Los-Angeles-based Hula Post Production recently provided editorial systems and support to editor Craig Alpert and his crew for Pitch Perfect 2, the new musical comedy from Universal Pictures currently in theaters. Hula set up Avid workflows in Baton Rouge, La., where the movie was shot, and in Los Angeles where postproduction was completed.
Alpert said that he was excited to work on the film, the follow-up to the 2012 box-office hit, both because it represented a change of pace from his previous assignments, which include such comedies as Pineapple Express, Knocked Up and Borat, and because of the opportunity to work with actress/producer Elizabeth Banks.
“It’s a different kind of comedy with great musical performances,” said Alpert, who previously worked with Hula on Ride Along, The Campaign and Yes Man. “I loved Pitch Perfect and the new film features bigger performances and more songs. It takes everything to the next level.”
In Baton Rouge, Hula Post Production set up an editorial workflow consisting of three Avid workstations, a software-only assist system and shared storage. Alpert and his crew began cutting as soon as shooting commenced. “I showed Elizabeth what I cut at the end of each week,” he recalled. “That helped her in terms of knowing what more she needed to get. By the time production wrapped, she had already seen 85 percent of the movie.”
The film features numerous dynamic musical performances, including a show-stopping “riff off” competition where several a cappella groups improvise on a theme.
“My first cut of the scene ran 15 minutes,” Alpert said. “There was a lot of great improvising by the actors, and it was a struggle to see what we could take out. In the end, it evolved into something wonderful. It’s the highlight of the second act.”
After production wrapped, Alpert returned to Southern California to complete the film. Hula assisted in locating editorial office space near the Universal lot and had an identical editorial workflow in place by the time Alpert and his crew arrived. “The director was thrilled with the location,” said Alpert. “It was right where she wanted to be.”
Alpert worked closely with Banks over 20 weeks of postproduction as the film took its final form. “Elizabeth was there almost every day,” he said. “She’s a great leader, very smart. She has an amazing sense of humor and knows exactly what she wants.”