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Poll: Do you like the style of cutting 2 cameras on same interview subject?

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Chris McElroy
Poll: Do you like the style of cutting 2 cameras on same interview subject?
on Dec 2, 2011 at 9:09:29 pm

I would very much like to hear some personal opinions about the style of shooting/editing in which 2 cameras are focused on a person talking. Without edits in the audio, the cameras switch back and forth. Often the side angle is anywhere from 60 - 90 degrees.
Personally, I dislike this style and know other experienced professionals who feel the same way - but you see it more and more. I'm 50 years old. Is it an age thing or do you think it's a phony gimmick?
Please include your age range.
cheers


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Angelo Lorenzo
Re: Poll: Do you like the style of cutting 2 cameras on same interview subject?
on Dec 3, 2011 at 7:06:56 pm

I don't like it. I think it's a side effect of some of the whizbang production in music videos and American film. Producers and editors also seem to use it as a crutch to make an interview more exciting and impactful. I haven't really seen it as much in the European television I've watched, but that's only a small amount.


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Andrew Rendell
Re: Poll: Do you like the style of cutting 2 cameras on same interview subject?
on Dec 4, 2011 at 10:53:08 am

In the UK that was completely overdone in a series called Def II, which ran from 1988 the 1994 and was part of the "youth TV" genre which was a popular bandwagon at the time. Unmotivated fast cutting as you describe, pointless text boxes, presenters looking like they had a drug problem. I think it probably put those of us who were in our 20s at the time off that kind of thing for life.

OTOH, I'm not above the occasional stylistic parody, but I'm generally of the opinion that if something's interesting, it's interesting, and if it isn't, then no amount of visual editing tricks will make them so.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Poll: Do you like the style of cutting 2 cameras on same interview subject?
on Dec 5, 2011 at 3:11:59 pm

The problem with that issue of the far-side cutaway is that it is so often mis-used. When appropriate, it is effective, but the window of situations where that shot IS appropriate is very tiny.

The shot is meant to give you a "behind-the-scenes" feel, often to show that there is something going on that is different from the overt message being made. it changes the focus from the actual message to the process of MAKING the message. But if your point is to communicate directly to the audience, this particular cutaway is the LAST thing you should use. It completely destroys the virtual spacial relationship between speaker and viewer, and undermines the sincerity of what's being said.

Film and video DO have a sort of visual "grammar", built up over 100 years of manipulating and viewing the moving image. Using this shot where it doesn't belong is like a speech that is ungrammatical.


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Richard Herd
Re: Poll: Do you like the style of cutting 2 cameras on same interview subject?
on Dec 5, 2011 at 6:44:10 pm

Look up metaplasmus.

Anyway, I like it. I'm 40.


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Chris McElroy
Re: Poll: Do you like the style of cutting 2 cameras on same interview subject?
on Dec 5, 2011 at 8:25:52 pm

Thanks, very interesting - I like the rhetorical uses for the various metaplasmus. While I see the usefulness of changing word spellings for a deeper communication, I'm failing to find its corollary in this particular visual style. I fail to find added meaning or depth in the visual language - but I'm happy to have discovered metaplasmus.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Poll: Do you like the style of cutting 2 cameras on same interview subject?
on Dec 6, 2011 at 12:40:11 am

I was going to say, I still didn't find it appropriate in many situations. To the point: you don't address the HR interviewer: "Yo, Dawg, 'sup?"


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Richard Herd
Re: Poll: Do you like the style of cutting 2 cameras on same interview subject?
on Dec 6, 2011 at 5:50:08 pm

Alas, art is in they eye of the beholder.

One tough issue for all artists is whether and to what extent, we create art for ourselves or for the audience. I run into this a lot with writers, where they defend a piece by saying things like "It really happened" and "It's just how I was feeling at the time."

