The Fresh Eyes Approach.

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tom hardwick
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Joined: Apr 8 1999

I tend to edit methodically, working my way through the movie from start to finish, then fine tuning, then fine tuning that.

I think I'm happiest in the dinminishing returns phase, where I can spend hour after hour thinking "what if?" and trying it out to see how it looks. After a day or so of this I lean back all pleased with myself and the movie and think, "Ah, it's finished!"

But I've learnt that (time permitting) it's better not to think a film is finished, but to put it aside for a week or so and let your mind do other things. Then a fresh eyes approach will make needed changes leap out at you, and away you go all over again.

tom.

Gladders
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Joined: Apr 28 1999

And even when you've finally decided it's finished, there are always sections where later you wish you had done things differently or cut them out. But I suppose it's like a painter knowing when to stop. You can probably do too much honing. You may end up with a wonderful title sequence that goes straight into the end credits!

Paul

Paul

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

When I was editing with Premiere, I often had disastrous crashes that destroyed hours if not weeks of work. On each occasion, I swore loudly and started again (I since learnt better, junked Premiere and bought EditDV) and the second effort was always much shorter, snappier, and leaner than the first. Once, all this happened to me twice, if you see what I mean, the third effort was very satisfying even though I was incandescent at having to do it.

A real tip I'll pass on though, to videographers who shoot and edit their own work. When you finish the shoot, put the source tapes away and work on another project for some time. Come back to that project only when you can't remember why you shot each shot. Then it looks like someone else's efforts and you'll be a lot happier about scrapping minutes or hours of footage that aren't up to scratch.

My latest effort was shot last May, I'm near the end of the edit now having started in mid December. 3.5 hours of tape shot,650 stills (400 used in the video), total duration of the result is only 18 minutes, but it zings.

Be brutal, be your own worst critic. The viewers will love it (and not fall asleep).

[This message has been edited by Alan Roberts at work (edited 01 February 2001).]

tom hardwick
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Joined: Apr 8 1999

I'll bet it zings Alan, you blink once and miss 3 scenes.

I find there's horses for courses and that movies that are going to be viewed by the stars themselves can be lengthier and linger longer. The same film for a general audience needs to be tightened till it squeeks.

As always, leave 'em wanting more.

But back to your Premiere days Alan. Are you saying that P crashed to such an extent that even saves were lost? Even backup timelines were lost? I've been on 4,2 and 5,1 and never experienced anything other than a go-slow by Premiere. A boot up the bum cures all.

tom.

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

Yes, Premiere trashed project files for me. I once had one go so badly wrong that all I could do with it was open it and move the cursor before it crashed again. I deduced empirically that it was wallowing in a morass of it's own detritus, meaning that it had generated (and then forgotten about) many preview files, and couldn't find it's way through them. Eventually, I drew in a deep breath, deleted the entire contents of the previerw folder and it all worked again. That folder had about 300 files in it at that time. Now I work with EditDV and it seems a lot more stable albeit with far fewer bells and whistles. The latest project has over 900 rendered clips in one folder and it's perfectly happy with it. During the making of this one 18 minuter, I've deleted (from within EditDV using menu operations) over 3000 rendered clips while getting it together. Premiere has no way of doing that, you have to go to the folder and guess as to which files are relevant because the file names are meaningless (to me).

My real message though, is a piece of homespun philosophy:

If you're making a programme/movie for showing on TV, expect it to be seen once then never again. So you have to tell it all in one go, don't be too clever in the editing. Stck to cuts or dissolves if you have to. Don't go wild with techniques.

If you're makinga programme/movie for home consupmtion, like a holiday, make it short and complex. Have a lot going on. Make it so that blinking misses something, so that you see different things each time you watch it. That way, you keep the audience alive and awake, and they may even want to see it several times. And you get a name for being the movie-maker who keeps you excited.

Homily over.

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alan@mugswellvillage.freeserve.co.uk. Delete village for a spam-free diet.

ddmurphy
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Joined: Mar 21 1999

Tom

I edit the same way you do but add one more section. When I think I have finished I ask my wife to preview my 'epic'. The comments.."that's too long...that's boring...what am I meant to be looking at?" do bring a literal fresh pair of eyes which makes one think of some possible revisions! However, the "that was good...I liked that scene...how did you achieve that effect" are just as helpful and more enjoyable

David

ChrisG
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Joined: Apr 10 1999

This is good, everyone here is probably right. I have just come back to do the domestic family video instead of the commission stuff. We have hours of the kids and I never know where to start. Anyway I waded in captured 30 minutes of tape and cut it dow to 8 minutes. Pretty ruthless and as the tape was 18 months old not to difficult (used Toms and Alans techniques here. ) Dubbed a couple of tear jerker type songs and played to wife for critical acclaim (well critical anyway).

Result: re-edited to 4 minutes, one song and effective family video. Effects including slo-mo/ dissolve and a fancy colour tint thing and a quick p-inp and straight cuts and everyone happy (except the kids who wanted more falling down stuff and my Mum who doesn't like that modern music played over the top). oh yes and Tom, thank god I caught some nice angles on the original stuff.

RayL
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Joined: Mar 31 1999

One of the fascinating aspects of editing is making a new truth. For example, while editing material for clients (it might be their conference, or their wedding or whatever) it is sometimes necessary to 'borrow' cutaways from elsewhere in the source material. Or re-shoot a location establishing shot after the event. Or clean up a still (take the litter out of a church picture for example).

