Star Trek: Discovery editor on building your career, using Sapphire inside Avid on the popular series, and how he preps before projects.
Emmy Nominee: Editor Mary DeChambres, ACE, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars
3 minute read
How she made the leap from a public school art teacher to editor, most memorable moment of the season, and using Sapphire plugins.
Mary DeChambres, ACE, has edited some of the most fun unscripted shows around, including Project Runway (Emmy Award winner), American Ninja Warrior (Emmy-nominated), and The Julia Child Challenge. She's currently nominated for her fourth Emmy(!) for her work on cult-fave RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars (Paramount+).
When did you realize you wanted to become an editor?
I actually discovered editing in my own art classroom when I was a public school teacher. Our class was given a free version of Avid, and my students and I would make all kinds of videos for our campus, like short commercials highlighting the Friday night football game. Editing incorporated many of the elements and principles of art that I was so familiar with, but editing also incorporates the element of time. I really enjoyed the challenge of incorporating this new element into my art.
Then my first introduction to editing professionally happened to be at Bunim Murray when I landed a job there as a dubber. I would watch all the boring raw footage and then I would see how the editor made it into something entertaining to watch with a well-thought-out A, B, and C story. This process fascinated me and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the footage and see what I could sculpt into a scene. That’s when I knew I wanted to become an editor.
Are there any particular moments that stick out from this season?
Watching the Drag Race contestants getting ready for their runways was like watching a master class in makeup application, and I was lucky enough to have a front-row seat! Those segments were especially fun for me to edit.
Why do you love being an editor?
I love being an editor because I have the opportunity to be creative every day.
Who are your favorite editors out there?
Two editors that come to mind are Tatiana Riegel, ACE, and Amy Duddleston, ACE. Tatiana is known for projects like I, Tonya, Cruella, and the mini-series Pam & Tommy. There’s aggressiveness in her editing style that’s reflected in her projects. It’s a roller coaster of a ride, and that holds my attention.
Amy is known for projects like Laurel Canyon, Dexter, and Mare of Easttown. When you watch her work, you see that she is especially masterful in the quiet moments. She’s not afraid of what I refer to as “negative space.” She’s also masterful in finding the best reaction shots that say nothing verbally but say everything emotionally and finding just the right moment to clue in the audience.
How do you use Boris FX tools?
I use Sapphire on almost every unscripted show I’ve ever worked on. I have to have them in my toolbox. I especially love to use the lighting plugins to add all kinds of lens flares to make our stage moments feel even bigger. I use pre-built transitions like Swish3d and Dissolve Glow to create more depth and add some polish to my cuts.