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Do Movies have a Future?

David Denby, film critic for the New Yorker, discusses the nature of the American movie business and the role of the critic in this lecture from Princeton in 2003.

-Eight production companies are owned by six conglomerates, production is tilted toward 15-25 year-old males, the quality movies are loaded into the last six weeks of the year to qualify for awards. The more serious critics, meanwhile, long for art or at least for fresh entertainment and are at odds with an industrial system that increasingly thinks of movies as mere digits that can be converted into toys, games, books, songs, and other products. Yet critics still have a function, as the enthusiasm for such movies as “The Hours” would suggest. Fresh talent emerges from the periphery, and so on. He will also talk about digitization as the future for movies, both for good and for ill, and the chances of survival of minority cultural tastes in general (classical music, jazz, blues, documentaries, foreign films, etc.) in the digital future.

(available only in Windows Media Player Video)

Insider Tips on How to Get Big on Youtube

Q: What’s the easiest way to get a lot of hits on YouTube? A: Make a video on how to get a lot of hits on Youtube.

Beyond that, Daisy Whitney’s “New Media Minute” sits down with YouTube exec Bing Chen to discuss how you can use Brand Consistency, YouTube Analytical tools and fundamentals to fill in that gap between collecting underpants and profit.

6 Part Epic Editing Breakdown: Slice by Slice

Best of the Forums: Editing in the Dark

by John Hess

This feature is a conglomeration of the articles from “The Making of Pitch Black” on the official Pitch Black Short Film Website. The production and post-production was discussed in the Pitch Black Film Group – here we are featuring the discussion of the editing process scene by scene.

The trailer for the finished film:

As a way of creating interest in the project and in the editing process, I essentially “edited in the public” – uploading cuts of sections of the films to FilmmakerIQ.com to show off and to get feed back. I will break down the process these scenes came about here in the following pages.

A little about my workflow. I edited all the files from the Canon 5d mkII and Canon 1d mkIV natively inside Premiere Pro CS5. The audio had to be manually synced as sound was recorded onto a TASCAM portable recorder at 96 khz.

The following editing logs have been lightly edited so there may be some misspellings or grammatical errors as to be expected from any internet forum.

Part 1: The Interogation

The first cut

From: Pitch Black (Short Film)Editing in the Dark: Scene 1 (Opening Interogation)

Okay, I’m going to try something with this thread. Instead of me sitting here by myself editing this short alone, I’m going to post scenes as I complete them here so you can see how the film is coming along and yell at me for what I’m not doing right.

We’ll see how long I can keep this up.

So here’s the first part of Scene 1 – to get here was roughly 4.5 hours:

Selected comments:

Mike:

Around the one minute mark there’s the shot of the killer standing over the trunk and it’s really bright. So much so that the whites are bleeding and giving off a glow. It’s very CSI-y. I think you either need to step her up to match that, or take that down a bit.

My vote is take her up

It wasn’t until the very final cut that I decided to give all these beginning flashback scenes a more dramatic red tinge. I also applied a liberal amount of Star Glow. The reasoning was to bookend the color palette with the late basement scene which is bathed entirely in red.

Da Cat (Rich Uber) is a professional LA Film Editor with over 25 years of experience working with some of largest studios in the world. To pad his resume, he offered up some of the best and most thorough comments to help me get my little film cut together:

at 7sec “I know this must be hard for you…” since it is the first time we see her and him, you might tie them together by doiing an overlap with “I know” over her shot, the pacing is not very tight at that moment and tightening it up might help it.

at 13sec :It’s Important Haley” cut to her faster, in the middle of the word “Haley” tighten it up a little, your music might be subconsciously cutting to fit phrases

at 16sec after I’ll try his closeup, he stairs at her and then looks down I would tighten the heads of his shot and get to the head tilting down at least 1 beat earlier. in her next statements you can see the natural pauses that most actors do, to set up for the next line, it is sometimes why we make so many cuts. Also moving cameras (slightly moving) do tend to mask mismatches in action

at 33sec delay the crash sound effect till the next 2 words are out of her mouth, or try the car screech much lower till she finishes and then cut it in up full on the black followed by the crash… check out soundsnap.com for some good ones.

at the next shot, of her in the car with the rain on the windshield
think about a somewhat slow fade in, like how someone would feel after getting their bell rung, also add sound effects, pieces of metal falling off the car, the engine running rough,

at 44sec the trunk popped open, the cut away of the hand feels like a cut away,, cut it in earlier over her last line and start the next line over the cut away of her hand. then when it goes to the person in the trunk, cut the head of that shot till the action seems already going, it feels like i heard action then the person in the trunk moved, just trim the front and get to the heart of the shot earlier…

at 57 sec She must have still been alive, to build tension do an optical effect here, a slow zoom in on her, then a slow zoom into the trunk, not even a half a field on a 10 field animation scale.
at 1:08 he just beat her… move position of the shot farther into the shot, 3 to 10 frames so the action doesn’t have to much of a stall

you have one flash, to make it a motif use it 2 more times, there is a rule of threes that does work a lot of the time, you might think about a flash during the wiped the blood off

editorially why is the wiping the blood off the hammer to then inflict damage to our heroine so important, why would she know that, might use the flashes to help establish her frozen with fear, in fact maybe a shot that runs then the last 2 or 3 frames are frozen before a white flash hits,, think about the flash might cause an action to slightly repeat itself. use sound effects to accentuate the flashes, use them to really bring out the thuds, the moans and groans of the victim.. And somewhere (like the next shot in this scene) you go back to the investigator

and yes the shots of her in the car need some contrast, and some lightening perhaps,

All in all it is coming together well

The Second Cut

 

In response to Rich’s comments on the flashes I wrote:

The motif is switch to the lighting flashes – I’m still undecided by what to do with the flashes – I’ll have to hit them up after the rough is cut.

