Evaluation: Editing/Post Production - Skills
For this module, there were three different assignments: Non-Sync Drama Editing, Documentary Editing and Comedy editing. In this evaluation, I will discuss each project in detail; about what they entailed, what my contributions were and what skills I gained from this module.
The first project we engaged was to create a 5-minute edit of a Non-Sync Drama called ‘Night Journey’, we were given all the raw footage, voiceover and atmos sounds to work with, and had to create a strong narrative with what we were given. Firstly, we went through the scripts to decide the style of story we wanted to take, and what audio bites we needed to do this. The idea of the audience for this edit was wide-range, because the story follows a cannibal on a train journey, we decided to use this and aim for teenagers and higher, and to do this, added effect to darken the footage of the train to make it slightly more tense and interesting to this particular audience sector.
I feel that this project was quite successful, however there are many features of the finished product I would have changed or worked more on. One of those is the ending, I do enjoy the ending, as my partner and I came up with the idea of making the description of the cannibal’s job drift as the protagonist falls in and out of consciousness, and almost dreams thoughts about what will happen to him. However this ending effects the pacing of the piece, the beginning and middle starts to build up tension and slowly gain pace, however the ending slows right down, almost becoming an anti-climax and making it boring and disappointing from an audience perspective.
I believe that the beginning of the piece however, works really well. My partner and I worked hard on introducing the piece to the audience in a way that would entice them to watch the film, and also after reviewing other colleagues’ work, we wanted a completely different and creative start, as I noticed many had used similar beginnings.
We decided to follow the rules of editing drama by Walter Murch, who stated that ‘Emotion was the most important feature to show through your edit’, and therefore we concentrated on the importance of sound. We spent time taking out pops and clicks in sound files in Soundtrack Pro and re-importing them into Final Cut, as well as choosing parts of script and reconstructing the story to create more drama and empathy for the character from the viewer. I do feel that the sound could have been improved with more time, as we didn’t edit all the sound through Soundtrack Pro, and some of the atmos tracks were rushed at the end of piece. Unfortunately, the atmos tracks we were given weren’t very good quality and needed a lot of time to edit, which, due to bad time management, we weren’t able to achieve to the best of our ability, however we worked with what we had to help create more drama, for example, editing pans and levels on the atmos track of a train passing, to give it more of a realistic and dramatic effect. I feel that if we had created a schedule, we would have managed the project better and approached the project in a more balanced way.
I believe that both my partner and I contributed to the work evenly; I took more of an editor role, whereas Jessica helped direct the piece and create a narrative.
This project allowed me to learn new skills in Soundtrack Pro, in regard to working on clicks and pops. I also enjoyed working on Non-Sync and problem solving the footage to make it work as a narrative. This project allowed me to learn more about Final Cut Pro, for example shortcuts as well setting up sequences correctly.
I feel this project was successful and we worked well together to make the piece dramatic and creative, and I would spend more time on sound if I had managed my time correctly.
The second project we were assigned was to take an edit of a Documentary called ‘In A Climber’s Hands’ and edit out all the problems and make it our own. My partner Alli, and myself decided that we were going to create a brand new documentary with the footage, because we prefer to edit with a fresh start rather than sorting through the old one.
The audience for this project was once again a wide range. The idea was to create a documentary that would appeal to people and make them interested in rock climbing, which could be a range of age groups.
Overall, I think our outcome for this project worked well. The first time we presented the project, there were quite a few problems we noticed. For example, the sound design wasn’t very well put together, as we decided to create a song and place it into the montages and intervals of interview, how it make the piece seem disjointed, as the music would appear and disappear merely with fades, however before deadline, we managed to revise the sound design by creating a song that lasts the entire piece, with a range of melodies as well as soft music or beats when the interview occurs. We felt that this made the piece more whole and flowing, and I also like that we chose a range of melodies rather than repeating one all the way through, because it gets boring and almost irritating for the audience.
I think the major feature we struggled with, and could have improved in the future was the sound in general. Some of the interview sound wasn’t very good, however when we tried to edit this, it only made it worse. However I feel with more time we could have researched more into making the interview sound clearer, however I feel that the revision of the sound design made the piece more successful.
