You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Editors Help ‘Cosmos’ Orbit Emmy

Fox/NatGeo’s “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey” is among the six shows vying for the Emmy for outstanding picture editing for nonfiction programming. Its editors faced the challenge of turning dense, scientific subject matter into compelling television, and said that it probably helped that the creative team came from the world of narrative filmmaking.

“That proved to be a big advantage,” says editor John Duffy. “The script was very detailed, but each episode had to be structured like a dramatic film.”

The keys were pacing and timing: “How long can you go without someone talking? When do you need more time on these visuals?’ These are important decisions.”

Cosmos” received 12 Emmy noms; editors Duffy, Michael O’Halloran and Eric Lea share the editing credit.

When they began their work, everything was clearly scripted, but much of the visual material was just placeholders. Each episode ended up using live-action re-enactments, heavy vfx sequences and animation. “We had to keep trying to find the show,” says Duffy. It was an advantage that they worked on all 13 episodes at once. “Sometimes, we would think, ‘OK, that was a great transition. Let’s do that in the other segment.’ It took quite a few tries to get it right … building climaxes and knowing when to cool down.”

The “Cosmos” team considers the 2014 episodes to be a continuation, not reboot, of the original series, which Carl Sagan hosted in 1980.

More Artisans

  • SOW_04121.CR2

    Colors Play a Key Role in Production Design of Guillermo del Toro's 'Shape of Water'

    Fox/NatGeo’s “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey” is among the six shows vying for the Emmy for outstanding picture editing for nonfiction programming. Its editors faced the challenge of turning dense, scientific subject matter into compelling television, and said that it probably helped that the creative team came from the world of narrative filmmaking. “That proved to […]

  • Films Balance Accuracy With Artistic License

    Artisans Balance Historical Accuracy With Audience Expectations in Awards-Contending Films

    Fox/NatGeo’s “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey” is among the six shows vying for the Emmy for outstanding picture editing for nonfiction programming. Its editors faced the challenge of turning dense, scientific subject matter into compelling television, and said that it probably helped that the creative team came from the world of narrative filmmaking. “That proved to […]

  • Crew Re-Creates World War II London

    Crew Creates Shabby-Chic World War II London for 'Darkest Hour'

    Fox/NatGeo’s “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey” is among the six shows vying for the Emmy for outstanding picture editing for nonfiction programming. Its editors faced the challenge of turning dense, scientific subject matter into compelling television, and said that it probably helped that the creative team came from the world of narrative filmmaking. “That proved to […]

  • The Disaster Artist BTS James Franco

    James Franco's 'Disaster Artist' Production Crew Lovingly Worked to Recreate 'The Room'

    Fox/NatGeo’s “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey” is among the six shows vying for the Emmy for outstanding picture editing for nonfiction programming. Its editors faced the challenge of turning dense, scientific subject matter into compelling television, and said that it probably helped that the creative team came from the world of narrative filmmaking. “That proved to […]

  • Call me by your name art

    Luca Guadagnino Shares How His 'Call Me by Your Name' Crew Created '80s Love Story Look

    Fox/NatGeo’s “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey” is among the six shows vying for the Emmy for outstanding picture editing for nonfiction programming. Its editors faced the challenge of turning dense, scientific subject matter into compelling television, and said that it probably helped that the creative team came from the world of narrative filmmaking. “That proved to […]

  • Justice League Iceland Locations

    Iceland’s 25% Incentives Combines With Spectacular Scenery to Lure Filmmakers

    Fox/NatGeo’s “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey” is among the six shows vying for the Emmy for outstanding picture editing for nonfiction programming. Its editors faced the challenge of turning dense, scientific subject matter into compelling television, and said that it probably helped that the creative team came from the world of narrative filmmaking. “That proved to […]

  • Martin McDonagh three billboards outside ebbing

    'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' Production Team Builds a Sense of Place

    Fox/NatGeo’s “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey” is among the six shows vying for the Emmy for outstanding picture editing for nonfiction programming. Its editors faced the challenge of turning dense, scientific subject matter into compelling television, and said that it probably helped that the creative team came from the world of narrative filmmaking. “That proved to […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content