Just to clarify for everyone reading this – those aren’t white flashes, they’re negatives. Negatives pop because of persistence of vision – the eye combines the negative with the positive image and gets pure white. A simple white frame would not pop because only the black parts of the frame change.

Anyhow, still not sure I want to keep them.

I did end up keeping them.

Rich’s comments on the second cut:

All in all, this rough cut is getting decent, the cuts are much tighter. The sound design is what will eventually sell all of these flashbacks. Just to give you some insight, as we began on the last film to design time transitions when moving forward or backwards in the story line, we spent 2 solid days, using a lot of soundsnap audio effects, plus a lot from some of the big movies that my friends sound designed, to get to something that significantly enhanced, the experience we were looking for.

In general, I prefer to have conversations feel natural, with natural pacing, this also means people sometimes stepping over one another, sometimes not fully hearing the last word, but feeling the emotional content of the scene is way more important. It’s a subjective point open to interpretation, but it is one of the things I am known for…

As you get farther into the editing of this story, and as you have this rough cut fully assembled and then start fine cutting it, you will find that changing just one shot, will effect the emotional content of the entire scene and can cause a ripple effect, up and down the entire length of the film, so that since you changed this shot, X’s relationship to Y has to change, and they have to meet earlier in the story, etc….

In other words…. welcome to Rubik’s cube in 20 dimensions :P

comments based on the Time Code burn in, which is how everyone who is in post should be doing it, that is the only common reference we all have…

00:00:33:00 “The trunk popped open. There’s an arm” See if you can make it sound like one complete thought. tighten the audio up slightly, This is one time where the pause at the end could work, just before the cut to the trunk…

00:01:07:00 “the sound of the hammer on her flesh again, and again and again” are there different framings available for her? In the perfect world, I would have a wide shot of her in the car, then the medium, then finish the 3 with a close-up, with the close-up creating the most tension because the size makes it more intimate. If not, I would also resize the images, with the 3rd being the most blown-up.

00;01;18;00 Cu of hammer, do you have more of the shot with water drops coming down? you might actually extend that shot a bit 5 or 6 frames into the next shot. Remember audio overlaps can create tension by themselves, use that to help reinforce the tension you are already developing.

00;01;23;00 The shot of the man’s feet walking by the puddle. I would cut to it before “for me” Is there any more tails of that shot that is in motion ? it needs to be a little closer to be moving faster to pull the eye into the next shot. Btw cutting shots on the start of prepositions is a very easy way to help control what the audience feels. I do like the feeling that she is slowly bringing it out, and doesn’t seem to be acting. :)

00;01;25;00, he comes into frame and then the jump cut to her screaming, I would add an inverted flash there, try adding a blur to it and then a 1 or 2 frame dissolve to the next shot where she is screaming, think again about an optical resize and reposition of the screaming shot

00;01;27;00 the sync is a little wanky, slip it a couple of frames

00;01;57;00 the end of her shot she looks up, trim tails of the shot to remove the last look up or even the hint of that, it feels like she is about to speak again

00;02;04;00 “I can bring in a sketch artist” trim the front of the shot, remove 3 to 6 frames up front, you don’t need the action match as much as you need the explosion of the words. cut it as tight as you can to the wide shot, it creates tension for that close-up

00;02;09;00 “Dan please call me Dan” Way to much pregnant pause at the front, remove it.

00;02;19;00 on the cut from the wide to the close up, try to cut in the middle of his head turn, even if the camera is moving, see if that works cause now something feels wrong with it.

00;02;23;00 take off a few frames of his look at her before his head moves down

00;02;30;02 try cutting back to him on the head tilt up, thereby cutting on movement to movement

00;02;33;00 if you can add a few more frames of the first shot as he begins to give her the phone, jumping space a little too far with that cut

00;02;54;00 “or if you need anything” trim just a few frames off the front of this shot

wish you had a throw away line for him over her last shot, like “it’ll be ok” ie. like 2 people talking over each other…. only if things are NOT going to be ok

The Third Cut

 

My responses to Rich and Simon (Dark Water’s) comments:

@Dark_Water said:
Well, little changes make a big difference.
Speaking of the flashbacks, I think they were too desaturated. They were just a little too close to B&W.

I’m also going to throw an idea in there, using static shots in the flashbacks mixed in with the action. It might be a bit CSI but what do I know.

It’s a directorial decision here to keep the flashbacks closer to B&W than anything else. More moody tones that way. Was originally thinking about CSI style flashes with still frames but the way it’s cut is good for what I’m trying to do.

@Da_Cat said:
00:00:33:00 “The trunk popped open. There’s an arm” See if you can make it sound like one complete thought. tighten the audio up slightly, This is one time where the pause at the end could work, just before the cut to the trunk…

Trying to incorporate a tighter pacing on this – still need to revisit in future edits.

@Da_Cat said:
00:01:07:00 “the sound of the hammer on her flesh again, and again and again” are there different framings available for her? In the perfect world, I would have a wide shot of her in the car, then the medium, then finish the 3 with a close-up, with the close-up creating the most tension because the size makes it more intimate. If not, I would also resize the images, with the 3rd being the most blown-up.

Good call.

@Da_Cat said:
00;01;18;00 Cu of hammer, do you have more of the shot with water drops coming down? you might actually extend that shot a bit 5 or 6 frames into the next shot. Remember audio overlaps can create tension by themselves, use that to help reinforce the tension you are already developing.

