Anyone out there?

IAC General Discussions
Ken Wilson
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:17 pm

Re: Anyone out there?

Post by Ken Wilson »

Well there have been lots of interesting points made on here since I last logged in!
First I will answer Ned when he asks about editing systems and which cameras are used. I don`t know how far behind you are with issues of FVM Ned, as I wrote a Q & A piece for the August issue which covered these points. But I will just mention again here that I have mostly used Adobe 6.0 in the earlier years of computer video editing and moved on to Premiere Pro for a number of years and now use Premiere Elements 15 which does all I want it to.
I have had various cameras from the days of film when I used Eumig or Bolex cameras, then Sony since I was forced onto video. (I too gave up for about 5 years as I didn`t want to switch from film to video as per Michael...this was between 1980-1985).

Like Tim, I am not a slave or dedicated to my equipment and only change when I have to, for example as technology moves on and forces us to update, or when a camera, microphone, tripod or whatever, breaks down and is uneconomic to repair. I am much more a creative type and love writing and editing the most. If we get a good team of actors on location and all is going well, shooting a new film is also great too.

I have written very many times about judging and agree with much of what Howard says. So many times a comment by a judge is made which is quite plainly wrong, insensitive and even hurtful. I have a huge folder of these which are saved for posterity. Often my best films are under-rated and one I may consider a weaker film is elevated above the best one. But that`s judging for you and a lot of that is just personal opinion. I also think sometimes a judge may tire of a certain film-makers style and "switches off" as soon as the film begins.

On Howard`s prolific shooting and rapid editing method...well I can`t do that. I completed shooting of the latest comedy film over a week ago and so far have only found the time for about an hour of preliminary editing on it. I am frequently called on to do jobs around the house or garden or help with grandchildren or as per last weekend, help one son to move house. There are always demands on my time so getting to the editing bench is tough because of this. I also shoot many takes so view and re-view each one many times choosing the best one or more likely, the best bits of several takes. Often the minor differences are very slight, but I want to pick moments that show actors in the very best light adding numerous subtleties. I can shoot films faster than edit them which is also the case with wedding videos. I am currently writing a second film with the hope we MAY be able to film it during the latter part of 2020, but getting a team of actors together (even a small team) is always a nightmare as readers of my articles in FVM will know.
ned c
Posts: 821
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:39 pm
Location: Dammeron Valley USA

Re: Anyone out there?

Post by ned c »

Thanks Ken and to all the contributors who have made this a fascinating thread. There is so much experience and knowledge (OK Jameela how do you create yourself twice in the shot? I have done it but it's real struggle) that there is an obvious basis for an IAC register of expertise. Let me start here; if anyone wants shots of the American West particularly the red canyons, high desert, I am close to Zion, rodeos; winter skiing and mountains then I am happy to supply. I can deliver 24 fps and 25 fps 4K and HD .mp4 or XAVC S. Let me know what you need.

ned c
User avatar
Jameela M Boardman
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:41 am
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Re: Anyone out there?

Post by Jameela M Boardman »

Re: two images of myself in the same frame...

This is done by using a camera mounted on a sturdy tripod that does not move at all. Also the camera must be one that holds its settings when it is switched off, so that when it is switched back on everything remains exactly the same: Zoom, focus, aperture white balance, everything must be exactly the same.

A good tip that Tim gave me is to also turn OFF stabilisation on the camera, especially electronic stabilisation... When a character walks across the frame or moves, we do not want the camera trying to smooth this motion, because it will no longer blend exactly with the other track.

So on the garden walk photo on the previous page, if you look carefully you will notice a kind of path up to the table made by the lawn mower - this is my 'no-go' area. First I record myself walking on one side of the "path", then switch everything off. Run in the house and do a quick costume change. Then I record a second shot walking on the other side of the path.

These two video recordings are placed on two tracks of my editing software, I use Adobe Premiere Elements on a Windows computer, using dual monitors. The tracks need to be slid relative to each other so that the two characters (actors) are walking adjacent each other. It helps to temporarily reduce the opacity of the top track to about 50% while doing this.

Now the top track needs to be cropped (applied effects) in the 'no-go' area, which I used the lawn mower path. However, since the characters are walking, this crop position needs to be continually moved, so key frames have to be employed to keep adjusting the crop position. Also a feathered edge helps hide the crop position. -- The cropped part of the frame goes transparent and we can see the track below.

This is best filmed on a cloudy day, so shadows don't cause problems. No matter how fast the costume change, the sun will have moved between the two shots, so a cloudy day is much safer.

