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-   -   Better continuity techniques (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/techniques-independent-production/41988-better-continuity-techniques.html)

Glenn Gipson March 28th, 2005 10:41 PM

Better continuity techniques
I would be interested in hearing people's ideas/experience for good continuity techniques. These suggestions would be good for training persons to do continuity. Thanks.

Rob Lohman April 3rd, 2005 04:33 AM

I'm not sure how you can train such people, but I always assumed
people doing those kind of jobs are the ones with hawk like eyes
who just naturally notice all kind of (small) details etc.

John Sandel April 3rd, 2005 12:10 PM

I have three rules for ensuring continuity:

1. keep meticulous notes
2. keep meticulous notes
3. keep meticulous notes

Beyond that, your best hedges against sloppy work, esp. on an indie set (where things can get chaotic & you may not be paying your crew a fortune), are to hire someone with experience, give them a Polaroid camera and include them in powwows for the next day's setups.

Patrick King April 3rd, 2005 04:04 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by John Sandel : ...give them a Polaroid camera and include them in powwows for the next day's setups. -->>>

Wouldn't this be the perfect use for a good digital photo camera and a desktop printer? Print 3-4 copies of several key shots: one to DP, one to wardrobe, one to set/grips, one to (others as needed). Seems like doing this on a major production could pay for itself in not having to reshoot a setup or work around it in post if it couldn't be reshot.

Rob Lohman April 4th, 2005 04:21 AM

I watched a production diary of the new King Kong that Peter
Jackson is shooting and they where shooting a TON of pictures
with a digital camera for *lighting* contuinity. They used a
laptop to store and catalog all the photos. Might give you some
ideas, see this production diary here:


Steven Gotz April 4th, 2005 08:55 AM

Some people are just naturally good at it. My wife spots things all of the time. Now with the DVR is is even worse because she can "prove" it to me. So I have to sit through every continuity mistake in ever movie a couple of times.

Seriously, I think it is as much art as science. You need to have an eye for such things. Details are important, and some people can concentrate on them better than others.

Dylan Couper April 4th, 2005 10:48 AM

<<<-- Originally posted by Steven Gotz : Some people are just naturally good at it. My wife spots things all of the time. Now with the DVR is is even worse because shoe can "prove" it to me. -->>>

Women seem to naturally have a better eye for that type of detail then men.

I am HORRIBLE at that type of thing. I will always find someone (female) to do the job.

Make up girl: "Wasn't he dead in your last scene?"
Dylan: "He was a 'he'?"

George Ellis April 4th, 2005 01:03 PM

Yep, takes special people... ;)

One thing I remember reading was what George Lucas was doing and how using digital allowed them to proof that instant or day and the shots were available on demand to compare and contrast. But not everyone has the budget to have servers with that storage and the staff to log, index, and call up to compare.

George Ellis April 4th, 2005 01:07 PM


But hey, that would be a good idea with the digital camera. Digitize the story boards that match the scenes, put the start and stop picture on the edges of the board and compare for the next shots. You could even use a middle shot as the new storyboard for amended sections, etc. At least that sounds like an idea that would work as how I understand it working.

Even without a digital camera doing DV, frame grabs. But that does mean doing dailys and logging the material soonest. More cameras and angles, more work.

Of course, I do unrehearsed event stuff, so a what is a storyboard? ;)

Edit - Thread boil-over.... A rule for film school. "Never tell an engineer that you have an issue as they will always figure out some solution and it may not work." ;)

Nick Jushchyshyn April 7th, 2005 08:27 AM

Another note is to plan the continuity BEFORE the shoot.
If the scene calls for transitions of a signficant prop of physical changes in appearence, these notes can be added into columns of your shot lists before going on set.

A scene that calls for a character to use a hankerchief to wipe sweat from his brow could be pre-planned so that 1) the hankercheif starts in the outside breast pocket (slightly visible) and charter has sweat. 2) Charater uses hankercheif 3) Places hankerchief into INSIDE breast pocket after use. (now inconsistancies in the exact shape of the exposed prop will be less of an issue.

The shots list might be arranged in order of camera setup (wide shots, med. shots, CUs) but also note the position of the prop and presence of brow sweat for each shot.

One other pre-planning task could be to assign someone to be responsible for continuity. In some productions, there is staff/crew who's primary job is tracking and maintaining continuity.

Have fun.

Richard Alvarez April 7th, 2005 10:24 AM

SCRIPT SUPERVISING AND FILM CONTINUITY third edition by Pat P. Miller. Focal Press ISBN 0-240-80294-2

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