T351 Week 10 - Fall 2013
Misc Announcements / Reality Check
- Art Videos - Please do your best to have your Art Videos completed and in the drop box as close to the start of next week's lab as possible. We'll start watching them around 10 AM.
We'll review as many as possible in lab this week. (Next week in lecture
we may review some of them.)
- Storytelling Projects - Finished scripts are due next week. This is a group grade. I'd like either a 2-column script or a drama script with key sequences storyboarded. Please turn in via Oncourse. Feel free to share your stories/treatments with me if you want advice. You'll shoot these the week after next.
- Remember KISS - Keep it simple!
- Get real actors!
- Avoid unnecessary dialog.
- Everyone in a group is expected to edit their own version. You can make a case for sharing an edit if you have a plan that provides everyone with activities and input to the final edit.
- Shovel Ready example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElbbUUN7A7o
- Final Projects - I'd like to meet with each of you regarding your final project in the near future. Your final pre-production work is due in two weeks.
- Your Final Project is worth 65 points:
- 20 points: Project design which includes: program proposal, treatment, script & other supporting pre-produciton material.
- 40 points: Production & legal paperwork (releases, music clearances, etc.)
- 5 points: Critique.
- The Art of the Short Story
- Intro to Advanced Production & Editing
- Off-line / On-line editing
- Time code
Art of the Short Story
The short story has many virtues. Because it's short, it's relatively easy to produce especially when compared to a feature length film. The format is recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. There's an Oscar for animated and live action short films.
Your upcoming storytelling projects are a way for you to experiment with the genre.
Who is telling the story? Most films are told in the 1st or 3rd person.
- 1st person stories are told from the "I" perspective.
- 2nd person is told from the "you" or the reader's perspective.
- 3rd person is told from the "they" or narrator's perspective.
While sometimes this is called POV, this can
Conflict- The essential ingredient
The essential ingredient - Many know that conflict (challenge or struggle) is the essential storytelling ingredient. Many make the mistake of interpreting this to mean there should be violence.
Some assert that there are only a handful of story types, which are retold in infinite variation. In their book, The Art of Technique, Douglass and Harnden describe the following:
- Jack the Giant Killer
- Prince & the Pauper
- Clash of the Titans
- The Peacemaker
- Triumph of Courage
- Tempting Fate
- Role Reversals
- Fish Out of Water
- Strange Bedfellows
- Buddy Pictures & Love Stories
- Ship of Fools
- The Quest
Consider the stories you pitched last week. What kind of story category does yours come closest to fitting into?
Structure - Make sure you have a beginning, middle and end
Quick exercise: Two characters meet and exchange dialog. How will you approach and frame this?
On framing action - the closer the camera is to the line of action and to your characters, the more depth you will have and more dynamic it will be.
Hitchcock's rule: The size of an object in the frame should equal its importance in the story at that moment.
Many havea tendancy to open with a wide shot, as the importance of establishing your characters in space and time is vital. However many times this is not the most cinematic or interesting choice.
A key goal is to make the viewer wonder, "What's going to happen next?". Simply re-ordering the shots in a sequence can make it stronger and change the meaning.
Sample 3 shot scene (a sharply dressed gal in a business suit is going to meet someone:
- MS girl walking towards camera down hallway
- CU low angle tracking shot high heels
- OTS checking watch (CU) & entering door
- CU low angle tracking shot high heels
- MS girl walking down hallway
- OTS checking watch (CU) & entering door
In version 1 we immediately see where we are and what's going on. The 2nd shot (CU tracking shot) provides the viewer with no more information except showing off her fashion sense. It also inadvertently brings into play "Hitchcock's Rule making us wonder how the shoes are important. In the last (aha) shot we see that she is going to an appointment behind the door.
In version 2 we start with the CU high heels. This immediately causes the viewer to wonder who they belong to and where we are. These questions and then answered by the 2nd shot. The last (aha) shot we see that she is going to an appointment behind the door.
A good storyteller knows how to string along their audience.
People are expected to act rationally and believable. If the characters don’t follow the rules it can be intriguing, but must be explained.
First action - There is a concept in filmmaking called first action. The first time we see a character we get an impression. This is shaped by the character's first action.
On how to be cinematic:
- More thought as to composition and design within the frame (this is what cinematography is all about)
- Attention to lighting and sound design
- More close-ups
- Shallow depth of field
- Rack focus
- Avoid zooms (draws attention to the fact that someone is operating the camera)
What makes a first-rate video?