Regarding the extra camera technique, it definitely has a particular connotation. The artist's duty is to be able to handle the connotation. Easy example, you may not like red roses, but you know what it means, when you give one away. Same thing here, just because you don't particularly care for it, doesn't mean you can't use it given the situation for it. For example, if you're doing a documentary on rock and roll or hip hop, you should probably use it. If the documentary is on the grief of mothers who lost their kids to SIDS, you probably don't want to use it.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Poll: Do you like the style of cutting 2 cameras on same interview subject?
on Dec 6, 2011 at 6:04:33 pm

If you want the whole thing to smack of artifice and a lack of sincerity, use the hell out of that shot. :-)


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Shane Ross
Re: Poll: Do you like the style of cutting 2 cameras on same interview subject?
on Dec 7, 2011 at 12:32:36 am

I like it...and I use it. I am 41.

I REALLY like it when I have two cameras. Not only does it help cover up edits to the interview, but it also allows for emotional impact to the interview. Having one camera as a medium or long shot, and the other as a CU. This way, when the interviewee gets more personal, says something personal...or makes a statement that impacts the topic in any way, I can cut close. Then back out when we go back to normal talking.

Same way we do when we cut narrative. Wide for normal conversation, cut to close when we get personal, or some statement that has importance or for reason of impact...then back out.

Plus, it makes the solo shot of the person talking less boring, and more dynamic. Seriously...you'd rather watch 40 seconds of some guy talking...no change of shot? Well, depends on if what they are saying is interesting enough...I did do that once, but the speaker was dynamic and engaging. Not many people are. He was, and still remains, the only person I have ever not cut away from for 40 seconds. This on a broadcast show too...History Channel.

No, I need cutaways, or a change of shot to keep things lively. As I said, mainly to help add dramatic emphasis to what the speaker is saying.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Mark Suszko
Re: Poll: Do you like the style of cutting 2 cameras on same interview subject?
on Dec 7, 2011 at 1:57:52 am

I agree with Shane, it's only that weird side-on shot I have problems with.


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Alex Elkins
Re: Poll: Do you like the style of cutting 2 cameras on same interview subject?
on Dec 7, 2011 at 12:06:17 pm

[Shane Ross] "Well, depends on if what they are saying is interesting enough..."

Shane - I think you've hit the nail on the head with that statement. If every interview subject was completely engaging then we wouldn't need to cut (except for dramatic effect, as you mentioned).

Shooting an interview with two cameras is a safety net - the cut to angle 2 hides the jump in time, or more often, hides the fact that the interview is relatively uninteresting, so an editor has to add pace or emotion artificially. Sometimes it works ok, other times it makes me cringe.

Alex Elkins
Twitter: @postbluetv
http://www.PostBlue.tv
View Post Blue showreel
Shot on RED @ 100fps, Post on FCP/Color: Capoeira Film


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Chris McElroy
Re: Poll: Do you like the style of cutting 2 cameras on same interview subject?
on Dec 7, 2011 at 3:07:14 pm

Shane - I agree with your use of 2 cameras, cutting from a wider to a closer shot. I like that very much. My post is in reference only to the use of 2 camera angles when one of them is a pretty extreme side angle view of the interview subject. I find that I don't mind the use of such an angle when there is a true edit on the cut - but for some reason I find it objectionable when this sort of 2nd angle is used in real time.


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Shane Ross
Re: Poll: Do you like the style of cutting 2 cameras on same interview subject?
on Dec 7, 2011 at 8:07:39 pm

Yeah, the side angle/front angle thing...they started that back in the late 80s, early 90s on MTV I think. And made the side one black and white and grainy or something. Or really wide to show the whole set. Stylistic way to cut around an interview.

I dunno...I just cut a show with straight on LS and CU side view cameras. I was fine with it. Again, the CU was for dramatic emphasis.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Steven Plutte
Re: Poll: Do you like the style of cutting 2 cameras on same interview subject?
on Dec 7, 2011 at 1:11:01 am

I'm moving to the mid century mark myself. It's tool in the box & can be useful.


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