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Dialog editing??

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stylz
Dialog editing??
on Nov 3, 2005 at 6:23:15 am

For you experienced narrative editors. When assembleing a dialog scene, better to radio edit(edit for conversational flow) or edit for facial performance(gestures, emotions) FIRST? Key word being first.


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Del Holford
Re: Dialog editing??
on Nov 3, 2005 at 1:29:22 pm

I'm not the most experienced dialog editor but have done some challenging programs with really bad actors. I go for the best facial expressions and emotions and then often use the audio from the previous or next cut and sync to pic for part of the clip. This gives you the chance to slide video a few frames at the head or tail of the cut to give the right pacing and emotion. My $.05 (adjusting for inflation). HTH

Del


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Chxeditor
Re: Dialog editing??
on Nov 3, 2005 at 6:07:11 pm

It's funny to me that I do the opposite of Del's technique but we probably both end up in the same place. I always cut the audio first working at it to get the best pace and performances. My thinking is I can always make the video work, such as using a different take and syncing the picture to the sound, or using cutaways to cover problems. I really like to lock in the audio as much as possible so I can concentrate on doing video only edits.
my 2cents.




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Chaz Shukat
Re: Dialog editing??
on Nov 3, 2005 at 7:00:56 pm

I do both. First, I cut the audio to my liking as best as I can get it, then I put in cutaways where I can sneak in different audio if necessary. If that doesn't make it to my satisfaction, as a last resort I'll try to do an audio overdub over the take that I like visually, but lip sync is a tricky proposition to pull off for more than a few words. But to answer your original question as to which to do first, I try to cut for the best dialogue first. But that's just me, it's a free country ya know? Bottom line is that there are many variables that you have to take into consideration that are particular to each instance. Is the actor more expressive verbally or visually? You always want to be true to the emotion of the moment. Whichever is more in line with that (dialogue or visual), go with that and then try to adjust the other as necessary. You should be able to feel it when it's really working right. Until it feels good, keep adjusting it. If you try everything possible and it still doesn't feel right, move on and come back to it later or the next day with fresh eyes and ears, and maybe bring in someone for a second opinion. If all that doesn't lead to a satisfactory resolution, and it almost certainly must, than you must have the biggest &#!@ing piece of $h-t scene with the worst f*@&ing actors. So go tell your producer to get some real !@#$ing actors to work with instead of brain dead tree stump wannabees! (Ooppss, sorry, did I say that out loud?)

Chaz S.


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Alan Bell
Re: Dialog editing??
on Nov 4, 2005 at 2:01:06 am

I do both, but gerally don't don't slip the audio into a different take unless I've tried every single take of the angle I'm looking to use, and nothing works to my satisfaction. Then I start to look for a different angle or a possible audio slip.

Regards
Alan BEll


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Charlie King
Re: Dialog editing??
on Nov 4, 2005 at 5:03:31 pm

I try to never lock myself into any set pattern concerning editing. I consider each and every project a totally new job, even to the extent that it is a new career unlike anything I have ever done. Not to mean I never repeat something that has worked in the past, I will go back 40 years if need be to dig up something I discovered back then that would fit this instance.

Anyhow back to the basic question. I will sometimes replace a single word if I like the inflection that was used on it better than the one in the edit. I use whatever works maybe even cutting at a different point visually to make a certain delivery work better. Keep all doors open and think outside the box on each and every project and edit, and you will learn that there are many things that can work.

Charlie


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Matt Sowder
Re: Dialog editing??
on Nov 5, 2005 at 3:59:20 pm

Most of my dialog work, I've been lucky enough to be behind the camera coaxing what I want. After doing it that way and then going back to being handed the end results of another's "vision" is much harder unless the direction was spot on. For me, I favor the visuals. If my on camera talent isn't believable or natural appearing, then replacing better sounding takes is more like patchwork, IMHO. But let's be real, a good cutaway, a retake, or even starting over can really help your scene. I used to laugh at the news guys practicing their stand ups by placing inflection in different parts of the sentence. I kid you not, I saw a Chicago Political reporter practice "The Governor..." a dozen or so DIFFERENT ways. But edit dialog & you appreciate any scraps given you. Pacing can be motivated (and influenced externally by a really crappy day) by a good actor, an emotional overtone or a well thought out shoot... You get all three and even the crappy day can't ruin that edit!