- Every scene, shot, and sound is there for a reason and has a purpose.
- The message / storyline is clear (usually introduced near the beginning)
- All audio and visual elements are strong
- Video has good composition, interesting angles, dynamic camera movements, and subjects are well lit.
- Audio is well recorded
- Attention to visual and sound design
- Graphics and effects are well thought out and integrated with the video
- Ausio levels are consistent and sound design adds an additional level of meaning
- Editing demonstrates varied pacing and rhythm
Advanced Production Concepts
The concept of advanced editing implies an
inherent need to work efficiently. Post-production editing suites can
cost a thousand dollars an hour to rent. Both producer and editor are
under the gun to work quickly and efficiently.
The producer shouldn't be in an edit session wondering what shot to
use. Most major decisions can be planned in advance and made outside
of costly studios or editing suites.
Remember: It's possible- and highly recommended- to plan every
shot in advance. This is what scripts and storyboards are for.
Outside of planning, we can save money and time with
Keep the big picture (objective and audience) in mind when developing the treatment and then the script.
A strong script and a well-developed preproduction plan is your key
to a sucessful production. When working on any large-budget video or
industrial for corporate clients, always focus on making
This is a script that has been carefully scrutinized and has been checked
off on again and again. If it
isn't in the script it isn't in the video! This way any changes
after the script has been approved are billable.
Children's Museum example (script change after it was approved)
Using vectorscopes, waveform monitors and TBCs:
Video signals can be broken down into two components: luminance and
chrominance. Luminance is the brightness component & chrominance
is the color component.
A good editing suite will have a vectorscope and waveform monitor set
up, so that the video levels and color can be objectively monitored.
It's easy to make graphics in Photoshop too bright, but if you keep your
eyes on the waveform monitor, you can tell when the signal reaches 100
Waveform Monitor - A device used to examine the luminance portion
of the video signal and its synchronizing pulses. The scale starts at –40 – goes
to 0 then up to 120 IRE Units (IRE = Institute of Radio Engineers). One
f-stop translates into about 20 IRE units The major setting to be aware
NTSC/analog Black should register 7.5 IRE on a waveform monitor.
Digital (ATSC) Black shold register at 0 IRE.
White White shouldn't be any hotter than 100 IRE on a waveform monitor.
Adobe Premiere tutorial on using the Waveform monitor
Vectorscope - A vector display measuring device that allows visual
checking of the phase and amplitude of the color components of a video
signal. They are especially useful when used with color bars, as the
display face has targets that show both proper phase and saturation.
NOTE: You can't adjust or manipulate a video signal with just
a waveform monitor and vectorscope. They simply let you examine the
signal. You must use a TBC, a camera control unit or other device to
modify the signal.
TBC (time base corrector) - A piece of equipment used
to correct instabilities in analog video signals, provide synchronization
between video signals, and adjust phase differences in signals to correct
color or make them consistent with other signals. TBCs usually have a "proc
amp" (short for processing amplifer) which lets you adjust the video's
brightness, hue, saturation and setup.
- Basic proc amp adjustments include
- Chroma (amount of color)
- Phase / Hue (actual color)
- Brightness (amount of gain or brightness)
- Contrast (on some)
- Setup (aka pedestal) A signal elevating the black level and all other
portions of the video signal
If you have a copy-protected VHS tape or DVD that you need to dub,
you can run the video through a TBC. It strips the old sync, which
has been modified to create dubbing problems, and replace it with new
FCP and Avid provide computer-generated waveform monitors and vectorscopes.
This provides an excellent way to check levels for graphics and when
applying video effects (these are often too bright for legal video).
Note that when capturing DV footage in FCP's log and capture tool, you
can't control the proc amp settings (color, brightness, setup, etc).
You'll find that the "clip settings" are greyed out. This is
because you are transferring footage that's already been digitized. However,
when you are wokring with a third party capture card (Like an AJA or
Cinewave) you can modify the video signal through the proc amp settings.
If your footage is too dark or needs color correction, you must
do this by either applying color correction or a filter.
Color Bars are electronic reference signals generated by cameras
or post-production equipment. They can be used for matching the output of two cameras in a multi-camera
shoot and to set up video monitors. In general there are two types of
bars full field and SMPTE (split). The SMPTE bars are more useful.
When capturing source footage, it's always good to capture some
of the bars. This lets you check the
captured footage to ensure color accuracy.
