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Old November 21st, 2012, 03:16 PM   #1
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'Crossing the line' rule

I'm interested in peoples thoughts about the 'crossing the line' rule., specifically in relation to one subject, not two.

If there are four cameras looking at a talking head, one through a teleprompter (0 degrees), two to the right looking at the talent (19 and 39 degrees off 0), and one to the left (about -45 degrees off 0), clearly moving from the left camera to a right camera 'crosses the line' - 0. This makes for a disconnect as far as the viewers are concerned.

Is there any way of making the use of the four cameras - especially the left camera - acceptable?
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Old November 21st, 2012, 03:58 PM   #2
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Re: 'Crossing the line' rule

I would think that the line in that case is in front of/behind the subject, not right/left. Your 0 degree camera is not on the line, it is perpendicular to the line. It also depends if the subject is turning to the cameras, as they do in studio news.

The question is, do you need the left 45 degree camera? Why not right 45 degrees? Do you ever need to be behind the subject's head (thus making your assumed right/left line more acceptable)?
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Old November 21st, 2012, 04:22 PM   #3
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Re: 'Crossing the line' rule

Thanks Edward. Three things:

1. The filming is all done so that is locked in.
2. All cameras, including the left, are in front of the head.
3. It seems like in this sort of situation, 'the line' is the line from the camera in front of the talent to the talent, not at right angles across as you suggest.
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Old November 21st, 2012, 04:28 PM   #4
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Re: 'Crossing the line' rule

I'd say cut the scene together with the 4th camera, and see if you find it disorientating. If so, then just don't use the 4th camera. If you absolutely need that 4th angle, you could try flipping it in post to make the screen direction match, as long as there's no text that will make the flip obvious.
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Old November 21st, 2012, 04:34 PM   #5
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Re: 'Crossing the line' rule

How about not using the camera running the teleprompter? Now where's your line? I find it weird to shift from someone talking at me (into the lens) and then talking to the wall where I used to be (any of your other cameras).
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Old November 21st, 2012, 05:54 PM   #6
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Re: 'Crossing the line' rule

Aside from a horizontal flip... What about making the editing more "funky"? For instance, during emphatic moments of the interview, doing a split screen with right- and left-facing head talking at the same time, and then enlarging one or the other side to fill the screen?
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 02:15 AM   #7
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Re: 'Crossing the line' rule

Thanks guys. I think I have a handle on it now. Here is a good explanation for the problem I've created.

Crossing the Line

What I have done is crossed the line - the line of sight or movement. I'm going to experiment tonight to see if I can rearrange the shots so that I never jump straight from the left to the right, or the reverse, rather either go from or to an intermediate shot on the line (teleprompter angle) or from or to a graphic (cut away). I check what that looks like and if it doesn't help I'll ditch the left angle...which I don't want to do...don't want to lose any of my angles!!

Adrian...thanks for the suggestion. However I think reverse shots on screen at the same time would draw attention to the technique and that is not what I'm wanting to do. I want the technical changes to be invisible as much as possible...

Les...there doesn't seem to be an issue at all with the teleprompter angle mixed with the two on the right. It is the crossing of the line from left to right (or reverse) which seems to be the issue. Thanks.

Edward: Flpping wouldn't work as there are things which would indicate the flip has occurred so it would be seen...As I said above, I don't want to lose any of the angles so am going to work to retain them. Hope it works...Thanks also...
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 05:17 AM   #8
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Re: 'Crossing the line' rule

I can tell you that the following is acceptable when crossing the line of demarkation:-

1. Dolly across the line.

2. Cut from the main cam where the talent is looking into the cam to the opposite side, never cut from one side to the other.

3. Use a cut-in and then cross the line on the following shot, i.e. a C.U. shot of the talents hand gesture.

There may be others but this is all I can remember from film school.

Steve
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 12:29 PM   #9
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Re: 'Crossing the line' rule

Thanks Steve. Those are exactly the ways I've discovered to overcome the problem so am working on resolving it. Appreciated.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 12:47 PM   #10
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Re: 'Crossing the line' rule

So...I've fixed the 'crossing the line' issues, but one of my daughters and husband who watched the project last night commented that they reacted to the more 'profile' angle which was one its own from one side (two other angles from the other side and one through the teleprompter).

It could be that the issue (and of course the whole project) has been discussed with them and so they were coming to it in a pretty 'evaluating' frame of mind...certainly they did not come to it cold without expectations...(Actually, the latter point is an issue in getting it evaluated. No one who has seen it so far has been what you could call 'your normal/average viewer'. They have all looked at it with a degree of evalutation and thus are 'looking for things'.)

Does anyone have any further ideas about use of angles from two sides of a talent and the way they affect viewers? Or have any ideas where I could go to get ideas on this?
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 02:46 PM   #11
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Re: 'Crossing the line' rule

Are there any other differences between the two compositions?

If you pick up any book on cinematography (eg Five Cs), that might give you ideas. Eg characters on left of screen more wavering, characters on right more resolute. I think Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca might switch from left to right over the movie.

Amount of space -- less space in front generally means character is more closed off.

Place within sequence -- maybe they're reacting more strongly because it sticks out as the odd one out, or maybe because it indicates change. Eg in movies when a character changes their trajectory, sometimes the camera will do a half or full circle to change the direction they're facing on screen.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 02:49 PM   #12
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Re: 'Crossing the line' rule

Thanks Adrian. When I get home I'll post some screen shots to show the difference between them...
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 04:32 AM   #13
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Re: 'Crossing the line' rule

So...here are my four camera angles. It is screen shot 4 (looking left to right) that seems to cause some people some problems...
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 12:13 PM   #14
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Re: 'Crossing the line' rule

I can see why it causes people problems as in the last shot the subject is looking in the wrong direction as though he had spun round in his chair & was talking to someone else.

It is OK to cross the line on occasion but you need to lead the viewer round by the nose with a dolly shot or Steadicam & a talking head interview is not one of those occasions.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 12:35 PM   #15
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Re: 'Crossing the line' rule

So...in this case, even though you never go directly from one angle across the line to another, but rather go though a 'line' shot or through a cutaway, it is still not acceptable?
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