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Establishing a link between two shots separated in time

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Anthony Atkielski
Establishing a link between two shots separated in time
on Mar 10, 2012 at 1:35:32 am

I am editing a small video that is a tour of a neighborhood, showing different streets, buildings, etc. in a semi-organized way (insofar as the twisty layout of the streets allows). Early in the video, a place is shown that is at the top of an outdoor stairway. Later on, the video continues to another street that happens to be at the bottom of the same stairway. What I'd like to do is somewhat visually indicate to the viewer that the stairway seen in these two shots is the same stairway.

I can't simply rely on the fact that it's a stairway, because there are many stairways in the video, often of confusingly similar appearance (it's a hilly neighborhood). I prefer to avoid a long traveling shot that actually climbs or descends the stairway to show the link. So I'm wondering if there's a clever way to edit the video so that the viewer realizes that he's now looking at the bottom of a stairway seen earlier in the video. I could reinforce it with narration, but even then, I'd have to somehow show the earlier view of the stairway so that they viewer can identify it. I'd like to do it mostly or exclusively visually.

I have numerous shots of the top of the stairway, and of the bottom, and shots looking down and up the stairway. I thought of something like a picture-in-picture repeating the earlier shot of the stairway in one corner so that the viewer sees that they are the same, but that seems really corny and when I tried it it looked very artificial and contrived.

So, is there some cool way to do this that wouldn't be too disruptive yet would clearly guide the viewer? There are other stairways in the video so a generalized method for doing it would be nice. I can shoot additional footage if necessary to get a specific shot for the edit.


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Angelo Lorenzo
Re: Establishing a link between two shots separated in time
on Mar 11, 2012 at 4:31:09 am

I would do a reverse montage (imagine pressing rewind on the video) to return to the original stairwell and then do a simple cross fade to the shot that continues the sequence at the bottom of the stairs. Reenforce it with narration like "If we retrace our steps back to the beginning, taking this stairwell down will allow us to explore this new area of the neighborhood yadda yadda".

My editing style tends to be very proactive and leading, so it may not be the best choice if you're a passive editor or working with a conservative client.


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John Cuevas
Re: Establishing a link between two shots separated in time
on Mar 12, 2012 at 2:42:15 pm

Would a sped up shot(400%) going down the stairs be too out of place? That's how I would handle it and if need be, I'd ramp a few other shots, just so it's not the only one.

Johnny Cuevas, Editor
Thinkck.com

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Establishing a link between two shots separated in time
on Mar 13, 2012 at 2:27:49 pm

A page flip/rotation from one to the other?


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Alex Elkins
Re: Establishing a link between two shots separated in time
on Mar 20, 2012 at 2:59:59 pm

Are there any landmarks or distinct colours that can be seen from both angles to identify the link. A road sign maybe, or a striking looking building?? Just something that suggests that we're in the same area. They don't even have to be seen in the same shot. Just a shot or two of the nearby landmarks to precede each stairway shot, suggesting a connection.

Or perhaps you have a shoot looking down from the stairway which is similar to a shot you have a looking up.

I don't know exactly what you're editing but my instinct would be not to try to be too literal. Is it vital that every viewer picks up the link, or can it be subtle enough that some will and some won't without it actually affecting the narrative?

Alex Elkins
Twitter: @postbluetv
http://www.postblue.tv
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