Archive for the ‘Production – Editing’ Category

The Cutting Room Floor

Over the past two days, I have been working on editing my film in order to make it as close to the 5 minute length limit as possible. To help matters, I have been granted an extra 30 seconds, but this should only be used for titles. This actually works out quite well, as my titles currently stand at 32 seconds, and it would preferable if I did not have to change them.

However, obviously I have cut a lot from the film itself. Luckily, when writing the script, I ensured that a lot of the lines were non-entities, and that they could be easily removed without disrupting the plot if necessary. I have spent a lot of time cutting out these unnecessary lines and also shortening shots wherever possible. Below is a list of the lines I have removed or changed, and why I removed or changed them.Obviously they have all been removed due for the sake of shortening the film, but some have secondary reasons. Also bellow is a key to help you.

Key:

  • What the line was
  • What the line is now
  • Reason for change
  • X – the line has been removed completely

2007

  • ‘…and that it was a mistake, I mean, it’s not the first time he’s got with her is it?’ –> ‘It’s just pathetic’
  • I thought this line was quite immature for the age of the girls
  • ‘God yeah, he’s just pathetic’ –> ‘God yeah’
  • There was repetition of the word ‘pathetic’
  • ‘Shut up, no but seriously, it’s just easier! I don’t want some moody hormonal boy hanging around me all the time. Besides, it’s pointless, you’ll just have to finish it when we go to university in a year’ –> ‘Shut up, no but seriously, it’s just easier. Besides, it’s pointless, you’ll have to break it off in a year when we go to uni’
  • This line was too long and also quite cheesy
  • ‘No, it’s Christmas, I don’t want to talk about the future and stuff like that’ –> ‘Ugh, it’s Christmas, I don’t want to talk about all this depressing stuff’
  • This is not necessary a change for length, but the clip with this changed line had a better sound quality
  • ‘It just scares me, I mean, it’s alright for you two. Miranda’s really clever and you’ve got that job lined up with your auntie’ –> ‘Well it’s alright for you two. Miranda’s really clever and you’ve got that job lined up with your auntie’
  • ‘Oh Ellen, stop worrying, I mean, what’s there to be afraid of?’ ‘Loads of stuff!’ –> ‘Oh Ellen, stop worrying’

Evaluation: I think this scene is relatively successful. Unfortunately I think that the scene reads very quickly, and the removed lines helped to make it sound more like a conversation. Nevertheless, the scene runs fine and does a lot to help with the timing situation

2008

  • ‘Really? Ellen, no jokes here, really? No, this is ridiculous Ellen, what were you thinking?’ –> ‘Ellen, no jokes here? What were you thinking?’
  • I felt that the word ‘really’ was repeated too much’
  • ‘God no, Ellen, this is, it’s…’ –> X
  • This line did not really impact on anything
  • ‘What about your future?’ ‘What, you mean uni? I can go later in life’ –> X
  • I thought it would be best to phase out the talk about university, as obviously none of the girls go to uni, so it seems quite odd that they should seem to intent on going and then inexplicably not go.
  • ‘It’s definitely a surprise’ –> X
  • Lydia read the line differently to how I had envisioned

Evaluation: This was the scene that I removed the least lines from. I had hoped to cut down the beginning of this scene, but unfortunately it is quite a structured conversation from which no lines can be removed. However, the lines I did remove are relatively useless, so the scene still reads well.

2009

  • ‘So I was talking to Joanna the other day, you remember Joanna, yeah?’ ‘Yeah I think so, was she the one who moved to New York?’ ‘Yeah, so anyway, she was telling me about…’ –> ‘So I was talking to Joanna the other day, she was telling me about…’
  • I felt that this was largely a lot of useless information. although greater detail leads to greater plausibility, I thought I would make an exception. 
  • ‘It’s just, we were talking and… I don’t know… I still don’t mean anything to him’ –> ‘It’s just, we were talking and I still don’t mean anything to him’
  • I thought much of this segment should be much sharper, as Louise is generally quite pathetic and moany here, and that was not the image I hoped to portray.
  • ‘I just feel like such an idiot. I’ve wasted all this time chasing after him like some pathetic little girl’ –> ‘I just feel like such an idiot. I’ve wasted all this time chasing after him’.
  • ‘I still like him. It’s fucking pathetic but I still like him’ –> ‘I still like him’
  • I also thought that this was generally much sharper and to the point.

