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Old June 1st, 2005, 03:44 AM   #1
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How do they do it? Cut back and forth

First post.


I'm brand new to video/editing and have just been messing around on iMovie and found that i really love it. Currently i'm trying to edit a video i took on a longweekend with my friends...lots of fun.


Anyways, i've been pondering something for a while, and figure that you all here would be the best people to ask...

When i'm watching tv and they cut back and forth between two people during a dialogue, is this accomplished with dual cameras? or do they do a take filming from one direction, then move the camera and repeat?

I watch tv and always wonder "how did they edit that?".


-Stefan
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Old June 1st, 2005, 04:01 AM   #2
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Hi there Stefan! Welcome aboard (H)DVinfo.net!

Both happen. Depends on the budget (how many camera's + crews they can
afford) and blocking (ie, are things in the way like lights, or people to control
the camera's etc.).

Most often it is shot with a couple of takes on side A and then a couple of
taks on side B with the same camera (so they switch camera position).

The smaller the crew + amount of equipment on set the easier it probably
becomes to shoot with multiple camera's at the same time.

In the end it really doesn't matter much (except for time spent on set), in
the editing room it looks the same (if it was set up the same).
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Old June 1st, 2005, 08:10 AM   #3
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Stephan,
Rob's on the nose... it doesn't matter in the end, it will look the same. Traditionally, using one camera and moving between setups is referred to as 'film style' and having multiple cameras that you 'switch' between is reffered to as 'television' or 'studio' setup. But nowadays, most everyone who shoots indy 'film' is shooting with video, in a film style single camera shoot. So most likely, in your case, you will be using a single camera to get each setup.
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Old June 1st, 2005, 07:40 PM   #4
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thanks guys you've cleared up something that although painfully obvious to all of you has been bothering me for a while.
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Old June 1st, 2005, 09:16 PM   #5
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Last year for the first time I watched footage of a news crew doing an interview. It's actually kind of mind blowing seeing how fake it is. How they do the whole interview then once it's finished, shoot footage of the interviewer nodding at nobody - sometimes they've even move so the background is more suitable. In the particular story we watched the interviewer asked a similar question several times (she was really trying to get a certain response from a cop) In the final clip only one question was shown and the response wasn't even the one originally given for that question!! This kind of thing is taken for granted for those in the industry but when you've never seen it before you feel cheated !!
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Old June 1st, 2005, 09:47 PM   #6
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Mark that's hilarious!

Didn't know anchors were such good actors! Well aside from reading to the viewers how many people were killed today and keeping a straight face while doing it.
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Old June 2nd, 2005, 09:05 PM   #7
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If I have a two camera shoot, which is slightly annoying, I'll sync up sound and literally lay one clip on top of the other and use my razor blade to cut the video out depending on which shot I want up. If we boomed both cameras, I don't need to sync, then I just make sure the audio is good.

heath

ps-If you show person A listening to person B's dialogue off camera, make sure you use person B's clean audio from his take (minus the video, of course). I used to use person A's audio, and it would be obviously echo-y and quiet.
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Old June 2nd, 2005, 09:41 PM   #8
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Adding to Rob's post.

Stefan,

Typically you would first shoot your scene in a wide shot. This shot is known as the "Master". The master includes all of the action and all of the actors in the scene. This is the wide shot that you see editors cut back to during a sequence.

Once your master is established you move on to "Coverage". Your coverage should duplicate your master in every way including, lines, timing, actors hitting their respective marks and little things that can be disastrous in the edit suite such as, was the actor drinking at a certain time, was his hand up, down, etc. Every little bit of action becomes important when you go to edit. This is why a script supervisor is so crucial to the continuity of a scene.

Now, this coverage can be accomplished in several ways.

One way is with one camera where you might do a medium close up (MCU) and then a tighter close up, (CU). This is usually the easiest way to cover a scene from a lighting standpoint.

Another way is with multiple cameras. Camera A gets the MCU and Camera B gets the CU. As Rob stated, this only works when there is no conflict in lighting, background or composition. It may sound easier and faster but believe it or not, sometimes it is actually more time consuming to do a two camera setup than a single camera setup.