After about 14 months of endless spot work, I got a little taste of cutting dialog and it was fun.


Matt Sowder
Fiddler's Ridge Productions


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wshultz
Re: Dialog editing??
on Nov 7, 2005 at 5:48:38 pm

I see I'm not the only one perplexed by this. I've been editing corporate video for years but am about to cut my first narrative piece. The scene I'm starting on involves three people. There are master shots, two shots, close ups and tight shots.

I'm looking forward to the challenge but am a little overwhelmed at the options and I'm trying to figure how to start.

What's a good basic technique? Lay the master shot first and then go through and start replacing with best takes? Lay all the shots on top of each other and slice and dice? Do all the close ups for sound first?

How about some overview advice from you masters?

Thanks! I've never been stymied by too many options before.



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Charlie King
Re: Dialog editing??
on Nov 7, 2005 at 6:45:20 pm

I would love just once to have that problem. Too many options just seems like maybe an oxymoron. I never have had too many options, have many times had too few options, and that is the true test, make it work with too few options.

Charlie


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wshultz
Re: Dialog editing??
on Nov 7, 2005 at 6:59:05 pm

Yeah! I'm not complaining! I'm just wondering how more experienced narrative editors approach editing these scenes. Since I'm just starting this morning, I'm going through and laying all the master shots down to get a feel for pace and rhythm.


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Charlie King
Re: Dialog editing??
on Nov 7, 2005 at 7:07:22 pm

About as good a start as you could have. Try imagining the entire scene in your head as you go. Feel where you think cuts should be and then imagine another feeling, then try to make the best feeling you have work for you. With so many options you should be able to come up with several options each giving a slightly different feel and look to the scene.

Charlie


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wshultz
Re: Dialog editing??
on Nov 7, 2005 at 7:18:48 pm


Thanks. I'm finding that it seems easy to hold the shots too long. The best takes are no brainers but reactions, breaking up a standard wide to cu progression isn't quite as easy as I anticipated.


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Charlie King
Re: Dialog editing??
on Nov 7, 2005 at 7:23:07 pm

Be careful, it is just as easy to overcut as it is to hold shots too long. Feel is key, if it feels good, do it.

Charlie


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Chaz Shukat
Re: Dialog editing??
on Nov 7, 2005 at 7:23:53 pm

As someone who is also new to narrative editing with multiple takes of the same action from multiple angles, yes, it's a lot different than the usuall predicament you and I and Charlie find ourselves in having not enough options, and it can be a little overwhelming. Try visualizing the scene in your head as you would ideally see it cut, and then try to make that happen with what you've got. See if it plays that way. If not, determine which cuts/shots are not working for you and replace them. Maybe you might want to start from scratch and take an entirely different approach to the scene. You can cut a scene many different ways and they will each come across a little different. Remeber to not get too caught up with matching action and always use the best performance if at all possible. Bottom line, there is no formula. If there was, then it could be an entirely automated process. It would be interesting to program a computer with a formula and see how it cuts scenes. Wouldn't that be wild?

Chaz S.


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wshultz
Re: Dialog editing??
on Nov 7, 2005 at 7:37:00 pm

Thanks guys. I'm going to do it till it feels good then.


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Pixel Monkey
Re: Dialog editing??
on Nov 10, 2005 at 5:34:58 pm


You know, every time I do it one way, the Director turns out to be the kinda Joe that prefers it the other. Every time.

Anyway, if I'm presented with performances that vary drastically between takes, I create performance reels (half-assed dailies) with back-to-back takes and hand them off to the director. Usually a take never works all the way through, but at least you can get a better idea of what impresses the director (one might gravitate to facial expressions before noticing audio problems, where another might be paying a little too close attention to the audio script).

If time, budget or fate doesn't allow me that much attention to detail, I ALWAYS start by cutting the perfect "radio show". Usually when investors are involved, producers will initially need to show them drafts that match the script as best as possible, and then worry about which actor gets more face-time later.

For more in-depth answers, go to one of my favorite cheat sources... http://www.filmsound.org/murch/murch.htm



______
/-o-o-
`(=)`/...Pixel Monkey
`(___)



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stylz
Re: Dialog editing??
on Nov 15, 2005 at 8:56:32 am

Good site. bookmarked it, thanks.


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