Evaluation: I think that the final segment of this scene is much sharper. Rather than Louise rapidly changing mood and seeming moany one second then angry the next, she is much more consistent here, and the final line is more impacting. Furthermore, the removal of the lines from the beginning of the scene make the scene overall shorter without removing from the plot.

2010

  • ‘Sorry, but I just have the best news. Okay, well, Joanna calls me into her office the other day, I thought it was going to be something about the Macpherson job, but instead she was just telling me about this new assistant job in International Relations, and I thought she wanted me to send a message to Miss Jones down in admin, but then she just offers me the job’ –> ‘Sorry, but I just have the best news. Okay, well, Joanna calls me into her office the other day, she was just telling me about this new assistant job in International Relations, and I thought she wanted me to send a message to Miss Jones, but then she just offers me the job’
  • This is the same principle as Miranda’s line in the previous scene. I felt it was a lot of information which could be sacrificed in order to shorten the film overall
  • ‘Really? Oh my God, that’s great, come here’ ‘I mean, this is just the best thing to ever happen to me, International Relations work everywhere, who knows where I’ll be this time next year’ –> ‘Really? Oh my God, that’s great!’
  • The ‘awkward hug’ was generally shoddy in terms of cinematography and continuity, and given that the lines are also relatively worthless, I thought it would be best simply to remove it altogether.
  • ‘And actually, from what I hear, you’re sleeping around a lot as well. Look, we’re sorry things never worked out with James, but you can’t keep taking it out on us’ –> X
  • I thought this line was really cheesy, quite odd in context and generally didn’t really work.
  • ‘I’m sorry, but it’s not my fault’ ‘Who’s fault is it, then? James?’ ‘Hey!’ –> X

Evaluation: I think th most successful change here is at the end of the scene. By removing Louise’s interjections and attempts to justify her behaviour, it seems as though Miranda and Ellen are getting angrier and angrier at her and are simply ‘having a go’ at her, which is expressed by the looks on both Miranda and Louise’s face in the final shot. Also, the removal of the ‘awkward hug’ makes the scene flow better and makes the interactions between the characters more tense.

2011

  • ‘Oh, the reservations were for five, we better go or we’ll be late’ –> ‘Oh, we better go or we’ll be late’
  • The idea of a reservation was relatively pointless
  • ‘Really? That’s amazing, who is it?’ –> ‘That’s amazing, who is it?’
  • ‘You’re joking right? I only saw him last week to talk about child support’ –> ‘You’re joking right?’
  • ‘I know, it’s ridiculous but I met him at my last conference meeting. He’s really sweet and understanding’ –> ‘I know it’s ridiculous but he’s really sweet and understanding’
  • The idea that Louise attends Conferences seems massively unlikely. I thought it best to remove this line altogether.
  • ‘Louise, how can you do this to Ellen? This is crazy!’ –> ‘Louise, how can you do this to Ellen?’
  • ‘You can’t just keep being this vindictive victim’ –> X
  • Lydia read this line incorrectly. Also, I felt the line was quite superfluous.

Evaluation: By removing the most implausible parts of the scene, there is greater audience attention on the argument at hand. The shortening of shots also makes the argument quicker and faster.

Shortened shots:

The following are a list of shots which I shortened and why I shortened them:

[Pictures to be inserted]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title Sequence

After completing my Redtree Pictures production card, I figured that the the next logical step would be to construct the opening titles of my film.

Titles so far

So far, I had done little work on the titles. I knew that I wanted them to last no longer than 30 seconds, and that they would be accompanied by the music that I had joint-composed. As far as actually constructing titles, the closest I have come are the ones I created for my rough cut. When I knew that my rough cut was clearly not going to be a reflection of my finished product, I decided that a better use of my time would be to work on the titles, in the hope that they would be reflective of something found in the end product. Below are the titles I had created for my rough cut:

Strengths of these titles:

  • They clearly portray the message/titles
  • They are simplistic, much like the rest of the film.
  • They are short, thus keep in with the desired timeframe.

