Filed in: Crafts, Editing, Featured, Reviews

Cinematic Multi-Camera Editing in Will & Grace

June 14, 2019 | By
Editor Peter Beyt

Editor Peter Beyt

The beloved NBC series Will & Grace, which recently wrapped its tenth season, continues to elevate the cinematic multi-camera editing employed by editor Peter Beyt, who came to the show in 2017 for its ninth season return. For the latest season, he added some stylistic elements not previously used in the show. “With the editing, I bounce between scenes within two or three sentences,” he said. “In the past, that was done a little bit here and there, but nothing like what we’re doing now.”

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, which allowed us to break all kinds of lines and bounce back and forth,” said Beyt. “With Grace’s (Debra Messing) story, we were able to go off and do the other stories if there was anything less than an A++ humor. That episode took a long time in production due to the many different pieces and locations.”

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: (L-R) Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland. Photo: Chris Haston/NBC

The episode also featured a plethora of graphics and effects. “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 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, it’s all pasted together in imagery,” he said.

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: (L-R) Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland. Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC

Besides the multiple locations, the other main challenge of the episode was the incorporation of a music video. “In the original script it was only written as maybe 30 seconds and the clip of Karen singing, but it ended up being longer. It was shot in two days and there were multiple takes, even though it looks like it was shot in one take. There was no tech audio, this was her great piano guy keeping the same rhythms and her singing at the same keys, which I was able to edit between takes. Later, the producer came back and added French horns, drums, and a bass line. That music video, which started off in question as it was so long, ended up being released and NBC put it up on their website,” said 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: (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 in Season 10, with what the editor describes as subtle work that to the audience comes off as regular performances. “Each one is like giving birth to a movie and then they go through the wringer. This is the most I’ve ever seen created live in front of an audience. Then they give it to me, and I try to make the original footage work, the new stuff work, and put it all together,” he said. “It’s the best editing job for live audience comedy in television there is in Hollywood right now!”

Peter Beyt won an Emmy in 2018 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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