How she used Mocha Pro on HBO's House of the Dragon, making the jump from Avid editor to VFX, and what she'd tell her younger self.
Ask the Artist with Rosanne Tan, ACE, Editor
7 minute read
How she made the leap from unscripted to projects for the likes of Marvel, and which Sapphire & Continuum effects she relies on to tackle temp VFX.
Rosanne Tan, ACE, is an American film and television editor. She discovered her love for editing at a young age, using VHS-to-VHS editing to compile all her favorite programs. It was ultimately her love of storytelling and workaholic nature that built her esteemed career in picture editing. Her recent credits include Mr. Robot (USA), Homecoming (Amazon), The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Marvel), Hawkeye (Marvel), and Ahsoka (Lucasfilm).
Where are you from? How did you get your start in the industry?
I was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but grew up in Los Angeles, CA. After college, I landed on the online/finishing side of post-production and worked mainly on unscripted projects. Although I worked there for many years and gained a lot of technical skills, I knew in my heart that I always wanted to be a storyteller and be on the creative side of editing, so I made a path toward scripted narrative editing and never looked back. I worked my way up from apprentice editor to assistant editor and finally, to editor.
What Boris FX tools do you use? Which effects/features do you rely on most?
For a lot of my projects, while doing VFX temps, I like to use effects from Continuum (BCC) and Sapphire.
Some of my go-to favorites are:
- BCC: Gaussian Blur, Chroma Key Studio, Glow, Damaged TV, Film Glow, Vignette, Camera Shake, Jitter, and Color Correction.
- Sapphire: Blur, Grain, Distort, Film Effect, Film Damage, and Glow.
You worked on Marvel’s Hawkeye. How did you use Sapphire and/or Continuum on the show?
I’m usually very hands-on with my Avid timelines with all things picture, sound, and music. On a massive project like Hawkeye, the majority of the shots in the cut are VFX shots, so I was very fortunate to have first assistant editor, Caroline Wang, and VFX editor, James Houle, help create temp VFX shots (ultimately the VFX shots are turned over to the VFX vendors for the final finished version). To meet tight deadlines, it was often all hands on deck, so I would throw shots to each of them, as well as do my own temp VFX work, and we would use a lot of the BCC and Sapphire effects so we could present the most polished cuts possible.
Here are a few examples from episode 3:
During the car chase and bridge sequence, a lot of the dailies had blue screen. To add the temp backgrounds in, we used a combo of Chroma Key, along with Gaussian Blur and Film Glow. Every shot was different, so it varied how much of each effect we would use. And whenever there was an interior car shot, to make it match the intensity and feel of the on-location car interiors, we would throw in a slight bit of Camera Shake wherever it felt necessary.
For any interior mansion or apartment scenes that had green or blue screen, we used a combo of Chroma Key Studio mixed in with Blur and Avid’s paint effect.
Marvel's Hawkeye, Episode 3, Avid timeline
What project are you most proud of — and why?
It would be too difficult to name just one, so here are a few projects I’m very proud of:
Hawkeye is the second Marvel project I was involved with right after The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. I grew up loving films with martial arts and car chases, so I was overjoyed when I found out that my Hawkeye episodes had big fight sequences, ninja-like scenes, and a huge car chase with muscle cars. I’m very proud of the work and collaboration with all the departments and the fact that the story revolves around Christmas was a huge plus since I truly love celebrating that time of the year!
Hawkeye official trailer (Marvel)
Mr. Robot is one of the most original and creatively challenging shows I’ve been a part of. The show had a unique style, so I had the chance to be very innovative with the editing of the picture, sound, and music. The show is also incredibly special to me because I was nominated twice for the ACE Eddie Award for my episodes in 2020 and 2021. Growing up in an immigrant household, it was a big dream come true because it made my parents very proud of me too.
Mr. Robot official trailer, season 4 (USA)
Ahsoka is a project I finished recently for Lucasfilm. Still feels unreal to be able to say that I edited a Star Wars project! Everything from the workflow, the people I collaborated with, the characters, and the storylines were all truly amazing. I feel so honored to have been part of such a rich and cinematic galaxy.
Ahsoka official trailer (Lucasfilm)
How do you prep before a big project?
I’ll find anything and everything relevant to read, listen to or watch. I like to immerse myself in that “world”.
What's a keyboard shortcut you can't live without?
Cmd + Z. It’s basic, but when you’re working fast and under the gun, that shortcut is a lifesaver!
How do you keep yourself fueled/your favorite snack when you're in an epic session?
Lots of COFFEE 😊 and almonds or fresh-cut mangoes.
Where do you turn for artistic inspiration?
I get lots of inspiration when I rewatch films from my favorite filmmakers.
What do you do when you start feeling creative burnout?
I’d like to take walks with or without music. The walking helps clear my mind while getting some exercise.
What's your favorite film and/or TV series?
I have so many, so I hope you don’t mind if I list some:
- Films: The Last Emperor, LA Confidential, Shawshank Redemption, Schindler’s List, The Shining, Back to the Future, The Godfather, Heat, Parasite, Jurassic Park, Titanic, and many more...
- Series: Mad Men, The Pacific, Southland, The Wire, Six Feet Under, Sopranos, The Killing, Succession, The Walking Dead, The White Lotus, and many more…
If you could collaborate with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
In no particular order, these filmmakers because their work simply inspires me:
Steven Spielberg, Kate Winslet, Denis Villeneuve, Tom Hanks, Kathryn Bigelow, David Fincher, Bong Joon-Ho, Antoine Fuqua, Guillermo Del Toro, Denzel Washington, and George Clooney.
What career and/or life advice would you give your younger self?
The career advice I’d give my younger self is:
- Don’t be so hard on yourself if something doesn’t work out.
- Don’t be afraid to seek help or advice.
- Network whenever you can, don’t be shy, and make friends.
- Try to maintain a work-life balance and exercise to stay healthy.