Weaknesses of these titles:

  • They are a little too simplistic. They look a little makeshift.
  • They become quite dull to watch
  • They are not equal in size (continuity issues)
  • The font is not the one selected by my audience

Changing the Titles

Given that the weaknesses outweigh the strengths of these titles, I figured it was best to change hem. Especially as I am not as happy with the actual production as I thought I would be at this point, so the titles are something I can make completely my own and should hopefully counteract the negatives of the film itself, at least in my own mind if nothing else. Below are the stages I went through in order to change the titles so that some of the weak issues could be solved.

1. The first issue I hoped to solve was the font issue. My audience chose a font which was more unique and suitable to the theme of Christmas than the temporary one I chose. Seeing as it is the only audience-driven part of my titles, I thought it would be a good place to start which should hopefully lead me on to some other issues with my titles that I am not happy about. After changing the font of the titles to the chosen ‘St Nicholas’ font, I also changed the size and some of the positioning of my font, so that continuity is maintained. Below is how they looked after these changes were made:

This is the 'Redtree Pictures presents...' card. Admittedly, the 'Presents' is quite difficult to see in this picture, but it is slightly below the central blue line, towards the right.

Once I changed the font of this card, the positioning of the words seemed simply to far away. I centralised the words so that they look better and reflect the cosy, Christmassy feeling of the font.

This is the card I am probably most proud of. After changing the font, I also changed the sioze of the lettering, even on individual lettering such as the 'T' on The, the 'S' on Season and the 'J' on Jolly. I als rearanged the positioning of the words, so that the three most prominent words 'The' 'Season' and 'Jolly' were laregst, yet the title still fits in a regular rectangular shape, making it look more conventional. I also changed the colour of this title, as it is the main title and should therefore stand out more.

It was also brought to my attention that I do not have actor’s credits. I had planned for these to be overlaying the first scene, so that the title sequence would not last too long. However, I figured that there are enough problems with the opening scene of my film, without having distracting tiles at the bottom. I decided that therefore it would be best to incorporate them into the title sequence. They can be found below:

These are my actors titles. Ordering them was a difficult task. Uusally, actors are n=listed in order of appearance, prevalence within the film or their reputation outside the film. However, these are all actors with no widely-known reputation, and all have a relatively equal role within the film. I decided to order them in terms of which would look best aesthetically. Hence, the listing above, where all the names lie ina perfect diaginal line. Furthermore, this is the order that tje girls photos are arranged in in the photo I have selected for my film poster, thus up-keeping continuity.

Next, I wanted to solve the issues of dullness and boredom with my titles. New font and positioning or not, the titles are still relatively dull. On my rough cut titles, I had applied an entrance effect called Short Slow Left’, in which the titles slowly fade in towards the left and eventually bump into one another. I thought that I could apply this to all of my titles to maintain continuity and stave off dullness. Below is how the ‘Redtree Pictures presents’ and the ‘Scott Lampon Production’ cards looks, mid-effect:

'Redtree Pictures' production card, mid-effect

The 'Scott Lampon Productions' card, mid-effect.

However, I still thought that this effect was not enough to stop the title sequence being boring entirely, just as it was not in the rough cut. Although the font sums up the themes of my film quite well, I wanted to make it more obvious to the audience. Below are some of the ideas I considered:

  • Having a clip-art style picture of holly at the corner of each title
  • Having a string of lights at the top of each card, which possibly change colour
  • Change the effect on the titles to something more reflective of the themes.

I eventually decided that I liked the effect I had placed on the titles too much, as it reflected my themes well, to give it up. I therefore decided on an effect to complement the effect. I cam across a snow falling effect, which I thought would look good behind my titles. The effect on my titles very much mimics the effect of falling snow. Below is the clip which advertised this effect

I downloaded this clip and overlaid my titles ion top of it. This gave the impression that the titles were falling in the sky, just like the snow. Furthermore, the balck background of th falling snow efect emphasises the darker themes of my film whilst the snow itself obviously highlights the theme of Christmas.

Sound

This meant that the only remaining aspect of my titles was the sound. I had originally planned for the pieces to sound louder, and for a chorus to be heard during the titles playing, and during the first scene, the music would become quieter and sound as though it was playing on a radio in the background of the cafe. However, once again, the first scene has enough sound issues as it is, without the piece distracting from this. I decided just to play the pieve for as long as the titles lasted.