A few tail frames on that did help.

@Da_Cat said:00;01;23;00 The shot of the man’s feet walking by the puddle. I would cut to it before “for me” Is there any more tails of that shot that is in motion ? it needs to be a little closer to be moving faster to pull the eye into the next shot. Btw cutting shots on the start of prepositions is a very easy way to help control what the audience feels. I do like the feeling that she is slowly bringing it out, and doesn’t seem to be acting. :)

cut to the shot on her “for” – good tip – will incorporate cutting on prepositions in the future.

This scene was the scene we auditioned with – though in the audition, I extended the scene by giving her a knife. I wanted to see the “turnaround” (which will occur later in the film). Needless to say, Kirsten Berman, blew us away with her audition which is pretty much what you’re seeing in this scene. It was so intense, I needed to down a glass of wine after. Susan, my co producer soon found out which auditions I liked by how much I needed a drink afterward.

@Da_Cat said:
00;01;25;00, he comes into frame and then the jump cut to her screaming, I would add an inverted flash there, try adding a blur to it and then a 1 or 2 frame dissolve to the next shot where she is screaming, think again about an optical resize and reposition of the screaming shot

Played around with the inverted flashes and optical reframing – getting better…

@Da_Cat said:
00;01;27;00 the sync is a little wanky, slip it a couple of frames

I figured out how to get Premiere to move things as little as 1 audio sample!

@Da_Cat said:
00;01;57;00 the end of her shot she looks up, trim tails of the shot to remove the last look up or even the hint of that, it feels like she is about to speak again

Something about this transition still bothers me….

@Da_Cat said:
00;02;04;00 “I can bring in a sketch artist” trim the front of the shot, remove 3 to 6 frames up front, you don’t need the action match as much as you need the explosion of the words. cut it as tight as you can to the wide shot, it creates tension for that close-up

Explosion of words – good concept and reinforced with some tightening.

@Da_Cat said:
00;02;09;00 “Dan please call me Dan” Way to much pregnant pause at the front, remove it.

Actually, the problem wasn’t the pregnant pause, it was I didn’t cut back to Dan fast enough. He presses and presses her… then reveals more vulnerability… the turnaround is there in his face, but we didn’t catch it because I was still on Haley when he starts it.

@Da_Cat said:
00;02;19;00 on the cut from the wide to the close up, try to cut in the middle of his head turn, even if the camera is moving, see if that works cause now something feels wrong with it.

00;02;23;00 take off a few frames of his look at her before his head moves down

00;02;30;02 try cutting back to him on the head tilt up, thereby cutting on movement to movement

Attempted to address – may need some more work.

@Da_Cat said:
00;02;33;00 if you can add a few more frames of the first shot as he begins to give her the phone, jumping space a little too far with that cut

00;02;54;00 “or if you need anything” trim just a few frames off the front of this shot

Addressed and again, may need to be revisited when I construct the remaining sides of the Rubik’s cube.

@Da_Cat said:

wish you had a throw away line for him over her last shot, like “it’ll be ok” ie. like 2 people talking over each other…. only if things are NOT going to be ok

Script sort of plays with his character as a bad guy… possibly…The next scene is considerably “lighter” – it actually has a bit of humor after sitting through this ordeal.

Part 2: See No Evil

The First Cut

From: Pitch Black (Short Film)Editing in the Dark: Scenes 2 & 3 (See no Evil)

Continuing the series on the editing of Pitch Black, we move onto scenes 2 & 3 which function as a breather after scene 1 (a bit of light comedy after the intensity of the interrogation) and as a vehicle for exposition and setting up the rest of the film:

I tackled these two scenes thinking like they’d be a walk in the park. They were a beast. I had to sync almost 100 audio takes (which I did over 8 hours on the weekend). Then the actual assembly of the rough cut… I did most of scene 2 last night in about 3.5 hours and scene 3 today in about 7.5 hours.

The biggest challenge of this cut was working with what, for me, has been my most complicated blocking to date. Working without a script supervisor and shooting it in a wickedly quick schedule caused some continuity things to go unnoticed (until I’m in the editor). These scenes also represent the first two scenes we shot so there’s that whole thing to deal with.

So fighting continuity, and focusing issues (I’m gonna say it’s a motif representing Haley’s blindness), I cobbled this together. It’s probably a little more polished than straight rough (because now I have Da Cat’s voice in my head, yelling at me to tighten every frame :) ) but it represents the first “draft” of these scenes.

The music and sound effects are there just to get the flavor of the pacing. I have firmly decided that I will kill myself and write the score (which I yack about later)/

Scene 2 is mostly color graded, I haven’t done much with scene 3. I’m still not totally decided how I want to grade this (though I really like the red hue that Ryan casts on Haley at the end of Scene 3 – along with the knives in the beginning of Scene 2, it foreshadows the final scene)

 

Rich’s comments:

00;00;05;16 Audio seems early by a frame or 2, It is cut tight to the word, you might cut to the picture 2 frames earlier (slide the edit point, not slip the entire cut) Another important point to learn, as you edit, and hear changes in the presence/room tone from shot to shot, to help the edit, extend the audio of the previous shot right up to 1 frame before the first words starts and do a 1 frame dx (short nomenclature for dissolve) to this shots audio, The first word hopefully overpowers the change in room tone, allowing the audience to forget what it was…

