The series in Spanish “Who killed Sara?” became one of Netflix’s surprise hits of 2021, earning a spot as the streaming service’s most popular non-English language title a month after its launch. The series follows Alex Guzman, a man determined to find his sister Sara’s true killer after spending 18 years in prison for the crime.
Like many shows released in 2021, “Who Killed Sara?” faces challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As work began on Season 2, post-production supervisor Carlos Mignon sought a remote editing approach to protect the project from potential shutdowns. Working closely with Editor-in-Chief Martha Poly and her team, Mignon and post-production house Cinema Maquina established an efficient, collaborative, and reliable workflow using Productions in Adobe Premiere Pro and LucidLink.
I spoke with Mignon and Poly about how they used remote editing to bring Season 2 of the hit thriller to eager viewers.
Tell me about the remote workflow you created for “Who Killed Sara?” Season 2.
Cute : We wanted to work with Martha for season 1, but she had a conflict with another project. When she said she was available for season 2, I reached out and we started talking about how we could create a remote editing workflow that she would feel comfortable with . Editors don’t typically get involved in pre-production, but it was very important that we worked with Martha to test and perfect the editing workflow.
Poly: I’m a huge fan of Adobe, and Adobe Premiere Pro in particular. I work with a team that likes to try new ways of doing things, and when Productions became available in Premiere Pro, it seemed like a very interesting way to work simultaneously. Unlike other similar workflows, there is media referencing, so we don’t create duplicate assets. It’s a real collaboration.
It seemed like a great starting point for a remote editing workflow. My team sat down with Carlos and Cinema Maquina to test it. With concurrent editing, I was initially worried about whether the projects would save correctly, but everything worked just fine.
Cute : Productions are made for local storage. We enlisted LucidLink to deliver true cloud editing. It was our first time working with LucidLink and we really enjoyed it.
Our editors work from locations around the world and we don’t know what their internet environment is like. It could be unstable and we needed to make sure people could continue working when they lost connection. We added tools that would create backups on local hard drives allowing editors to continue working if they disconnect from LucidLink.
QUIEN MATO A SARA LA SERIE – Temporada 2 (L to ANTONIO DE LA VEGA as ABEL and XIMENA LAMADRID as SARA in episode 205 of QUIEN MATO A SARA LA SERIE Temporada 2. Cr. NETFLIX ©️ 2021
What were the main benefits of working with Productions?
Poly: I really enjoyed how the workflow made it easy to communicate with my team. I can jump into another editor’s project to review what they’re doing and talk with them about their real-time editing. Simultaneous editing using Productions in Premiere Pro meant multiple editors could tackle the same episode. It made the editing more collaborative because everyone was working together. If someone got stuck on a scene, I could ask another editor to look at it with fresh eyes.
Cute : Time is usually the biggest challenge when working on a TV series. Productions help eliminate duplicates, which leads to much simpler editing. Compared to season 1, I could see the difference between the fluidity of information between the editors, but also between the editors and the showrunners.
Poly: It may sound corny, but it really made our team happy to feel so connected. We communicated better and faster because we could actually see how the episode was going. We had five months to deliver eight episodes. We finished them a month early. Nobody could believe it.
How does the kind of “Who Killed Sara?” affect your editing approach?
Poly: “Who killed Sara? is a mystery thriller, so there’s a lot of pacing. When the action heats up, things need to move. When the characters stop to look around, the pace should slow down. But the biggest challenge is that the show takes place in different time periods, each with its own unique look. It jumps between flashbacks from 20 years ago to the present day, so we have to create a different feel for each timeline and transition between them. I’m happy with how we achieved the balance between the two timelines.
QUIEN MATO A SARA LA SERIE – Temporada 2 (L to R) LUIS ROBERTO GUZMAN as LORENZO and MANOLO CARDONA as ALEX in episode 202 of QUIEN MATO A SARA LA SERIE Temporada 2. Cr. NETFLIX ©️ 2021
Besides Productions, what features have made Premiere Pro your favorite editing platform?
Poly: I’m not a visual effects expert, but I love how quickly I can add simple effects in Premiere Pro. I use masks a lot or will add invisible split screen effects. In other projects, I may even create placeholder effects with animations and keyframes just so the director can see what I’m thinking for the scene.
I also use the audio tools and the Lumetri Color panel a lot. I’m no expert, so I might add a note where someone else can come in and tweak things. Premiere Pro is just very user friendly and I enjoy working with all the tools it provides.
How did you end up in video production?
Cute : My story started at a young age. One of the last gifts my dad gave me was a video camera, and I used it to make stop-motion videos with my toys. These movies taught me early on how different cuts and camera movements could add emotion to my toys. I studied photography and then cinema in Cuba, but after making two films, I realized that there were a lot of things in the post-production process that I didn’t fully understand. I began to make efforts to learn these things.
As a post-production supervisor, my job is to create bridges between people and tools. It is important for me not to impose software on the teams. I prefer that they tell me: “This is what makes me comfortable” and that they build around that.
Poly: For me, editing comes from a desire to tell stories. I’ve written short stories, I’m a photographer, and I love telling stories through film. I discovered that I like being the person behind the curtain. There are so many ways to tell the same story through editing, and I love all the possibilities.
I taught myself editing on Final Cut, but when Final Cut X came out, I switched to Premiere Pro. It was very exciting to see all the improvements that Premiere offered, and I’ve been an Adobe fan ever since.
What projects are on the horizon for you?
Poly: Carlos and I have two other projects we will be working on together in 2022, and we plan to use Productions for those as well. I use Productions for everything now. Even if it’s just a short with just me and an assistant, I’ll tell them, “We use Productions.”
Cute : I’m working on season 3 of “Who Killed Sara?” We continue to use the remote editing workflow with Productions and LucidLink. Unfortunately, Martha couldn’t join us for season 3 and I miss her terribly. But the new editors are also fantastic and they appreciate the way we edit the season.
Seasons 1 and 2 of “Who Killed Sara?” are streaming now on Netflix, with Season 3 launching on May 18.
Learn more about productions in Adobe Premiere Pro.
Learn more about Lucid Link.
Visit Carlos Mignon IMDb, Vimeo, and Instagram.
Visit the Martha Poly website, IMDb, Vimeo and Instagram.