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Old June 22nd, 2004, 02:09 PM   #1
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Question for the Film Makers 101

If you were going to make a film feature (term "film" used liberally, I mean video), which way would you do it?

A.) Assemble the video clips, then dub in the narration.


B.) Narrate the story, and then dub in the video clips to illustrate.
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Old June 22nd, 2004, 02:54 PM   #2
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When using voice overs, I start with the video then add the narration. Sometimes you may have to fill in spots with some still shots, etc. Works for me, but I also don't create scripts or storyboards for our trainig films. Just basic outlines.
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Old June 22nd, 2004, 02:58 PM   #3
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When going the "audio-first" route, wordiness will be your project's downfall. Unrestrainedly lengthy narration forces the video track to fill in with oftentimes irrelevant or repetitive images.
All the best,
Robert K S

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Old June 23rd, 2004, 07:38 AM   #4
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personally, I think that's a question you can only answer after playing
around on your own. There are conventions to everything, but it might
work better for you to switch around. When I do commerical production
work I always write a script and get shots acccordingly....then I do a
voice over. You might might end up getting some visuals that'll
slightly change your script, so having a blueprint (which is exactly
what a script's not a book, it's a blueprint that is a living
and breating document) is important, so you stay on track of your
mission. However, when it's all shot...and you go to do your voice
over, then you can tweak a little based on what you know you got and

I always expand and contract video to the audio. Like if I were
shooting exteriors of a business and I didn't get the sign (always get
the sign!) I'd make a graphic and make sure I said the name to
re-inforce the visual. You always do that..

My point is...if somehthing happens to the video you can tweak the
audio. I think the general rule is script matter what.

Christopher C. Murphy
Director, Producer, Writer
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Old June 23rd, 2004, 09:48 AM   #5
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Robert made a good observation. Many editors cut the video/film first, without sound, trying to tell the story visually. Dialogue is only added to enhance the story but you hope to be able to achieve the ability to understand the story without any dialogue at all, though that is difficult to do. Walter Murch works this way.
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Old June 24th, 2004, 09:17 AM   #6
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I had a client one time who was an audio guy but had no experience in video, and he had a totally completed sound track, music and all, before we shot a frame. It was a nightmare trying to get all the action to match. Probably doubled my production time, because many of the shots had to be continuous and I couldn't rely on cutaways to compress or extend time in many cases.
In TV commercials, however, it is sometimes common for us to get in a completed audio track. That's generally not much of a problem. With a real movie, however, the visuals need to come first. That doesn't mean you can't lay down your narration track and start laying visuals over it, but you don't want to do that with a mixed track, because you'll have to slip audio around a lot to make things work out.
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Old June 24th, 2004, 09:35 AM   #7
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Flexibility is the key here I think. Depending on the nature of the project, one can cut to video or audio first. In a documentary, it's not uncommon to make a "radio cut" first. Even without a narrative VO. Sometimes, its easiest to cut all the interviews and commentary so that it makes sense. THEN go back, lay in B roll footage over the commentary... feeling free to extend and overwrite teh "script" you have crafted from the audio sequences.

How many ways can you skin a cat?
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Old June 27th, 2004, 06:13 PM   #8
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Thanks to everyone for replying

I've been following silently. Good points made by all. We seem to agree there's more than one way to do it, having a good outline and flexibility are keys, and don't forget to get the sign...Lol!

Your jobs are safe...I'm never going to be doing this for anything but fun. Accordingly, my voice-over morphed into an instrumental music track. No one will accuse me of mucking it up with wordiness now. But it was truly shocking how adding something as ubiquitous as a music track transformed ordinary, non-descript footage into something that can successfully masquerade as art.
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