By now, pretty much everybody has seen and social media’d last week’s epic Saturday Night Live sketch, The Beygency. It was a potent jab at the almost suffocating unanimity of Beyoncé-fandom, and what happens when one man–episode host Andrew Garfield–dares to be lukewarm on Queen Bey. As viewers watched the sleek sci-fi parody unfold, though, what they didn’t see is just how much work goes into making a film of that caliber in less than a week and editing it for airing on national television.
A new video from the film unit at SNL reveals all the editing wizardry that took a funny premise with great performances, and top-notch direction by Rhys Thomas, to the next level. Starting from Friday afternoon at 4 p.m., we see the production unfold through the lens of the Adobe Premiere editing software interface, revealing a constant state of video flux until dress rehearsal, airtime, and the export of the post-production version. Apparently, sometimes the process is daunting enough that it requires extra work in between the latter two.
“Sometimes the turnaround on these pieces is so tight, the cut that plays on the East Coast broadcast is structurally finished, but doesn’t have all the final tweaks, like color, sound effects, etc,” says SNL Film Unit editor Adam Epstein. “So the final export is the same cut but with everything exactly how it should be, and then that plays on the west coast and online.” He adds, “It’s not ideal, and we try to avoid it, but with a fast schedule on a complicated piece it’s sometimes inevitable.”