Part 2: See No Evil

The First Cut

From FilmmakerIQ.com

Continuing the series on the editing of Pitch Black, we move onto scenes 2 & 3 which function as a breather after scene 1 (a bit of light comedy after the intensity of the interrogation) and as a vehicle for exposition and setting up the rest of the film:

I tackled these two scenes thinking like they’d be a walk in the park. They were a beast. I had to sync almost 100 audio takes (which I did over 8 hours on the weekend). Then the actual assembly of the rough cut… I did most of scene 2 last night in about 3.5 hours and scene 3 today in about 7.5 hours.

The biggest challenge of this cut was working with what, for me, has been my most complicated blocking to date. Working without a script supervisor and shooting it in a wickedly quick schedule caused some continuity things to go unnoticed (until I’m in the editor). These scenes also represent the first two scenes we shot so there’s that whole thing to deal with.

So fighting continuity, and focusing issues (I’m gonna say it’s a motif representing Haley’s blindness), I cobbled this together. It’s probably a little more polished than straight rough (because now I have Da Cat’s voice in my head, yelling at me to tighten every frame :) ) but it represents the first “draft” of these scenes.

The music and sound effects are there just to get the flavor of the pacing. I have firmly decided that I will kill myself and write the score (which I yack about later)/

Scene 2 is mostly color graded, I haven’t done much with scene 3. I’m still not totally decided how I want to grade this (though I really like the red hue that Ryan casts on Haley at the end of Scene 3 – along with the knives in the beginning of Scene 2, it foreshadows the final scene)

 

Rich’s comments:

00;00;05;16 Audio seems early by a frame or 2, It is cut tight to the word, you might cut to the picture 2 frames earlier (slide the edit point, not slip the entire cut) Another important point to learn, as you edit, and hear changes in the presence/room tone from shot to shot, to help the edit, extend the audio of the previous shot right up to 1 frame before the first words starts and do a 1 frame dx (short nomenclature for dissolve) to this shots audio, The first word hopefully overpowers the change in room tone, allowing the audience to forget what it was…

00;00;14;20 Nice cut here, one thing for people to remember is that it takes the brain approximately 2 frames to understand a change in the visual stimuli when a cut or other effect occurs, to counteract that and to make the cut seem smooth, you duplicate the action, if you see a person turning and then across the cut they seem to have backed up a frame or 2 it more than likely will make the cut seem smooth. This by the way is a major difference in how cutting a film versus cutting a “tape” originated mutli-cam show works, Where the multi-cam show will just switch between shots, keeping everything in sync, wheras the film will smooth them out, The difference being much more noticeable when its 60 feet wide, with the multi-cam show cuts coming off as slightly jarring. This of course takes much more time to do. And the time constraints of television preclude most of that work…

00;00;19;20 Hand in wrong place, I would not sweat this one, it works (rule broken about matching actions but it works and that is all that counts)

00;00;22;05 Kind of a tough cut there where the shot before feels like it is moving right to left on the screen and this cut has a slight feel of moving to the right as it cuts (it has to deal with her head position) play with it, maybe this place open it up a few frames to see what happens. In general have you notice the slightly moving camera takes the kiss of death off of a number of cuts, where it might not have worked so well if the camera was static? Another rule down the tubes!

00;01;02;14 feels like the facial expression is not continuing into this cut, you might need a few more frames on the tail of the last shot. not sure how it will match, this is a nit picky comment :)

00;01;15;02 take off heads of this shot, and move her slightly forward, seems slightly repeated, unless you want to set that up as a style where you slightly repeat the action everything you see that type of POV and that type of music…

00;01;24;02 Try to compress the shot to start on that frame, we do not have to be that literal here, the heart of this shot is the conversation of the 2 women, not the walking to the other room… The audience gets that we are somewhere else as we see the other room starting on the left side of the frame.

00;01;55;00 ADR time here I think, or at least a lot of audio work, her line seems off mike,

00;01;55;18 The acting is a bit over the top on the lean back and the last suck in of air (probably because its a much closer shot) Is this shot necessary, or would her look and sigh carry it from extending the previous shot thru this one? This is one of the examples where a perfect cut, might not be perfect for a scene, where we can make incredible cuts now, because we can preview unlimited variations, instead of just a few when it was film running. Sometimes as you edit you need to go back to even before the scene and run it all the way thru. This particular shot was the one that really stood out when I took the whole scene in.

