Tom Scherma

By Published on .

In editing the anti-smoking spot "1200" for the American Legacy Foundation, via Arnold Worldwide and Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Cosmo Street's Tom Scherma and his assistant culled through 30 hours of footage shot by director Baker Smith, including helicopter shots and numerous hidden handheld cameras. The spot, which has won accolades at quite a few awards shows this season, shows a crowd of 1,200 people miming instant death outside a tobacco company's offices to show how many people die from tobacco every day. In addition to the copious footage, Scherma had to balance the tone of the spot and experiment with the soundtrack to be sure that it effectively made its point. "The biggest challenge was the tonality of it, the sense of the gravity of the idea without being too heavy," Scherma says. "Though it's a heavy spot, it shouldn't come across as too preachy." To do that, he followed his instincts in the editing bay. "I have a tendency to multitask and look through the footage while I'm making selects and looking at the board. We explored different editing styles, being more aggressive and toned down." Sound was also very important to the edit. Though it seems like a quiet spot, helicopter and crowd noises disappear when the bodies hit the pavement, a moment when "the air got sucked out of it," he says. "That was integral. There were 1,200 people making all this noise a few minutes ago, and now they're not."
Most Popular