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Need help with zero cut shot


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#1 Matt Qualls

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 03:21 PM

Hey everyone-

So I have a shot in mind for my latest film and I need some help with the technical aspects. The shot begins as an over-the-shoulder two shot as two men are dueling each other. There will be some dialogue exchanged and then the shot begins to move behind the back of one of the men. At one point in the shot, the frame will be full of the back or back of head. This will hopefully allow for a zero cut, which will continue to move to the other shoulder of the character revealing the other character as a demon.

Now my question is: Is there a camera rig I can use to produce a perfect move behind the back of the character to allow the zero-cut to be seamless? Right now i'm working on a limited budget so the cheaper the rig the better.

If anyone is wondering about what a zero cut is, its when the cut is covered by some kind of camera trick. The most famous example of this is probobly Hitchcock's "Rope" in which he used the zero cut for the effect of making the film look like one entire shot.

Any comments or info would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Matt
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 05:14 PM

We tend to call that a "hidden cut" -- "zero cut" is usually a lab term to describe conforming a negative with frame handles so that the splice doesn't have to be where the actual edit will be in the final print.

I don't think the more advanced methods would be affordable, which tends to involve motion control -- besides, your foreground actor is going to be moving in every take anyway, he's not a robot.

Your best bet is to just make sure the foreground element really fills the frame long enough for the transition, which if a hard cut doesn't work, an extremely short dissolve or even a morph (if digitally editing) to hide the transition. Or even a fuzzy-edged wipe might work if it's a fast move. So you'd probably want to track behind the back, not the back of the head, to fill the frame more / longer. It helps if the foreground back is also dark, shaded, and even out-of-focus.

You have to try and match the speed of the dolly each time you move. I'd get a number of alternative takes of both the A and B side of the cut just to have some options.
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