00;00;14;20 Nice cut here, one thing for people to remember is that it takes the brain approximately 2 frames to understand a change in the visual stimuli when a cut or other effect occurs, to counteract that and to make the cut seem smooth, you duplicate the action, if you see a person turning and then across the cut they seem to have backed up a frame or 2 it more than likely will make the cut seem smooth. This by the way is a major difference in how cutting a film versus cutting a “tape” originated mutli-cam show works, Where the multi-cam show will just switch between shots, keeping everything in sync, wheras the film will smooth them out, The difference being much more noticeable when its 60 feet wide, with the multi-cam show cuts coming off as slightly jarring. This of course takes much more time to do. And the time constraints of television preclude most of that work…

00;00;19;20 Hand in wrong place, I would not sweat this one, it works (rule broken about matching actions but it works and that is all that counts)

00;00;22;05 Kind of a tough cut there where the shot before feels like it is moving right to left on the screen and this cut has a slight feel of moving to the right as it cuts (it has to deal with her head position) play with it, maybe this place open it up a few frames to see what happens. In general have you notice the slightly moving camera takes the kiss of death off of a number of cuts, where it might not have worked so well if the camera was static? Another rule down the tubes!

00;01;02;14 feels like the facial expression is not continuing into this cut, you might need a few more frames on the tail of the last shot. not sure how it will match, this is a nit picky comment :)

00;01;15;02 take off heads of this shot, and move her slightly forward, seems slightly repeated, unless you want to set that up as a style where you slightly repeat the action everything you see that type of POV and that type of music…

00;01;24;02 Try to compress the shot to start on that frame, we do not have to be that literal here, the heart of this shot is the conversation of the 2 women, not the walking to the other room… The audience gets that we are somewhere else as we see the other room starting on the left side of the frame.

00;01;55;00 ADR time here I think, or at least a lot of audio work, her line seems off mike,

00;01;55;18 The acting is a bit over the top on the lean back and the last suck in of air (probably because its a much closer shot) Is this shot necessary, or would her look and sigh carry it from extending the previous shot thru this one? This is one of the examples where a perfect cut, might not be perfect for a scene, where we can make incredible cuts now, because we can preview unlimited variations, instead of just a few when it was film running. Sometimes as you edit you need to go back to even before the scene and run it all the way thru. This particular shot was the one that really stood out when I took the whole scene in.

00;02;03;00 Possibility to cut heads off of this shot, we do remember she had just sighed, Depends on how you want to play it with sound, especially when she opens the cupboard and then turns because she heard something…

00;02;06;08 Unless there is sound to motivate her head turn away and back to Hayley, I would eliminate the shot… too many exaggerated pauses, tho building tension can easily become caricature… Think about a light knock on the wood of the screen door

00;02;19;15 As she is shouting “Oh My God” run his first “Hi” on top of her, He would be trying to quickly respond and diffuse the situation, and do you have a shot of Hayley being startled awake,? If there was that much screaming the dead would be coming up from underneath the floorboards :P Think about cutting to his shot much earlier, and carry her voice under his shot.

00;02;24;00 Missing Hayley here…. we need to see her getting awake, or eyes opening, something to motivate the “It’s fine” from Katie perhaps have an ADR line from Hayley about “What’s happening, what’s the matter?” Hayley right now is way down and almost unintelligible.

00;02;33;00 low angel to Ryan seems off do you have more heads to play with, he seems like his action has stopped compared to the shot before, it might be just a matter of a few more frames on the head of that shot

00;03;16;00 We need to hear Hayley say “Kate” or better yet, see her say it. Hard to say since I haven’t seen the takes…

00;04;23;00 Cut to the side shot, Katy’s arm in wrong position, and she seems stalled there visually, check on adding tails to the previous shot to get her moving, then cut heads off of this shot.

00;04;32;00 Duplication of action of her at the door, then turning to talk to Katy. Not sure if you have other takes, with him just walking away, or surveying the place, something to force your eye more to him and ignoring what is happening in the house

Love the close-up of the eye, I would think about using it inverted in the lightning when you do your next pass

The Second Cut

 

My responses to Rich

Going on some of this from memory as I started recutting a couple days ago but I had to take a few days off…

@Da_Cat said:
00;00;05;16 Audio seems early by a frame or 2, It is cut tight to the word, you might cut to the picture 2 frames earlier (slide the edit point, not slip the entire cut) Another important point to learn, as you edit, and hear changes in the presence/room tone from shot to shot, to help the edit, extend the audio of the previous shot right up to 1 frame before the first words starts and do a 1 frame dx (short nomenclature for dissolve) to this shots audio, The first word hopefully overpowers the change in room tone, allowing the audience to forget what it was…

Overlapped the sound of the dishes with a quick audio fade

@Da_Cat said:
00;01;02;14 feels like the facial expression is not continuing into this cut, you might need a few more frames on the tail of the last shot. not sure how it will match, this is a nit picky comment :P

00;01;15;02 take off heads of this shot, and move her slightly forward, seems slightly repeated, unless you want to set that up as a style where you slightly repeat the action everything you see that type of POV and that type of music…

@Da_Cat said:
00;01;24;02 Try to compress the shot to start on that frame, we do not have to be that literal here, the heart of this shot is the conversation of the 2 women, not the walking to the other room… The audience gets that we are somewhere else as we see the other room starting on the left side of the frame.

Addressed.

@Da_Cat said:
00;01;55;00 ADR time here I think, or at least a lot of audio work, her line seems off mike,

Add that to the list of sweetning list.

@Da_Cat said:
00;01;55;18 The acting is a bit over the top on the lean back and the last suck in of air (probably because its a much closer shot) Is this shot necessary, or would her look and sigh carry it from extending the previous shot thru this one? This is one of the examples where a perfect cut, might not be perfect for a scene, where we can make incredible cuts now, because we can preview unlimited variations, instead of just a few when it was film running. Sometimes as you edit you need to go back to even before the scene and run it all the way thru. This particular shot was the one that really stood out when I took the whole scene in.

