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Cheating

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Mike Cohen
Cheating
on Oct 2, 2008 at 6:15:32 pm

The topic suggests deviance, but that is not my intent.

Every once in a while, we need to cheat while editing. I'll list a few examples from my own experience, looking forward to the responses.

Reversing motion to match the script. If the motion looks the same in reverse, most people would not be able to tell the difference.

Using audio from a different part of the footage. Recently, when showing a baby being born, the little rascal did not cry for about a minute. But the dramatic moment was when he emerged from his temporary housing. I hope there are no baby lip-readers watching!

Combining elements of different shots to make the more perfect shot. I have taken a surgical instrument out of one scene and superimposed it into another scene - as long as it does not call attention to itself.

George Lucas corrected his dialogue scenes by taking the eye positions from one take and inserting them into another (I read this in a making of attack of the clones book).

Ok tell me your examples.

Mike


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Stephen Smith
Re: Cheating
on Oct 2, 2008 at 11:55:29 pm

That's funny that you bring up "Reversing motion". I saw a "What Not To Wear" episode and there was a water fountain in the background of the person in their new outfit and the water was moving in reverse. Reversing Motion works wonders in the right situation, I just thought that that was funny.



Stephen Smith
Salt Lake Video

Check out my DVD Money Making Graphics & Effects for Final Cut Studio 2


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Mark Suszko
Re: Cheating
on Oct 3, 2008 at 1:55:41 pm

I almost always spot a reversed-motion clip when I see one on TV. They are hard to do well, so I avoid them. But I don't think you should call this "cheating", more like clever cutting.

I remember in my linear tape days, editing some dialog from someone with really poor diction, dropped a lot of their sibilant "s" sounds and it made them sound ignorant. Sent the client away to lunch and spent the hour finding 2-frame sibilance clips and pasting them into all the words missing the "ess". Client came back and said "did you find better takes? This guy sounds intelligent now". "Nope, just massaged his audio a little".

"I didn't cheat: I changed the conditions of the test. Got a commendation for creative thinking."-J.T. Kirk, re: The "Kobayashi Maru test". ST: The Wrath Of Kahn.


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Mike Cohen
Re: Cheating
on Oct 4, 2008 at 6:27:55 pm

In another video I reversed a helicopter landing to have it take off. The only people who would notice this are people who know what direction helicopter blades are supposed to spin!


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Arnie Schlissel
Re: Cheating
on Oct 5, 2008 at 8:42:34 pm

Assuming that you're not working on pieces for your evening news hour or an "all news" channel, then there's nothing wrong with what you're doing. (OT- Why do they call them news channels, when all they offer is commentary?)

If you're a journalist, even some slight alterations can be a no-no, but if you're working on entertainment, infotainment, industrials, weddings or any other non-news type of projects, then you should do what is best to convey the story.

BTW, the standards for journalism used to be much softer than they are now (and they were quite tougher in the 80's & 90's). At least through the 1950's it was not necessarily considered wrong to pose or alter pictures. Life photographer W. Eugene Smith often sandwiched negatives in his darkroom to create composite photos that he said told the "truth" of the story, even if they were fabricated. That would get a photographer fired today. The photo of Albert Schweitzer on the top of Smith's wikipedia page is an example of this compositing, btw: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Eugene_Smith

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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mark harvey
Re: Cheating
on Oct 6, 2008 at 12:31:09 pm

I use reversed clips in my promos. I edit sports promos, and sometimes someone looking up would convey dissapointement better if they looked down. Also adding slo-motion to certain reactions can evoke an emotion. This is not cheating, but rather bending the footage to my needs :-)

Mark

Mark Harvey
Senior Editor
Le RĂ©seau des sports


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Charlie King
Re: Cheating
on Oct 10, 2008 at 6:30:28 pm

I would never call these techniques cheating. I have many times took dialogue from one scene and inserted into another, one was visually better and the other had better audio. I have many times used reverse action to change the emotion as Mark said. If done correctly and carefully, you can hardly ever tell the difference. If it can be distinguished, I don't do it. I mean, why do they call it editing and art, if ya can't play with it.

Charlie

ProductionKing Video Services
Las Vegas, Nevada
Charlie@proking.net


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Mark Suszko
Re: Cheating
on Oct 10, 2008 at 6:44:44 pm

Well, we're in good company. Watched Trouffaut's Fahrenheit 451 with my teenage son the other day, and we picked out several scenes where the film had been run backwards. In one place it was being used for deliberate effect, making the firemen slide UP the firepole in several shots.

But in others it was more likely that it was done to fix a continuity problem. Early in the film, the first time you see Montag put on the fireproof gear and torch some books, you're seeing a reversed shot, used again in forwards-time, minutes later of him taking the gear OFF. The smoke running back into the flame gun was the giveaway that caught my eye, but watching it a second time, it also does add a little feeling of surrealism to the whole thing.


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Charlie King
Re: Cheating
on Oct 11, 2008 at 3:15:33 pm

I have added shots before that just didn't work strictly because I was looking for surrealism. But then I am surreal anyhow.
Slow motion to fill a continuity gap that is only 3 or 4 frames short or sped up for the other direction is also one I have used many times, and I can't count the number of times I have edited in the middle of words to change an inflection.

