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"No One's Gonna Notice" Argument


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#1 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 04:59 PM

Not sure how much this comes up for any of you, but I hear it constantly.

 

When working out the detail of a shot/edit/grade, trying to perfect it, and either a co-worker/boss says "forget about it no one's going to notice anyway"-- how do you feel about that mentality?

 

Assuming there's a sufficient amount of time on the project for said perfection.

 

Would like to hear the sides you take and why, thanks.


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#2 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 05:35 PM

Ya know, time is money and if it's going to take hours or maybe days to fix a problem that nobody will notice, I will generally move past it.

In my world, if the problem takes an hour or less to fix and you have plenty of time, then fix it. If it takes more then an hour and you don't have the time, if nobody is going to see it, then don't fix it.
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#3 aapo lettinen

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 05:41 PM

someone will always notice... but the trick is to determine which things are more important to be finessed in greater detail than others and to direct your resources to those parts. We are always working on limited resources so a perfectionist will never be happy in movie business  :mellow:

 

it may, for example, be easier to perfect the edit and vfx part of a indie movie compared to a commercial product because the indie movie can have years of post time and dozens of trial/error cycles to get everything right. that is also why one needs much higher level of skills to make movies for living: everything has to be done right the first time, there is no time or money for trying out things or finesse anything which does not specifically need to be finessed to great level. 

(it's like Russian movie cameras, they didn't grind and polish anything which didn't need to be finessed. the camera body roughly machined and left as is but the film gate and pressure plate polished and finessed. Compared to an Arri film camera or a Bolex where everything is made perfect if in any way possible, even the parts that don't necessarily need it  :lol:  )

 

there is a huge difference between focusing on most important things and directing the necessary resources there (time, money, etc.) VS trying to get away with a roughly made product even when there would have been resources available to make it better. 

Often it is a good approach to finish some parts to a greater detail than needed so that one can get away with the more sloppy material in between the great shots if there is no possibility to perfect them all  B)


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#4 aapo lettinen

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 05:44 PM

- first fix the most important things and only after that, if there is still time and money left, you can make the other parts of the product better -


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#5 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 02:49 AM

There is no such thing as perfection in your work, you can always do some aspect of a shot or scene better if you're being truly critical. Nonetheless, you have to walk away at some point, or you'll end up taking away from the next shot or wearing out your actors and crew. Your job is not necessarily to deliver perfect shots - it's to deliver the best possible version of a finished product. So I think good filmmakers are the ones who have figured out how to optimize their work for the best compromise.

 

In terms of doing good work with your filmmaking partners, I think the most important thing is to be in sync about the quality of the work you are doing together. There are few things as frustrating as working for someone who is happy with less than your best work. Someone who constantly claps you on the back and praises your work as 'genius' when you know it's crap is not really someone you can have a successful long-term partnership with. On the other hand, someone who insists that nothing is right and is willing to work their crew to the bone for some no-budget piece of marketing fluff is no great pleasure to work with either.


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#6 George Ebersole

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 07:38 PM

I think fans are always forgiving of films, but they do always notice stuff no matter what it is.  Corporate video and commercials can probably get away with a lot more.


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#7 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 08:05 PM

I think fans are always forgiving of films, but they do always notice stuff no matter what it is.  Corporate video and commercials can probably get away with a lot more.


I think commercials are the hardest to get away with stuff like this. Mainly because you might be spending all day to get just a few setups, and meanwhile the director, agency, and client are all staring at giant monitors for hours looking at this one shot. It's an environment ripe for nit-picking.

Whereas on movies and tv you have to keep moving, no matter what. It's not really a matter of what fans may think since that is many months or even years down the line. It's a question of if you'll make your day or not. And actors egos really come into whether you can shoot or if you can go again.

If the lead is having a meltdown because he doesn't understand what he's supposed to be doing, or why we're rolling with horrible location sound issues, then you may not get more than a few takes. So then you can't be as precious about the boom dipping in for a moment, or being slightly off the mark, or a bit of a bump in the dolly move. The editor will have to deal with it, because we have to move on.
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#8 AJ Young

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 03:10 PM

Here's my take on the argument:

 

A general audience will pick up on poor storytelling before they pick up on poor craftsmanship.

 

Perfection in post is a losing game because it's an endless war. It's best to pick your battles and focus on keeping the audience's attention on the story. Overall, most people won't notice that there's a smiling extra in the background (Jaws) or a c-stand in the shot (True Lies chase scene).

 

I typically weigh my options on whether to fight for a specific correction or not; there's always bigger fish to fry.


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#9 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 01:35 AM

Micheal Bay films are full of shit in the background they simply didn't have time to fix. It's just the nature of the game these days.
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#10 George Ebersole

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 06:37 PM

AJ, Satsuki; I guess.  I think scifi and fantasy films lend themselves to audiences that nitpick.  Films made for mainstream audiences probably can gloss over details more.  

 

I guess I've not heard enough feedback on corporate video to give anything other than an uneducated guess.  To me the tell tale sign of success is if you keep getting called back to shoot more stuff.  It's been my experience that the nitpicking from VPs and other corporate types tends to be content, and not really whether the lead was wearing the same tie from shot to shot.