At this point, the titles with the production card stood at 32 seconds, and without the production card around 20 seconds. I only wanted the piece to play during the actual titles, not eh production card, so I had to choose a twenty second snippet of the piece to include in my production. I decided that the last chorus should be present, as it is the most musically complex, and also has a nice finish which will top off my titles. This would go towards the end of my titles, so I decided to fill up the first half of my titles with however much of the first verse as possible.

Afterwards, I edited the sound clip and laid it over the titles. I blended the two parts of the song together with a cross fade effect.

Finished product

Below is how my titles currently look. I don’t think I will make many changes to them , as I am very happy with them as they are. The only change I would consider making is a change in the length of the titles overall if it should become absolutely necessary. I think these titles dispel a lot of the weaknesses of the old ones, and are generally very successful.

[Video to be inserted]

Edits of Christmas Past – 2007

Today I decided to tackle the final scene and edit into something closely resembling a First Edit of the scene, so that I could create what will actually count as my overall First Edit.

Editing the 2007 Scene

I steadily realised that editing the 2007 scene was going to be a highly frustrating experience. I decided to abandon the ‘master plan’ for editing that I had used for the 2009, 2010 and 2011 scenes, as I thought that each shot would have to be analysed, given the problematic footage. I had planned to use an alternative editing method anyway, as this is the opening scene, and I personally regard it as the most important. I decided to take the ‘shot-by-shot’ approach I had used for the 2008 scene, as I imagine they would have the same problems because they were filmed at the same time, and especially as there were more customers (and therefore more background noise) when I was filming this scene than the 2008 scene.

Problems

During editing, three main problems arose:

  • Sound. Background sound was more noticeable on this footage than on any other footage. It was particularly bad on the Wide shot of the table, because the camera (and therefore its internal microphone) was further away from my actresses and picked up more background noise than the dialogue
  • Continuity. I did not recognise it during filming but, each of ym actresses says their lines whilst sitting in a different position and gesticulating differently. This makes continuity virtually impossible to match up
  • Script. The scripts on the table are particularly noticeable in this scene, and it is obvious that my actresses are looking down at them at some points.

An example shot of the infamous script problem

If only one or two of these problems are present in footage, it can be covered up relatively easily, with only a few mistakes. However, the fact that all three of these problems are present means it is virtually impossible to edit this scene successfully. Nevertheless, I had to persevere, and even though the scene had many problems as I worked through it, I tried my best to cover the problems, but sometimes to no avail. Below are some of the key problem spots.

I had planned to try a little postmodern effect with this scene and always show the reaction to whatever was being said, rather than the camera being on who was saying it. However, when looking through the clips it became evident that tis would not be possible, as often my actresses would look at their scripts whenever someone else was reading a line, as they thought that they would not be in shot at this time. Therefore, I had to edit this scene in the conventional way.

Problem Spot #1: Establishing Shot

I had originally planned for my establishing shot to be a wide shot of the table, so that the location, characters, situation and concept could all be introduced to the audience at the same time. However, it proved difficult mostly because the background noise is particularly loud at the beginning of the wide shot of the table. I initially spent quite a long time on this, as I thought, just with other editing problems I had come across before, I would be able to come up with a solution. I later learned whilst editing this scene that if a solution was not obvious, then it was best to cover up problems by whatever mean necessary, or else the editing process would simply be too long.

  1. I had to change the establishing shot to an over-the-shoulder shot, simply because the sound is of better quality
  2. I decided it was best not to use the over-the-shoulder shot of Ellen, as it would seem quite odd, just one girl seemingly alone at a table.
  3. I decided on the over-the-shoulder shot of Louise and Miranda, as it is more obvious to the audience from this shot that the characters are having a discussion at a cafe table

I think it solved the problem relatively well. On a plus side, I think it actually improves the way the characters are introduced. It allows the audience to familiarise themselves with each character and the concept rather than having to do so with all at once

The opening scene now starts off with an over-the-shoulder shot of Louise and Miranda...

... then cuts to the wide shot...

... then finally a shot of Ellen

Problem Spot #2 : ‘You’ll have to break it off in a year…’

The other problem I came to was with Miranda’s longest line in the scene: ‘Shutup! No, but seriously, I don’t want some moody, hormonal boy hanging around me all the time. Besides, it’s pointless, you’ll have to break it off in a year when we go to uni’. The largest problem here was continuity. Lydia read the line sitting in a different position and gesticulating in a different way in each of the three angles. I originally thought that I could disguise this by throwing in my planned postmodern reversed effect, and show Ellen’s distressed reaction to what is being said. Howeer, unfortunately, Hayley was reading her script at this time, making it unusable. The only way to overcome this problem was breaking down Miranda’s line, and using whatever shot said each part of the line the best, whilst always trying to maintain continuity. I eventually broke the line into the horrendously unequal parts of ‘Shutup!’ and the rest of the line.

