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Should I have fixed continuity?


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#1 George Ebersole

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 08:53 AM

About this time last year I worked on a practice dinner wedding video, which was really just a giant audition for various actors dressed up as if they were attending a practice wedding.

The thing went on most of the night, and about a week or two later I was asked to help edit the thing. Mind you, I was just pulling cable and doing boom work. I signed on to work for this director who got hired to shoot this thing with the hopes I could do some networking. But, instead I wound up doing a lot of office work, and then was asked to do sound for this event.

The event is essentially a giant barn yard talent show kind of deal. All the various friends and family get up on stage and put on some sort of act, with varying degrees success. Some are funny and talented, others not so much. But again, it's all an act. And we have one camera to cover this show.

Okay, shoot's over, and I'm asked to help edit the thing. It's essentially a one camera shoot with about four hours of raw footage. Through the progression of the video we have various changes in setup, the MC dons a hat at one time, then takes it off, some people repeat lines, others switch sides on the stage from where they were... it's a giant continuity headache.

Me, I have no idea why I was asked to work on the editing, but I accepted. I went in with the frame of mind that this was a hometown kind of video that needed all the rawness and unrefined qualities of a family video, but with a professional gloss to make the rough points watchable.

I think back on it, and wonder if maybe I wasn't supposed to fix all of the performance flubs. I was of the mindset that the change in staging and costumes and all the other script-girl headaches was part of the charm of what these people were trying to do. But, in retrospect, I'm thinking the people that hired me wanted me to fix up that stuff in post.

I never did, and so spent a couple of weeks snipping this and that, and leveling out the sound, and finally firing it off to the client (a couple of doctors). Apparently all the participants loved the thing. Me, I shrugged at it. We had one camera, the actors seemed to make the job intentionally difficult at times in terms of keeping their place and drawing attention to non events. I was there only as crew, not in a creative capacity (though I offered what I could), and I'm wonder if I screwed up on this.

Anyone have an opinion?
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#2 JD Hartman

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 09:38 AM

Tough call, you weren't on set as scripy, DP or Director. Some people appreciate it when "other" crew point out continuity issues during the shoot. With others, it earns you a slap up-side the head. You saw what what was going on, but did the Producer and Director notice or even care? I would have mentioned what I saw during the edit and asked how they wanted you to proceed, given the continuity issues.
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#3 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 12:32 PM

MIght be fun if you posted a 3-5 minute snippet on youtube. Continuity probably does not matter as much if it is obvious you are compressing time. An possibly easy way to fix the continuity issue is to feature the host in a short montage so we get the idea that the host changes appearances throughout the night.

Most importantly, what did the doctors/investors think?
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#4 George Ebersole

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 01:21 PM

Yeah, my thinking was that it was amateur hour by a bunch of professionals who were pretending to be amateurs. If that was the case, then it was probably best to treat the project as if it were amateur hour, as opposed to cleaning up all the intentional flubs in an edit.

The other thing was I just signed up to get my foot back in the industry. I figured I might meet up with some DPs, maybe some gaffers, or other crew types. Feel my out and go back, but I was on all of three locations (including this one which actually paid something), spent most of my time running errands and didn't meet with more than one editor during my entire time working for this director.

Then I wound up sitting in what was essentially the director's chair next to the editor. To me that was very weird.

But, most importantly, the client was satisfied. I guess that was what counted. But I couldn't help but feel like I was being tested or something, and that I should've gone back and fixed all the "mistakes". It's old news, but I still think about it every now and then.

I think the only thing I have left is a final product DVD. All the footage is on the cameraman's hard drive.
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#5 George Ebersole

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 10:22 PM

Tough call, you weren't on set as scripy, DP or Director. Some people appreciate it when "other" crew point out continuity issues during the shoot. With others, it earns you a slap up-side the head. You saw what what was going on, but did the Producer and Director notice or even care? I would have mentioned what I saw during the edit and asked how they wanted you to proceed, given the continuity issues.

Another recollection; the director was actually in the audience enjoying the show at the time while me and the cameraman were working. So he didn't have a whole lot of input during the shoot. But during editing he was pretty critical when he showed up once or twice. Again we shrugged, though the guy doing most of the editing really lost his cool at one point. The director wasn't directing, and then criticized the editing.

I didn't take it personally. I was just glad to be working. I shrugged, but tempers flared between the cameraman and the director. I think the primary comment the director made was that it was "lacking something", or had too much "cinema veritay" or something.

Overall it was just really weird. He didn't even really seem to care about the continuity.

Just something that's weighed on my mind for some time. It's old news, but I sometimes obsess over junk like this.
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#6 Matt Pacini

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 06:00 PM

"...the actors seemed to make the job intentionally difficult..."

That, ladies & gentlemen, is one giant reason that beginning actors are a pain in the a**.
They have no idea about editing, continuity, and all they are doing 90% of the time is grandstanding.

I had one guy (he actually teaches acting, so he SHOULD know better) who every take with a different setup, kept trying out different things, trying to "improve his performance".

I finally had to shtu down the whole set for 20 minutes, take him aside & explain exzactly what I was doing shooting different angles, and how it would be impossible to cut together all these totally unmatching takes he was giving me.
He was thinking I was just going to take the best one and not use any of the other setups.
Again, NO EXPEIRIENCE at all in front of the camera, apparently!

Matt Pacini
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#7 Thomas James

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 06:21 PM

I think the thing to remember is that you must try to deliver the product in high definition as well as standard definition otherwise your product will look worse than somebody who shot it with an Iphone. AVCHD is a good affordable format to use as you can use regular DVD media and a DVD burner and most Blu-Ray players accept the AVCHD format. When I deliver my videos in high definition everyone asks me if I do this for a living.
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