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Editing "rules"

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Christopher Travis
Editing "rules"
on Apr 21, 2013 at 5:34:49 pm

Hello all,

What do people think about cutting straight from one talking head to another in an interview-led narrative? i.e. no cutaways in between just comment A - cut- comment B.

I just got told by my producer to remove all instances of this from my cut. Personally I like doing this sometimes, especially if the points are contradictory, it makes the two contributors seem more like they're having an argument. Also sometimes I feel like its important to know *who* is saying something immediately.

Is this a big no-no for anyone else?


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Kylee Peña
Re: Editing "rules"
on Apr 22, 2013 at 12:37:33 pm

I think you see cutting from talking head to talking head all the time in videos. I agree that it's often more confusing to cut away while having a different voice start speaking. Sometimes it works, mostly it doesn't.

Is this just a personal thing this producer always hates? Are the talking head setups in the same location so they look jumpcutty? If not, I wonder if it's just that your cut is confusing to them. Maybe they THINK it's the talking heads smashed against each other in the timeline, when it's really that the content itself isn't saying what they want it to say - or what you want it to say to the producer?

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Shane Ross
Re: Editing "rules"
on Apr 22, 2013 at 7:13:57 pm

There are no rules concerning that. Except the rules dictated by the producer. I intercut interviewees many times...unless the producer says "I don't want to see that." Then I don't.

There is no hard and fast rule...other than to do what your producer says to do.

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


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Angelo Lorenzo
Re: Editing "rules"
on Apr 22, 2013 at 8:42:20 pm

I wouldn't say it's a no-no, but it's certainly an aggressive, modern style that can artificially pit two parties against each other.

Generally, cutting like this can speed the pace of a program to the point where it feels strange in the whole. It also tends to fill less time which may be counter to what the producer needs for running length.

While it's good the producer is letting you have first stab, it's also their job to reel you in so the needs are met for the final product.

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Christopher Travis
Re: Editing "rules"
on Apr 23, 2013 at 8:01:45 am

Thanks for your responses,

I now think it's just the "house-style". They didn't ask for any of the content to be changed, they liked what everyone was saying they even said they liked the escalating pace of the sequence. They just saw one head-to-head cut (different locations, different sides of camera) and said to remove all instances of that kind of cut without really explaining why.

Obviously I did it with any fuss. I was just wondering if I had missed some essential "editing rule" somewhere.


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Christopher Travis
Re: Editing "rules"
on Apr 23, 2013 at 11:42:52 am

Thanks for your responses, apologies if this is a double post. I tried to post it from my phone an hour or two ago and it doesn't appear to have worked.

I now think this is just the "house-style". They didn't ask for any of the content to be changes, they liked what everyone said, they like the escalating pace of the sequence. The producer just saw one head-to-head cut (different locations, different sides of camera) and said to remove all instances of that kind of cut, without explaining why.

Obviously I just did it without a fuss. I just thought I'd ask on here in case I'd missed out on some secret editing "rule" somewhere along the line.


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Rich Rubasch
Re: Editing "rules"
on Apr 28, 2013 at 1:37:58 am

Watch any ESPN sports talk show and they cut from one guy to the next as a rule!

One thing to soften the blow from this kind of edit is to split edit the thing. If the first guy holds a look for a beat, stay on him just until you start to hear the next guy then cut. If you are editing in 1080 try using scaling and position to move the guy into a spot that makes the cut more seamless. Many times a cut doesn't work because of eye line etc, and moving a clip around a bit can clean it up without actually trimming the cut point.

I would say I almost always use a split edit when cutting between two interviews and I normally use scaling and positioning to make it really work.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
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Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
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Bob Cole
Re: Editing "rules"
on Apr 29, 2013 at 9:10:08 pm

What a good thread. All that has been said is absolutely correct. It's all about the particular shots, eye lines, image sizes and positioning; as Rick said, having 1080 to work with can be a life-saver.

You did the right thing to cave in, of course; the client is always right. Unfortunately, sometimes the client imposes arbitrary rules for reasons that have nothing to do with the edit, but everything to do with past history in the organization; e.g., someone in the organization likes to assert his/her authority by noticing and pointing out "errors". (I asked in the edit room once, why we would do THAT, and the voice in the back said "Because I write the checks." Lesson learned.)

Brilliant editors (and directors), of course, make "errors" all the time. One of my favorite examples is a violation of the 180 rule in "Sliding Doors," when the cheated-on woman goes ballistic. It works perfectly, and of course it is a huge "mistake" which your client would probably have forbidden.

Bob C


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