After the fiasco that was the editing of the 2007 scene, I was worried that the 2008 scene would have similar problems, despite my convictions that the acting was of better quality and there was less background noise due to other customers in the cafe leaving. I decided that the grand plan I usually conduct for editing the scenes would have to be abandoned for this scene as well, so that I could come up with a more efficient plan to establish more quickly wether this scene had the same problems.
I decided to edit a clip at a time, so that it would quickly become apparent if certain shots had faults. This would mean assessing the quality, length, sound quality and continuity appeal of each shot as I went along. I thought this would save time rather than ordering the shots then having to start again due to many faults.
Shot by Shot
The first shot of the clip (after the Christmas card shot) is a wide shot of the table, to act as an establishing shot. I immediately noticed with this shot that the sound quality was relatively poor. It was a problem quite similar to the 2007 scene; the over the shoulder shots are not that bad because the camera was so close to the actresses, but with the wide shot, because the camera was so far away, background noise became a noticeable disturbance. The sound quality of this wide shot was not as bad as that of 2007, mostly because a lot of customers had left the cafe, and my actresses spoke louder in this scene.
However, one problem with this shot is that Lydia reads the line quite quietly, so the line overall does not come across very clear. In my original designs, I had planned for the first line to be overlaying the Christmas card shot slightly, so that there is a smooth transition between the Christmas card shot and the first shot of the scene. I came up with a solution so that the Christmas card shot could be overlayed, sound preerved and the wide shot still acts as the establishing shot:
- I removed the sound from the wide shot of the table
- I replaced it with the sound from one of the over-the-shoulder shots
I cut the clip down, so that the majority of the wide shot is not shown, only the end so it looks like the sound clip from the over-the-shoulder shot actually belongs to this clip
I think this was a relatively successful idea. It’s only flaw is that the sound clip does not match up perfectly to the video clip, but it is not particularly noticeable unless you are looking out for it. The strengths of this idea are that the establishing shot is maintained and the sound clip is still overlaying the Christmas card shot.
The second shot of the scene is the over-the-shoulder shot of Ellen. I took this opportunity to check the entire clip of this. I didn’t stop the clip between the out-takes, so it can become a little confusing, but overall the shot is successful in terms of visual and audio quality. It was the usual paradox that the over-the-shoulder shots have much better sound quality simply because the camera was placed much closer to the actresses. If I had a criticism of this shot though, it would be Hayley’s tendency to look down at her script when she thinks the shot will not be on her, something which she is usually quite good at avoiding.
However, to make up for this, Hayley remains relatively still throughout the scene, meaning continuity was rarely a problem whenever it came to incorporating it into the production. Indeed, I was sure to use it quite a lot, as not only is it a good shot in terms of quality but it also puts the audience focus on Ellen, something which this scene is designed to do.
The third shot is the over-the-shoulder shot of Miranda and Louise. I think the success and weaknesses of this scene are relatively balanced. For example, I like the framing and composition of this shot. In the background, the rest of the cafe can be seen slightly. This involves another customer, some Christmas lights and a window showing a dark street. The former increases the plausibility of the scene, whilst the latter two emphasise some of the key themes of my film, Christmas and loneliness, respectively. As far as framing is concerned, some important implications are made. For example, it is clear that Miranda is starkly opposite to Ellen, whilst Louise is slightly closer, reflective of their opinions. However, both are sat very close together, representing their united feelings towards Ellen’s revelation.
My biggest criticism of this shot is Lydia’s tendency to also look at her script. When compared to shot 2, it does seem that Hayley and Lydia look at their scripts at separate times, meaning I should eb able to balance out the shots, so it appears that no-one is obviously looking at their script for a long amount of time.
Tackling the remainder of the scene
The rest of the scene was relatively simple in terms of how to edit it. Nothing as problematic as the sound issue of the first shot arose again. Indeed, the below image shows that large sections of the scene were constructed of shots and their corresponding sound clips. However, a problem which did keep rearing it’s ugly head though was the constant weighing up of which camera angle was best to use for each line. This was because of the sound issue and script issue of each shot; I had to decide from which angle these problems would not appear as obvious as they were.
I actually managed to get this scene into something more than a rough cut simply in what I was able to do today. Although I think returning to this scene will be necessary, I don’t think it will take as much reviewing as the other scenes I have edited. I suppose this sort of derides my idea of ‘the master plan’ of editing, and perhaps it is better to simply construct each scene one shot at a time. Obviously I won’t go back an reconstruct each scene like this, but I will definitely have to consider it for the 2007 scene, which will be even harder to edit because of the sound issue.