00;02;03;00 Possibility to cut heads off of this shot, we do remember she had just sighed, Depends on how you want to play it with sound, especially when she opens the cupboard and then turns because she heard something…

00;02;06;08 Unless there is sound to motivate her head turn away and back to Hayley, I would eliminate the shot… too many exaggerated pauses, tho building tension can easily become caricature… Think about a light knock on the wood of the screen door

00;02;19;15 As she is shouting “Oh My God” run his first “Hi” on top of her, He would be trying to quickly respond and diffuse the situation, and do you have a shot of Hayley being startled awake,? If there was that much screaming the dead would be coming up from underneath the floorboards :PThink about cutting to his shot much earlier, and carry her voice under his shot.

00;02;24;00 Missing Hayley here…. we need to see her getting awake, or eyes opening, something to motivate the “It’s fine” from Katie perhaps have an ADR line from Hayley about “What’s happening, what’s the matter?” Hayley right now is way down and almost unintelligible.

00;02;33;00 low angel to Ryan seems off do you have more heads to play with, he seems like his action has stopped compared to the shot before, it might be just a matter of a few more frames on the head of that shot

00;03;16;00 We need to hear Hayley say “Kate” or better yet, see her say it. Hard to say since I haven’t seen the takes…

00;04;23;00 Cut to the side shot, Katy’s arm in wrong position, and she seems stalled there visually, check on adding tails to the previous shot to get her moving, then cut heads off of this shot.

00;04;32;00 Duplication of action of her at the door, then turning to talk to Katy. Not sure if you have other takes, with him just walking away, or surveying the place, something to force your eye more to him and ignoring what is happening in the house

Love the close-up of the eye, I would think about using it inverted in the lightning when you do your next pass

 

The Second Cut

 

My responses to Rich

Going on some of this from memory as I started recutting a couple days ago but I had to take a few days off…

@Da_Cat said:
00;00;05;16 Audio seems early by a frame or 2, It is cut tight to the word, you might cut to the picture 2 frames earlier (slide the edit point, not slip the entire cut) Another important point to learn, as you edit, and hear changes in the presence/room tone from shot to shot, to help the edit, extend the audio of the previous shot right up to 1 frame before the first words starts and do a 1 frame dx (short nomenclature for dissolve) to this shots audio, The first word hopefully overpowers the change in room tone, allowing the audience to forget what it was…

Overlapped the sound of the dishes with a quick audio fade

@Da_Cat said:
00;01;02;14 feels like the facial expression is not continuing into this cut, you might need a few more frames on the tail of the last shot. not sure how it will match, this is a nit picky comment :P

00;01;15;02 take off heads of this shot, and move her slightly forward, seems slightly repeated, unless you want to set that up as a style where you slightly repeat the action everything you see that type of POV and that type of music…

@Da_Cat said:
00;01;24;02 Try to compress the shot to start on that frame, we do not have to be that literal here, the heart of this shot is the conversation of the 2 women, not the walking to the other room… The audience gets that we are somewhere else as we see the other room starting on the left side of the frame.

Addressed.

@Da_Cat said:
00;01;55;00 ADR time here I think, or at least a lot of audio work, her line seems off mike,

Add that to the list of sweetning list.

@Da_Cat said:
00;01;55;18 The acting is a bit over the top on the lean back and the last suck in of air (probably because its a much closer shot) Is this shot necessary, or would her look and sigh carry it from extending the previous shot thru this one? This is one of the examples where a perfect cut, might not be perfect for a scene, where we can make incredible cuts now, because we can preview unlimited variations, instead of just a few when it was film running. Sometimes as you edit you need to go back to even before the scene and run it all the way thru. This particular shot was the one that really stood out when I took the whole scene in.

Maybe because I’ve worked with Emily erh.. I mean Jamy before, I just love her look. That head toss back to me was just something I liked – sexy and vulnerable at the same time. So I think I’m really guilty of showcasing her in these scenes… I dunno, this whole scene could be brutally slashed once everything else is in place.

@Da_Cat said:
00;02;03;00 Possibility to cut heads off of this shot, we do remember she had just sighed, Depends on how you want to play it with sound, especially when she opens the cupboard and then turns because she heard something…

00;02;06;08 Unless there is sound to motivate her head turn away and back to Hayley, I would eliminate the shot… too many exaggerated pauses, tho building tension can easily become caricature… Think about a light knock on the wood of the screen door

Yeah, I should add this – I didn’t want to tackle it for this round.

She’s suppose to be looking for some spices in the cabinet and she’s wondering if she should go and disturb Haley… it probably doesn’t come off that way.

I’m entertaining the idea of maybe just having some innocuolous sound like some sort of couch rustling….

@Da_Cat said:
00;02;19;15 As she is shouting “Oh My God” run his first “Hi” on top of her, He would be trying to quickly respond and diffuse the situation, and do you have a shot of Hayley being startled awake,? If there was that much screaming the dead would be coming up from underneath the floorboards :PThink about cutting to his shot much earlier, and carry her voice under his shot.