Timeline Techniques - Make sure you know how to do these:
Strive to get consistent audio- especially with dialog
and narration. Don't just trust just your ears, but use the audio meter
to make sure all of your clips reach the same level. For example, you
might use -20 as the average level for your dialog & narration.
As you add or edit narration, make sure its average level is -20.
Use markers to edit video to the beat. Visual markers are really helpful for editing video to the music and also for editing audio. Make sure you know how to set clip markers. (Not sequence markers- though these are useful too.) FCP, Premiere & Avid each do this but a little differently. (EC - WFTEOTW)
- Apple FCP - First highlight/select the clip. Then play your
video in real time and press the m key to set markers.
- Adobe Premiere - The m key creates markers, but in the sequence and not on the clip. You can assign a key easily through the "Keyboard Shortcuts" menu. Look for "Add Clip Marker" and assign any available key to it. Once you've set up the keyboard shortcut you can select the clip, play it in real time, and tap the keyboard shortcut key to make clip markers.
- Avid Media Composer - Like Premiere, you can assign markers to a particular key. Go to the settings tab in the project window. Then click on the keyboard. This will show you the keyboard and whatever shortcuts are assigned. Use the "Command Palette" to assign marker creation to a key. (Drag & drop the command onto whatever key you wish to assign it to.) Similar to the other software you need to select the track you want to add markers onto, otherwise they will be placed in the sequence.
Check sequence settings - these can differ from the
clip settings. If they are different, you'll have to render your video each time a new clip is placed in the sequence.
Know how to add & delete tracks
Linking and Unlinking tracks - You sometimes want
to link or unlink tracks. Select the tracks and choose link or unlink
from the drop down "Modify" menu..
Splt edits, also known as J or L edits, can be made
in many ways in FCP. The easiest way is to select the Roll Tool (press
R), and while holding down the Option key, drag the edit point left
Extend edit is a quick way to bring a clip to wherever
the timeline is parked. To use it first highlight the transition you
wish to extend, plave the time indicator where you want to extend it
to, then press the e key.
Match frame - Have a frame in your timeline that
you want to find the original clip for? Put the time indicator over
the highlighted frame in the timeline and press the f key. Voila your
clip will load into the viewer. (This also works in Avid) Also, if
you want to locate the clip in its bin, place the time indicator over
the highlighted clip and press the F key. Your clip should be shown
in the Browser.
Applying effects to an entire sequence or a particular section - There are
many reasons why you might want to apply an effect to an entire sequence or a section of one.
For instance you might want to add a color treatment and a vignette
to give a flashback or memory a dreamy look.
- Apple FCP - Nest your edited sequence into
another, and apply the effect to the new sequence.
- Avid Media Composer - Add the effect to a filler video track directly above the selection
EDL (edit decision list) Most editing applications
can import and export EDLs. In FCP, once your program is complete,
you can generate an EDL through File -> Export EDL. (more on EDLs
Off-line & On-line
Traditionally one of the purposes of off-line systems were to create
EDLs that could be brought into higher-end on-line systems. The first
non-linear editors (D Vision and early Avids) were sophisticated off-line
systems that could not only generate an EDL, but let the editors work
with VHS like quality. With advances in technology non-linear editing
system got steadily better, and today off-the-shelf PC or Macs are
capable of editing on-line video.
Time code is an electronic numerical signal recorded or embedded into
the signal, which allows videotape and multitrack audio machines to
be synchronized with frame accuracy. With time code, each frame or
location on a tape is assigned a unique number. This allows us to access
that specific frame or location on the tape precisely, again, again,
and again with frame accuracy.
Here in the US with our NTSC standard, weve been taught that
video runs at 30 frames per second- actually its 29.97. While
we count it on a 30 frames per second basis, video runs at 29.97 frames
During recording, a videotape recorder (capable of recording timecode)
assigns a unique timecode number to each frame of video, which is recorded
along with the video information. Its format is like a 24 hour clock
xx:xx:xx:xx. "hours" range from 00 to 23, "minutes" range
from 00 to 59, "seconds" range from 00 to 59, "frames" ranges
from 00-29 (NTSC)
There are two ways to count or create timecode (which can usually
be selected on the VTR) basic, (non-drop) frame and drop frame.
In basic (non-drop) timecode, each new frame of video is assigned
the next higher number (06:01:00:29 becomes 06:01:01:00)
The problem with basic non-drop timecode is that the frame numbers
drift from the actual elapsed time of a program.
