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Old April 14th, 2011, 07:29 PM   #1
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How to handle documents

This is something I have to do to some extent in nearly every Doc. I can think of interesting ways to do a few documents but in this one...I have dozens of court filings and responses.

Any ideas how to display them without people going to sleep and having them readable.

This is one way that doesn't work and one set of documents I'll have to present:
Thanks!

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Old April 14th, 2011, 10:51 PM   #2
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Re: How to handle documents

Each page turns in about 10 seconds. Is it really meant to be read at real-time or should the person reading press the 'pause' button?

If it's not meant to be read in real-time, then I suggest you either go the Powerpoint or the PDF route. Video is not for reading. Another option is to use flash, keep the text full screen and give the user controls.

If it has to be on video, then keep it full screen at least. I don't think effects/transitions are going to help much. Your target audience is not looking for them and might prefer the 'fastest read time possible', given the poor nature of the medium.
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Old April 15th, 2011, 08:34 AM   #3
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Re: How to handle documents

Don,

What is the purpose of the documents being shown? is this an actual documentary you are creating? If it is going to be a documentary I would loose the page peal transition. Without knowing what the reason for showing the court document it is impossible to say how they should be shown. Sareesh is correct in saying that you cannot expect anyone to read the entire document during your video.

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Old April 15th, 2011, 09:38 PM   #4
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Re: How to handle documents

Thanks Garrett!
I know the page peel doesn't work That's why I said that isn't one that works. I just wanted to see it before I decided.

Yes, it is a true Documentary, and a darned long one at that.

The documents are key but not necessarily the whole document. These are court filings and ones that were hard to come by. They were sealed minutes after I got them. I've had to fight the Attorney General's office, Security Lawyers, Homeland Security and the local Judge over this...and they don't want them to get out.

There are a lot more documents but there is a ton of Video... interviews and BROLL, recorded telephone calls and hidden camera Video.

What I've done in the past is narrate the Documents, just reading the important parts, while either zooming or magnifying that part of the document to add some motion.

That still seems like the best option.
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Old April 15th, 2011, 09:42 PM   #5
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Re: How to handle documents

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sareesh Sudhakaran View Post
Each page turns in about 10 seconds. Is it really meant to be read at real-time or should the person reading press the 'pause' button?

If it's not meant to be read in real-time, then I suggest you either go the Powerpoint or the PDF route. Video is not for reading. Another option is to use flash, keep the text full screen and give the user controls.

If it has to be on video, then keep it full screen at least. I don't think effects/transitions are going to help much. Your target audience is not looking for them and might prefer the 'fastest read time possible', given the poor nature of the medium.
Powerpoint and PDF are not an option. This isn't a presentation.

Thanks Sareesh.
Read what I wrote:
This is one way that doesn't work and one set of documents I'll have to present:
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Old April 16th, 2011, 09:24 AM   #6
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Re: How to handle documents

Hi Don,

I would consider showing the full document, then zoom into the title or some other identifying feature so that you establish that it is a credible source. Then fade the image of the document so that it is still showing but is probably about 40% to 30% opaque and superimpose the relevant words in quotes and at the same time overdub someone reading them. Pretty classic way to present information from documents.

-Garrett
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Old April 16th, 2011, 09:27 AM   #7
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Re: How to handle documents

Hi Don,

I would consider showing the full document, then zoom into the title or some other identifying feature so that you establish that it is a credible source. Then fade the image of the document so that it is still showing but is probably about 40% to 30% opaque and superimpose the relevant words in quotes and at the same time overdub someone reading them. Pretty classic way to present information from documents. There's probably only one or two short phrases you want to present from those pages. Remember, you're presenting the documents for validation of your idea or statement. You don't have to quote every bit of information in them. In your documentary you should be presenting the idea in the documents in your own voice and way. Showing the documents are a way to show your source and to validate your ideas.

