You’ve seen the movies on the big screen. You start to ask yourself questions about how it got made. After all, you’re watching the end result of years worth of work and thousands of creative conversations and meetings that have taken place during that time. But… have you ever wondered, WHERE these big movies get made? Specifically, where they get EDITED during Post-Production?
Well, having working on multiple huge blockbuster feature films, I am in a rare position to shed a bit of light on this question. While I can’t list EVERY single location these big movies get edited, because every movie is different, I can list many of the COMMON locations that many of the huge blockbuster movies use as their cutting rooms.
First off, who makes the decision to where the cutting room ends up being? It’s definitely a political process, that is ultimately decided by the high ups, either the Director, the Studio, the Producers, and/or sometimes even the Editor/s. It’s never a decision that is given to the crew to make; all of us lower-level workerbees just have to deal with whatever the result of that decision is. So, what are the common locations used for blockbuster movie cutting rooms?
Once a movie reaches post-production, they almost always “come home”, in the sense that there is no longer any point in the crew staying out in the field whether the movie was shot (usually OUTSIDE of LA), so, we can start off by basically narrowing it down to the city to Los Angeles – that’s where the big movies do get edited during post-production (2 notable exceptions are New York City and London, which also do have some big movies being edited there during post-production – but NOT nearly as many as LA). So, where in Los Angeles? Well, LA is a huge city, but, I have observed that there are 2 main “hot spots” as I like to call them. One of those areas is Burbank / The Valley (particularly the East Valley). The other area is The West Side (Santa Monica, Culver City, and West Los Angeles). There are some spots inbetween that have cutting rooms, such as the actual city of Hollywood (where Paramount and Netflix are located, which do have feature film cutting rooms), but overall it’s not as common for the big blockbusters - I commonly notice smaller / lower budget movies and productions generally making Hollywood their home for post-production.
I would argue that Burbank really is the biggest overall spot – you’ve got Disney, Warner Bros, and Universal Pictures nearly next door to each other – that’s 3 of the Big 6 major studios. Beyond that, you’ve got Marvel (on the Disney lot) and Legendary (who both usually host their own feature film’s cutting rooms inside their headquarters in Burbank), Burbank Studios (which hosts multiple big TV show cutting rooms), Warner Bros Ranch, and CBS Radford Studios nearby in Studio City. Beyond that, there’s TONS of office buildings with various other production companies in that area, fully equipped with cutting rooms - most notably, one of which is located across the street from Burbank Studios, and home to Pivotal Post, which has hosted numerous blockbuster movie cutting rooms over the years. So Burbank / The Valley (the east side) really is the #1 spot for big budget feature film editorial cutting rooms in all of Los Angeles.
On the other side of the city, where it’s far more dense, congested, and difficult to get to because of hellish traffic, you’ve got The West Side. First off, you’ve got Sony Pictures and Fox Studios near each other, which both have multiple big movie cutting rooms on their lots (just like all other major studios I’ve already listed earlier). Then, in Santa Monica, you’ve got 2 different major office complexes which I keep hearing about over and over again as the years go by, which each host multiple big blockbuster movie cutting rooms: Tribeca West and Lantana – both are near each other off Olympic Blvd. And both of those locations are major hubs for post-production editorial office locations. Nearby in Santa Monica, there’s also Bad Robot, and Bruckheimer Films – both home to the editing rooms of some very huge blockbuster movies. Beyond that, just like the Burbank area, you’ve got many additional office buildings, fully capable of hosting editorial cutting rooms. Not to mention, if you go further south on the West Side, you’ll eventually hit Manhattan Beach Studios, which is a more isolated and lesser known hot spot for some pretty huge productions, including Avatar, and it used to be the home of Marvel Studios, just to name a select few.
I will also say, there is one office building way out in Pasadena that I also keep hearing about, which gets used for some major blockbuster cutting rooms as well – I know it’s been used for Batman v Superman and Star Trek Beyond, among others. I’ve never been there, and don’t know where it is specifically, but I do know it’s in South Pasadena. This mysterious isolated building (which I keep hearing about over the years) fascinates me and I hope to work there one day – it’s the ONLY spot in all of Pasadena that I know of that gets used for the big blockbuster cutting rooms – so far away from all the other spots I’ve already mentioned.
There’s SO many more spots that get used beyond what I’ve listed, and it’s impossible to list them all, but this post really does give you a solid overall sense of where these cutting rooms are. They do like their privacy, and there aren’t really many ways to find out publicly where these cutting rooms are – you really have to have some inside knowledge; knowing people working on these movies, to find out where they are being edited. So there you go – I’ve just given you the inside scoop.