Filed in: Crafts, Editing, Featured, Reviews
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Cinematic Multi-Camera Editing in Will & Grace

June 14, 2019 | By
Editor Peter Beyt

Editor Peter Beyt

The beloved NBC series Will & Grace continues to elevate the cinematic multi-camera editing employed by editor Peter Beyt within Season 10. The main difference from Season 9 to Season 10 is that a style is much more present. The editor described, “I bounce between scenes within two or three sentences. In the past, it’s been done a little bit here and there, but nothing like what we’re doing now. It’s absolutely the best thing in the world for an editor in Comedy TV because the creators don’t just want to do a TV show, they want to make these episodes very special. In that case, they are bringing in long shows that need some reorganization because they’re complicated and not just simple, but a show with a heavy topic.”

The outstanding editing is highlighted in the ninth episode of Season 10 titled “Family, Trip.” “The fun of the show was that Will (Eric McCormack), Jack (Sean Hayes), and Karen (Megan Mullally) are high on drugs, so that allows to break all kinds of lines and bounce back and forth. With Grace’s (Debra Messing) story, we were able to go off and do the other stories to maintenance them if there was anything less than an A++ humor. It took a long time in production due to the many different pieces and locations. It was very much like the single camera show as everything came in small elements that provides us the best pieces. The finale came in 17 minutes long, that’s almost an entire episode more,” Beyt emphasized.

WILL & GRACE -- "Family Trip" Episode 207 -- Pictured: (L-R) Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

Will & Grace — “Family Trip” Season10/Episode 9 — Pictured: (L-R) Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland — (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

This specific drug episode also featured a plethora of graphics and effects. The editor shared, “The rabbit is all live action. The write on and the butterflies were done out of a facility. Believe it or not, there’s probably another 50 or so effects in that world that are unnoticed. There’s a shot of Jack and Will on the table and at one point I had to replace Will’s whole arm because it’s different in two takes. When Karen is singing on the washer and dryer as the day players do their lines, none of that is connected, that’s all pasted together in imagery.”

WILL & GRACE -- "Family Trip" Episode 207 -- Pictured: (L-R) Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland-- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

Will & Grace — “Family Trip” Season 10/Episode 9 — Pictured: (L-R) Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland– (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

Other challenges besides the multiple locations is the incorporation of the music video. “The music video was quite a big challenge. In the original script it was only written as maybe 30 seconds and the clip of Karen singing. They shot it in two days and it looks like they shot it in one take, but it’s actually multiple takes put together. There was no tech audio, this was her good piano guy keeping the same rhythms, her singing at the same keys, and I edited between takes. Then later, the producer came back in and added French horns, drums, and a bassline. That music video which started off in question because it was so long, where are we going to actually use it in the show. It got released as a music video and NBC put it up on their website,” expanded Beyt.

WILL & GRACE -- "Family Trip" Episode 207 -- Pictured: (L-R) Chelsea Handler as Donna Zimmer, Debra Messing as Grace Adler, Mary McCormack as Janet Adler -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

Will & Grace — “Family Trip” Season 10/Episode 9 — Pictured: (L-R) Chelsea Handler as Donna Zimmer, Debra Messing as Grace Adler, Mary McCormack as Janet Adler — (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

Family, Trip” is one of the several powerfully edited episodes within Season 10. The editor voiced, “The thing that will never be seen by anybody else in “Grace’s Secret,” as there’s so much subtle work on my behalf, but it all comes off as their performance. The episode with the boys showering together, shaving each other’s genitals; that would never have been on television before. Karen riding the bike on the border episode, bouncing up and down as she rides. We were all uncomfortable with Grace being in that outfit in the striptease episode.”

The editing of all 18 episodes in Season 10 transformed the original scripts to give the audience an impactful, funny, and everlasting experience. “None of ours are close to the original script. Each one is like giving birth to a movie and then go through the ringer. This is the most I’ve ever seen created live in front of the audience while everything’s happening. Then they give it to me, and I try to make the original work, the new stuff work, I try to make it all work. It’s the best editing position for live audience comedy in television there is in Hollywood right now,” Beyt concluded.

Peter Beyt is the 2018 EMMY winner for the Will & GraceGrandpa Jack” episode in the category of Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series and was nominated for a 2018 American Cinema Editors Award for Best Edited Comedy Series for Commercial Television for the Will & Grace Grandpa Jack” episode.

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