Home l People l Credits l Rates l Facilities l Location l Glossary l What's New l Wit & Wisdom l Tangram West l History l Game
|Captions occur during a film and identify
people, places, time etc. Credits are at the end (although dramas usually
have a few at the front as well) and identify the people mainly
responsible for what you have just seen. This is your chance to be
spotted by a Hollywood Producer, or your mum at least.
ON VIDEO they are added at the on-line, either by an on-line Avid title tool, or by a machine called a character generator; usually an Aston.If you are not careful, you can spend more on-line time messing about with the end credits than the rest of the programme put together! There are so many options; fonts, colours, rolling, crawling, and of course, the pecking order;( the convention on tv is that the people who have contributed most go at the start and finish and the rest get put in the middle). You finally produce a forty second masterpiece that everybody is satisfied with. Then on transmission it gets squished down so it's too small to read with the soundtrack replaced by a plug for some forthcoming programme...and the audience are making tea anyway.
ON FILM 'Caption cards' have to be filmed and superimposed on the background neg using an optical printer. If you have a really low budget, you could shoot on reversal and put captions on the 'B' roll neg for printing white titles. Or; paint the titles on a wall, or scratch them in the sand, or do a 'Mash' and announce them over a tannoy.
|Sync speech that is 'cheated' over shots where the speaker is actually saying something else; often a necessity on documentaries with bad or unlucky camerawork. I once edited an entire hospital operation sequence where every shot of the surgeon speaking was cheated sync (of course the mask helped).
|Its interesting that the word "cheat" is
central to film language; editors cheat sync, cameramen cheat angles,
directors say 'can you cheat it?'...
Q. Should you cheat?
|Two bits of wood hinged together and painted
black with a bit of chalk on a string. Used for synchronising picture and
sound - and identifying each shot and take, roll number, magazine
number, stock used, cameraperson's name, director's name....
It may be crude but it's frame-accurate and never breaks; which is a lot more than can be said of many of the more sophisticated alternatives that have come and gone!
|NB In the UK we start at
slate 1-1 (shot one, take one) and continue. If there is something wrong
with the first take of a shot it is repeated and is called take two. So a
typical pattern would be: 1-1,1-2,2-1,3-1,3-2,3-3,4-1 etc etc all the way thru to 623-4 or
whatever. The camera assistant and sound recordist keep logs of what
slates are on what rolls of neg and magnetic stock. If there is a script,
it will be marked to show what shots relate to what scenes.
In the US they assume there is a script with scene numbers . So the first slate will contain the film roll number and the number of the first scene they are filming (probably not number one) followed by what they call a take number, but what we call a shot number.... I think. Confused? I have been.
|Portion of a shot used in a sequence.
|Transmission videotapes must have a clock at the start, to help cue up the tape for TX. It follows colour bars and audio tone that are used to line-up the VT machine. The clock counts down from 30 secs to zero, although the last 3 secs are black to avoid the clock showing on transmission.
|In the UK the first frame of picture is usually at timecode; 10:00:00:00 (10 hrs,0 mins, 0 secs, 0 frames) and in the US 1:00;00;00. It can't be zero hours because then the clock would start at minus thirty seconds, and nobody thought of the concept of negative timecode. At commercial breaks there should also be clocks and the first frame of each part should start at a whole minute, 0 secs, 0 frames (add black before clock to allow for this).
|Film release prints and TX prints have a countdown leader that counts down from twelve to zero, with two and one omitted for the same obvious reason as above. The units are 35mm feet (16 frames) , so at 24fps the countdown is 8 seconds. The standard leader is called an Academy leader (from; the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) but TV companies often have their own variations.
|Countdown leaders usually have an audio 'plop' on three for checking sync, but the BBC moved theirs up to four because they were afraid of transmitting the 'plops'.
|On film, a colour grader
(color timer; US) works
through the night, matching and optimising the colour and density from neg
to print; usually without recognition or thanks.
On tape, colourists, doing basically the same job, albeit with more options at their command, are recognised as vital to the final 'look' of the programme and earn both recognition and good wages
|Same as narrator ( the Avid manual describes them as announcer; surely not?). They read the commentary or narration. Sometimes called a voice-over artist, but voice-over more usually refers to the voice-over from a character in the film.
|Because films consist of lots of individual shots, shot over a long period, often out of sequence all sorts of continuity errors can and do occur; mismatches of dress, position, movement, eyeline etc etc. On dramas there are 'continuity girls' who try to outfox all those anoraks who notice umbrellas changing hands and doorknobs changing colour. On documentaries, PAs who made a detailed shot list on location and watched out for continuity seem to be a dying breed; so shoot in sequence when you can and use a cameraperson who picks up cut-ins and cutaways as they go.
|I used to work with a documentary director who thought it was rather uncool and wimpish to worry about continuity on a shoot, until an editor pointed out rather forcefully to her that the audience would engage with her films much more if they were not being distracted by continuity errors (see suspension of disbelief).
|Once when filming a Ford executive in Germany, I was amused to discover that there was a local custom that, because it was a festive day , at lunchtime the secretaries came round and cut their bosses ties in half (very symbolic!). I was less amused when I realised I still hadn't finished the sequence with the executive.
|All sorts of things are copyrighted; music, archive footage, stills etc. Don't assume that clearance can be sorted in the last week of editing. It may be impossible, or beyond your budget to clear things for the territories required.
|Tip: Finding a composer or musician is often cheaper than using library music (though less predictable) and for the same reason 'reconstructed' archive is often specially shot (usually on super- 8mm, processed to look extra grainy).
|Shot where the camera moves vertically (not necessarily from a crane, can be the cameraperson bending their knees).
|What happens if the camera runs at a slightly different speed from the sound recorder.
|Crossing the line
|The worst sin that directors and camera operators can commit; and they commit it on every shoot. THE LINE is an imaginary line drawn between two characters looking at each other. If the camera stays on one side of the line the characters will appear to be looking at each other if you cut between them (L-R) and (R-L). But if you cross the line one character will look the wrong way (L-R) and (L-R). (See eyelines) Of course, editors get round the problem every time .
|1. What the director says when they mean 'stop'.
2. What the censor says when they mean 'remove'.
3. The shortest, simplest, and usually best transition between two shots (see transitions,
action cuts and jump cuts). On film you literally cut with a blade and join with tape or cement.
4. A cut: A particular edited version of a film or programme, as in:
1st cut (is the deepest)
|(Other cuts that I have
experienced include Executive Producer's cut, Commissioning
Editor's cut, friend of the Director's cut, an aunt of the Director's cut and, best of all,
the cut suggested by someone who happened to walk past the cutting room at the
wrong time. - LW.)