00;02;24;00 Missing Hayley here…. we need to see her getting awake, or eyes opening, something to motivate the “It’s fine” from Katie perhaps have an ADR line from Hayley about “What’s happening, what’s the matter?” Hayley right now is way down and almost unintelligible.

Recut… maybe this works better…

@Da_Cat said:
00;02;33;00 low angel to Ryan seems off do you have more heads to play with, he seems like his action has stopped compared to the shot before, it might be just a matter of a few more frames on the head of that shot

Directing lesson here… there is no more head on the low cut angle because I had them start the scene already in… Lesson – when doing a pickup – always include the beginning action to give yourself some room to float in with.

The first shot (from the left) has major focusing problems – I was operating and I had to dial down the aperture, and pull focus at the same time and I never got either right.

I spent a bit of time wrestling with these three angles – I do like the low cut jump just because it sets me up for breaking the 180 rule later on.

@Da_Cat said:
00;03;16;00 We need to hear Hayley say “Kate” or better yet, see her say it. Hard to say since I haven’t seen the takes…

Kate actually says “Kate” – kept her line in…

@Da_Cat said:
00;04;23;00 Cut to the side shot, Katy’s arm in wrong position, and she seems stalled there visually, check on adding tails to the previous shot to get her moving, then cut heads off of this shot.

Didn’t even catch that in this edit… – fixed by trimming head off the shot.

@Da_Cat said:
00;04;32;00 Duplication of action of her at the door, then turning to talk to Katy. Not sure if you have other takes, with him just walking away, or surveying the place, something to force your eye more to him and ignoring what is happening in the house

Only shot we have off this – added an optical and used a different take to direct the attention at Ryan…

@Da_Cat said:
Love the close-up of the eye, I would think about using it inverted in the lightning when you do your next pass

There’s going to be 2 more “eye” shots in the next couple of scenes. It is the eye of the watcher but it’s also a red Herring (get it… Ryan Trout)

FISH!!!!!

Simon’s remarks:

Sync is out on the first lines.

At 4.13, we can see Jamy waiting for her que and at 4.19 I think I caught a glimpse of a boom pole.

I kept the hesitation in Kate’s character as I felt it was like her character was watching a budding romance between Haley and Ryan.

Rich’s comments

I really like the changes you have made, Having Haley wake up really helps the scene, in fact I feel if you have another cutaway to her as she is getting settled sitting up, (slight head movement, arms or twisting while looking like she is not totally sure what is happening)

like Dark said the first sync lines are out of sync, I think they are early

00;00;24;07 The side of the 2 of them, you might trim off 2 or 3 frames from the head of this shot, the positional information seems wrong, so perhaps cutting on the movement will mask part of that.

00;01;36;16 As she exits the frame and it tilts over to hayley lose a couple of frames off the tail of the shot, then lose a few more frames off the head of the next frame and let the words drive the shot into the kitchen, not her walking into frame.

00;02;11;00 when she leaves the kitchen, the sound design will tell, did she hear something or is she in fact wondering where the pepper is? As she is leaving the kitchen, have the sound design perhaps add somethings there.

00;02;15;00 Hayley getting up, trim the heads, the arms moving around you might trim them down and just have her struggling to get up, if you do indeed go to her again as a single…. Sometimes less is more, and if you shorten her heads, the tension will actually increase even more, then later if you go to her sitting up getting comfortable, then you have the release that apparently it is safe.

00;02;17;20 Under this shot and the next shot of Katy put some ADR of Haley asking what is happening, questioning, etc, In these situations, people are all over each other trying to figure out what is going on, The audience can discern who is talking by the sound of each individual voice, so multi-layered sound can have different voices bubble up and drift away, It’s how we make it so the audience can hear the one line in a crowd of people talking….

00;02;49;00 tighten the heads so that Hayley sounds like she has a whole thought strung together, just a few frames, but right there stops the action cold for a few frames, In this case the heart of the matter might mean much more than the perfect action match

All in all a very good scene, Maybe lowering Katy’s voice in places will help a lot. I’m going to reserve a couple of comments until we see everything come together as a complete first cut. Because as you will find, as you change something later, it will actually affect something much earlier that makes you change something else in another scene. And if you think that it can get bad it does. Last year we recut one scene over 10 times, just because something else, made this scene pivot in a different direction, (ie, If he is the killer, shouldn’t we hint at that fact with….. or maybe he is the innocent victim in her mind, shouldn’t he come across as more vulnerable. ) and that can happen just by changing the cuts, and the juxtaposition of the shots, and nothing else has changed…

As a last bit of comment before moving on from this scene: It wasn’t until the final cut when I butted all these scenes together did I find a timing issue with the beginning of this scene. I solved this issue by inserting a master exterior shot

 

Next: Editing in the Dark: Voyeur

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