Imagine you've been asked to assemble one day's worth of programming
for a TV station. You could set your timecode display to start at 0,
then assemble your programming. When you got to 24 hours you could
call it a day (har har) & go home. If video actually ran at 30
frames per second you'd be fine & you'd have a job waiting for
you the next day.
Let's assume a 30 frame per second rate as our basic timecode readout
leads us to believe and look at a day:
24 x 60 minutes = 1,440 minutes.
1,440 minutes contains 86,400 seconds.
86,400 seconds x 30 = 2,592,000
But video actually runs at 29.97 frames per second. That's a 3/100ths
of a second difference from 30 frames per second.
There are actually 2,589,408 frames of video in a 24-hour period.
24 x 60 minutes = 1,440 minutes.
1,440 minutes contains 86,400 seconds.
86,400 seconds x 29.97 = 2,589,408
2,589,408 frames of video in a 24 hour period
2,592,000 (using 30)
- 2,589,408 (using 29.97)
+ 2,592 frames of video difference / 29.97 (frames per second) = 86.5 seconds.
That's almost a minute and a half too much programming!
If you went by your counter and stopped when it reached 24 hours,
your program would be cut short almost a minute and a half. However
if you were smart you would use drop frame time code totally bypassing
real time issues.
Drop frame time code is harder to calculate, but it provides a numbering
system that is more accurate, timewise.
In drop frame time code, the frame numbers 0 and 1 are removed from
each minute except for every tenth minute (starting from the first).
That is, minute 00, 10, 20, 30 and so on, do not have any frame numbers
dropped, but all other minutes do.
You can tell when something is drop frame because the time code display
has semicolons (06;01;00;29 becomes 06;01;01;02)
EDL (edit decision list)
Edited programs often need to be rebuilt or re-edited from the raw ingredients
or source files they were created from. When a program is edited, you
can create and save an EDL corresponding to the master tape or master
sequence in the timeline.
An EDL is a simple ASCI text file that describes the events. Once created,
an EDL can be used to re-edit the project. A good EDL allows sequences
to be recreated with frame accuracy, including placement and types of
Most editing systems- both linear and non-linear, create an EDL as you
assemble or create the project. Each edit made adds a decision in the
|Title: Johnny's Big Adventure
|REM: Format: CMX 340/3400
|FCM: Non-drop frame
|REM: Record times are non-drop
What’s in an EDL? (Structure)
The EDL usually starts with a title, date and the time code information
(drop-frame, non drop frame). Comments are preceded by the REM flag.
Each edit becomes an event in the list. A single event describes the
reel names or source, (BL means black), track type (V, A1, A2), and transition
(cut, wipe, dissolve or key) along with the source tape time code in
and out points, followed by the record tape time code in and out points.
Note that events with dissolves take two lines to describe the event.
They might start with a cut, then the dissolve that takes place.
Remember that semicolons (;) denote drop-frame and regular colons (:)
signify non-drop frame.
The EDL created by an editing system is typically unique to that system,
but follows one of a handful of standard formats:
- CMX 340 (2 audio tracks)
- CMX 3600 (4 audio tracks)
- Sony 2000 (4 audio tracks)
- Sony 5000 (2 audio tracks)
- Sony 9000 (4 audio tracks)
- Sony 9100 (4 audio tracks)
- Grass Valley (4 audio tracks)
Creating Good EDLs
- Use standard transitions
- Don't use custom effects
- Keep careful track of reels and names
List Management Software
Imagine you have a good EDL, but one of your source reels gets dubbed
to another tape. During the dub process, the time code wasn't regenerated,
but started anew.
Assigning a new start time for a reel is just one thing list management
software lets you do. You can also adjust your list in a variety of ways.
You can also map your EDL from drop to non-drop, add & remove edits, & even
remap wipe codes for different switchers.
Not to be confused with EDLs
Good editing or EDL software will let you extrapolate a batch capture
Batch capture lists can be used to automatically recapture media in an efficient
way. (Can capture clips in order off of the tape, even if they don’t
appear in that order in the program) Should let you work with one reel at a
time in multi- reel projects.
Vocabulary (Know and be able to define these terms)
- Color bars
- Media Manager
- Pedestal (aka setup)
- Proc Amp
- Setup (aka pedestal)
- Timecode (DF vs NDF)
- Waveform Monitor
- Window dub
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