Maybe because I’ve worked with Emily erh.. I mean Jamy before, I just love her look. That head toss back to me was just something I liked – sexy and vulnerable at the same time. So I think I’m really guilty of showcasing her in these scenes… I dunno, this whole scene could be brutally slashed once everything else is in place.

@Da_Cat said:
00;02;03;00 Possibility to cut heads off of this shot, we do remember she had just sighed, Depends on how you want to play it with sound, especially when she opens the cupboard and then turns because she heard something…

00;02;06;08 Unless there is sound to motivate her head turn away and back to Hayley, I would eliminate the shot… too many exaggerated pauses, tho building tension can easily become caricature… Think about a light knock on the wood of the screen door

Yeah, I should add this – I didn’t want to tackle it for this round.

She’s suppose to be looking for some spices in the cabinet and she’s wondering if she should go and disturb Haley… it probably doesn’t come off that way.

I’m entertaining the idea of maybe just having some innocuolous sound like some sort of couch rustling….

@Da_Cat said:
00;02;19;15 As she is shouting “Oh My God” run his first “Hi” on top of her, He would be trying to quickly respond and diffuse the situation, and do you have a shot of Hayley being startled awake,? If there was that much screaming the dead would be coming up from underneath the floorboards :P Think about cutting to his shot much earlier, and carry her voice under his shot.

00;02;24;00 Missing Hayley here…. we need to see her getting awake, or eyes opening, something to motivate the “It’s fine” from Katie perhaps have an ADR line from Hayley about “What’s happening, what’s the matter?” Hayley right now is way down and almost unintelligible.

Recut… maybe this works better…

@Da_Cat said:
00;02;33;00 low angel to Ryan seems off do you have more heads to play with, he seems like his action has stopped compared to the shot before, it might be just a matter of a few more frames on the head of that shot

Directing lesson here… there is no more head on the low cut angle because I had them start the scene already in… Lesson – when doing a pickup – always include the beginning action to give yourself some room to float in with.

The first shot (from the left) has major focusing problems – I was operating and I had to dial down the aperture, and pull focus at the same time and I never got either right.

I spent a bit of time wrestling with these three angles – I do like the low cut jump just because it sets me up for breaking the 180 rule later on.

@Da_Cat said:
00;03;16;00 We need to hear Hayley say “Kate” or better yet, see her say it. Hard to say since I haven’t seen the takes…

Kate actually says “Kate” – kept her line in…

@Da_Cat said:
00;04;23;00 Cut to the side shot, Katy’s arm in wrong position, and she seems stalled there visually, check on adding tails to the previous shot to get her moving, then cut heads off of this shot.

Didn’t even catch that in this edit… – fixed by trimming head off the shot.

@Da_Cat said:
00;04;32;00 Duplication of action of her at the door, then turning to talk to Katy. Not sure if you have other takes, with him just walking away, or surveying the place, something to force your eye more to him and ignoring what is happening in the house

Only shot we have off this – added an optical and used a different take to direct the attention at Ryan…

@Da_Cat said:
Love the close-up of the eye, I would think about using it inverted in the lightning when you do your next pass

There’s going to be 2 more “eye” shots in the next couple of scenes. It is the eye of the watcher but it’s also a red Herring (get it… Ryan Trout)

FISH!!!!!

Simon’s remarks:

Sync is out on the first lines.

At 4.13, we can see Jamy waiting for her que and at 4.19 I think I caught a glimpse of a boom pole.

I kept the hesitation in Kate’s character as I felt it was like her character was watching a budding romance between Haley and Ryan.

Rich’s comments

I really like the changes you have made, Having Haley wake up really helps the scene, in fact I feel if you have another cutaway to her as she is getting settled sitting up, (slight head movement, arms or twisting while looking like she is not totally sure what is happening)

like Dark said the first sync lines are out of sync, I think they are early

00;00;24;07 The side of the 2 of them, you might trim off 2 or 3 frames from the head of this shot, the positional information seems wrong, so perhaps cutting on the movement will mask part of that.

00;01;36;16 As she exits the frame and it tilts over to hayley lose a couple of frames off the tail of the shot, then lose a few more frames off the head of the next frame and let the words drive the shot into the kitchen, not her walking into frame.

00;02;11;00 when she leaves the kitchen, the sound design will tell, did she hear something or is she in fact wondering where the pepper is? As she is leaving the kitchen, have the sound design perhaps add somethings there.

00;02;15;00 Hayley getting up, trim the heads, the arms moving around you might trim them down and just have her struggling to get up, if you do indeed go to her again as a single…. Sometimes less is more, and if you shorten her heads, the tension will actually increase even more, then later if you go to her sitting up getting comfortable, then you have the release that apparently it is safe.

00;02;17;20 Under this shot and the next shot of Katy put some ADR of Haley asking what is happening, questioning, etc, In these situations, people are all over each other trying to figure out what is going on, The audience can discern who is talking by the sound of each individual voice, so multi-layered sound can have different voices bubble up and drift away, It’s how we make it so the audience can hear the one line in a crowd of people talking….

