Arafat vs. Sharon - The short movie at DVinfo.net

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Old January 19th, 2003, 04:54 PM   #1
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Arafat vs. Sharon - The short movie

For the impatient one:

http://www.kop11.com

For the patient one:

I found the dvinfo.net community shortly after I purchased my XL-1 about 2 years ago, remained a silent reader for quite a while and collected a little knowledge secretly here and there. Then the time of asking quesions came and went by and I fell back into silence again.
Finally, last spring I decided to make my first shortie and after 4 months of work-interrupted shooting and a few going-postals in postproduction the damn little thing seems to be finished now. Well, almost I think, but I cannot watch it anymore, so I drop the movie right here on the floor for you guys to tear it apart and devour it.

For the techies:

Shot with the old XL-1, 16:9, frame mode, standard 16x lens (except for 2 shots with the 3x wide lens).
Lighting was done with one 500W halogen construction lamp.
Sound was recorded with a Sony ECM959 stereo-mic (definitely not the best choice for recording dialogue)
Post was done entirely on Premiere 6.0, the (minor) FX in Photoshop and 3D Studio Max.

And yes, there is only one actor in the movie doing all the parts.

The File: 320x180 .wmv ca. 30mb (running time: 16:47) was encoded with Windows MediaEncoder 8

Hereīs the link: http://www.kop11.com (donīt worry, no clumsy website there, just the movie and nothing else)

If you hate the movie, donīt hesitate to kick my butt!
If you like it, call George Lucas and let him know!

Cheers, Peter
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Old January 20th, 2003, 05:16 PM   #2
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Wow! That is 30 MB large. I'm having it download during the
night so I'll look at it in the morning!
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Old January 21st, 2003, 06:25 AM   #3
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Peter,

Overall I liked it. I liked the lighting which gave a nice extra
mystery to it. I might have been a bit long and the ending is
not for people like me, you just lost me there (but if that is
your thing it probably will be fun, just not my cup-o-tea).

Thanks for sharing!
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Old January 21st, 2003, 09:14 AM   #4
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Hi, Rob!

Thanks for not killing me after you had to download it so long...

You are right it is definitely too long, but I only found out afterwards and donīt know how to cut anything out, because it is just one long scene and cutting it would destroy the continuity I think.

For me it was an sort of an excercise doing one movie from the writing until the final cut.
I also think to movie is much too talky, but I wanted to do something with a lot of dialogue, because I was afraid that was something I couldnīt do at all, so I wanted to practice it...

Thanks for the patience and the warm comment, Rob!

Cheers, Peter
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Old January 21st, 2003, 09:55 AM   #5
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From the technical side, it seems fine. The length is way too long for me, but I understand your explanation. You've got some jump cuts that need to be dealt with. Audio seems fine for an internet version. I agree with Rob, the lighting was effective. Nice effort.

Jeff
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Old January 22nd, 2003, 02:04 PM   #6
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@Jeff

Thank you for your comment! I am glad you liked the technical side of the movie, since this was most important to me: to do something that at least looks right. My next movie will have an improved script and much less dialogue, now that I seem to know how to do it.

Yep, there are a quite few jump cuts but no way to fix them, I just donīt have any better footage. It was kinda difficult to match all the shots anyway, because shooting was spread over a timespan of four months and there were sometimes weeks between every single line of text.

It is kinda funny that the sound is more or less okay on the internet. On a TV set it sounds really bad, hollow because of the small room (my living room) and the pattern of the mic, noisy (50Hz hum, notebook cooler) and the voices are deformed, because the audio clean-up also killed some frequencies of the actors voice.

Cheers, Peter
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Old January 22nd, 2003, 02:16 PM   #7
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You've got two ways to fix your jump cuts. Make some scenes of Arafat and Sharon nodding there heads in agreement or disagreement (no audio from them, but VO from other). The other way is to cut to a CU of their hands or a gesture (folding their arms, pounding table with fist etc.). These type of scenes are called cut aways. One of their main purposes is to hide jump cuts.

Jeff
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Old January 22nd, 2003, 03:01 PM   #8
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Jeff, I just donīt have enough coverage. What I have is too wide and doesnīt match with the movements at all. I only found out after I had torn down the set. Too much editing in-the-camera. Next time I will know better... But thank you for the advice! This is always welcome!

Cheers, Peter
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Old January 23rd, 2003, 04:09 PM   #9
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Well done Peter.

I think you know what jumps cuts are judging from overall good technical standards in the piece - but it is a little long as it stands and you know that.

As an editor for national broadcast for over 15 years - not bragging but setting the credentials for what's to follow - I would say that a lot of the editing was good, but it did fall a bit ping-pong in places - i.e. Sharon says his line, Arafat his etc. although you did overlap at times - reaction shots are amongst the most cinematic of all - it's about emphasis - is it more important to watch the speaker or the listener? And I would positively fight against arbitary cutaways of hands etc. (sorry Jeff) - unless these are actually saying something they are meaningless - one should never ever use a cutaway only to hide a bad cut. No the answer already lies in your material - blank expressions from the other whilst one is in monlogue mode - look at any Laurel and Hardy film - there is tremendous comic power in the noncomprehending blank face and I could see many places where you can pinch shots from.