Another thing to keep in mind is that whenever you shoot a stunt or explosion, you always shoot with multiple cameras, from different angles and at varying high frame rates (film) to capture the event in slow motion. On "MIAMI VICE" it wasn't uncommon for us to shoot upwards of 5 cameras for really big gags.

Once you get the hang of editing and actually start breathing life into your creation, I seriously suggest you lock up all your credit cards because it is very addicting and you WILL want to buy more and more toys! :)

Good luck and most of all...HAVE FUN!

RB
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Old June 3rd, 2005, 03:40 AM   #9
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wow thanks for all the info everybody. The big question I had was about the person A listening to person B's dialogue off camera...i just didn't know how to phrase it...but it's all cleared up now.


and you're right Rob, once i got started i couldn't stop. I'm supposed to go to work tomorrow morning but i'm still awake working on an iMovie project I have going, already dreaming about getting FCP soon. Hopefully my grades won't suffer too much when i get back to school.
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Old June 9th, 2005, 01:25 PM   #10
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Stefan,

Another thing to note related to which audio to use. I tend to edit a scene for sound first, then figure out which video to use. It's important that the conversation, the interaction, sounds right, and has the right pacing for the scene. So, it's a good thing to get the dialog right, then close you eyes and just listen. Seeing the video can throw you off at this point. Ask yourself if it sounds like a natural conversation.

Beginning filmmakers tend not to a have a feel right away for pacing dialog scenes. It can seem like one person says a line, then there is a long pause, the next person says there line, pause, etc.

One the audio is set, you can trim the video back and forth to get the overlap you want, the reactions, etc. You'll notice that on many dramatic television shows, they cut the video to the second person while the first person is still saying the last phrase or word of his dialog.

Josh
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Old June 10th, 2005, 05:33 PM   #11
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One thing not mentioned is the talent itself. In those cut backs where they appear to be talking/looking directly at each other, they aren't. The talent has to 'cheat', standing at an angle looking directly into the camera, not each other. (at least on the close ups), otherwise you would have to do an over the sholder shot using a single camera that might not be flattering to the actor (one a lot shorter than the other....like in a Tom Cruise movie).
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Old June 10th, 2005, 10:03 PM   #12
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Joe.

I'm sorry to disagree but, talent NEVER looks directly at the camera.

What happens in close-up coverage is that the off-camera actor is situated literally right next to the lens, often crowding the focus puller. Whether this happens from the "camera-left" side of the camera or the "camera-right" side of the camera (often times referred to as the "dumb-side") the actors always make eye contact with each other and never the lens.

As soon as an actor makes any eye contact with the lens, no matter how fleeting, it acknowledges and introduces the camera as another player. HUGE NO-NO! Unless you're getting silly like in Magnum P.I. or a campy Burt Reynolds movie, it is something to be avoided entirely.

The only time this is acceptable is if the camera is conveying the off-camera actor's POV.


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Old June 11th, 2005, 01:15 AM   #13
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Yeh, eyelines are of critical importance in suspending disbelief. If a line is delivered well, but the eyes look away, even for a brief moment, you have to find some insert or reaction to cut away to, or dump the line altogether. I have had to do this on a number of occassions. Eyes are huge, they are what people watch.
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Old June 11th, 2005, 09:23 AM   #14
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I'm a big fan of Jonathan Demme's close-ups--they're ALMOST looking into the camera.

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Old June 13th, 2005, 11:35 AM   #15
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There are a couple of places where it's okay to barrell the lens without it seeming really campy, but you have to be careful with it, because it can break the suspension of disbelief very easily. However, don't write it completely out of your book of tricks as a joke only. One of my favorite uses for it is as a moment of quiet realization. It takes a skilled actor to make it work - they have to make their face register that they are looking inward, even though their eyes are pointed directly at the lens. When it works it's extremely effective. There are other things it can be used for, you just have to know what you're doing and what effect you're trying to achieve. And you've got to have an actor that knows what they're doing and what effect you're trying to achieve as well.
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