Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by Maurice, Dec 9, 2010.
That 12 minute video explaining Pudovkin's editing theories is excellent, Maurice.
Maurice, I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but at the risk of repeating myself, the posts you include in this thread are among the most educational I've encountered on the site. They have been the source of a lot of discussion I've had with my amateur film-making friends, and they always have me thinking about ways I want to produce my own CG-animated stuff.
Please continue to make me repeat myself!
While most of the criticism for fan productions is usually pointed at below-professional standard acting, for me unskilled editing is the biggest impediment to the suspension of disbelief needed to enjoy any video or movie. Almost all of us have grown up watching movies and tv shows where the standards are incredibly high. As viewers, we know when an edit doesn't work, because it jolts us like someone sneaking up from behind and tapping us on the shoulder. Editing is damn difficult, but when it's not done well, a production with great actors and a good script, still has no shot of entertaining a general audience.
Yup. That's him in The Lost World.
On the subject of editing, is there anything more distracting than when you have two shots in a row from the same camera, which have obviously been filmed at different times, and yet the editor chooses to put them together? This isn't something that I've seen in any fan film (although I'm sure it's happened), but in professional productions.
Maurice, what Psion said. Really good stuff you post here.
Thanks for the kind words, Harvey, Psion and roger1999. Sometimes I wonder if anyone actually cares about this kind of stuff, so it's good to have confirmation that some people find it interesting or useful.
I'm reminded of a comment made by my former editor (of a magazine for which I wrote) commenting that desktop publishing (and I paraphrase) "gives people the power of a printing press without any of the training", with a lot of really ugly results. This is true of almost anything. For better or worse, most fan filmmakers have only the most rudimentary idea of how to make films and very few actually do even the most basic homework that would drastically improve their productions. To be fair, it's not always obvious where to start, and a lot of "hot to" books are badly written and chock full of filler.
I was pretty sure it was, but I couldn't place the film. I love Beggars of Life (1928) so I immediately zeroed in on that face.
That's a worst-case example of a jump cut. What it means is the editor either didn't have anything to cut to, or the editor is untrained an idiot.
The Jump Cut. Although usually jarring, I've seen examples (but can't recall the films ) where I've found it effective. Something like this:
MEDIUM CLOSE of villain's face.
BAM! MUSICAL STING.
Jumped to a CLOSE SHOT of villain.
BAM STING again.
Jumped to an XCU!
Worked well, but is this perhaps because of the musical stings accentuating the cuts?
An editor who judiciously used it?
To be clear, if the camera angle doesn't change but the distance does, that's an Axial Cut.
A "jump" cut is typically where items in the frame appear to "jump" from one position to another because of a cut that is not visually different enough from the preceding shot so that discontinuities are obvious.
An insufficiently different angle and framing, even if nothing "jumps", draws attention to itself because it typically doesn't feel "motivated". Why cut to something which is almost exactly the same? Usually the framing is changed for effect. Too small a change just feels like a mistake.
I was wondering if I might have been off in my definitions. Thanks.
Gonna chime in here also - Maurice, this thread is a diamond in the rough as far as I am concerned. The updates, information and professional experience you bring to share with us is entertaining and informative and greatly appreciated by me. Don't ever doubt it!
Maybe by the time this thread is "done" you can put it together as a book someday? You know, a "how-to" that actually correlates with how to actually make films.
I meant to add that I was once a contributing editor for an Atari Computer magazine for which I wrote a monthly column for beginners for two years, so helping people is something I enjoy, so I'm happy that this is useful to some of you. (Star Trek related, here's one of my columns from 25 years ago which is about how I created an animated Star Trek game pitch in 1986-7.)
He's right. Your advice could help enthusiasts way beyond our crazy corner of the web.
Indeed. I've been working in film and TV for nearly 8 years and I'm always learning new things from Maurice's posts. I hope the ignorant negativity online won't deter you, Maurice.
I'm not really concerned with negativity as much as thundering silence. If some people are getting something from this I'm happy to do it. I don't know that anyone has applied anything I've discussed here, though.
Well, not in any of the fan films, you're right. Which is unfortunate because a lot of the same issues that keep popping up (looking at you, bad audio!) could be rectified if people paid attention.
I can only speak for myself, but I've kept a copy of each post here for my own records and eventual use someday and am quite grateful for it, even if I have nothing to show for it at the immediate moment.
I am listening and hope to put it into practice. How successfully I can do so, is another matter.
I can understand where you're coming from. However, I think there are several things at work: for one, I think a lot of people with experience would never take on the job, knowing just how difficult it is. The complete beginners may not have enough knowledge to be able to make sense out of what you're saying. It's a problem I often run into when I'm trying to trouble shoot computers with the help of someone who's an expert: they may be explaining something in the simplest, clearest terms they can come up with, but what they're saying makes no sense because I just don't have the background to make sense of it. It's only after we've backed up to a new starting place that I can catch up.
What I'm driving at is unless someone has a formal education, either from college or the school of hard knocks, the information you're passing along in an attempt to prevent certain mistakes won't help until the mistakes have been made. Someone may realize that a scene or sequence didn't work, but only then will what you're saying be of any use.
I'm sure a lot of people just give up in disgust when they realize the size of the job they've taken on and others get something finished (more or less) then swear off. The ones who decide to keep going and who are serious to want to learn and have a thick enough skin to face their own ignorance are going to be few and far between.
I dunno. I can't imagine making a discussion of "the line" any simpler than I've presented it here , but minus on-set context I'm sure a lo of this is totally Greek to some people.
I'm not a filmmaker, but I'm interested in what you're doing here in this thread. I sort of consider it one of my roads not taken. I always had a desire to write fiction. I don't know if I'll ever get to do that, even after I retire, but I'm certain that if I do, these threads, as well as a lot of the discussions I've lurked in or participated in on this board and others, I'm certain they'll have helped.
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