Part 1: The Interogation

The first cut

From FilmmakerIQ.com

Okay, I’m going to try something with this thread. Instead of me sitting here by myself editing this short alone, I’m going to post scenes as I complete them here so you can see how the film is coming along and yell at me for what I’m not doing right.

We’ll see how long I can keep this up.

So here’s the first part of Scene 1 – to get here was roughly 4.5 hours:

Selected comments:

Mike:

Around the one minute mark there’s the shot of the killer standing over the trunk and it’s really bright. So much so that the whites are bleeding and giving off a glow. It’s very CSI-y. I think you either need to step her up to match that, or take that down a bit.

My vote is take her up

It wasn’t until the very final cut that I decided to give all these beginning flashback scenes a more dramatic red tinge. I also applied a liberal amount of Star Glow. The reasoning was to bookend the color palette with the late basement scene which is bathed entirely in red.

Da Cat (Rich) would provide the best and most thorough comments:

at 7sec “I know this must be hard for you…” since it is the first time we see her and him, you might tie them together by doiing an overlap with “I know” over her shot, the pacing is not very tight at that moment and tightening it up might help it.

at 13sec :It’s Important Haley” cut to her faster, in the middle of the word “Haley” tighten it up a little, your music might be subconsciously cutting to fit phrases

at 16sec after I’ll try his closeup, he stairs at her and then looks down I would tighten the heads of his shot and get to the head tilting down at least 1 beat earlier. in her next statements you can see the natural pauses that most actors do, to set up for the next line, it is sometimes why we make so many cuts. Also moving cameras (slightly moving) do tend to mask mismatches in action

at 33sec delay the crash sound effect till the next 2 words are out of her mouth, or try the car screech much lower till she finishes and then cut it in up full on the black followed by the crash… check out soundsnap.com for some good ones.

at the next shot, of her in the car with the rain on the windshield
think about a somewhat slow fade in, like how someone would feel after getting their bell rung, also add sound effects, pieces of metal falling off the car, the engine running rough,

at 44sec the trunk popped open, the cut away of the hand feels like a cut away,, cut it in earlier over her last line and start the next line over the cut away of her hand. then when it goes to the person in the trunk, cut the head of that shot till the action seems already going, it feels like i heard action then the person in the trunk moved, just trim the front and get to the heart of the shot earlier…

at 57 sec She must have still been alive, to build tension do an optical effect here, a slow zoom in on her, then a slow zoom into the trunk, not even a half a field on a 10 field animation scale.
at 1:08 he just beat her… move position of the shot farther into the shot, 3 to 10 frames so the action doesn’t have to much of a stall

you have one flash, to make it a motif use it 2 more times, there is a rule of threes that does work a lot of the time, you might think about a flash during the wiped the blood off

editorially why is the wiping the blood off the hammer to then inflict damage to our heroine so important, why would she know that, might use the flashes to help establish her frozen with fear, in fact maybe a shot that runs then the last 2 or 3 frames are frozen before a white flash hits,, think about the flash might cause an action to slightly repeat itself. use sound effects to accentuate the flashes, use them to really bring out the thuds, the moans and groans of the victim.. And somewhere (like the next shot in this scene) you go back to the investigator

and yes the shots of her in the car need some contrast, and some lightening perhaps,

All in all it is coming together well

The Second Cut

 

In response to Rich’s comments on the flashes I wrote:

The motif is switch to the lighting flashes – I’m still undecided by what to do with the flashes – I’ll have to hit them up after the rough is cut.

Just to clarify for everyone reading this – those aren’t white flashes, they’re negatives. Negatives pop because of persistence of vision – the eye combines the negative with the positive image and gets pure white. A simple white frame would not pop because only the black parts of the frame change.

Anyhow, still not sure I want to keep them.

I did end up keeping them.

Rich’s comments on the second cut:

All in all, this rough cut is getting decent, the cuts are much tighter. The sound design is what will eventually sell all of these flashbacks. Just to give you some insight, as we began on the last film to design time transitions when moving forward or backwards in the story line, we spent 2 solid days, using a lot of soundsnap audio effects, plus a lot from some of the big movies that my friends sound designed, to get to something that significantly enhanced, the experience we were looking for.