  • I had originally planned for the wide shot to be present here, because I wanted as many shots as possible in this scene to be wide shots so that the audience could familiarise themselves with the characters and get used to seeing them as a trio
  • However, after editing the scene many times, and breaking the line up into many different parts, the wide shot clip of this line was largely unusable due to the sound and the continuity issues created by Lydia playing with her hair whilst reading the line, something she is not doing in any of the other shots of this line

    Throughout the process of editing this line, it was broken up into many shots

  • I eventually had to resort to just using the over-the-shoulder shot of Louise and Miranda. Although it does not have the effect intended, the sound is good and the script problem is not massively noticeable.

Finishing the Scene

These spots were particularly problematic and difficult to edit, and a s result, still have continuity issues which will probably be unavoidable even when drafting the Final Cut. The rest of the footage was just as problematic, it was simply that it took a long time to time out sections and keep all three key problems under control.

Nevertheless, this now means that the 2007 is in a resemblance of a rough cut, even though it is not as smooth and successful as the other scenes. This is especially unfortunate given that it is the opening scene, and I’d rather that it be one of my best scenes. Nevertheless, I shall have to persevere and hope that I can make some significant improvements when drafting the Final Cut.

Edits of Christmas Past – 2008

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

Shot 1

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:

  1. I removed the sound from the wide shot of the table
  2. 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

You may recognise the four shots that comprise the Christmas card shot and effect from the previous post. These take up most of the left hand side. The small clip to the right is what remains of the wide shot.

 

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.

Shot 2

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 shot of Ellen is very successful, not only in terms of sound but also visually. For example, lighting is fine, and there are no background distractions. She also does not take up too much of the frame, and the wide walls and space behind her emphasise the isolation she experiences in this scene.

 

Shot 3

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.

I think that the framing and composition of this shot is its strength

 

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.

The majority of the scene had a simple structure.

Next Steps

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.

 

 

 

 

The Christmas Card Shots

The Christmas card shots are something I have never actually acknowledged on my blog before, but it is always the first thing I do when editing a scene. During the story-boarding phase, I had planned that these shots would have an effect on them, to stop them from getting repetitive and dull. I had planned to place a focus pull over each Christmas card shot, in which one side of the frame is de-focussed, but then this effect switches to other side of the frame. I had planned that the Christmas card shot would always be on one side of the frame, with one or more of the girls visible in the other half. Initially, the side with the girls in would be clear, but once the card was placed in the opposite side, this side would become clear, blurring the girls.

So far, placing this focus pull effect across the Christmas cards has been quite successful, but there are a couple of instances where it looks quite amateur and odd, based on what is actually in the frame. For example, in the 2009 Christmas card shot, there is a very obvious line down the middle of the frame where the blurring effect crosses over. In order to explain better, here is a running order of how I create the effect:

1. I cut the clip to the appropriate length and remove the sound

2. I duplicate the clip and lay them over one another.

3. I cut both clips in half, or at the point when I want the crossover to occur

4. I then crop the clips. I treat the clips as vertical pairs. With the first vertical pair, I crop the clip so that only half of the shot is visible in each. A different half should be cropped on each clip, so that when together, they make the one clip. I then do the same with the second vertical pair

5. I then add a ‘de-focus’ effect to the top left clip and the bottom right clip


6. I then add a ‘cross fade’ effect between the horizontal pairs of clips

None of my own examples of the effect are complete, and all wil require significant tweaking before the final product is ready. However, below is a video demonstrating the various ways this effect can be used. In the video, the effect I am trying to replicate is the one used on the clip of the tree trunk:

Edits of Christmas Past – 2007

For the sake of simplicity and chronology, I decided to edit the 2007 scene first. I had intended to carry out the same plan of action for editing with the 2007 scene as I had for the previous scenes, in which I roughly order the footage, check its quality, cut down the shot lengths, play around with sound effects and then check continuity. However, I was not far through the grand plan, when I realised I would have to tackle the 2007 scene in a slightly different way. Read on…

Roughly ordering the footage

I did not notice anything particularly wrong with the footage at this point, but this was probably because I was not really looking or listening to the quality of the footage. Because this scene consists of only four shots just like the 2011 scene, it was relatively easy to order the shots roughly. At this point, the scene came to 1:43 minutes long, which is quite long compared to other scenes. I am not terribly worried about this yet though, as 2007 was designed to be a slightly longer scene, so that as much introduction as possible could be given to the audience.

