EditShare and the Beasts of No Nation
The latest film slated to premiere on video streaming service, Netflix, Beasts of No Nation is already boasting stellar reviews and big names. The American war drama film was directed, written and filmed by the renowned Cary Joji Fukunaga and stars Idris Elba among other breakthrough faces. The film is traveling the festival circuit, where it has picked up honors such as the Marcello Mastroianni Award and a Special Presentation selection at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. It is no wonder that Beasts of No Nation is making such an impact in light of its subject matter. The film tells the story of a child soldier named Agu who fights in a civil war in Africa, and by all accounts, it is expected to be profound.
Principal photography and production took place in the eastern region of Ghana. It began last May and lasted about two months, while the crew worked on a tight budget of six million US dollars for the film and the technology used. It was a one-stop shop – the crew had to get everything they needed during these two months because there would not be an opportunity to come back. This meant there was little room for error.
For on-location storage, the crew opted to use an EditShare XStream Field 2. The Field 2 is a portable solution ideal for media and project sharing in a small, quiet box. Easily transportable to Ghana, it is so compact that it even meets airline regulations for carry-on baggage. The Field 2’s project sharing capabilities allowed the film’s Avid editors on-location collaborate storyline development, which was especially helpful when the footage was plentiful.
“They were shooting pretty much every day for the two months that we were there,” says Victoria Lesiw, a member of the Beasts of No Nation editing team, who was on location in Ghana. “It was a pretty wild shoot because most of the cast were non-actors, and many had actually been child soldiers themselves. There was a lot of shooting that would happen on the spot, and if it was working, they kept going which resulted in a lot of long takes.”
Shot in ProRes, the DIT compiled the footage daily, sending a package off to the post team, who were set up in nearby hotel, for editing the next day. Format agnostic, the Field 2 supported ProRes without issue and approximately four terabytes of material when all was said and done.
In addition to the large amount of footage being produced, editing on location in Ghana’s jungle provided a few tricky situations for the Field 2 to work through. The regions unstable power infrastructure meant frequent blackouts and power outages. However, the Field 2’s low power consumption proved a huge benefit when everything went dark.
“Our power would go out several times a day, so we had to rely on battery backups,” says Victoria. “This may have been a problem if we were trying to use a standard storage system, but the Field 2 really helped us. We were able to keep working in the dark because it doesn’t take much battery power.”
The team edited on laptops with the Field 2 in the same room. Because the Field 2 system was so quiet, it was possible for them to work in such a small space and get the job done. It was also easy to bring content from set into the Field 2, even when power was a question.
“This was the first time that I’ve done post work on location for a film,” Victoria says. “It was also the most remote place I’ve ever worked. It would have been a different situation had we not had the Field 2. The entire project was very unpredictable and fast-paced, but it was nice not to have to worry about the safety of our content with the Field 2.”
Beasts of No Nation is set to premiere on October 16th, where it will be released in limited theaters by film distribution company, Bleecker Street, and online through Netflix.
Victoria Lesiw is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker with over 10 years of experience in film and advertising.
For more information on EditShare’s XStream Field 2, please visit http://www.editshare.com/products/xstream-field-2.
Beasts of No Nation