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FCP split screen telephone conversation

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Laurence Cockayne
FCP split screen telephone conversation
on Mar 27, 2011 at 6:10:01 pm

Hi people,

Really stuck on this so any help would be great. I noticed this subject has been brought up a number of times and i can follow the online tutorials easily enough, but i think my needs are a little different than usual.

I have to edit a 2-way split screen telephone conversation.

When the the actor on each end of the phone was filmed, the second telephone conversationalist is in the background acting out their part, to guide the actor being filmed through the conversation. Therefore i cannot use the entire audio track from each shot, as it has background speech that needs to be excluded.

Also, the two conversations are not in time. So if i just drop each clip in at the same point, they are out of sync and the speech clashes.

Any idea how to get round this? I will happily provide further info if needed!


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Chris Tompkins
Re: FCP split screen telephone conversation
on Mar 27, 2011 at 7:06:19 pm

Did you shoot some buffer or head nodding? Close up? Wide?
Just cut each take and use it. You may need to not have them both on screen the whole time to make it work.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Laurence Cockayne
Re: FCP split screen telephone conversation
on Mar 27, 2011 at 7:27:37 pm

I wasn't involved in shooting unfortunately, no buffer or anything else was shot!

I will have to try and do something but if i have no option but to not have them on screen at the same time all the time then i will have to accept that!

Thanks fr the help.


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Greg Leslie
Re: FCP split screen telephone conversation
on Mar 27, 2011 at 9:02:45 pm

Does the scene have to be split-screen the entire time? Any way to cut to one of the speakers full-screen long enough to re-sync the other?

You might also play with varying the clip speed on the characters as they "listen," to compress or extend their reaction timing. If they don't move much it may not be noticeable.


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Mark Suszko
Re: FCP split screen telephone conversation
on Mar 28, 2011 at 2:17:13 pm

You could also do some "cut-aways" of the phone itself, the cord, the speaker on the phone handset, etc. and these could be shot wild in your edit bay or nearby, then color-matched and added in. You could also go the otehr way, and use a really long telephoto shot.

You could go multiple P.I.P. as in the Tv show "24", and this will help you get around the synching problem by allowing you to shift the footage a bit.


One lesson to take from these is, over-shoot these kind of setups. The last time I did one of these, I went ahead and shot them with two dedicated cameras, within eharing range of each actor. This way they were able to ace their timing in one take, but still, I had them do multiple takes.

You were on the right track having the other person int he room as a guide track to half the conversations, but the thing that would have made it more consistent would have been to record one of those takes and then use that one take as the playback in the field; then your timing would have stayed consistent for both halves.


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