If 2017 made you want to run into a movie theatre and hide, you aren't alone. Luckily, it’s been an exceptional year for the moving image. The Toronto International Film Festival looks back at the moments that helped us maintain, find hope, and transform the way we see the world through film.
Adam Schoales works for The Toronto International Film Festival and very kindly gave us permission to reprint this article he published on his website. We start by embedding the final result of his hard work, 2017: A Year in Moving Images - TIFF 2017.
How do you distill the year that was 2017 into three minutes? How to you encapsulate such a year; the good, the bad, the ugly? This was the question that our team was facing as we came into December and began preparations for our "year in review" pieces.
Lots of suggestions were made about potential video plays, and the initial suggestions were something like a countdown or listicle, but I knew what I wanted to make: a short piece that tells the story about the kind of year 2017 was - warts an all - but told through the incredible images we had seen throughout the year.
Because, despite everything else going on in the world, 2017 turned out to be a pretty incredible year for the moving image. And while I knew this wasn't going to be an easy task, I also knew that I was up for the challenge.
So for the next 2 weeks I started pouring over hundreds of movie trailers from the last year to cull my images and sound-ups.
I consulted with other members of our department on their favourite or most memorable moments from the past year in film and television. I scoured IMDB and google for quotations that might feel appropriate.
It turns out that finding beautiful images was the easy part. Find the quotations and sound-ups? Less so. In fact, it wasn't until just days before we launched the piece that I had found the final pieces of the puzzle that helped tell the story I wanted to tell.
(Right click for larger images)
Once I had collected all my assets, I set about organizing everything into a manageable system. This is where Final Cut Pro X came to the rescue, as always, thanks to its incredible keyword system. I would go through a trailer and add any shot I liked to a "selects" keyword, and any sound-up I thought might be useful to a "sound-ups" keyword.
Once I had finished going through the trailer I'd then go through the selects and start grouping them into other more granular keywords: beauty shots, actor to one side, centre framing, joy, hope, etc. Then it was rinse, repeat until I had gone through all my assets.
Then came the hardest part of the entire edit: music selection. Every editor knows how tricky this process can be, and I can safely say this was one of the toughest music selection processes I've gone through. I knew the kind of vibe I wanted for the piece, and also knew I was going to have to transition between a few different moods and styles, but finding the right music, and music that fit together with other tracks so that the piece felt cohesive was honestly such a long and difficult process that it probably took up the bulk of my hours on this edit.
When I wasn't searching for music (or just needed a break from the APM library) I started trying to build the skelton of my edit. With all my shots categorized I was able to start laying things out in a timeline to sort of get a sense of how things might play out.
I also started experimenting with what sound-ups I'd actually use in order to tell my story. Doing this concurrently with searching for music was helpful as it in many ways helped me to narrow my musical search, as well as audition tracks to see if it was matching the vibe I was starting to go for. There was a lot of experimentation at this point, and as always, the magnetic timeline became incredibly useful for moving things around quickly and easily.
Eventually everything started coming together. I was finding the right music choices, my structure was taking shape, and now it was just a matter of putting all these pieces together.
The end result? A tribute to the power of the moving image; one that also tries to encapsulate the year that was 2017, while providing hope for the year to come.
Featuring: Blade Runner 2049; Star Wars: The Last Jedi; It; Shape of Water; Lady Bird; Dunkirk; The Florida Project; Roman Isreal Esq.; I Am Not Your Negro; BPM (Beats Per Minute); Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Suburbicon; The Handmaid's Tale; Time: The Silence Breakers; First They Killed My Father; Get Out; Twin Peaks; I, Tonya; Mudbound; Loving Vincent; Detroit; Long Time Running; Wonder Woman; Thor: Ragnarok; Atomic Blonde; Fargo; Black Panther; Raw; Molly's Game; Wind River; Westworld; A Fantastic Woman; Logan; Battle of the Sexes; The Disaster Artist; The Killing of a Sacred Deer; Beatriz at Dinner; Stronger; A Ghost Story; Victoria and Abdul; Phantom Thread; Marlina; Human Flow; The Square; Woodshock; Foxtrot; Call Me By Your Name; Girls Trip; High Fantasy; Faces Places; Okja; Baby Driver; The Big Sick; The Hunger; AVA
Adam Schoales is a Toronto based video editor, currently working for The Toronto International Film Festival as a video producer/editor.