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.

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Continuity Poll Results

Given that feedback from fellow Media Students was so helpful during the week, I think it would be best to compile all of their opinions before I mould what will hopefully be the final edit next week. This is why I have decided to end the continuity poll now, so I can prepare for any changes that it may have upon the production.

Results

Even though there were only 7 votes, it must be kept in mind that this poll was aimed at Media students only. There are only 11 A2 Media students who I have close access to, including myself, so this is not actually a bad result.

The results speak for themselves and obviously the second clip was by far the most popular.

Impact upon production

This is probably the first poll result which will have no impact upon my production, as the second clip is exactly how this section of the 2009 scene currently stands. It is comforting to know that I am able to pick up on my own continuity errors and come up with suitable solutions.

First Edit Feedback

Earlier this week, we reviewed one another’s First Edits in order to gain the perspective of other Media students in terms of problems we believed to be having with our own productions and so that they could highlight any problems we happened to be overlooking or denying for any reason.

I personally found it quite a helpful experience, especially given that many problems throughout production have meant that how I imagine my final product will look will be quite different to what I had envisioned when I first came up with the idea. Therefore I will need as much help as possible in order to either salvage my idea or shape what I currently have into something more akin to my idea or something similar and equally as good.

Although we noted down criticisms and ideas for improvements, our analyses and reviews were mostly discussion based. I also found this more helpful than a written improvement or idea. Whilst written ideas are helpful because they can be constantly referred back to, discussion allows you to explain anything which other students seem unsure of, and ideas can be further discussed and built upon, making it a generally more efficient and helpful experience.

Production Issues

The following are some of the issues initially picked up on by other Media students:

  • The first two scenes are constructed entirely of one shot
  • The first two scenes can barely be heard
  • The above allow the audience to lose concentration, making the plot extremely difficult to keep up with
  • The production is too long (over 7 minutes as opposed to the required 5)
  • There is no newly produced music
  • There are no titles

The following are some of the strengths that were picked up on:

  • The sound of the final three scenes is fine
  • There are relatively few editing errors in the final three scenes

There would have been more accolades regarding the plotline and so on, but due to the sound issues, many struggled to keep up with the plotline, which impacted a lot on their feelings towards the production as a whole.

Solutions

Very little of what I received was unexpected, meaning it was quite simple to come up with solutions to these problems:

  • The issues with the first two scenes do not faze me particularly because they are un-edited. If there are still problems with them once edited, then I shall have to think of some more specific solutions. But for now, I think I can assume that editing should clear up most of the issues. This should also stop the audience concentration issues.
  • Music has been produced and was yet to be placed on the clip
  • Work has gone into titles. For example, a font and design has been decided. Titles are something I intend to look into more when working on my first Ancillary Task, so that they match up and continuity is maintained. At this point, some audience research may be carried out as to the specific design of them
  • The length of the production is something that still concerns me. Even though I have been cutting down on time whilst editing the 2007 and 2008 scenes, I still think the production will be too long, even before the titles have been added. As I have been editing, I have seen examples of clips that could be shorter or cut entirely, and I shall have to hope that this is enough to cut the production down to closer to 5 minutes. If not, then clearly a more solid solution is needed.

Next Steps

My primary concern right now is ensuring that the 2007 and 2008 scenes are up to scratch so that there is no further comment on them and I can focus on other important elements such as the titles, and the often-forgotten (by me at least) Ancillary Tasks. I ope to be able to spend more time over the next two weeks on Ancillary Tasks meaning time really is of the essence when it comes to finishing editing.

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:

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.

The First Edit

As expected, I was unable to edit the first two scenes correctly before submitting my First Edit, the deadline of which is today. Therefore, the first scenes better reflect that of a rough cut. However, the remaining scenes are my actual submissions for the First edit. It must be kept in mind that these scenes are yet to be re-visited properly. Although some minor changes have been made since I first edited each scene, nothing drastic has been done, meaning this truly is a ‘first’ edit. Even though I have not edited the first scene, I thought it best to put them in so that I and others can judge how well the overall plotline and conversations read when put together. Furthermore, tis edit does not contain any title or the music I had planned to include. The First Edit can be found in the below video:

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