Tag Archives: Final Cut Pro X

Evaluation Task Number 6…

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Production Log: The Editing Process

Now that Emelia and I FINALLY have our footage we can begin editing. We have completely scrapped our original opening as we want to have a fresh start in the hope of a much more successful opening! Once again, Emelia and I are editing on Final Cut Pro X. We have used this many times before and so can jump straight in with beginning editing again. Due to the fact that Emelia and I decided to refilm our entire opening, we are even more pushed for time as groups around us are finishing editing before we have even begun!

Firstly, we had to import all of our new footage. We have made a completely new folder on the desktop as well in order to keep all of our version two separate from our version one. We then had to import all of the sound. This time around, we had lots to import and match to clips. The first thing that Emelia and I did was to create a rough cut…

For this, we once again solely focused on the order of the clips so that we could receive feedback on the filming and storyline rather than syncing of sound and fonts! Luckily, people agreed with us that our second go around was better than our first. We were extremely happy with this; however, our rough cut was 3 minutes 12 seconds long and we needed to cut it down to 2 minutes! In order to do so, Emelia and I began by cutting out the footage that was necessary. For example, we have many different shots of Rosie walking up and down the stairs. For actions such as these, the audience do not need a visual example of it in order to understand what is going on. Because of this, we cut out quite a few shots of everyday actions. The next area that we focused upon was the breakfast making part. This took up a large portion of the opening and so we had to fine tune this heavily. However, once cut down, this aspect to the opening did not make perfect sense as the bread seemed to be toasting in a millisecond. This was because the shot of Rosie putting the bread into the toaster was immediately followed by the shot of her taking it out, fully toasted. In order to resolve this I added in a fade in order to display the passing of time. I also did this in-between the shots of Rosie getting the tray where her direction of walking changes immediately. After cutting out many shots, Emelia and I decided to cut down the beginning and ends of many as they were necessarily long. This actually helped with the overall flow of our film opening as the lengths of shots were perfected.

Our next task was to import our two idents. Once imported, Emelia and I moved them onto the timeline of our opening. Of course they went right at the beginning and after one another. However, I added in a fade before the first one and in between the two as this helped with the flow even more. Without the fade, the transition between the two idents was too sudden and too sharp. We then had to create the parts of the film labelling the production company, names of director(s) and names of actors. As well as this, we had to add in the final title sequence! This was fairly easy due to our research into codes and conventions of film openings and fonts. In the end, Emelia and I went with a simple yet slightly gothic looking font; this fit in perfectly with our genre of thriller.

The next task was to add sound. Firstly, Emelia and I added in the diegetic sounds such as the footsteps, heavy breathing, rolling of the blind and footsteps crunching in the leaves. However, we focussed on the syncing of the sound rather than the volume as we believed that we should be worrying about that later with the non diegetic soundtrack layered over the top. When we were happy with the syncing of the diegetic sounds, Emelia and I searched the Final Cut Pro X sound effect menu for exaggerated sounds such as birds singing. We found an array of different birds singing but managed to pick the perfect one. We decided to add this in in the beginning and towards the end of the film opening in an attempt to bring it all together. We then had to add our soundtrack. This was fairly easy, however messed around with all of the other sounds as it, at first, drowned them all out. However, this did not last long as Emelia and I lowered the dynamics of the soundtrack so that you could hear the other sounds easily.

After this, I added in the gradual colour palette. To do this, I used an effect but set it so that it began to intensify at a constant yet steady pace from a certain moment up until the dead body. The blue, negative colour palette is at it’s most intense when the young girl is shown to be looking down at her dead Mother. This displays the emotions that she is feeling and shows that her whole world has just been turned upside down; this also allows the audience to feel empathy towards her as they feel connected through the tone of the ending.

After showing our classmates many times and watching it over and over again ourselves, Emelia and I feel as though our two minute film opening is finished. We are happy with it but believe that with more luck, more experience with the experience and a longer time period it could have been a whole lot better. However, with the endless problems that came my way, I am happy with what I managed to achieve!

 

Rough Cut: Version 1

Although Emelia and I had no audio for our film opening, we did not want to waste our lesson time and so began making a rough cut on Final Cut Pro X. After a couple of lessons, Emelia and I had managed to put together a rough cut version of our film. This version solely included our footage put together in an order. We had not yet trimmed them down, imported our idents, added sound plus much more. The purpose of this was solely to put together our footage in an order that made sense in order to see whether it was good enough or not. A couple of lessons in, Emelia and I showed our rough cut to our teachers and peers in order to receive criticisms to make it better. We received a range of constructive criticisms that pushed us to make our next decision. Here are examples of some points made by our teachers and classmates…

  • The first thing that was noticed was that we had no audio. However, Emelia and I then explained the situation that we were in considering our sound and people understood. It was suggested to us that we make our own sound and fit it into the film opening. For example, we could record footsteps, humming and heavy breathing easily. On the other hand, it would be hard to get the sounds to sync perfectly with our original footage and so we had to think about our options concerning this matter.
  • The next issue noted was to do with our lighting. Although overall we received hugely positive feedback surrounding our lighting, when cutting to the shot of Rosie walking down the stairs, the lighting is significantly darker than the bright lighting in the rest of the film. To solve this issue, Emelia and I could simply not use this shot or could re film it.
  • It was also noticed that when getting up, our main character was already fully dressed! This was a mistake and adds an unprofessional image to our film and so we need to change this!
  • Another problem surrounded the issue of acting. When playing with her toys, Rosie seems to be quite awkward as though she does not know what to do with her toys. Because of this, Emelia and I will need to either not use this shot or think of another action that Rosie could do to pass her time… for example watching the television or colouring in a drawing.
  • Arguably one of the most important criticisms from our first rough cut surrounds the issue of the ‘180 Degree Rule’. When filming in Tom’s Grandma’s home, Emelia and I felt extremely awkward and so rushed our filming. Because of this, we had forgotten to consider theories and rules such as the ‘180 Degree Rule’. Our rough cut displays this particular rule being broken on two occasions. Emelia and I need to change this…!
  • We were then advised to focus on the length of some shots as they disturbed the overall flow of our film. However, Emelia and I had not yet got to the point where we had began to cut down our various shots and so agreed wholly with this statement.

