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Noam Osband
what lets me get the most words across in the fewest amount of time: subtitles or narration?
on Oct 23, 2014 at 5:35:18 pm

I'm making a doc and I need to have a little intro. I want it to be as short as possible. what let's me have the most words in the fewest amount of time: narration or subtitles? Thoughts?

thanks!


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Shane Ross
Re: what lets me get the most words across in the fewest amount of time: subtitles or narration?
on Oct 23, 2014 at 6:11:18 pm

Narration. With a talented VO person. Making me read is a big turn off. Unless it's subtitles

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


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Mark Suszko
Re: what lets me get the most words across in the fewest amount of time: subtitles or narration?
on Oct 23, 2014 at 9:45:59 pm

If you edit the right images, the right way, you don't need either.

That's not meant to be flippant. That's at the core of what we do as editors.

But what you can try is to keep cutting away the extraneous things, and also considering how montage creates meaning.

What some clients often do when submitting projects to be produced is write a "script" that's really not a video script at all, rather it's what I call: "radio with pictures". They write a rambling textual narrative of what they want to say, get some mook to read it into a mic, then they tell you to plug in imagery and text to support that audio track. "Just cover this with some kind of video".

Except for some aspects of ENG news cutting for VOSOT packages, this is probably the WORST way to go about editing together anything, because it doesn't leverage the union of image and sound to create message and meaning - the thing we've trained and practiced years to master. Using the right images, sound, music, effects, you can imply a ton of subtext that goes directly into the deep part of the viewer's brain, and they don't need anybody to "explain" it. They simply absorb it, incorporate it. retain it.

The "radio with pictures" thing was what they did in the old newsreel days, 50 years ago. It should not be the first choice out of the gate for modern storytelling.


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Noam Osband
Re: what lets me get the most words across in the fewest amount of time: subtitles or narration?
on Oct 26, 2014 at 6:55:52 pm

Mark,

You make good points. That's why I sometimes download programs like American Experience and listen to them on my Ipod as MP3's precisely cause the audio and visual practically mimc each other (this isn't a put down of the program. I love it).

For my purposes, I'm making a documentary about a subject who isn't well known in America. I need to have some expository information which I just can't do through images so I need to put some text or narration in it. But the point is a very good one, to use them judiciously as compliments to each other and not copies of each other.

Thanks for all the help on this list serv. I love it!


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