00;02;49;00 tighten the heads so that Hayley sounds like she has a whole thought strung together, just a few frames, but right there stops the action cold for a few frames, In this case the heart of the matter might mean much more than the perfect action match

All in all a very good scene, Maybe lowering Katy’s voice in places will help a lot. I’m going to reserve a couple of comments until we see everything come together as a complete first cut. Because as you will find, as you change something later, it will actually affect something much earlier that makes you change something else in another scene. And if you think that it can get bad it does. Last year we recut one scene over 10 times, just because something else, made this scene pivot in a different direction, (ie, If he is the killer, shouldn’t we hint at that fact with….. or maybe he is the innocent victim in her mind, shouldn’t he come across as more vulnerable. ) and that can happen just by changing the cuts, and the juxtaposition of the shots, and nothing else has changed…

As a last bit of comment before moving on from this scene: It wasn’t until the final cut when I butted all these scenes together did I find a timing issue with the beginning of this scene. I solved this issue by inserting a master exterior shot

Part 3: Voyeur

Now we’re starting to get into it… The following scene may be considered by some to be NSFW and involves a woman being watched in the shower.

The First Cut

From: Pitch Black (Short Film)Editing in the Dark: Scenes 4 & 5 (Watching her shower)

 

Simon commented:

Strangly, the shot of Ryan looking in could be longer or use a different entry point. The cut to him seemed jarring. But the speed cut at 1.51 seemed out of place and not in keeping with everything else you’ve done.

Slowness is a directorial decision. :) Building the suspense. I am a firm practitioner of dramatic contrast. Fast->Slow, Funny->Scary…

It doesn’t have the proper sound design/music in it yet so it probably is missing a lot.

But the cut to Ryan at 1:47 (and the two shower shots before it) are something I’ve spent a lot of time on, and I will probably spend a lot more time on because there is still something off about them.

Thurman commented:

In the beginning…between 00:08:16 -00:10:12 Haley begins to thank Kate and Brad as they’re walking which is fine, but then cuts to a closer angle and they’re hugging. It seems like we’re missing something between the cuts, or those two different POV angles don’t match in transition from one to the other.

Unfortunately that’s an unfixable continuity issue – none of the takes have the correct continuity (All the wides starts with Haley leaning on Kate and the mediums/Cu start with them apart and getting ready to hug).

I think I pretty much get away with this right here.

The Second Cut

 

Rich weighs in:

I’ve watched it twice now,

The opening of these scenes, there has been a transition in time from the last scene to this. If you are going to shoot exteriors, I would shoot one for the beginning this scene, and since it is wide, to tie it into the what follows, I would do part of the dialogue under the new exterior shot and remove the first shot, which sort of sticks out as a sore thumb up against the rest of the scene. I do think there is too much dialogue until we get the taser given to her…

00;00;19;00 “Thanks for coming, things are a little blurry now, but I am going to be ok” I would first tie that all together so it was like a continuous running sentence, and do that over a slow zoom or pan of the exterior of the house then remove dialogue and cut to

00;00;22;00 “OK We will be back in the morning”

00;01;12;11 Check if starting there might be more powerful start frame

I like very much the dissolve to him coming into frame

the zoom into his eyes, i might use to build up tension and use the wide part of it between the shots at00;01;40;00 and then when you cut back to it, maybe repeat the action slightly. The speed up works with the audio quite well, I will hold off on comments about this until you get the full first cut in, but it definitely could be a motif element.

If you notice, my comments are getting less and less, because your editing is changing as you get farther into the film. Your editing is evolving, as is the story. Start trusting your instincts and don’t over intellectualize ever cut (We all fall into that trap all the time, because we know everything, while the audience knows only what we have shown so far) One of the best things you can have in editing, is a friend you can observe watching the edit (yep we watch people watching what we do all the time) and getting their first impressions, and if they know what is going on….

It’s going very well, can’t wait to see what happens next…..

 

Part 4: Fun with a Baseball Bat

The First Cut

From: Pitch Black (Short Film)Editing in the Dark: Scenes 4 & 5 (Watching her shower)

Moving along in the film – the prelude to the action… Music is all temporary (used a couple of tracks I already used) – some preliminary color grading…

Simon commented:

The light in the shed looks like it’s flickering and I think toward the end Ryan was looking down the camer

At first I thought that was a camera error… but I think the flickering was we had an overhead light dimmed down so low that it started to flicker. I think it kind of adds to the scene.

Thurman, the poor soul who was sitting in the chair weighed in:

yeah I see it…but correct me if I’m wrong- isn’t it a part of the creepiness? I thought you meant to do that? I saw the wiring in that room, I spent more time looking around with duck-tape on my mouth in that chair with nothing else to do but watch and listen. The fact is: It really is a crappy, poorly kept old garage with 50 year old jerry-rigged wiring and junk everywhere. Flickering lights??? I was surprised we had any light. Very real, very honest.

Rich’s Comments:

John here are my comments on this section
Overall I think it is quite excellent

00;00;09;00 the cut to her sitting down, first reaction to it, that it duplicated too much of the action, hard to determine without putting it on my avid… try trimming a few frames off the heads

00;00;25;00 I would try adding 2 or 3 frames to the tails of the first eye shot, force the eye to screen left, which then forces it back on the next cut, which will build tension. (Sometime soon we should have a discussion on controlling the eye moments in editing, especially montages) and i love the speed ups to the mouth duct taped

00;00;40;00 on her listening to the phone, add the sound of voice mail, etc… just enough to reinforce the non answer….

00;00;44;00 the medium where she puts the phone down, check out trimming the heads of this shot, the movement feels slightly stalled at the beginning, try 2 frames off the heads

00;00;55;00 Not sure what motivates a dissolve there, doesn’t seem warranted to me

00;01;04;00 embellish the sound of the tape rip off,

00;01;12;00 This is a hard cut because it feels like the same exact angle of the previous shot, you might try a slight blow up and a reposition to left or right to help it.