All editing is a distortion of the original - but how far do you go?

Ray Liffen

ChrisG
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Joined: Apr 10 1999

Ray is absolutely right. It is simply a development of the "camera never lies"; which it plainly does. To continue on the story of my family video above. According to my " film" we have two children who play lovingly together and never fight, who share their toys etc. This a deception of biblical proportions but does make for a charming three minute story.

The whole art of video is to me creating an illusion a bit like a painting where you suggest rather than blatently reproduce a photograph. Drifting off the editing bit but anyway......

tom hardwick
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Joined: Apr 8 1999

Way back in 1982 I hired what was known as a "video Camera". I staggered home with what (in later years) turned out to be a Sony plumbicon tubed lump feeding a portable (ha!) Betamax video recorder.

I heaved this lot into the kiddies playroom and wired it up to the mains, connected camera to tripod to recorder via umbilical cord and left the thing running in the corner. I kept the Betamax tape, took the kit back.

This tape turned into something of a time capsule. I wasn't able to play it on my Philips 2000 (blush) or on my first VHS (Ug!) and it was many years till I saw it's contents.

And you know what? The best thing is that it has an unedited truthfulness to it that adds enormously to its charm. It's just as if you're sitting silently and invisibly in the corner looking and listening and remembering.

So don't edit everything. I look back on my arty swooping wooshing movies shot with my full frame fish eye and often think, "For goodness sake Tom, will you keep STILL and let us remember?"

tom.

Gladders
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Joined: Apr 28 1999

I don't know about everyone else, but I always keep the original un-edited tapes. I'll be able to re-edit them when I'm in the old folks home and unable to get any new stuff.

As for the camera never lies, I did the classic trick of shooting a bus driving off, and then jumped to shots from inside another bus. No-one has ever asked how I managed to get onto a moving bus. It is only when you start editing yourself that you realise what blatant lies you can get away with. You also start seeing other lies on the box.

Paul

Paul

robo
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Joined: Aug 15 2000

Now here's an interesting parallel, I'm also a musician and there is an old worn rule that you should never listen to your own records 'cause all you ever hear is your mistakes. It's very true, I never listened to mine, but then again neither did anyone else, perhaps I should look at this arguement again from a different perspective?

[This message has been edited by robo (edited 02 February 2001).]

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

Just a rider to all this, I'm now in the process of clearing out hours of camera material that's been used for finished edits. I don't normally keep the opriginals after 2 years, but some of this is too important to throw away (a friend died shortly after using some footage of him in a compilation, but I have lots more unused), so I'm now changing tactics and doing a loose edit of the raw material for archiving. Throw out the wobbly shots, underexposed, accidental shots of my feet (yes, I do that as well, forget to press Stop and just walk away). Since it's all DV, I don't lose any quality and the material shrinks by about 50%, and is easier to catalogue.

And for anyone who still thinks "the camera never lies", just set about trying to get it to tell the truth and you'll find just how hard that is (e.g. see my tome on Gamma in the Hardware forum).

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alan@mugswellvillage.freeserve.co.uk. Delete village for a spam-free diet.

tom hardwick
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Joined: Apr 8 1999

Your footage shrinks by 50% when you cut out the wobbly blurry shots of your feet Alan? You need to pay more attention to the peep-peep. :)

tom.

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

Ahem, you know what I mean Tom. When you've got 30 minutes of someone giving dreary explanation of how a German castle operated in the 18th century, and there wasn't enough light to see her so you leave the camera running just to get the sound, then decide you're not even going to use the sound. That sort of stuff, plus the wobbly walking feet (German beer is deceptively strong).

Jim Bird
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Joined: Sep 15 2000

Hi,

One of the finest sources for learning to edit is the commercial break.

Really study them hard.

There is just so much goes into making them.

These people spent a lot of time and money making these short pearls.

Its all in there somewhere, camera angles, camera movement, the use of colour, composition, sound, deception, comedy, animation, drama and action etc. etc.

There are quite a lot of good ideas we can steal, I mean borrow from the Com Break.

It's not just for putting on the kettle or flicking over the channels.

Jim Bird.

RayL
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Joined: Mar 31 1999

>One of the finest sources for learning to edit is the commercial break.<

. . . . and yet, despite all the care, expertise and money that goes into them, because of the content people change channels or make a cup of tea.

There must be a lesson there somewhere.

Ray Liffen

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

I'm with Jim on this, with one proviso. Learn from the advertisers if you want to make adverts. But, a lot of producers/directors start out making adverts, then move on to making real programmes (and films).

But learn from programme makers if you want to make programmes. An advert lasts only a few seconds and will use tricks to grab your attention, often they don't even mention the product or the maker in the advert itself, it's only there to get stuck in your mind. Real programmes should have a bit more meat in them than that.

Rookie
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Joined: Sep 27 1999

quote:Originally posted by Alan Roberts at work:

...often they don't even mention the product or the maker in the advert itself.

Am I the only one who find quite a lot of ads a bit too clever for their own good?

Quite often when discussing "great" commercials it seems that it's impossible to remember the product itself...

Yet, I do agree that there is a lot to learn from commercials...