Why don't you try cutting odd sections of the news report into the main body - this may help to pace the overall piece and give time for an audience to pause and think about what is being said.

Nice lighting by the way!

Regards.
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Old January 23rd, 2003, 06:09 PM   #10
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CutandPaste,

In my experience (20+ years of broadcast and corporate Fortune 500 editing and shooting) nothing shouts amateur editing or shooting more than a jump cut. I can forgive a somewhat meaningless cut away now and then as opposed to a stream of continuous jump cuts. But it is not hard to make a gesture or clasped hands meaningful and appropriate to the voice over.

Jeff
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Old January 23rd, 2003, 06:26 PM   #11
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I think your being unecessarily hard on Peter - the jump cuts were not THAT bad!

But I repeat if your putting in a shot of a hand - and I think these are meaningles in themeselves (only shot and used as cutaways, just like 'noddies') - really because your trying to overcome a jump cut then I maintain it IS meaningless, and a far better solution, which offered itself amny times in Peter's film, is to use a reaction shot - which to be fair to you I think was your first suggestion.

By the way as I said I really was not trying to brag, but I too have over 20 years broadcast experience FWIW- I said over 15 years editing. What does Fortune 500 corporate editing and shooting mean?

Regards.
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Old January 23rd, 2003, 07:16 PM   #12
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Fortune 500 corporate editing and shooting is doing work for companies on the Fortune 500 List. I've done work for five out of the top ten companies and counted them as my clients. Corporate America may have different standards than independent productions. A jump cut would never be tolerated. The scene would be re-shot and re-edited or a cut away would be made to work (more than likely the later, due to costs). I've even reworked scripts to eliminate a jump cut.

Peter got honest criticism. I like his piece. I like the premise, his shooting (for the large part), the lighting was effective and sound OK for the internet. His editing needs refinement and the script needs to be shorten. Peter can be proud of his efforts for a first time out.

Jeff

PS I never did any work for Enron
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Old January 23rd, 2003, 10:29 PM   #13
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"A jump cut would never be tolerated. The scene would be re-shot and re-edited or a cut away would be made to work (more than likely the later, due to costs). I've even reworked scripts to eliminate a jump cut."

Perhaps these people should have got their shots and storyboards right in the first place - I have very rarely come across material that could not be cut around and if not there were other solutions - if your changing scripts and reshooting merely to avoid a jump cut then I would say the priorities are a little off. Of course none should want UNintentional jump cuts but there should be more to the juxtaposition of images than merely to make them look smooth.

I was not suggesting he should keep his jump cuts - I was merely suggesting that he might do something more creative than put in a load of hands - what do YOU think that shots of hands might say?

Jump cuts ... that reminds me I knew there something wrong with Jean Luc Goddard!

Regards.
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Old January 23rd, 2003, 11:17 PM   #14
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Mistakes are made in production, it's a fact of life. Inexperienced crews, poor pre-production, inattentive AD's, missed shots and cut aways can all result in jump cuts. It generally falls upon the editor to fix it in post. It's not the editors mission or responsibility to question the priorities a client places on the aesthetics of a scene. Rather, his mission is to apply his editing skills to satisfy the client. In 20 plus years I can count on one hand the number of clients that will tolerate a jump cut. After all, it's the client that signs my check and if he wants a jump cut fixed, fix it I will.

Jeff
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Old January 24th, 2003, 02:34 AM   #15
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Guys, I (16min+ editing experience) think you are both right: Jump cuts can make a movie really bad and it is the editors job to fix whatever is possible. The elegant method is of course a reaction shot, the not so fine method the cutaway and no matter which one: both are better than a jumpcut. And I as editor and everything else on this film in one person can only blame myself that I did no shoot enough footage to be able to fix the jumpcuts. I simply was not prepared enough, I guess I was too taken away and busy getting all the splitscreen-stuff right. I DID shoot some reaction shots because I WANTED to use them but got only about 2 minutes of each character and in that time he switches emotions every 5 seconds or so, it was just to quick. I could hardly use any of this footage, just because I didnīt pay enough attention to it.
I was able to fix at least a few uneven cuts by taking the picture of one take that matched the body-move, but had a weak voice (bad accent) and replace that voice with the voice from of another (better) take. I only did that a couple of time, syncing up single words was not exactly fun.

Jeff, Cutandpaste: You know what? I am really glad about your criticsm because I secretly hoped people would critisize excatly these things (well, you didnīt mention the framing yet, which I found quite odd a few times when I edited the movie). It would have left me worrying if you found some mistakes that I was not aware of. Because if I donīt see the problems myself how should I ever fix them?

Cheers, Peter

PS: On the other hand.. canīt we just pretend that my jumpcuts are THE new style in filmmaking? ;-))
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