00;01;27;00 i would adjust the cut 2 frames earlier, keep sync just roll the edit (as they say in premiere pro land :P )

00;01;31;23 I was thinking that maybe a pause between the last shot and his reveal in the next would add to the tension, just something to try

00;03;25;00 the cut to the front, eyes looking upwards don’t match the previous shot, I would trim this shot till the eyes and head are down and slightly moving, (one of the 2 cuts in the whole scene that bothered me on the initial viewing)

00;03;59;00 Try delaying the audio of the hit by a couple of frames, if that doesn’t help try leading the hit on the previous shot, and take off heads of this shot, if he fell in the side shot, try match cutting the fall. this was the only other cut that bothered me in the initial viewing.

A very good job John! In the exterior shot of the shed, if there is light seen from the inside, maybe have it flicker a couple of times… just an idea..

At this point, I continued on cutting the rest of the film. This scene remains pretty much untouched (though I applied some of Rich’s suggestions) in the final cut.

Part 5: The Attack

The First Cut

From: Pitch Black (Short Film)Editing in the Dark: Scene 8-9 (The Attack)

 

Simon asked:

John, I’ve forgetten how you lit the exteriors. I’m liking your and could do with some pointers.

There were 3 production lights used in all of this scene. We had two Lowel Omnis (500 watt open faced lights) – those are coming through the two windows in the big “living room” that she runs to first and again in the kitchen. The lights were placed high and out.

And we used a Dedo light for her bedroom (coming in from the window) and with a lensed projector projecting a window pattern in the front door area.

All the other lights (like the porch) were already there.

All lights had CTB and we white balanced closer to 3200K to get a “moonlight” look.

I’ll just point this out – all the CU after Ryan gets her on the ground were shot on the 5d. I’m surprised at the lack of “Jello Effect” especially considering the amount of camera shake 1:36

Rich provides some fine point criticism:

00;00;05;00 Think about losing the first move on Hayley when she moves up

00;00;21;00 Match action problem, so use the explosion of action at the tail end of the first shot of Hayley getting up , and cut farther into the second shot like at 23;00 approximate. This is one where it either should match well, or it should’t even try to match, and use the emotional impact of each shot,trigger the next. Ie a shot of her in horror, to her banging into something, to losing the phone, all done not attempting to match action. The action of the internal dynamics determine the length of each shot, not the attempt to action match. And good action matching from different performances is so hard for actors to do. This technical part of acting usually is the last to develop, and a lot of actors especially those using the “method” never match action at all. Robert Forrester was notorious for not being able to match him from one shot to another. This is where a great script supervisor is worth their weight in gold! that and a lot of recording of video assist!

00;00;29;11 previous shot I believe her right leg was moving forward, take off some heads to smooth the action.

00;00;30;00 take of a few frames of the tails of the outgoing shot, and also trim a few frames off the heads of the incoming shot, Hayleys body as she moves up and down as she walks feels slightly off here

00;00;45;00 take off heads of the incoming shot as she turns to the left, the emphasis is on the turn to the left, not the going forward and turning

00;01;00;21 Try trimming it out till 00;01;01;23, the hand out to it feeling it isn’t in this shot needs a little work

00;01;06;00 take a few frames off the heads of the incoming shot

00;01;12;00 Not an action match, try 3 non action matches in a row, or 3 match action cuts, The rule of 3’s does work, it sets up a rhythm for the audience, cutting on action, or cutting on sentences, or complete phrases, or single words, your cutting will create the tension

00;01;18;07 Trim off a few frames from the heads of this shot and let it feel even more violent.

00;01;26;15 just try going from her kicking the flowers off the table to her on the ground, the shot between it does not work for me, but that could just be my sensibilities…

00;01;46;00 try starting the shot around here, with the hand allready near her side

I am sure you will add sound effects and more of his moaning an comments as she kicks him in the balls…

00;02;58;00 trim of the heads as he is looking forward and try a cut with the head starting to turn, look at the last shot how it “feels” like it is going to go screen right

00;03;20;00 trim off some heads of this shot, to tighten the walk to the door

00;03;23;00 match action problem

as the light goes on, perhaps a little muffled cry from hayley before you cut to the shot of her getting the golf club.

And then the editor will turn to the director, and say, why is she holding a club? what’s the motivation? “fear” says the director…. followed by the idea of a moan and the sound of something being picked up, and a few things falling down, all played on the shot of him upstairs listening to the mentacide he is doing to her….. And so it goes for every cut…

All in all a very good cut John, It will change as you get your music and sfx in, and that will change the dynamics of the scene! If you can, try a version where you throw the match action out the window, This is pure horror for her afterall….

Just as with the last scene, I didn’t make a public second cut for discussion for this scene because of the momentum of the film at this point.

Part 6: The Final Showdown

First Cut

From: Pitch Black (Short Film)Editing in the Dark: Scene 8-9 (The Attack)

First off, let me say that the music is about 80% wrong – the big brush “feel” is there but I’m missing a ton of transitional stuff and punches. I just wanted to get the broad sonic feel and go back in a orchestrate it exactly how I want it later.

So bear that in mind as you watch the first draft of the final segment:

Simon begins the discussion with::

I think I saw a focus drop at 0.17 and in the close up at 1.06.

It sure does. The one at :17 was me and it was one of our last shots of the second night. I was standing on top of a counter top trying to focus Ryan as he walked into the kitchen, pick up a knife, and walk to the basement door – all with extremely low light and an aperture full wide.

The Basement was Sidney’s work and he really did a great job giving me all sorts of excellent angles to work with. Him, Kirsten (Haley) and Jonny (Ryan) were all part of the choreography of scene.

