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Ten Minutes With: “Sleepy Hollow” Editor Scott Gamzon

The scenes between Crane (Tom Mison) and Abby (Nicole Beharie) are amongst Scott Gamzon’s favorite to edit in “Sleepy Hollow.”
](photo credit: 20th Century Fox Television)

BY: Marjorie Galas, Editor

Scott Gamzon gravitates towards stories with a lot of action and complex characters. The Emmy winning editor (Outstanding editing in News and Documentary Programing: Party Monster”) has worked on television series including “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”, “Friday Night Lights” and the reality series “The Apprentice” for which he received two additional Emmy nominations. When Gamzon joined the “Sleepy Hollow” team, he anticipated some fun action sequences, however the story lines provided a few elements he hadn’t expected.

“I felt a little like a fish out of water in the start. ‘Sarah Connor’ provided a lot of action, but not so much humor. ‘Sleepy Hollow’ provides such great material and a lot of humor,” said Gamzon. “The end of the seasons was so out there, with the sword fights and the VFX. Working with characters from the revolutionary war has been great fun.”

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The goal behind Gamzon’s editing style for “Sleepy Hollow” is to keep the episodes moving at a quick and limber pace with strategically incorporating moments where the audience can “catch a breath.” He focuses special attention around the timing of reveals within the mythology of the story line, as well as the complicated entanglements between the leads and townsfolk.

“I love the relationship between Crane (Tom Mison) and Abby (Nicole Beharie), where a lot of the humor comes from,” said Gamzon. “Abby is acting as a teacher and trying to play her emotions cool. The two actors have such great chemistry together, I really enjoy their scenes.”

Working with a headless character throughout the series provided a bit of a learning curve for Gamzon. Actor Richard Cetrone, who plays the Headless Horseman, wears a green screen mask during the takes. In the first stages of editing Gamzon must remind himself the head will not be visible. While a great deal of the show’s scenes incorporate demons, connections between the past and the present and assorted elements of witch craft, Integrating these digital effects into the story has been a smooth process for Gamzon. He works closely with members of the visual effects team to keep track of changes that may affect the edit after VFX have been entered, ensuring all team members are on the same page, edits remain smooth, and workflows are managed correctly.

While Gamzon feels his editing approach is straight forward, he’s often working with a multitude of camera angles that are capturing elements of the action, from the shattered debris resulting from gun fire to the action that results from horses racing through the forest. There are also some techniques built into the show that aid the viewer in highlighting a character’s recognition of how an event, character or location connects to their circumstance. A particular device used in “Sleepy Hollow” is what the production team calls the pop flash. Meant to simulate a burst of an idea that appears in the character’s memory, a scene is shot with a portrait lens and has design elements added in post that pull aspects of the shot out of focus.

Gamzon and the “Sleepy Hallow” team began work on the new season May 5th. During the hiatus between seasons, he spent his down time working on a series that offered a complete change of face: editing episodes of “Revenge.”

“It’s a completely different type of show. It definitely doesn’t have as many visual effects scenes or the same type of action,” said Gamzon. “I enjoyed it, it was a nice chance to rest up and recharge.”

To learn more about “Sleepy Hollow” and watch episodes from season one, visit:
http://www.fox.com/sleepy-hollow/