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Old November 15th, 2012, 08:56 AM   #1
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Does this look wrong to you? (Editing technique)

Do you think the talent/presenter should almost always look directly at the camera?
Take a look at this short video on the Evernote website.
Introducing Evernote Business - YouTube
When they cut away to the 2nd camera he loses eye contact with the viewer.
What do you think of this technique does it disrupt the connection with the viewer?
It seems a bit like someone staring off into the distance while they're having a conversation with me.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 09:32 AM   #2
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Re: Does this look wrong to you? (Editing technique)

Hi Keith,

I'm seeing more and more of this edit style as of late, and I think what makes this one look odd is that they kept cutting from the profile to the straight-on shot and the two don't mix. If the profile had B-roll on both sides then I think it can work, just not the back and forth as they did it.

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Old November 15th, 2012, 10:33 AM   #3
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Re: Does this look wrong to you? (Editing technique)

IMHO (And that of Herbert Zettl, who wrote the text my media college used in its curriculum a million or so years ago...), the cut away needs to be minimum 30 degrees from the main shot and 2 "shot types" different. ie. Medium to extreme long shot OR medium to close up.

I PERSONALLY would have set up the "bail cam" as a wider shot and either significantly higher or lower shot angle OR used a "HEY! Look at all the cool stuff in the production of this video" shot.

I also hate the straight cut-to-moving shot transitions.

Regarding ALWAYS looking at the camera, it depends on whether you are doing a TEACHING moment (newscaster style) or a FLY-ON-THE-WALL "eavesdrop" style video. I routinely use the documentary style "looking off camera" approach, suggesting that the viewer is an observer of a conversation that is taking place between the presenter and someone we can't see off screen. Having said that, I'm currently working on a Kickstarter Pitch Video where the request for crowd funding IS to the viewer so he is addressing the camera directly.

Horses for courses...
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Old November 15th, 2012, 01:49 PM   #4
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Re: Does this look wrong to you? (Editing technique)

This is what you get when you throw out the rule book... or at least Shaun's professor's book. If there are no rules, then how can it be wrong? How can it be anything other than your opinion?

I think the answer lies in understanding of how humans interact with each other and the world.

If one wants the viewer's attention, cognition or ability to process your client's message to diminish as they unknowingly skip a gear when one does things like that video does, then by all means, do whatever and sooth the ego that there are no rules. But if one wants to optimize and maximize the ability for the viewer to follow and understand the client's message, then why not do what one can to make it as easy as possible for the targeted audience? Or maybe even do something to help the viewer suffer through the client's messages? What is the basis for deciding the things that help and those that don't?

Personally, Shaun laid it out pretty simply. I would only add that I think it's OK to move to the side shot the way they did if the primary shot was also off lens. To have one shot into the lens and the next one not means the viewer moved to the side. Think about it, I don't care if you are a million years old like Shaun and me or a youngster fresh out of film school, in a conversation, if someone is talking to you (into the lens) and you move to the side, do you think they will keep talking to the wall behind where you used to stand? Conversely, if someone is talking to the person next to you (off camera) and you move, it's perfectly reasonable that he/she keep talking to the person (off camera) that they were before you moved.

Last edited by Les Wilson; November 15th, 2012 at 02:32 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old November 16th, 2012, 04:12 AM   #5
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Re: Does this look wrong to you? (Editing technique)

As someone still very much on the bottom slopes of the film production learning curve, it seems to me that as soon as an editing technique becomes so obvious folk start talking about it, it has failed. Without knowing too much about about the 'rules' of editing, the video in the OP made me feel uncomfortable, and left me thinking more about the production techniques than its content - which is pretty much what this thread is all about.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 10:40 AM   #6
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Re: Does this look wrong to you? (Editing technique)

I agree with Jeff---we're seeing this more and more. I'm not sure, but this seems to have started as a kind of "hipster" interview approach used almost exclusively within the tech industry (possibly started by Apple?)...for videos where the subject is attempting to relate to us in a supposedly cool, down-to-earth, somewhat snarky, somewhat ironic, yet friendly way. :-)

At least this is what I associate it with. I can't imagine, for example, using this technique for an interview with a holocaust survivor describing their experiences. It's way too hipster and snarkified for such a serious, moving testimony.

Here's a classic example (where the subject looks off-camera for the entire video)...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIRBxRlsYR0

Scott
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Old November 16th, 2012, 12:06 PM   #7
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Re: Does this look wrong to you? (Editing technique)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
)...for videos where the subject is attempting to relate to us in a supposedly cool, down-to-earth, somewhat snarky, somewhat ironic, yet friendly way....
I contend that is the job of the actor not the editor.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 01:28 AM   #8
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Re: Does this look wrong to you? (Editing technique)

For what it's worth I have a corporate client, energy giant, for whom we shoot this style on many projects. One camera has talent looking directly in (usually reading off telepromter), other cam will be very close to same axis (much closer than in the video posted in the OP) shooting a tighter shot (sometimes doing an arty, handheld floaty thing, getting hands gesturing, tilt up to head, etc.) It's worked for the client for several years. These videos are all sorts of talks about all sorts of things (safety, etc.)

Now, I think the shot sizes are maybe a little TOO close in the original vid here. That guy is so animated/intense I feel like he's going to eat me, would've widened that shot out to beltline or below, cutaway, moved closer to main cam axis and maybe chest or mid-chest to head.

Moving shot to static shot edits? Yeah, always a tough call. Case by case basis, I say.

This just the opinion of one spazzy Paul Simon-lookin' dude.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 10:53 AM   #9
 
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Re: Does this look wrong to you? (Editing technique)

I don't like it, its impersonal.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 12:15 PM   #10
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Re: Does this look wrong to you? (Editing technique)

Looking at lens=talking directly to the viewer,

Looking off camera=talking to someone else, and the viewer is simply listening in.

Decide what you want, and stick with it. If you need to justify using a 2nd camera, give the the presenter something to do with his hands, and then use camera 2 as a cutaway.

Otherwise, you're mainly just breaking the connection with the viewer because you think it looks cool.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 12:45 PM   #11
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Re: Does this look wrong to you? (Editing technique)

It's interesting that the link Scott put up is a satirical mick take out of Apple, which suggests they were being equally ironic in their choice of camera angle.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 09:54 PM   #12
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Re: Does this look wrong to you? (Editing technique)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Ward View Post
Looking at lens=talking directly to the viewer,

Looking off camera=talking to someone else, and the viewer is simply listening in.
Maybe that's too harsh a dichotomy. Sometimes the off-camera style can create a more intimate feeling and a stronger connection in interviews, especially when you hear the interviewer's questions, because it feels like you are observing an intimate conversation. Just my thought.
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Old November 28th, 2012, 09:02 AM   #13
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Re: Does this look wrong to you? (Editing technique)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eamon Flannigan View Post
...Sometimes the off-camera style can create a more intimate feeling and a stronger connection in interviews, especially when you hear the interviewer's questions, because it feels like you are observing an intimate conversation....
That's understood but the issue is mixing the two not the merits of each.
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