FORUMS: list search recent posts

Acceptable practice in editing interviews?

COW Forums : Art of the Edit

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Thomas Seeuws
Acceptable practice in editing interviews?
on Feb 18, 2009 at 8:31:13 pm

I have seen fine feature films that have resorted to using a dissolve to black between takes in a single angle interview (Man on Wire comes to mind). Some find this tendency distracting, though, and I was wondering what your takes are on this practice. Is it acceptable when no suitable b-roll is available? I don't find it very distracting personally, but is there an unwritten (or written) law that prohibits or looks down on this practice?


Return to posts index

Nicholas Bierzonski
Re: Acceptable practice in editing interviews?
on Feb 18, 2009 at 9:55:16 pm

Editing is much like the pirates code from Pirates of the Carribean. They're not necessarily rules...they're more like guidelines.

So to answer your question...it depends.
I prefer an invisible edit because it doesn't jar me out of the story however as an editor I do love a well executed match edit.

For example, In Lawrence of Arabia...
From Wikipedia:
"Perhaps the second most famous match cut comes from Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962) where an edit cuts together Lawrence blowing out a lit candle with the desert sun rising from the horizon. Director David Lean credits inspiration for the edit to the experimental French New Wave. The edit was later praised by Steven Spielberg as inspiration for his own work."

It all depends on your source material, and intention.

-Nicholas Bierzonski
Senior Editor/DVD Author/Java Boy
http://www.finalfocusvideo.com




Return to posts index

grinner hester
Re: Acceptable practice in editing interviews?
on Feb 19, 2009 at 12:20:36 am

I don't mind fade to blacks for pacing, suspense or rythm but if someone was dipping to black during an interview, I think I'd have to turn the channel.




Return to posts index


Bob Cole
Re: Acceptable practice in editing interviews?
on Feb 19, 2009 at 4:30:17 am

Are these dips to black covering an edit which would otherwise be a jump cut? (that is, the image size is the same in both shots.)

If the cuts will flow as cuts, use straight edits. If they're jump cuts, don't worry so much about it. It seems that it is okay nowadays to throw in jump cuts. I'll sometimes use jumps, dips to almost-white, quick dissolves, and push wipes, all in the same piece.

But I'm with Grinner about dips to black. Not sure why this is, but perhaps they somehow read as being full of meaning, and if they really are not, the viewer feels abused.

Bob C



Return to posts index

Rocco Forte
Re: Acceptable practice in editing interviews?
on Feb 19, 2009 at 6:41:27 am

Man On Wire won the Best Edited Documentary Eddie this year so whatever he was doing was working ;o)

Dips to Black are used in trailers all the time of course and I've dropped them into an interview sometimes before an image. I prefer to use the old white flash - or distant relative of - in interviews or make it a really quick dip to black if I have to. If you're gonna use the same transition over and over again though, make sure they're quick. There's nothing worse than having to sit through the fifth, sixth slooow transition in a row. Ugh.



Return to posts index

Del Holford
Re: Acceptable practice in editing interviews?
on Feb 19, 2009 at 1:16:41 pm

I've seen this device used occasionally in emotional interviews(eg: cancer survivors, etc.). It helped carry the story and give the viewer a moment to react to the emotion. It has to be very sensitively done or it will get boring in a hurry.

Del
fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS3
Charlotte Public Television
del underscore edits at wtvi dot org


Return to posts index


Tim Kolb
Re: Acceptable practice in editing interviews?
on Feb 19, 2009 at 1:51:45 pm

These days, written or not, there are very few 'laws' it seems to me...

I've used a fade to black to change topics...it adds a bit of separation...'clears the palette' if you will.

Often, I'll use some text in the black and bring up the music bed to keep the continuity. (you obviously need to do this more than once to get a "I meant to do this" feel...) Many times I'll pick up some sort of key topic quote from the upcoming section. It's up to you as to whether it needs to be an overt format device, or just a way to cover a cut with no cover.





TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


Return to posts index

Ken Harper
Re: Acceptable practice in editing interviews?
on Feb 19, 2009 at 3:04:59 pm

There is only one rule I try to follow, does it feel right. This is art and the rules are fluid. They change with each new artist that changes conventional approaches. Errol Morris http://www.errolmorris.com/
Pioneered cuts to black. I used this myself and the piece won a number of awards. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4440166859378139487




Return to posts index

Del Holford
Re: Acceptable practice in editing interviews?
on Feb 19, 2009 at 4:46:24 pm

Nicely done. As Tim said, you used music to carry the piece and the music's emotion lets the audience know the seriousness of the topic. You don't just cut to black but use a variety of transtitions to tell the story.

I once did an hour documentary where there were only 3 dissolves in the show and they were in the open. I didn't realize that until the show was completed but a cut is all you need if it moves the story forward. Sometimes other transitions get in the way.

Del
fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS3
Charlotte Public Television
del underscore edits at wtvi dot org


Return to posts index


Mark Suszko
Re: Acceptable practice in editing interviews?
on Feb 19, 2009 at 5:11:11 pm

Dissolves, and by extension, fades, "traditionally" imply a change in time and sometimes place. it's a convention established over the history of film and audiences understand it subconsciously. In my college TV class, as an experiment, we shot our own Twilight Zone dramtic episode using nothing but dissolves for every transition, I mean every one. The audience certainly got creeped out, but not due to the story:-P

That's why I'm always uncomfortable substituting them for cuts just to hide a jump cut. As a one-time band-aid, sure, sometimes. But to cut a long sequence of the same framed medium shot full of dissolves can IMO sometimes make thing overly pretentious, if the underlying material doesn't support that kind of aesthetic. When I cut interviews, it is almost always in such a way that the speaker tells the whole story without any of the questions left in, as if it was a natural narrative. This is easy if you ask the right essay type questions in the right way.

