job at London-based production company Steam Motion & Sound.

Fast-forward 15 years and I’m now Creative Associate and Senior Editor for that same company. It’s been quite the journey!

How and where did you first learn to edit?

I learned to edit audio long before I was editing video. ProTools and Logic were my editing software choices before I began my career in post-production.

Editing videos I pretty much learned on the job, although I think it’s always come quite instinctually to me, and I’ve always enjoyed crafting stories. From the beginning, our creative directors would gradually hand me bigger and more challenging projects to get my teeth into.

To start with I was editing in Final Cut Pro 7 before Apple ditched it, we then jumped ship to Adobe Premiere Pro which was a pretty seamless transition for us.

How do you begin a project/set up your workspace?

This process can vary, if it's a long-form project then our assistant editors normally prep the projects for the editors. This will include importing the proxies, creating Multicam sync sequences and re-speeding off-speed footage etc. Quite often I have a ‘selecting’ process where I select out the best moments/takes from the rushes. This helps streamline the editing process, particularly for short-form content.

Tell us about a favorite scene or moment from this project and why it stands out to you.

I think for me it has to be Sara Bareilles’s incredibly powerful performance of ‘She Used To Be Mine’. We filmed this pretty much as a oner (long take), although we ended up combining some elements from the live show as well because the audience's reaction at the end was huge. It was an absolute privilege to capture this raw emotional performance from Sara.

What were some specific post-production challenges you faced that were unique to your project? How did you go about solving them?

As with many of the other feature-length multicam projects I’ve worked on, one problem we often run into is the sheer size of the project files. In my offline editing projects I’d end up with nearly 300 sequences with anything up to 30 video layers. This meant that we’d need to periodically break out the working project files into smaller off-shoots until we finally combined sequences into our main ‘compile’ projects.

By the time we’d online and graded, project files became much more manageable.

What Adobe tools did you use on this project and why did you originally choose them? Why were they the best choice for this project?

For Waitress, I guess the main Adobe features we used were multicam sync at the beginning of the projects, EDL, XML and AAF round-tripping and also the frame.io integration.

Do you use Frame.io as part of your workflow? If so, how do you use it and why did you choose it?

Yes, we’ve been using frame.io pretty much since the beginning. It’s simplified the process of both internal and client feedback immensely. The ability to import time coded comments as markers directly into a Premiere sequence is really handy, and the ability to password protect files is also a great addition.

If you could share one tip about Premiere Pro, what would it be?

If I could share one tip about Premiere Pro it would be ‘project preparation’ i.e. keep your bins organised. I work with a team of editors and I cannot overstate how much time can be saved if a project is properly organised and labeled. I always approach a project with the mindset of “If I wasn’t familiar with this project, would I clearly be able to see what is what when I open it?” Project templates and consistent naming conventions are key to a smooth postproduction workflow.

Who is your creative inspiration and why?

I’m constantly inspired by all the talented people I surround myself with, whether it’s fellow editors, directors, illustrators, VFX artists, composers. I’m always humbled by the seemingly endless creativity I see around me everyday.

What’s the toughest thing you’ve had to face in your career and how did you overcome it? What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers or content creators?

Without a doubt the Covid19 pandemic has been the toughest thing. As a company, we rely so heavily on the performing arts industry and in 2020 that industry was almost obliterated overnight. We faced some pretty dire situations and as a company we had to make some very tough choices.

Thankfully as a company we came through it all, and I believe that ultimately it’s made us stronger and more resilient. In fact, now we’re busier than ever!

What’s your favorite thing about your workspace and why?

My favourite thing is my M1 Mac Studio with all the Adobe apps. That and having multiple displays, you can never have too many displays!