Resolving Issues with DaVinci Resolve – Interview with Anthill Productions

Recently, local BC Production House Anthill Films, has worked on their latest film The Engine Inside and edited it professionally and efficiently with the greatest software they ever came across, DaVinci Resolve. The Engine Inside focuses on 6 different people from different countries and how they change the world just from riding a bicycle. And to think people berated me for deciding to choose a bicycle over a car in my teenage years. Who’s laughing now? Oh right, nobody.

As mentioned, the film is all about bikes, and how their power can somehow fix climate change, mental health, and other issues. Amazing. But even more amazing is the software used for editing. Anthill Films took advantage of DaVinci Studio’s super software and saw how cost-cutting and quick the work could get done. Things got better and better for them.

I wanted to learn more about both the film and the editing process so I spoke to Darren McCullough and Jo Osborne of Anthill Films to get some input on their incredible work and learn about how it was managed. We had a quick simple discussion but it was just as efficient as the DaVinci itself.


HNMAG: Tell me about your film, The Engine Inside. What is it about?

Darren McCullough: The Engine Inside is kind of an exploration of the bike and how the characters in the film use a bike to better themselves and the world around them.


HNMAG: How long did it take the film to be made?

Darren McCullough: The film took quite a while to get funding off the ground and then gets sponsors behind it. It was probably about anywhere for like a three-year process to get the film’s pre-production done, and then it was a two-year process of production and post-production until the film was ready for release

Jo Osborne: The Principal photography was about 40 days, and did about 7 days per person in location.


HNMAG: Was it hard to get to so many places or how was it scheduled?

Darren McCullough: It was quite difficult in the timing of the film project, because a lot of it was during the pandemic. Things did get shifted around and moved, there were countries like Ghana for instance. While we were there, Omicron hit. We were there, and supposed to go to Cairo, Egypt afterwards. It got red listed at the time so we had to go back home, and we had to reschedule so it probably shifted the project 6 months trying to get around certain restrictions that were around the world at that time.


HNMAG: And it focuses on so many topics at the same time. What was it like balancing out all those topics?

Darren McCullough: It was really hard, it took a long time in pre-production with finding characters that we kind of wanted to represent the film, the different sides of cycling. So we definitely spent a lot of time interviewing and pre-interviewing our characters and getting to know them before we went into production with them. There were definitely a lot of people and so many stories that we could’ve chosen and so that’s where it got really interesting in who we got in terms of who we picked and what we were trying to get across in the film.


HNMAG: Was there anything you wanted to include but couldn’t?

Jo Osborne: We had a long list of people from before.

Darren McCullough: Yeah, a lot of different areas. The time constraint and budget constraint were probably the biggest things. You could have so many people, there’s so many more stories out there that we could’ve told so there’s definitely some we missed because of that. 

They both agreed if it hadn’t been for such minimal time and budget together, there could’ve been a lot more stories. Maybe we’ll see a sequel or a spinoff series? Who knows? I’m hoping so.


HNMAG: And why did you choose to use DaVinci Resolve Studio to edit the film?

Darren McCullough: We kind of made the switch probably 1 to 2 films prior to this, and our main reason for switching was the process of online colour. We kept having issues going from other editing softwares and bringing them to our post-facility to do colour correction. It ended up that it just made more sense to start the process in resolve so that it was all in one editing suite and deliver a basic project file and it automatically loaded to our colourist. What we found after we did that was that there were so many other benefits just to editing in Resolve vs. other non-linear editing systems.


HNMAG: What are some of the other advantages you found during post-production?

Darren McCullough: The big thing was speed, dealing with raw workflows, different formats, we found that really sped up our process. Joe can talk about the audio benefits that we found.

Jo Osborne: For sound, it helped a lot with the way we sort of synced stuff up and it really helped coming into Resolve and being able to sync things so fast. All our audio, and the feel how you can manipulate the audio in the files. Just the way it all links to the audio files, we can set it up so that it can first be linked but then brought back into the edit back afterwards. It would go into Darren’s editing sessions afterwards and we could link everything to it and I could get everything to edit in the audio sessions while it was still in the edit stage. Pretty awesome for us.


HNMAG: Would you definitely use DaVinci Resolve for future productions?

Darren McCullough: Yes. Our whole production suite is based on Resolve now, we have four edit bays and Joe’s sound mixing studio. Everyone’s using Resolve to accomplish all of their edits now.


HNMAG: What kind of productions do you hope to make with it?

Darren McCullough: We make documentaries, sports action films, we have a new film that will be coming out in 2024. We have commercial work that we do and we also do kind of branded content. All of it would be using DaVinci Resolve.


HNMAG: Is there any other DaVinci software you plan to use as well?

Darren McCullough: The only other things that we use from DaVinci are their IO cards. All of our computers are using their video cards to output to Colour monitors or just reference screens.


Be sure to keep an eye out for more stuff from Anthill Films, I have a feeling one of the other writers on here will have some interesting things to say in a review of one of their future works. After all, anything is DaVinci Resolve is the most high quality work ever made.

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