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Old January 6th, 2005, 02:47 PM   #1
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cutting in camera or coverage?

both methods obviously have there uses, but lately I've found that I'm really drawn to making to meticulous storyboards and following them exactly.

I'd love to hear everyone/anyone else's thoughts on this.
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Old January 6th, 2005, 04:34 PM   #2
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Michael:

If you mean by this that you only shoot the sections of dialogue that pertain to a given angle rather than shoot the whole scene (or large chunks of it) from different angles, I like a certain balance of this myself. There's no real point to shooting the entire action from a high-and-wide if you know for sure that it only really plays for the entrance and the exit; you will save time and (obviously not a big deal) tape stock with this method. However, it may be beneficial for the actors to run through the entire scene as a master, or "ramp up to speed" performance-wise on a tighter angle by starting the dialogue earlier than you think you will use. Obviously the danger is that you leave yourself with fewer cutting options, which may become an issue if you end up editing the scene in an unexpected way, which can be the case with any film. For instance, if a later scene is made more comprehensible by cutting back to a few shots from an earlier scene, it may be desirable to use a different angle than the one represented in the first scene.

The way I approach this sort of thing is to start with a shotlist (preferably in advance, but sometimes it's created on the day of the shoot, or even after the first rehearsal) and make sure that we have delivered at least one way to cut the scene. A good editor can then make maybe half a dozen different cuts from that material, but we know that it is at least cuttable. If the scene calls for it, we might attempt a "one-er", i.e. a continuous master, and if we are really feeling brave we won't cover it any other way. The risk here is that the pacing will be perfect, the performances all good and that the scene can either live intact or if it needs to be shortened, that it can be done so from the beginning or the end. The huge risk is that it doesn't work in the context of the film as a whole. It's very hard to predict whether or not an extended shot will slow down the pace of a film until you get to the cutting stage.
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Old January 6th, 2005, 04:45 PM   #3
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Thanks Charles, you're helping to crystalize my thoughts on this topic. I'm thinking a balance is the best way to go. Or, maybe time allowed, go both ways. With a wide master, and OTS shots for each actor- and then work the storyboards.
So much for tape, time and batteries though...
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Old January 6th, 2005, 05:04 PM   #4
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I think one of the best/worst things about the DV boom, is the low cost of tape. When you are shooting film, even Super 8, you are pretty well forced to plan your shots ahead of time. (Unless money is no object). An overlooked drawback to the low cost of tape, is the endless variations and re-takes that can be generated by an undisciplined director/actors and crew. Just as it can be daunting on an editor to have barely enough coverage, so too can it be overwhelming to have an hours worth of coverage for a thirty second scene.

Bottom line, as Charles points out, best to use a bit of a mix. Judicious pre-production planning/storyboarding/shotlists - a bit of creative flexibility on the set - a good "Script girl" or continuity person to keep track of what coverage you get - and on to the next shot.
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Old January 6th, 2005, 05:47 PM   #5
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Well said, Richard.
I'm working up a full on pre-viz for my next project, with shot for shot storyboards, lighting and sound notes ect...and I am tempted to just shoot the boards and see how it goes, but I am a bit worried about coverage. I'm not to concerned about the overwhelming the editor with too many choices, because I am the editor, and frankly I'd much rather have too much footage than too little.
But as far as balance goes, I think I'll need a bit more experiance mixing the two methods before I can relistically know when to say enough is enough.

but as you said this the benefit of DV. I can afford to make a mistake and the monetary cost will be relatively low- the spiritual/emotional cost on cast and crew is another matter altogether, though, and I recognize this- hell, I've paid the price myself a time or two.

I've read that Hitchcock just shot the boards- of course, I'm no Hitchcock- I mean, hey , have you seen the gut on that guy?
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Old January 7th, 2005, 07:01 PM   #6
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Also remember... your movie will also not strictly follow your storyboard... so I think some coverage is good in case the pacing of your storyboard is not effective.
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Old January 9th, 2005, 06:37 AM   #7
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I think it also depends on experience. The less experience the more
you shoot usually (and is probably better as well to give you options).
The more experience the more easy you can see what can work
and what doesn't, what might need (or warrant) more coverage
and where you can save time etc.
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