Similarly to the 2011 scene, this scene consists of three major shots and the Christmas card shot

Checking the quality of the footage

It was at this point that problem after problem begun to arise. Firstly, the sound quality of nearly all the shots is quite terrible. Because I did not use a microphone when filming, the background noise of other customers talking is generally louder than my actresses. This especially rings true of the wide shot of the table, where the camera was placed farther away from the actresses and the table ,meaning the conversations of others became clearer.

However, it was not just the sound that was causing a lot of problems. The visuals also are causing a lot of problems. For example, the script problem is unfortunately very noticeable on the bigger screen. Furthermore, the continuity of the scene does not really match up at all between the shots. With the other scenes, my actresses had performed them roughly the same. However, they move around a lot more during these scenes, meaning it is difficult to match up their movements between shots, making continuity insanely difficult to upkeep.

A prime continuity problem example. In this shot, Ellen has her hands on her lap and is looking at Louise...

... yet in what is supposed to be the next shot, she has her arms crossed and is looking at Miranda

Solutions

I decided to abandon my master plan for editing that I had used on all the other scenes with this 2007 scene, as obviously it was not going to work; there are simply too many problems. After thinking it over carefully, I believe the following are my only real options with this scene:

  • Conduct a re-film
  • Record a voiceover with my actresses and lay it over the scene
  • Present the shots in a way which is unexpected.

This last idea is particularly intriguing. For example, rather than conforming to the usual conventions of films, and pretty much always having the speaker present of screen, I could do the opposite, and always show the reaction to what is being said. For example, if Miranda or Louise says something, show Ellen’s reaction, and vice versa. Not only might this count as postmodernism, but it also solves both the sound and continuity issues. It solves continuity because in this situation, a character would rarely be present in two shots together, meaning continuity does not become so much of a problem. Also, the sound is not as bad on the over-the-shoulder shots, because obviously the camera’s internal microphone was relatively close to the actresses. This is especially true with the opposite over-the-shoulder shots. For example, Louise’s lines are clear on an over-the shoulder shot of Ellen because the camera was literally right next to her face.

The only problems with this idea are:

  • Audiences may not understand the technique, and the introductory aspect of this scene could be undermined
  • My actresses tended to read from their scripts when the camera’ was not on them’ as such. For example, whenever Christy read a line, Hayley would look at her script, as she thought that this part of the footage would not be used.

However, these problems are relatively minor when compared to the huge sound and continuity problems that the scene has as it stands.

Next Steps

I will have to gather the opinions of my audience and fellow media students alike in order to judge whether the postmodernism idea has anything to it. They will also be able to judge if any of my other solutions are plausible. Again, I intend to return to this scene at a later date, to see if I can come up with any other alternative solutions in the meantime.

Edits of Christmas Past – 2010

Today I decided to edit the footage I was able to capture on Thursday. Seeing as it has been relatively successful, I thought I would undertake the same process as I did before:

  • Roughly order the footage in order to check how the conversation reads and collect an idea of timing
  • Check the quality of the footage, both visually and audially
  • Cut down the length of the shots and check again that the conversation still reads well
  • Add sound effects so that background sound is not distracting and the dialogue sounds like one stream of uninterrupted sound
  • Check continuity and change shots/sound effects / shot lengths as such in order to upkeep continuity

2010 is the most complex scene in terms of number of shots after 2009, another reason why i decided to tackle it in roughly the same way.

Ordering the footage

It was whilst I was checking that all shots and angles had been cpatured that I noticed the first problem withe 2010 footage. For some reason, I could not find a shot of Miranda where she syas her largest line in this scene. This should have been in both the over-the-shoulder shot of her and Louise as well as the wide shot of the table, so that I could choose which clip to take it from as such. However, I was only able to find it in the over-the shoulder shot of Ellen. I will have to work with this clip until I can come up with a solution. As it stands, the best solution I can think of is to film a close-up of Lydia on Thursday, so that the line can be included in the scene, and I will not have the replicate the scene. In an odd way, this makes me glad that I was unable to film on Friday, and have organised a much later re-film.