As for the focus – it was one of those “performance” over “technical” selection as Ryan’s mocking “Red?” questions to me were creepy as hell. You’ll also notice how EXTREMELY shallow the DOF is at this point – mainly a function of shooting in such insanely low lighting conditions (as dark as it looks in the shot – it was slightly darker). The minute Ryan turns his head, he’s out of focus. To Sidney’s credit he snaps it perfectly back in focus at 1:08. If anybody asks outside this forum I’ll say it was an artistic choice.

Simon adds:

I would have liked if you had introduced Dave waking up earlier and broke up him in the garage and his entering the house. Or extend Ryan’s search. But that’s me.

I stuck pretty rigidly to the rule of three in the final sequence. There’s three shots of Detective Dan and three “coat checks” and three “Haley?” at the end (I tried two but guess what – it didn’t work )

The finale is a battle between Ryan and Haley. The last segment (attack scene) was Ryan having the upper hand in the attack – Haley turns it around and enters the basement (her own personal hell) where she can at least be equally matched to fight him.

The direction of the narrative is such that Dan really can’t enter the story until we get a natural break in the action (it’s been all about Ryan and Haley). When Ryan outwits Haley by locating her with her cell phone I can at least set the Dan narrative in motion.

And then I’m just trying to use Detective Dan as a ticking count down clock. He’s entering the house as Ryan’s dinking around in the coats… Is he going to make it in time to save Haley…and then… F*** no – WOMAN POWER!!

So that’s why Dan enters at that point. If you have an idea of where else to put him suggest it and I’ll take a look at that.

Rich’s Comments:

00;00;15;00 which foot they are on might be wrong, thought it might be right foot, right foot combo,

00;00;19;00 arms mismatch, arms up and then down.

00;00;24;00 perhaps a few more frames of him after he turns on the light, seems like action is starting to happen just as you cut…

00;00;30;00 the first shot of him after the glass breaking feels like he is static against the wall while still moving in the next one.

00;00;35;00 it feels like you jumped the match action forward a little too much, the tension of him going to that door, is he going to taunt her, or is he going to go down into the basement is worth the time.

00;00;52;03 try trimmings heads off the second shot of him coming down to here, the movement “feels” wrong because we don’t see the light from the cell phone moving to screen left as in the previous shot

00;01;25;00 there might be ways to introduce him earlier, to make it look like he has been struggling a long time to get untied. I do wish you had a close up of a knot being untied…. when you combine it all into a complete rough cut, I might try something to show you…

Gears turning… I think I may have an idea.

I can get Thurman and beat him with a bat and do a couple of closeups! :)

No, but maybe, I can give some signs of life at the end of the bat scene. When I shot this, Sidney (DP) was kinda shocked that the cop isn’t dead at this point… if I give him signs of life at the end of the bat scene. CU on hands – struggling… – I can hint that he’s still alive….

then maybe my characteristic “eyeball” shot…

Rich continues:

00;01;41;00 John try something, remove this shot and go from the wider to the close-up reverse shots looking at him. I think it might have a big impact.

00;02;21;00 you really don’t need a dissolve to the door opening upstairs.

and I liked it to the end credits

At this point I felt that the cut of the film was complete and could not be fine tuned until I had the exact music cues that I wanted in place. From here it was a matter of composing the score.

The Craft of a Foley Artist

From “The Empire Strikes Back” to “Robin Hood”, award-winning Foley artist Gary Hecker of Todd-AO says it takes “timing and a huge creative mind” to be the man behind the sound. Here, he shares tips and tricks he’s learned during a career that has spanned more than 200 films.

Hecker also recently joined CSS Studios’ Todd-AO in late 2009. One of the most accomplished Foley artists in Hollywood. Among his recent credits are 2012, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Angel & Demons, Watchmen and the Spiderman trilogy.

VIA: Michael Coleman

Hitchcock and The Kuleshov Effect

In this classic interview with Alfred Hitchcock he demonstrates the Kuleshov Effect. This is a film editing montage effect named after Russian filmmaker Lev Kuleshov who first illustrated it in the 1910s and 1920s.

The montage experiments carried out by Kuleshov in the late 1910s and early 1920s formed the theoretical basis of Soviet montage cinema, culminating in the famous films of the late 1920s by directors such as Sergei Eisenstein, Vsevolod Pudovkin and Dziga Vertov, among others. These films included The Battleship Potemkin, October, Mother, The End of St. Petersburg, and The Man with a Movie Camera.

33 3ds Max Tutorials of Mass Destruction

Some people just want to watch the world burn…. at least on film. And who can deny the awesomeness of nuclear detonation wiping out rush hour traffic on the Hollywood Freeway? To help you feed that inner instinct to kill people and break stuff at 24fps we’ve gathered together 33 3D Studio Max tutorials. At least these tuts won’t result in U.N. sanctions…. unless of course you’re Michael Bay.

Nuclear Explosion

The Civil War Cannon

Shattering Glass

Jet Chase

Assembly Disassembly

Torn Flag

Smoking Text

Logo Dispersion

Convincing Explosions

Missile Launcher

Marching Army

RPG Rocket Launcher

Hand Grenade

Weapon Creation

Exploding Glass

Bullets Scene

Explosion Tutorial

HighPoly Beretta

Particle Dispersion

Time for Bullets

Fuse Bomb

Coyote Missile

Hull Damage

F-5E Tiger

Fistweapon

Create Fire

Batmobile

F16 Fighter Jet

Ironman Helmet

Military Truck

Rocket Particle Trail

Tank

Ashtray

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