In general, I prefer to have conversations feel natural, with natural pacing, this also means people sometimes stepping over one another, sometimes not fully hearing the last word, but feeling the emotional content of the scene is way more important. It’s a subjective point open to interpretation, but it is one of the things I am known for…

As you get farther into the editing of this story, and as you have this rough cut fully assembled and then start fine cutting it, you will find that changing just one shot, will effect the emotional content of the entire scene and can cause a ripple effect, up and down the entire length of the film, so that since you changed this shot, X’s relationship to Y has to change, and they have to meet earlier in the story, etc….

In other words…. welcome to Rubik’s cube in 20 dimensions :P

comments based on the Time Code burn in, which is how everyone who is in post should be doing it, that is the only common reference we all have…

00:00:33:00 “The trunk popped open. There’s an arm” See if you can make it sound like one complete thought. tighten the audio up slightly, This is one time where the pause at the end could work, just before the cut to the trunk…

00:01:07:00 “the sound of the hammer on her flesh again, and again and again” are there different framings available for her? In the perfect world, I would have a wide shot of her in the car, then the medium, then finish the 3 with a close-up, with the close-up creating the most tension because the size makes it more intimate. If not, I would also resize the images, with the 3rd being the most blown-up.

00;01;18;00 Cu of hammer, do you have more of the shot with water drops coming down? you might actually extend that shot a bit 5 or 6 frames into the next shot. Remember audio overlaps can create tension by themselves, use that to help reinforce the tension you are already developing.

00;01;23;00 The shot of the man’s feet walking by the puddle. I would cut to it before “for me” Is there any more tails of that shot that is in motion ? it needs to be a little closer to be moving faster to pull the eye into the next shot. Btw cutting shots on the start of prepositions is a very easy way to help control what the audience feels. I do like the feeling that she is slowly bringing it out, and doesn’t seem to be acting. :-)

00;01;25;00, he comes into frame and then the jump cut to her screaming, I would add an inverted flash there, try adding a blur to it and then a 1 or 2 frame dissolve to the next shot where she is screaming, think again about an optical resize and reposition of the screaming shot

00;01;27;00 the sync is a little wanky, slip it a couple of frames

00;01;57;00 the end of her shot she looks up, trim tails of the shot to remove the last look up or even the hint of that, it feels like she is about to speak again

00;02;04;00 “I can bring in a sketch artist” trim the front of the shot, remove 3 to 6 frames up front, you don’t need the action match as much as you need the explosion of the words. cut it as tight as you can to the wide shot, it creates tension for that close-up

00;02;09;00 “Dan please call me Dan” Way to much pregnant pause at the front, remove it.

00;02;19;00 on the cut from the wide to the close up, try to cut in the middle of his head turn, even if the camera is moving, see if that works cause now something feels wrong with it.

00;02;23;00 take off a few frames of his look at her before his head moves down

00;02;30;02 try cutting back to him on the head tilt up, thereby cutting on movement to movement

00;02;33;00 if you can add a few more frames of the first shot as he begins to give her the phone, jumping space a little too far with that cut

00;02;54;00 “or if you need anything” trim just a few frames off the front of this shot

wish you had a throw away line for him over her last shot, like “it’ll be ok” ie. like 2 people talking over each other…. only if things are NOT going to be ok

The Third Cut

 

My responses to Rich and Simon (Dark Water’s) comments:

@Dark_Water said:
Well, little changes make a big difference.
Speaking of the flashbacks, I think they were too desaturated. They were just a little too close to B&W.

I’m also going to throw an idea in there, using static shots in the flashbacks mixed in with the action. It might be a bit CSI but what do I know.

It’s a directorial decision here to keep the flashbacks closer to B&W than anything else. More moody tones that way. Was originally thinking about CSI style flashes with still frames but the way it’s cut is good for what I’m trying to do.