Other than this, all shots were captured successfully, and when roughly ordered, the scene came to around 1:32

Quality of footage

I was concerned that due to the disorganisatiuon and hurriedness with which I had carried out the filming, the footage would be relfective of this and be of quite low quality. However, there are many positives and few negatives to the visual and audio quality of the footage:

Strengths

  • Similarly to the 2009 and 2011 scenes, sound quality is relatively fine due to the use of a microphone during recording and relatively little background noise disturbance
  • Enough shots were collected in order to construct the scene.
  • There was nothing which made a clip completely unusable, such as a camera shake or similar accident
  • The actual setting is improved also. The fact that I’ve moved to a different table within the cafe makes the scene seem more plausible
  • The lighting of these shots is also markedly different to that of 2009 and 2011, increasing plausibility

Weaknesses

  • The missing shot of Miranda
  • The scripts on the table are particularly noticeable in this scene, despite my attempts to cover them with menus
  • I am unsure of the quality of the hugging segment. During filming, we dubbed it ‘the awkward hug’, a nickname which still rings true in the footage itself.

I think the majority of shots in the 2010 scene are quite successful. For example, in this shot, the Christmas tree decoration and tinsel in the bottom of the screen and the tinsel to the left ensure the theme of Christmas is in the mind of the audience. Furthermore, the waitor is given anonymous stauts and Ellen is centre-screen, meaning no focus is taken from the characters, but plausibility is maintained, if not, improved.

The difference in lighting is quite obvious compared to...

... the 2009/2011 scene

Adding Sound effects

Given the confusion during filming regarding the sound quality of each shot, I was worried that there would be quite a few problems with sound when it came to editing. Whilst many of the over-the-shoulder shots are fine, as they were filmed later once most customers had left, the wide shot of the table is still quite a concern, as background noise is clearer due to there being more customers at this time. Luckily, I don’t think it has been as interruptive as it could have been, thanks to the use of the microphone. Also, the scene is mostly constructed from the over-the-shoulder shots. If the background noise is particularly noticeable at a point on the clip which should be included in my production, I have been trying to replace it with an over-the-shoulder shot and assessing as such if it is effective.

As far as trying to make the sound seem like one stream is concerned, I have taken a similar approach to the last two scenes. I have been adding a cross fade effect across the sound clips so that any noticeable background noise cannot be distinguished as separate sound clips. Obviously, I have had to make careful use of these when it comes to editing the wide shot clips into the production, as otherwise it will appear quite amateur if the background noise is obviously increasing every time a wide shot is shown. Another effect I have had to work with is increasing and decreasing the volume of certain clips, so that the background noise of the wide shots sound even less suspicious. However, this proved quite a difficult task, as ultimately the most important aspect of sound was the dialogue, which could not bee too loud or quiet for the sake of continuity

Playing around with the volume of a clip becomes a continuity danger-zone

Continuity

During the editing process, I have been trying to not make any conclusive comments regarding continuity. Over this course, I have learnt that a continuity problem can crop up at any point, and the majority of time it may not even be something you recognise, as you may be subconsciously ignoring it as you have the benefit of knowing every aspect of the production process and you make exceptions. However, this does not mean that I have been ignoring continuity completely today. A continuity hot-spot I have noticed, where many errors may occur is with the now-infamous ‘awkward hug’. Seeing as it was filmed first, it was most subject to disorganisation, which is reflected in the footage itself. For example, below is a haphazard continuity example:

This shot ends whilst Ellen and Miranda are embracing (also slightly off-screen; another frustration)

Yet in the next shot the pair are clearly not embracing, hence, no coming out of the embrace has been shown.

 

Next Steps

Just like with my other scenes, I intend to return to 2010 with a fresh mind so that I can be enthusiastic to edit and therefore much more able to pick up on mistakes or think of ways to overcome some of the problems with the scene so far. This also gives me time to consider how to ake the continuity as water-tight as possible for this scene. However, I must remember that the deadline for the final product is fast approaching, so I cannot take too long in returning to the scenes.

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