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T351 Week 3 - Spring 2015


Be sure to have made it through the readings: cybercollege units 15, 16, 50, 51, 52, 53, & 57.

Announcements/Reality Check

  • This week in lab: Review Storyboard/Continuity Sequence Exercise . Critiques will be due (via Oncourse) next week. Be sure to bring your SD card with your footage on it to lab! We'll be learning Avid Media Composer.
  • You should've uploaded in your proposal and questions for the Interview/Feature Story last week. We'll share these in lab. This shoot is something you need to schedule in advance for the week of 2/23. Do not wait until the last minute to check-in with your subject. It should be scheduled/setup in the next few weeks. We will not have labs the week of 2/23 so you can work on your Interview/Feature stories.
  • Now is the time to plan your other projects! (Art Video, Storytelling & Final Project) Draft an idea for your Art Video and Storytelling project. The most succesful storytelling projects are simple- and the number one ingredient is conflict. This will be a small group exercise. Everyone will pitch an idea in lab. We will discuss each story and its strengths & weaknesses. The Art Videos will be solo projects. Final Projects will be solo- unless a few of you want to work on a larger, more in-depth project. Producing a video for a real-world client would be a good example of a project that two people might want to team up on.
  • Real-World / Service Learning Projects: Consider taking on a project for an actual client.

Cameras 202

Before capturing footage be clear as to your codec, pixel dimensions and frame rate.

Common Digital TV formats include:

480p uses only 480 lines scanned at 60 frames per second (OK but not HDTV)
720p uses 720 lines at 60 frames per second (HDTV)
1080i uses interlace scanning (each field has 539.5 lines) (HDTV)

ATSC HD delivery formats:

Horizontal lines

Vertical lines

Frame Rate



60p, 30p, 24p



60i, 30p, 24p

Note that many HD production formats do not record the full pixel dimensions listed above. Some use few pixels horizontally, and then stretch the image upon output to the full pixel dimensions.

For instance 1080 HDV actually records at 1440 x 1080. Panasonic's DVCProHD 1080i uses 1280 x 1080.

Frame rates

While you often see the frame rate for broadcast video referred to as 30, 60, 24 or 48 please know that these are NOT the actual frame rates. Even, rounded frame rate numbers like 24p are for actual film. Video uses slightly slower frame rates:

  • 23.976
  • 29.97


Why B & W viewfinder and not color?

The number of pixel elements in a CRT or LCD display determines the resolution. More pixels = greater resolution, right? Color monitors need phosphors for each of the Red, Green and Blue elements, where black and white monitors only need one. So given the same size CRT monitor or viewfinder, a black and white monitor will have 3 times more resolution than a color monitor. Since we are primarily concerned with framing and focus when we shoot, it's best to use the monitor or viewfinder with the sharpest display, which in most cases will be B & W.

Setting proper aperture with Zebra Stripes

Zebra stripes are a visual aid that helps the camera operator set the proper exposure. (A switch on the Sony Z1Us, NX5Us and Z7Us will turn the zebra stripes on or off in the viewfinder.) Zebra stripes become visible when a certain IRE (brightness) level is reached. You can adjust the threshold brightness level through the camera menu. Don't use zebra stripes unless you know what they are set for.

Continuity Production & Editing

#1 rule: Don't confuse the viewer! This is why we strive to maintain continuity. Preserve the illusion of space & time. People and objects remain faithful to their positions (this can be tricky over days of shooting)

Edits must be motivated for the best continuity. When shooting think about how you will get from one shot to another. Will action motivate the edit? A sound?

Viewers create mental maps of where things are and expect time to progress forward.

An Establishing Shot or Master Shot, which is often a wide shot, establishes the initial relationship of people and things within a given scene or location. You can preserve this illusion by using the 180-degree rule when you shoot.

Review the 180-degree rule. (two people sitting at a table)

How to cross the line:

  • Subject changes attention or move gaze to establish a new vector.
  • Shoot down the line
  • Subject moves
  • Move the camera over line (dolly, crane etc)
  • Use a cutaway, then come back to your scene from a different vantage point

Viewers are getting more used to seeing the rule broken. (Which doesn't make it right.) Fox news (Bill O Reilly) is pretty good at breaking the 180 degree rule.

Insert shots – close up from a larger shot

Cutaways – cut away to something related (could be something happening simultaneously)

Technical Continuity

Unplanned changes in sound, lighting, video or setting is referred to as a technical continuity problem.

Moviemistakes.com has lots of fun examples of technical continuity problems.

A famous one is in T2, when the T2 liquid robot cop is chasing Ahnuld and little John Conner. The T2 is driving a semi, Ahnuld & John are on motorcycles down in a drainage canal. The T2 drives the semi off of the overpass down into the canal, and we can clearly see the windshield popping out. In the next shot of the front of the semi, the glass is back in the semi. That's an example of a technical continuity problem.

While your productions are not likely to suffer from an elaborate problem such as this, beware of common mistakes:

  • Changes in color temperature. Avoid mixed lighting locations and white balance whenever you change the locations.
  • Changes is light levels Keep lighting levels consistent within a scene.
  • Primary Audio - use the same mic, in the same manner when recording your talent. (Don't use a lav in one scene and a handheld on a stand in another)
  • Background audio - avoid abrupt changes within the same scene. Always record 60 seconds of ambient sound, which you can layer in to the audio mix.


Editing 101

Continuity Editing techniques:

Transitions - Do you know when to use these?