 

Fans, on the other hand, no matter what genre, will notice stuff like that.  And the more popular your film, the more fans, and the more nitpicking there is.  Just my take.

 

Typically the client rep on the set catches product content flubs, or so has been my experience.


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#11 Justin Hayward

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 07:42 PM

I think commercials are the hardest to get away with stuff like this. Mainly because you might be spending all day to get just a few setups, and meanwhile the director, agency, and client are all staring at giant monitors for hours looking at this one shot. It's an environment ripe for nit-picking.
 

 

I usually stay by set with my DP, away from the agency and client, so I shut of their monitors until I have something to look at.   ;)  I joke... but I really do that.  

 

The risk is getting a testy creative that wanders over to my monitor.  That's when I have their monitors turned back on and tell them I have something specific for them to look at on their monitors,  which are bigger, but crappier.  It's a game.  I've learned to play it. :lol:

 

I hope no agency people visit this forum.   :D


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#12 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 08:20 PM

Hi George,

I agree that fans of genre films in particular will nitpick content to death - hell, I'm one of them. Media on demand in HD+ resolution these days makes this much easier than ever before.

My answers were more geared toward Macks's original question of how much nitpicking we allow ourselves while working on set. I think in this case, it mainly comes down to triage - fix the big stuff asap and let the smaller stuff go if you run out of time. Which pretty much always happens.

Corporate - in general, you have less money, less time, smaller crew, and limited parameters. So you do the best you can with what you're given - there probably will not be a scout day, or adequate info from production, no choice of locations, and talent very likely will not be camera-ready. Since it's generally all about the content, you just gotta roll with the punches. A lot of these projects are for internal consumption only, or disappear into the ether after a short while. You're right that pretty much all the nitpicking will be about the content.

In general, these are smaller gigs with more repeat business, so as long as you keep your client happy you'll keep getting called back. That said, nobody really does them for fun or for their reel (other than the rare oddball project), so generally the client, producer, and crew just want to do their work and go home at a reasonable time.
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#13 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 08:29 PM

 
I hope no agency people visit this forum.   :D


Yeah, you're probably screwed Justin.

I'm sympathetic to agency folks, mainly because being on set is probably the most fun they get to have at work. They just get to sit back in comfy chairs and come up with new ideas for you to execute, how fun! ;)

At least the DP gets to hide behind the camera. I don't envy you guys :)
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#14 Phil Connolly

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 12:58 PM

And don't forget there are times where you leave the mistake in the edit even when you fixed it on set.

 

I have had situations where we spot a technical or continuity mistake on set - we shoot another take to fix it but in the edit you end up using the flawed version because the actors performance works better. 

 

Good writing and acting will cover many technical mistakes - when I started making films i edited them to maintain the best technical perfection - e.g nothing wrong in shot, perfect continuity etc... spending hours trimming frames of match cuts. Now I focus on the performance more and don't sweat the technical stuff as much (I still want it good) but I'll let something go if the performance is strong enough to distract. 

 

Look at something like Lars Von Triers The Kingdom - technically a mess, line jumps all over the place - but still really interesting story that draws you in enough for you to forgive the mistakes. 

 

I think its always funny when movie mistake websites think the filmmakers didn't spot the mistakes - they nearly always do but including them is a judgement about making the best of the material at hand in the edit. 

 

Certainly on drama shoots you chase perfection - but there is a true saying that "great is the enemy of good". We'd never complete everything if every element had to be perfect. Also there is serendipity in imperfection, energy around working quickly and trying things out. Roughness can help make things feel real and human. I love it that you can hear mistakes and the odd bum note on Beatles records that would now be autotuned to death if produced today.


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#15 Phil Connolly

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 01:05 PM

Corporate work is different and often the content is weak - e.g lets do an interview with our sweaty and camera shy CFO about the paper clip sales last quarter.  In those cases its worth working very hard on making it look nice to justify your fee - even if only 6 people are going to watch it on the office intranet. 


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#16 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 04:40 PM

Good point about editing, Phil. Walter Murch's classic book 'In The Blink of an Eye' about the art and craft of editing covers this topic especially well.
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#17 Phil Connolly

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 10:53 AM

Good point about editing, Phil. Walter Murch's classic book 'In The Blink of an Eye' about the art and craft of editing covers this topic especially well.

I still need to read that one. Too many books too little time. 


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#18 Dylan Sunshine Saliba

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 08:12 AM

Good point about editing, Phil. Walter Murch's classic book 'In The Blink of an Eye' about the art and craft of editing covers this topic especially well.

I own two copies of this book.  It's THAT good!


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#19 curtis boggs

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 11:40 AM

interview with our sweaty and camera shy CFO about the paper clip sales last quarter. 


Wow, you do realize the sad and critical state the paper clip is in.
It's in true danger of extinction and we need to do everything we
can to ashore its survival. 😀

Quite an interesting topic ( thread not the paper clip )
Seems to be a constant sore spot for me because i'm always
trying to do the best job i can as a DP, and sometimes the
producers just don't care as much.

Showed up early for my call time on a recent shoot to find
out,, no actress,, no one bothered to collect the props that
are in the script. However the producer did invite 10 friends and
get a few cases of beer 😡😡
What do you do w that? do crappy work and leave w a paycheck?
Really tough for me to do that.

curtis
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