This project taught me a lot of skills on a range of programs and topics. For this assignment, I researched documentary editing and found out the different styles of film there are, and how to make each of them effective. I used this research to organise what we had to do, as it taught me that Structure and Style were very important, as well as Story Arc and the characters. Even though I’ve watched documentaries in the past, the editing process is very complex and I’ve learnt that editors have to take apart interviews or sound bites and create a narrative, which could be completely different from the original interview, however, also stated that ‘the footage must stay true’, meaning you shouldn’t change people’s views by editing their words.
It also taught me a lot about sound design, and matching sound to video. I’ve barely used Garageband in the past, so with my partner’s help, I was able to learn the key features I needed to create a song and export it for my project. We spent time matching the beats of the music to the change in shot on screen, which I found really effective. Also, I learnt more about soundtrack pro when it came to trying to edit the interview sound bites.
When it comes to teamwork, I feel Alli and I worked great together. We’d always meet and contribute to the work evenly; we’d plan together and discuss our ideas. It was a very equal and fair production, and was also very enjoyable. I feel however, as a team, we could have managed our time better. We’d spend time together doing things one of us could have done while the other spent time on progressing something else. So in the future, we should work together, but also independently to bring the project together.
I feel this project was successful, it taught me a lot about sound design and documentary editing and also my skills in teamwork, and editing programs.
The third and final project we were given was to edit one or two scenes from a Comedy called ‘Out O Date’. We were given all the raw footage and we’re asked to pick and perfect a scene. I chose a scene that was quite short, so ended up creating an edit with two different scenes. The intended audience, because it’s a comedy, is once again quite wide ranged. The aim is to make the audience laugh and therefore this could appeal to anyone.
I enjoyed working on this project, because it was the first one I got to complete from start to finish on my own. This means that if I ran into any problems, only I could solve them, and I can work with my ideas, however working alone does have it’s downside, when you need advice for example or are stuck on a particular skill or feature, luckily I managed to complete this project without too many problems.
I feel that the finished comedy is successful. The jingle I created for the beginning gives a comical feel straight away; therefore the audience know it’s a comedy as soon as the scene unfolds. The edit, to me, seems to flow well, changing from a shot of a character speaking to the reverse shot of the other character’s reaction. I learnt through online research that it was important to balance this type of shot to allow the audience to feel for both characters. I think that the visual edit is quite strong, but I did struggle with some of the sound.
First of all, some of the interview sound isn’t as good as other sections, so I spend some time trying to edit them, by changing levels, however some still appear to be more quiet so in the future I’d spend more time on that. Some of the clips were cut quiet quickly in shoot, so there were times were there wasn’t any atmosphere in the background, and this was very noticeable, however I managed to solve this by editing previous atmosphere into the section and using cross fades to blend them in, I believe some of these worked very successfully, however others could have been improved.
As this was an individual project, I was in charge of everything – choosing which scene(s) to edit, the editing process itself as well as sound design. I enjoyed this challenge because with more responsibility on myself, I feel I worked more effectively, and was able to interpret the work in my own way. It also allowed me to work on my skills in sound as well as my editing skills in final cut pro.
This project allowed me to learn more about the programs. I learnt more about Final Cut Pro features and shortcuts, which made editing easier, and more time efficient. I also learned more basics of Garageband and created a jingle to use and export. As I chose to use some sound from different clips, I also spent more time learning to sync these with shots, which was very helpful.
I also learnt about the ideas behind editing comedies, for example ‘how important timing is, using reaction shots as well as ensuring the audience are in on a joke beforehand’
Overall I enjoyed working on this project and feel I’ve approached it successfully. I was able to manage time better because it was individual work, however still feel I could have done more to the sound design if I had more time. I’ve learnt a lot about different styles of editing as well as the different programs I’ve used throughout the module. I feel that the module has taught me many new skills in regard to editing which have already benefited me with recent work done.
References: Murch, W., In The Blink Of An Eye, 2nd Edition (2001)
Silman-James Press, U.S
Peters, O., Article: Documentary Editing Tips (2011)
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