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“Cop Car” kicks off Sundance NEXT FEST

Sundance NEXT FEST is a festival that celebrates film, music, and indie artists. After premiering at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, Cop Car enjoyed an outdoor screening at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Sunday, August 2, 2015. We spoke with the film’s Editors, Andrew Hasse and Megan Brooks, earlier this year about their work on the film. In addition to having them join me for a panel discussion focused on the Cop Car post-production process on Saturday, August 8, 2015, I also had the opportunity to learn about what they’ve been doing since the film’s premier earlier this year.

Adobe: Do you have an update on Cop Car that you can share with us?
Hasse: After the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and seeing Cop Car with an audience for the first time, we made some updates and small revisions to the film and finished all of the effects. The film was bought by Focus World and will be distributed in theaters and on DVD beginning August 7, 2015. Also, Jon Watts, the film’s director, will be directing the new Spiderman film, which is really exciting.

Cop Car 3

Brooks: As a result of our work on Cop Car and Creative Control we’ve also been featured in Filmmaker Magazine’s issue highlighting the 25 New Faces of Independent Film 2015, which is a huge honor.

Adobe: Have you taken on any other new projects?
Brooks: In addition to having some scripts sent to us by other filmmakers, we were happy to work with Jon Watts, the director of Cop Car, and Ben Dickinson, the writer and director of Creative Control, on some virtual reality projects.

Adobe: What project did you do with Jon Watts?
Hasse: It is a branded content piece for Tom’s shoes about the company’s giving program in Peru. Jon went down to a couple of places in Peru and filmed for a week. The shoot involved rigs comprised of GoPros and some drone shots. We received stitched together panoramas for editing in Adobe Premiere Pro. We were able to edit and display the virtual reality content using Oculus Rift technology.

Brooks: The three minute video is showing in Tom’s stores, so shoppers can put on the Rift goggles and experience it. We’ve heard that everyone who has seen it likes it a lot. We have a video that the project manager from Tom’s sent us showing a woman crying after she saw it. Virtual reality can be really impactful.

Adobe: What was the other virtual reality project you worked on?
Brooks: We worked with Ben Dickinson on a virtual reality video featuring Reggie Watts, who also starred in Creative Control. It costars Nathalie Emmanuel from Game of Thrones. She and Reggie guide the viewer on a trip through the void, to the edges of time and space.

Adobe: What do you like about working on virtual reality projects?
Brooks: If you’re good at suspending disbelief, virtual reality is really cool. The most interesting part is that it is new for everyone. We had to do things such as fade in and out of every scene, which we wouldn’t do in a regular film, so people didn’t feel any motion sickness. We’re all figuring it out as we go.

Adobe: What else have you been working on this year?
Brooks: I never went to film school, so after watching a lot of short films at the Sundance Film Festival we decided to make some shorts of our own. Together, Andrew and I wrote and produced two short films and shot them in April 2015. We currently have a rough cut of one that is 30 minutes long. We’re also writing two feature-length films.

Andrew and Megan

Adobe: How did you like working on your own projects?
Brooks: For me it’s been a wonderful experience. I came into the film industry with six years of experience doing my own animations and writing and I wanted to work with other people because I knew I would learn a lot. By the end of Cop Car I was itching to have more control and test out the fire I had inside me to tell my own story. I was patient through the process, but I found myself wanting to participate on a higher level than editors get to do.

On our own projects, having a partner like Andrew who guides me, but also lets me go, is an amazing experience and feels very natural. We’ve also been lucky to have our friends work on the projects with us. The first film was shot with three of our friends and the second one was shot with six people.

Hasse: It is a lot of work, but it’s also fun to work with Megan and our friends. We came up with the idea quickly and worked up a script with help from the actors. It happened without a lot of buildup and was nice because it felt low stakes and we could just jump in. It’s very reminiscent of film school for me and we’ve all learned a lot.

We have a rough cut of one of the shorts and we just downloaded Adobe Creative Cloud 2015. I’m doing my cut now and we’ll probably pass it back and forth for a couple of weeks. It was shot with three or four cameras at a time, so we have a lot of coverage and plan to experiment with multicam feature in Premiere Pro for some shots.

Adobe: What do you plan to do with the films?
Brooks: We’ve been talking to some companies about directing commercials, but we didn’t have anything that we’d written and directed ourselves. Hopefully these will be great resume pieces that show the world what we can do.

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