-Garrett
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Old May 19th, 2011, 10:53 PM   #8
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Re: How to handle documents

I agree with Garret. Hard topic but that's still the best way. Also as you say, a read over the footage is also good. I have recently been taking a high res photo of various documents on a desk setting and then doing the zooms in post. Sounds obvious but I have liked the fact there is a bit of desk behind them, makes the docs seem more real somehow.

Ian.
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Old June 25th, 2011, 02:09 PM   #9
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Re: How to handle documents

I don't know what your subject matter is, nor the length. But if you can interview people, or talk to lawyers/legal professionals to summarize exactly what the document is saying, and maybe have them quote from them on SPECIFIC issues, (and for that zoom/pan on the page or highlight it with a blur effect over the rest of the page.)

Have a narrator/legal professional summarize the key issues that are central to your documentary. Then, for a website or as an extra on the DVD, include them as PDF's, (if legality allows.)

Page after page of text is not interesting viewing by any means, and you'll lose your audience in under 3 minutes, (if that long.) It doesn't matter what trendy or dazzling effect or transform you do to it. The gimmick only gets you so far.

Sareesh did bring up a very valid point. If the text is all you've got, and it is imperative to your story to include it all, then documentary may not be the best way to go. Have you considered an interactive website? publishing it all as a book?

Just because something doesn't make a compelling documentary, doesn't mean it's not a compelling story. Documentary is just a tool. Maybe try a different tool.

As I said, I don't know the subject, nor the scope of the story you want to tell, so I might be completely off base here. But, I hope this helped!
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Old June 27th, 2011, 08:20 AM   #10
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Re: How to handle documents

I've solved this problem by handling the document and the selected text as two elements. I create a consistent move for the pages themselves, a slow zoom in, for example. Legibility is not that important for this as I'm using it as a background but I typically do use digital stills so that resolution isn't a problem.
I then run the highlighted text as a crawl (or fancier in AI if I've enough time) and superimpose that over the documents. This is timed to a narrator who is reading the text.
To keep if from getting too deadly, I adjust the highlights in the text for emphasis as well. For example if the word "Not" is the critical word in the highlighted sentence, this word will change color or grow larger than the surround text. This timed to the narration, of course. I also have timed the background zoom so the text becomes legible at the point the reader should pay attention.
Note that using the relevant text as a separate element also allows you to keep it large. This is important if you may be distributing in multiple resolutions.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 02:53 PM   #11
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Re: How to handle documents

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc M. Myers View Post
I've solved this problem by handling the document and the selected text as two elements. I create a consistent move for the pages themselves, a slow zoom in, for example. Legibility is not that important for this as I'm using it as a background but I typically do use digital stills so that resolution isn't a problem.
I then run the highlighted text as a crawl (or fancier in AI if I've enough time) and superimpose that over the documents. This is timed to a narrator who is reading the text.
To keep if from getting too deadly, I adjust the highlights in the text for emphasis as well. For example if the word "Not" is the critical word in the highlighted sentence, this word will change color or grow larger than the surround text. This timed to the narration, of course. I also have timed the background zoom so the text becomes legible at the point the reader should pay attention.
Note that using the relevant text as a separate element also allows you to keep it large. This is important if you may be distributing in multiple resolutions.
Marc...when you say 'I then run the highlighted text as a crawl', I take it you are bringing the text in to look as though it is being typed on screen...but at the pace of the naration. This being so, how do you do it?

I have a project which will involved a lot of narrated text and want that effect. I'm aware there are time consuming ways to do it. I wondered if there is an easy way...maybe a dedicated program which can do it.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 12:28 AM   #12
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Re: How to handle documents

The shortest and quickest way is to use your character generator. The second option is to put your text on a very long narrow PhotoShop Document. That can be keyed in and moved using your zoom and positon controls in your editor.
The nice way to do these things is in After Effects or its relatives. This requires climbing up the learning curve.
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Old September 20th, 2011, 03:35 PM   #13
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Re: How to handle documents

Thanks Guys!

I actually used a combination of all of the ideas except the web idea (It's DVD only) and has worked out well.
I have AE and hate it so it was used very little but for a few clips it worked fine.

It keeps your attention and doesn't put anyone to sleep,
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