Below is a screen shot from my Premiere Elements Time Line, the preview is on the other monitor and not shown.

I have used four tracks rather than the minimum two needed, to help facilitate the dialogue, with using time stretch for corrections on the no-speaking pauses between speaking.

Image

Video tracks 1 and 2 are for the character with the fawn coloured dress (except where there is a solo close up)
Video tracks 3 and 4 are for the character with the dark blue shirt.

The characters also need their separate audio tracks.
Last edited by Jameela M Boardman on Thu Sep 03, 2020 9:32 am, edited 3 times in total.
User avatar
Jameela M Boardman
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:41 am
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Re: Anyone out there?

Post by Jameela M Boardman »

Moving a bit further along the time-line to the table part

Image

This is the upper track on its own, the frame has been cropped (this character is on a listening pause here)
...'cropped' means transparent to see the track below.

Image

This is the lower track on its own (this character is speaking here)

When both these tracks are visable and sychronised nicely together, it looks like a conversation.
ned c
Posts: 821
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:39 pm
Location: Dammeron Valley USA

Re: Anyone out there?

Post by ned c »

Thanks Jameela; this is very helpful stuff; may I suggest you send to Mike Whyman for the magazine.

ned c
User avatar
Jameela M Boardman
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:41 am
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Re: Anyone out there?

Post by Jameela M Boardman »

To clarify what I was saying about using 'Time-Stretch' to facilitate correction in the dialogue no-speaking pauses...

When one track is recorded, after speaking one's line, a gap or pause needs to be left before speaking the next line (following the script). Now obviously the whole script is known, so the no-speaking pause has to be estimated. However, speaking the words silently to myself proved to be faster than speaking the words out loud.
:?

If for example, I need a gap of 8 seconds no-speaking while the other character is talking, but I may have only left a no-speaking pause of 5 seconds.

So to get it to fit together smoothly, this no-speaking pause had Time-Stretch applied to this bit of the character's video track.

Using the above numbers

5 seconds divided by 8 seconds = 5/8 = 0.625 or 62.5%

So I set the Time-Stretch speed for the no-speaking pause to 62.5% and it now fits.

I have used video tracks 2 and 4 for this trick, then if I get it wrong by a few frames it will not mess up my audio synchronising.

A WORD OF CAUTION, before you use Time Stretch on any bit of the video track, drag that bit of clip outside the group with the mouse into an open part of the timeline, then you don't ruin the whole thing! (other tracks will split unexpectedly) Once 'Time Stretch' has been applied, drag the extended bit of clip back into position. If there is very little action by the listening character, then running this bit of clip slower will not be noticable.
:D
User avatar
TimStannard
Posts: 1061
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: Surrey

Re: Anyone out there?

Post by TimStannard »

Jameela, thanks for the post. i'm sure many will find it useful

A little late now, I appreciate, but .... another (simpler?) approach to timing which removes the need to estimate when the other lines are spoken during the second take.

To help get the timing right - and avoid time stretching - simply play back the first recording (only audio is necessary) when making the second recording.

If there's risk that the first recording might be heard in the second (ie if the lines are spoken very close to each other or overlap) it might be possible to play it back into a single ear-bud, on the side of the head not facing the camera, or hide an ear bud under hair.

Just mute the 2nd track audio where the first track is being picked up.

Taking this further you could record (audio) the whole conversation (a guide track) then create two separate versions, one with each person speaking their lines.

Then ... do the "real" takes

Film person A whilst playing back the recording of person B
Film person B while playing back the recording of person A

This is basically how multitrack (audio) recording has been done ever since its invention.


If anyone is interested my very first attempt at anything like this is here on YouTube: https://youtu.be/RBs5VP2EKDY
It was never intended as anything other than an experiment so I never bothered recording the voice properly which was a shame as it turned out rather cute. As the voice is required I processed it - it's horribly over processed (Daleks in water) but at leat you can make it out.

It was shot on my first camera a £150 JVC standard def mini DV cam.

From a technical point of view - you can see the effect of me having left Image Stabilization on (look along the line of the roof of the play house for long enough and you'll spot it)

This was Elise's first acting role in one of my films.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
User avatar
Jameela M Boardman
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:41 am
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Re: Anyone out there?

Post by Jameela M Boardman »

Tim, that is a delightful little film, so lovely.

Yes if you look for it, there are stabiliser and sound quality issues, but we can beat ourselves up too much about technical issues! ...What made the little film so great was its magic (in more ways than one) and the imagination of being 4 years old. Also the title was fantastic.
Post Reply