Charlie

ProductionKing Video Services
Las Vegas, Nevada
Charlie@proking.net


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grinner hester
Re: Cheating
on Oct 11, 2008 at 7:46:11 pm

my favorite cheat was 20 keystrokes that did nothing back in the linear days.
The most important thing for a linear editor to know was how to say no without saying that word. I'd make changing the mind of the producer their idea. Sometimes that wasn't possible. And sometimes the client's client would pop in on a friday after a week of editing with a 10 frame timing change in minute one of a one hour show. This is where the keystrokes that did nothing came in. I rustle off 30 seconds of buttun pushing, hit preview and offer a "like that?" to the back of the room. Get the nod and rock on having not done a thing... at least not starting an autoassemble of a rippled EDL that took a week to create. My ausio editor had a pod on his console that was disconnected. Man, we'd all hop in there and entertain ourselves as a producer would close his eyes and tweek that dummy knob till that sound was juuuust perfect. Sometimes we'd appload and offer mad props to the new artist of audio.
Today I do little of this. I sometimes have to capture with compression due to lack of drive space and I don't bring it up but with multiple undos, thats as far as the deception goes. It aint how it use to be when somone asked for a page turn.
"hmmm so your saying not neccesarily a cheezy page turn... just not a cut or dissolve... like maybe a custom matte with a little glow? man thats a great idea. Thats why your the man."
lol
if it's their idea, it's a pretty easy sale.



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Charlie King
Re: Cheating
on Oct 13, 2008 at 1:10:18 am

[grinner hester] "if it's their idea, it's a pretty easy sale."

Yup,
Loved the undo button on my GVG edit controller, punch in a bunch of numbers then hit undo and preview the original edit and say is that better? 99.9% of the time you got "yeh make it."
The other .01% was "No, I think it was better before."

Charlie



ProductionKing Video Services
Las Vegas, Nevada
Charlie@proking.net


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Mark Suszko
Re: Cheating
on Oct 13, 2008 at 4:09:20 am

Charlie, here we call that a "zero-frame trim" or "single-frame dissolve".

I will admit only to using it one time as a test, to see if a client was serious about a change that was going to undo several hours of work. All for the placement of an eyeblink in an A-B-roll sequence of some twenty dissolves. Had they said it still looked bad, I would have heaved a big sigh, pushed the buttons for real, and written off another night of dinner with the family. Lucky for everyone, essentially seeing one extra preview was all we needed to see it really wasn't an issue, avoid the unnecessary change. Sometimes just changing the pre-roll length made a difference in how people perceived a cut. Man, I am SO glad not to be cutting dissolves on linear systems anymore. Though I still have a warm spot for the Grass 141. I use it maybe once a month, mostly for cuts-only news now, so I'm staring to forget the more esoteric functions we never use anymore. My FCP skills are growing to compensate though, and I'm happy for the trade.

I find that after a lot of concentrated viewing of a very tiny piece of the puzzle, you need to periodically go back sometimes and watch everything from the beginning, as one whole, to re-establish what the overall flow and feel was. Kind of a 'forest for the trees' kind of thing. That is lost time, sure, but far better than losing your course on the entire edit and getting a bad product that was rushed. You often see the work in a different light on these breaks and find errors or things that need changing to work even better.


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Charlie King
Re: Cheating
on Oct 13, 2008 at 6:36:36 pm

[Mark Suszko] "you need to periodically go back sometimes and watch everything from the beginning, as one whole"

In total agreement on that one.

Charlie

ProductionKing Video Services
Las Vegas, Nevada
Charlie@proking.net


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Bill Morris
Re: Cheating
on Oct 14, 2008 at 2:48:42 am

Yup, had the opportunity to "cheat" just this evening.

I'm editing a stage play, with two camera angles to choose from. In angle one, the footage is rock steady, but the actor flubs his line. In angle two, the footage is shaky, and the line delivery is perfect.

There are only three words, "father in law", and he stutters the "F" on the first angle.

You guessed it: put the good line into the good footage. The actor is far enough from the camera and in motion, so you'd have to look really close to notice that his lips don't quite match the words.



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Charlie King
Re: Cheating
on Oct 14, 2008 at 11:54:54 pm

Just goes to re-affirm my old saying. I'd rather be lucky than good any day.

It still says it all don't it?

Charlie

ProductionKing Video Services
Las Vegas, Nevada
Charlie@proking.net


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Mike Cohen
Re: Cheating
on Oct 19, 2008 at 4:29:44 am

Interesting responses, thanks for the affirmation.

I used the "hit a bunch of buttons and preview the same edit" routine once or twice.

Another trick was to find a consonant sound from another word to fix a bad read of a different word. On tape to tape editing you had a slim chance of making it work, but when it worked it was a miracle. Today's NLE systems make this kind of audio edit much easier. There were no waveforms in the linear days, and an insert edit was immediately destructive.

EDL management was so important back in these days. You could in fact extend an edit then ripple the remaining edits. I always tried to build in cut points, even a fade to black, so should I need to re-do a sequence, I would only need to go as far as the nearest cut. Given the poor head switching performance of our MII decks (you read that right) a cut point was a blessing, since match frames tended to be a field off.



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