Unless you're shooting depositions for lawyers, why would you ever just roll a locked-down shot on interviews with no changes in angles and no cut-aways available? Seems like lazy shooting to me. It is no big deal to snap-zoom in or out, in between the questions, so you have some more angles to work from, even single-camera. Takes less than a second on manual zoom, maybe 90 frames with a power zoom on. I guess if you only ever shoot with primes, it can be a hassle to dolly in and out, but you know, most interview questions take five to ten seconds to ask, and you usually cut the questions out of the final mix anyway... so a shooter should be able to swing the jib in or out or dolly in or out the foot or two needed during that interval. Somebody tell me why they don't 'cause it makes no sense to me.

If they insist on the lock-down during the interview, see fi they will shoot two minutes of wide at the end where the guy is just listening to the interviewer. With that, you can L-cut the front or tail of a reply as voiceover with the wide as your cut-away.


Return to posts index

Dan Brockett
Re: Acceptable practice in editing interviews?
on Feb 20, 2009 at 4:29:20 pm

Thomas:

In traditional visual terms, a fade to black is meant to emulate the curtain dropping on a stage performance. It symbolizes the beginning or end of a scene. Of course, as the others have alluded to in this thread, few people these days pay attention to classic visual cues from cinema history and all of the rules have changed.

There are some good tricks suggested here. Just to add to them, I have been editing a terrible corporate video that I did not shoot. Really badly shot footage, and it was shot exactly how most of us would not shoot it, in a single camera lock off most of the time. Two suggestions:

1. I have been using quick soft-edged angle wipes, they work okay and at least make it look like, "take one, take two, etc."

2. If the shot has decent resolution, you can always zoom in on the shot to give you a fake medium or MCU to cut to. This works best in fast cut, more edgy types of project better than conservative "traditional" cuts.

There is ideal solution to the issue of chopping up single angle, single framed interviews but we all have to do it from time to time. Both of these tricks have saved me numerous times.

Dan

Providing value added material to all of your favorite DVDs


Return to posts index

Bill Davis
Re: Acceptable practice in editing interviews?
on Feb 20, 2009 at 10:07:42 pm

The bottom line for me is that if the interviewee has something to say - it really doesn't matter much which of the "save the jump cut" things you do - just pick one the feels right and stick to it.

In the end, you'll quickly train the audience that that particular transition just covers two adjacent scenes.

Same with leaving in the jump cut. If the audience, topic or tonality of the piece supports a very modern look - then the audience - weaned on MTV will accept almost anything.

The problem comes when the content is weak and the audience is subconsciously looking for a reason to disengage with the content (think 80% of corporate training videos (some of which I've been forced to make by clients with healthy checking accounts but an underdeveloped ability to listen) in that circumstance a jump cut or a glowing 3D cube spin or whatever is a sure way to send their brains off to never-never land.

Unfortunately when it comes to strictly informational programming - you have to do a BETTER job of editing crap than you do editing interesting content.

My experience, anyway.



Return to posts index


Peter Ralph
Re: Acceptable practice in editing interviews?
on Feb 21, 2009 at 1:11:48 pm

2008 was a bad year for the cutaway - news editors at the BBC decided they were dishonest and banned them, many other stations are following suit.

Then Martin Scorsese makes a 2 hour Rolling Stones live concert movie without a single audience cutaway - Scorsese seemed to be set on avoiding video cliches altogether. Apart from Mick and Keith of course.

shootingbynumbers.com


Return to posts index

Bob Cole
Re: Acceptable practice in editing interviews?
on Feb 21, 2009 at 1:20:37 pm

The first time I became aware of editing was watching news cameramen shooting interviews - first the interviewee, then turning around and shooting the questions - and how sometimes the q&a got confused in the editing room. Good old CP 16's, single system.



Return to posts index

grinner hester
Re: Acceptable practice in editing interviews?
on Feb 21, 2009 at 3:29:26 pm

It's kind of ironic, really. Nothing is broadcast more than news and outside of used car commercials, nothing has worse production value. From harsh lighting to underpaid talent to post-production not quite worthy of calling production at all, man it's always been hard for me to watch the news.
I dunno who the first to think a viewer wants to see an anchor nod as somebody speaks but it's grounds for a national donkey-punch day.



Return to posts index


Peter Ralph
Re: Acceptable practice in editing interviews?
on Feb 22, 2009 at 3:37:31 pm

agreed.

Whether to use a fade to black/white, a dissolve or a jumpcut depends on style. But to my eye blah cutaways increasingly have a stale, ponderous feel.

A hangover from the days when filmmakers were more concerned about not confusing the viewers, rather than not boring them.


shootingbynumbers.com


Return to posts index

Mike Cohen
Re: Acceptable practice in editing interviews?
on Feb 26, 2009 at 9:35:18 pm

Better to shoot with two cameras, one wide, one medium, then you can cut your edits without an effect. Or shoot HD but edit SD, so you can zoom at the cut point without degradation. Inside Edition, the toilet of "news" changes the meaning of interview subjects with cuts and DVE zooms, which looks terrible, but this is a tabloid show, so they are not worried about aesthetics.



Return to posts index

Thomas Seeuws
Re: Acceptable practice in editing interviews?
on Mar 23, 2009 at 12:54:49 pm

Thanks all for your helpful comments. Mark's comment about the history of dissolves was a good reminder for me-for some reason I've always shied away from straight cuts and leaned towards dissolves without any justification for doing so. Your comment was a good reminder of the original intent for dissolves.

The video I'm working on that inspired this question in the first place can be seen here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygvSbRd52l4

It's going through a little tweaking, and all your comments have been helpful in that regard.

Thanks,
Ford Seeuws


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]