Anatomy of a Scene: Diving into Sourcing the Music for Jennifer Lopez: Halftime with Katerina Tolkishevskaya

Published on in Exclusive Interviews

You may know Katerina Tolkishevskaya as an award-winning Los Angeles based music editor. A Golden Reel 2020 award winner for her work on HULU’s feature “The Ultimate Playlist of Noise”, her other notable credits include the highly rated Netflix documentary films “Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell” and “Jennifer Lopez HALFTIME”, award winning series “The Morning Show” on Apple TV+ and many others.

As a graduate of Berklee College of Music with a degree in electronic production and sound design, she began her career by producing electronic music and scoring short films. In addition to her experience in production and composition, she’s a highly skilled project manager, knowledgeable in music licensing and distribution.

In this interview, Katerina provides insight into the Super Bowl performance scene in Jennifer Lopez: Halftime.

PH: Which scene was your favorite to work on in Jennifer Lopez: Halftime?

Katerina Tolkishevskaya: I was brought on to focus on all the source music in the film. It is hard to choose one specific scene and song out of all of JLo’s iconic hits, but I think one of my favorite scenes is definitely the Super Bowl performance.

PH: Describe this scene and the significance it has to the rest of Jennifer Lopez: Halftime

Katerina Tolkishevskaya: It is a huge milestone and honor for any artist to perform the Super Bowl's halftime show, so I would say this scene is kind of a culmination of the film - JLo being able to express herself and standing up for what she believes in - all while putting on an incredible and moving performance. This is the moment we’re building up to through the intense rehearsals and the journey through her career.

PH: What tools, plugins, or instruments did you use in your production of this scene? 

Katerina Tolkishevskaya: Music editors generally try to leave the audio as prepped and clean as possible for the mixing stage. Izotop’s RX denoise plug-ins work great for music editors as they do a great job at any clean ups.

PH: What technical challenges did you encounter while working on this scene? 

Katerina Tolkishevskaya: I think one of the challenges was making the scene as immersive as possible. We layered audio from the NFL broadcast as well as the rehearsal mashup to make sure the live vocals sounded full and vibrant, and the instrumentals clear and powerful.

PH: What was the dialogue like between you and Jennifer Lopez: Halftime’s director regarding this scene? 

Katerina Tolkishevskaya: I most closely worked with Terry Leonard, the producer of the film. I had the pleasure of working with him on another one of his awesome documentary features – Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell, so I was happy to join him on another project. Additionally, I had the pleasure of working with Halftime’s amazing music editor, who was working on the score for the project - Robin Whittaker, as well. The whole team was lovely, and I’m grateful to have had an opportunity to bring their vision to life for this exciting documentary about one of the most iconic artists.

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