@Da_Cat said:
00:00:33:00 “The trunk popped open. There’s an arm” See if you can make it sound like one complete thought. tighten the audio up slightly, This is one time where the pause at the end could work, just before the cut to the trunk…

Trying to incorporate a tighter pacing on this – still need to revisit in future edits.

@Da_Cat said:
00:01:07:00 “the sound of the hammer on her flesh again, and again and again” are there different framings available for her? In the perfect world, I would have a wide shot of her in the car, then the medium, then finish the 3 with a close-up, with the close-up creating the most tension because the size makes it more intimate. If not, I would also resize the images, with the 3rd being the most blown-up.

Good call.

@Da_Cat said:
00;01;18;00 Cu of hammer, do you have more of the shot with water drops coming down? you might actually extend that shot a bit 5 or 6 frames into the next shot. Remember audio overlaps can create tension by themselves, use that to help reinforce the tension you are already developing.

A few tail frames on that did help.

@Da_Cat said:00;01;23;00 The shot of the man’s feet walking by the puddle. I would cut to it before “for me” Is there any more tails of that shot that is in motion ? it needs to be a little closer to be moving faster to pull the eye into the next shot. Btw cutting shots on the start of prepositions is a very easy way to help control what the audience feels. I do like the feeling that she is slowly bringing it out, and doesn’t seem to be acting. :-)

cut to the shot on her “for” – good tip – will incorporate cutting on prepositions in the future.

This scene was the scene we auditioned with – though in the audition, I extended the scene by giving her a knife. I wanted to see the “turnaround” (which will occur later in the film). Needless to say, Kirsten Berman, blew us away with her audition which is pretty much what you’re seeing in this scene. It was so intense, I needed to down a glass of wine after. Susan, my co producer soon found out which auditions I liked by how much I needed a drink afterward.

@Da_Cat said:
00;01;25;00, he comes into frame and then the jump cut to her screaming, I would add an inverted flash there, try adding a blur to it and then a 1 or 2 frame dissolve to the next shot where she is screaming, think again about an optical resize and reposition of the screaming shot

Played around with the inverted flashes and optical reframing – getting better…

@Da_Cat said:
00;01;27;00 the sync is a little wanky, slip it a couple of frames

I figured out how to get Premiere to move things as little as 1 audio sample!

@Da_Cat said:
00;01;57;00 the end of her shot she looks up, trim tails of the shot to remove the last look up or even the hint of that, it feels like she is about to speak again

Something about this transition still bothers me….

@Da_Cat said:
00;02;04;00 “I can bring in a sketch artist” trim the front of the shot, remove 3 to 6 frames up front, you don’t need the action match as much as you need the explosion of the words. cut it as tight as you can to the wide shot, it creates tension for that close-up

Explosion of words – good concept and reinforced with some tightening.

@Da_Cat said:
00;02;09;00 “Dan please call me Dan” Way to much pregnant pause at the front, remove it.

Actually, the problem wasn’t the pregnant pause, it was I didn’t cut back to Dan fast enough. He presses and presses her… then reveals more vulnerability… the turnaround is there in his face, but we didn’t catch it because I was still on Haley when he starts it.

@Da_Cat said:
00;02;19;00 on the cut from the wide to the close up, try to cut in the middle of his head turn, even if the camera is moving, see if that works cause now something feels wrong with it.

00;02;23;00 take off a few frames of his look at her before his head moves down

00;02;30;02 try cutting back to him on the head tilt up, thereby cutting on movement to movement

Attempted to address – may need some more work.

@Da_Cat said:
00;02;33;00 if you can add a few more frames of the first shot as he begins to give her the phone, jumping space a little too far with that cut

00;02;54;00 “or if you need anything” trim just a few frames off the front of this shot

Addressed and again, may need to be revisited when I construct the remaining sides of the Rubik’s cube.

@Da_Cat said:

wish you had a throw away line for him over her last shot, like “it’ll be ok” ie. like 2 people talking over each other…. only if things are NOT going to be ok

Script sort of plays with his character as a bad guy… possibly…The next scene is considerably “lighter” – it actually has a bit of humor after sitting through this ordeal.

 

Next: Editing in the Dark: See No Evil

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