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Passing of time in scene transitions, how to do this in the edit?

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Silje Tjomlid
Passing of time in scene transitions, how to do this in the edit?
on Aug 2, 2011 at 12:40:24 pm

Hello.

I'm currently working on a project, a 25-minute film shot on 5D and Bolex H16 reflex. We have been working on this project for one and a half year, and the scenes are shot very unchronologically. In each scene the shots works fine, despite the long periode of time between the different pickups.

Each scene is edited seperatly, and I just now recently got all the material and now I'm trying to fit everything together as a whole.
This is where my problem sets in.

Even though the film is only 25 minutes, the story itself contains almost an entire lifespan, so I need to add a reminder of passed time in between the scenes. I need to do this without adding fade-to-black, because this is done with the opening sequence - and I don't want to ruin the flow of the film with to many black frames. And there is no chance of us shooting more material.

So my question is if anyone has any ideas how I can make sure the audience understands this passing of time in between the scenes, with just my edit/sound?
Please let me know if you need more information.

Regards,
Silje Tjomlid


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Mark Suszko
Re: Passing of time in scene transitions, how to do this in the edit?
on Aug 2, 2011 at 3:07:47 pm

Dissolve is the standard method evolved over the last 100 years. You can play with it in many ways. For example, dissolve from face of young actor to same face, now older. Freshman student, graduate in cap and gown, or pull-out from diploma on wall to the character, now older. Or use cuts and dissolves to show an early scene of something that later ages. Like, in an early scene, planting a sapling. Later scene, the sapling is now a grown tree. Or a new car is now rusty. you get the idea. You can always be literal and just put up a title card or super that *says* the date. Or leave props around like newspaper headlines or TV news footage playing in the scene that iconically locks in to a moment in time. Music playing on the radio and the appearance of automobile styles are very popular ways to do this. Old movies used to montage a calendar with pages flipping to show passing months. This is kind of cliche' but sometimes that's exactly what fits the piece.

You really want to think this thru before shooting starts, if you don't want to limit yourself.


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Silje Tjomlid
Re: Passing of time in scene transitions, how to do this in the edit?
on Aug 2, 2011 at 8:33:34 pm

Hi Mark, and thank you for answering.
This film is made with mostly improvisation from the actors, and the story is set to an ancient time. Otherwise the ideas with automobiles and graduations are good.
You will see the main actor being different in the next shot, but I am looking for a way to enhance the feeling, make more time pass.
I appreciate your answer, but we might just have to shoot extra material or see if there is anything that we have not used yet.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Passing of time in scene transitions, how to do this in the edit?
on Aug 2, 2011 at 3:15:48 pm

A lower-third super at the beginning of each scene indicating day/date/year?

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Silje Tjomlid
Re: Passing of time in scene transitions, how to do this in the edit?
on Aug 2, 2011 at 8:39:55 pm

Hi Dave, and thank you for answering.
The story is set a long time ago (cave men), before there even was the concept of time.
And the director does not wish to use text in this way for a project like this, he wants to keep the shots pure from text and other disturbances.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Passing of time in scene transitions, how to do this in the edit?
on Aug 2, 2011 at 9:54:45 pm

....in which case I hope your director was wise enough to get shots showing the passage of the seasons. Perhaps even the passing of years.

In any case, it is something the director should have thought about and worked out before shooting began. Unless you happen to possess a magic wand.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Everest Mokaeff
Re: Passing of time in scene transitions, how to do this in the edit?
on Aug 2, 2011 at 4:45:45 pm

No offense, but isn't it kinda stuff that clearly separates editor-narrator from tech support guy? By the same token you can ask people here how to make a good story in general. It's not about transitions it's about story. You better go rent some good documentaries that were filmed over a period of time to watch how editors dealt with passing of time on the screen. You'll find something that will eventually inspire you to discover your own approach.

Sony PMW-EX3, Canon Mark II 5D, FCS3 in Moscow
http://www.mokaeff.com


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Silje Tjomlid
Re: Passing of time in scene transitions, how to do this in the edit?
on Aug 2, 2011 at 8:46:10 pm

Hi Everest, and thank you for answering.
The story is set a long time ago, and surrounding the world of a single prehistoric man. The actor is mainly improvising. We have the transitions in that way, I am looking for a way to make them stronger and more effectful with just using edits and/or sound.
All the scenes flow very nicely by them selves, this is just the "stitching together" part where, for example, going from one very flat image to another flat image is tricky.
Thank you for the tips about documentaries.


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