  • Cut - the default transition. Happens in the blink of the eye.
  • Wipe
  • Dissolve
  • Fade

Editing Techniques

A few examples of awesome editing:

Continuity editing refers to arranging the sequence of shots to suggest a progression of events. This is a simplification. In continuity editing we try to tell a story with many different shots. These shots can come from multiple camera angles in a studio or from multiple segments taken in the field. The idea is to assemble these shots together to tell a story while preserving the illusion of time and space- or manipulate it as we see fit.

Continuity Editing Video Example - (V for Vendetta)

Crossing the Line Example (Matrix/Trinity Escape Scene)

Non-Continuity editing example:

Run Lola Run excerpt

Acceleration Editing

In film and video production time is routinely condensed and expanded. (When you are telling a story, cut out anything that doesn't develop the story or character.) Someone gets a phone call asking him/her to meet. How much do we have to see before he/she meets his/her date?

Expanding Time

Occasionally an editor or director will want to drag out a happening beyond the actual time represented. Expanding time can heighten the suspense. (Think action/adventure movie- A timer on a bomb is counting down to 0. Someone is working furiously to defuse the bomb. We might have 15 seconds left on the timer but the scene can take 1 minute! If the bomb does go off- we see it happen 4 times from different angles)

Causality & Motivation

This aspect of continuity editing addresses cause & effect. As viewers try to figure out the story they look for answers.

Imagine we see a bomb being placed underneath a table in one shot. This is followed by two men sitting down to a picnic table in a park. We cut to a shot of a kid looking up just as they hear an explosion.

While we assume that the two men have been blown up (causality), we still want to find out why (motivation).

Good storytellers will string us along for the length of a movie so we can determine cause and effect.

Relational editing

In relational editing scenes which by themselves seem not to be related take on a cause-effect significance when edited together in a sequence. (Pudovkin's Man in chair intercut with: corpse, bowl of soup, child playing)

Thematic Editing

In thematic editing is also referred to as a montage. (South Park -/- Team America) Images are edited together based on a central theme. In contrast to most types of editing, thematic editing is not designed to tell a story by developing an idea in a logical sequence.

Many different types of montages have been identified and studied. Sergei Eisenstein (Battleship Potemkin) identified various types of montages. Perhaps the best discussion can be found in Zettl's text, "Sight Sound Motion". Zettl identified three types of montages:

  • Metric - related or unrelated images used at equally spaced intervals. This can be sped up into an accelerated montage
  • Analytical - an event is displayed through thematic and structural elements
  • Idea-associative montage - Two possibly unrelated elements are brought together to create a third principle or concept.

One underlying theory that has been applied to montages (and especially related to the last type) is the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Juxtaposing two separate elements can result in a more powerful third meaning.

Parallel Cutting (referred to sometimes as cross cutting)

Parallel action takes place when the segments are cut together to follow multiple story lines. These don't necessarily have to happen at the same time.

Parallel editing in the Godfather (example from Critical Commons)

The Opposite of Editing- the Plan Scene

A Touch of Evil - opening scene (Orson Welles)

The Player - opening scene (Robert Altman)

Editing Guidelines (Cybercollege 54 & 55) Know these! -----------------------------------------

Guideline # 1: Edits work best when they are motivated.
Guideline # 2: Whenever possible cut on subject movement.

Entering and exiting the frame. Following the rules of continuity if someone exits the frame on the right to go somewhere, in the next shot we'll see them entering from the left.

Guideline # 3: Keep in Mind the Strengths and Limitations of the Medium.

Remember: Television is a closeup medium.

Maintaining Consistency in Action and Detail. You usually end up with several takes of each scene. Not only should the relative position of feet or hands, etc., in both shots match, but also the general energy level of voices and gestures.

You will also need to make sure nothing has changed in the scene (hair, clothing, the placement of props, etc.) and that the talent is doing the same thing in exactly the same way in each shot.

Guideline # 4: Cut away from the scene the moment the visual statement has been made.

New verses familiar subject matter. New elements need more screen time to give viewers a chance to comprehend them, as opposed to pre-established (or well-known) elements.

Varying tempo through editing

A constant fast pace will tire an audience; a constant slow pace will induce them to look for something more engaging on another channel.

Guideline # 5: Emphasize the B-Roll. An example of this is a feature story revolving around interview. The interview should look and sound strong, but it's the B-roll that holds the viewer's attention.

Guideline # 6: The final editing guideline is: If in doubt, leave It out.

Lab this week

  • Avid Media Composer overviewor Adobe Premiere overview
  • Edit Storyboard / Continuity sequence - You should have your footage logged and checked before lab. You may want to find some fitting music or SFX to use as well before lab. Near the end of lab we'll look at the storyboard/action sequences. Don't forget to write a one-page (minimum) critique. The critique is worth 5 points and due in lab next week.
  • Please make sure you edit on your assigned computer. You should have made a folder called "yourlogin_T351" at the top/root level on the "Local Scratch" drive on your computer. Be sure you always import your footage to this specific drive.

Oututting & turning in your Storyboard / Continuity Sequences:

Output an HD-sized (1920 x 1080), self-contained Quicktime, AVCHD, or MXF Movie.

  • Be sure not to include color bars, countdown and a slate. (I recommend setting an in point at the beginning just before you fade up from black and an out point at the end right after it fades to black. Once you've set an in and out point choose file -> export -> Media
  • Be sure it starts in black and ends in black.
  • Be sure to name the movie after your login name or IU id. (jarkraus.mov for example)
  • Place your edited, self-contained Quicktime Movie (or an mxf sequence), in the T351 Dropbox.

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