Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Frame Up ...And Down

Spent the weekend up at Work Buddy’s where the last of the concert footage from the second Twelfth Night gig was being imported onto the hard drives ready to edit. Watching the material meant alternating between belatedly applauding the remarkable work the lighting guys at the Albany did and screaming at the screens in frustration.

The former was much more fun. The latter came about from a few simple errors made by the main camera crew contracted to film the event. While I scrambled around with the Fig Rig, they oversaw the five fixed-position cameras covering pretty much every angle the event. With that much material it should have been a cakewalk editing it for the proposed first assembly date. Except for...

Well, there was the tiny issue that, even though they had been informed the concert was being shot on 16:9, one camera came in at letterboxed 4:3 and two were straight 4:3. One of those was the camera set up facing the stage to provide the concert’s master shot, which is a bit unfortunate.

Still, things like that can be overcome: Bump it up by 1.34% to fit and then simply re-rack it, lopping off the audience at the bottom, thereby keeping the band in shot. If it was just that, there would be nothing to it.

But then after a few minutes, the operator zooms in on the stage. And then out. And then goes all over the place panning back and forth... on the fucking master!!??

Never mind that a couple of the alternate angles zoom in so close on the lead singer that went he bounces out of shot the flummoxed operator swirls the camera around trying to zero in on him... it doesn’t get more heinous than that. Especially when it creates an outside possibility that we have to compromise on what to cut to now.

Having said that, the crew were great kids and some of the footage was utterly outstanding. The blunders were unfortunate to say the least. If any blame needs to be apportioned it should be at the door of whichever film school they attended.

The Esteemed School of Art had a Fine Art Film course. I never bothered to see any of the material the students on it produced. All I knew was that whenever we needed kit for an AV project they had already signed it out, or booked the rostrum rooms, editing bays or sound mixing booths. Fuck knows what they did in there.

I also got to know one of the students on the course. He probably gave me better advice than any of the tutors. To understand framing and composition, go to the Tate or the National Gallery and look at the old masters. To understand editing, stick a film in the VCR and watch it at fast-forward picture search to see how scenes are cut without getting distracted by the story. Everything after that comes down to intuition.

Fuck knows what kids get taught on all these film and media courses nowadays. Do they think it gives them instant access to eat at the grown-ups’ table?


At 7:34 am, Blogger wcdixon said...

Hear hear!

At 10:47 am, Blogger potdoll said...

that's good advice about the old masters. it has inspired a trip to tate modern or britain when i'm back in london. i need to go to that soames or something too, where Rake's Progress is.

At 11:17 am, Blogger Riddley Walker said...

Still, we'll just...


Huzzah... :-(

Seriously, ta for all the work on this, fella. ;-)


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