For our first session in Editing, we were firstly given a suggested reading list that would help us throughout the module. We were previously told about Walter Murch’s In The Blink Of An Eye (2nd Edition), which I haven’t yet read completely, as well as other material such as:
Sidney Lumet – Making Movies
When The Shooting Stops… The Cutting Begins
Screencraft: Editing & Post Production
100 Ideas That Changed Film
Scorese On Scorese
Broadcast Engineering Tutorial for Non-Engineers
Our first assessment for this module was to edit a Non-Sync Drama called ‘Night Journey’. We were given the video and audio rushes in a shared folder, with a script of the original version online.
I used this session to look through all the footage (both video & audio) and label everything and sort out all the files into suitable bins. When going through the footage, we noticed that between each take, a flash would occur before moving onto the next one – which we later learnt was because the film was shot on 16mm film which uses leader tape, which causes flash flames to occur when a shot begun and finished.
For this project, I worked with my partner Jessica to set up our project correctly. We used Final Cut Pro, and ensured that it was set to the right settings (which I’ve had problems with before!). Me & Jess went on separate computers and split the footage between, so we could look at different rushes at the same time and cut out anything unusable, label shots and sort out our footage to make it manageable later in the project.
We noticed that the rushes needed a lot of breaking a part, which meant a lot of labeling shots, which however is important. It makes it easier to find particular shots you may need when you start putting together a rough assembly and rough cut. Labeling usually requires information such as the style of shot (Close Up/Long Shot) the angle (Eagle, Low, Straight etc.) and a description as to what actually occurs within the shot – this saves you a lot of time, because you can easily find shots, rather than searching through them all.
When it came to sorting through the rushes, we realized that it was a good idea to create subclips (which I will explain in further detail in a later post).
For the video rushes, we were told that it is a good idea to ensure that you know whether particular clips had sound on them or not. And to do this, we were shown that if you place a small dot (a bullet point) - done by at the front of the label of that particular shot, it means that it doesn’t contain any audio at all – a silent shot.
We then went on to talk about voiceovers in film, and why they are so important. In the session, we were shown a few different film clips that used voiceover, so we could see how effective it can be and how it connects to the footage, as well as the effect it creates on the audience.
To me, voiceovers allow you to get inside the character’s mind. It allows you into their personal space and therefore allows you to emphasize with that person, so the audience can have an emotional connection to what is happening within the film and how it affects this particular character.
In Apocalypse Now (1979), Directed by Francis Coppola. We were shown the scene in the hotel room, where the main character has a mental breakdown through post-traumatic stress of what he has been though. The scene is violent and tense, and the voiceover (with other remembered sounds of his past) is amplified to raise tension within the scene. The amount of content in this scene helps present how the character feels – so much is going on in his mind that caused him to breakdown, which allows the audience to react and feel for the character.
Another key resource to help us was to watch the Heart of Darkness, which is a 15-minute film, which explains the editing, and behind the scenes of Apocalypse Now.