Overall, our teachers and classmates were fairly positive concerning our first rough cut. They gave lots of feedback, both good and bad. Everyone agreed that our storyline made sense , but Emelia and I have lots of changes to consider. We will have to re film various shots in order to get the look that we want and in order to overcome some issues previously pointed out. Unfortunately, Emelia and I did not export our first version of the rough cut and so cannot put it on here…

Final Cut Pro X

Emelia and I will be using Final Cut Pro X to edit our film opening. Here is what Emelia found out about this software…

“The software that we used to edit our film on is called Final Cut Pro X and it allows you to import and export video and audio clips and layer them to create a professional quality film.

Final_Cut_Pro_X.jpg

Final Cut Pro X has many features such as:

  • Unlimited audio tracks – This feature allowed us to layer multiple pieces of audio in order to create the right atmosphere for our film.
  • Various editing functions – such as; standard ripple, roll, slip, slide, scrub, razor blade and time remapping.
  • Transitions –  We used several transitions in our final product in order to create a smoother running film and make it more aesthetically pleasing.
  • A variety of filters – We looked through several filters in order to find one that portrayed the correct mood at the correct time. We found this feature really interesting and useful.

One of the most useful things that we discovered on Final Cut Pro X was the stabilization tool. This allowed us to limit the shakiness of the camera which was especially helpful because the ground where we were filming was unsteady and the bike method that we used gave a little bit of shake. However this helped to make our filming look much smoother.”

Emelia and I used Final Cut Pro X when making our music video for GCSE and for the various Preliminary Tasks for AS Level. Because of this, many actions came back to us and so we managed to work quickly and efficiently with the programme. However, just before editing Emelia and I watched a short tutorial on how to use Final Cut Pro X in order to remind us of the key functions and how to use the software to it’s best capability…

Reservoir Dogs – A Class Task…

We were given a task as a class to remake a section of film from the opening of Quentin Tarantino’s film… Reservoir Dogs. Due to the small size of our class we worked together as one large group in order to try and re create it as specifically as possible.

Reservoir Dogs is a Quentin Tarantino film which was released on the 23rd of October 1992. It is an action thriller and created US$2.8 million in the box office. To start off with, we watched a portion of the film in order to get a sense of what it is about. We were then shown the part of the clip that we would be recreating. We would begin at the end of the scene in the cafe and finish at the end of the opening titles. Here is what we had to re create…

Planning

Firstly, we had to carefully plan out everything to do with our film as we would only have one lesson, 50 minutes, to film. We had to plan our roles within the video, the location where we would be filming, the positions we would have to stand in, the actions we would have to do, the camera shots and movements etc.

When watching the extract we assigned ourselves different tasks to carry out so that we would have as much detail as possible. We made storyboards, noted down the actions of the characters, noted the appearance of the characters, noted the script and of course planned out the camera shots and movement.

Next, we had to assign members of the class to different members of the Reservoir Dogs. To do this, we found out who would be willing to participate, looked at each character individually and matched a person to that character as best we could. The roles were as follows…

  • Mr White (originally played by Harvey Keitel) – played by Adam Zayee
  • Mr Orange (originally played by Time Roth) – played by Owen Timmins
  • Mr Brown (origionally played by Quentin Tarantino) – played by Me, Emilia Pearce
  • Mr Blue (originally played by Eddie Bunker) – played by Grace Clayton
  • Mr Blonde (originally played by Michael Madsen) – played by Katie Kitchen
  • Mr Pink (originally played by Steve Buscemi) – played by Kieran Cross
  • Joe Cabot (originally played by Lawrence Tierney) – played by Millie Stanbridge
  • ‘Nice Guy Eddie’ (originally played by Chris Penn) – played by Sean Stubbs

Next, we had to plan what we would be wearing. In the film, the characters are mostly wearing black blazers, white shirts, black trousers, a skinny black tie and some wear sunglasses. To achieve this, we wore black trousers/jeans, our school white shirts, skinny black ties, and a males blazer from school. The characters that needed to also brought in sunglasses. The character of Nice Guy Eddie however does not wear this. Because of this, Sean had to buy a blue jacket and a gold chain. He paid close attention to the small details and also drew on chest hair! The character of Joe Cabot also did wear the classic black suits in the film. In order to fit the scene as close as we could, Millie Stanbridge wore a polo neck and high waist trousers. Obviously, quite a few of the roles were being played by females and this is not accurate or similar to the film. In order to get over this as best we could the girls who needed to drew on moustaches and beards. They also tied their hair up in order to best fit the authentic footage.

In the film footage some of the characters are seen to be smoking. As we were on school grounds, we could not re create this as effectively. Emelia Rodgers managed to acquire a cigar; however, she was absent due to illness on the day of filming so we had to improvise and roll up some brown cardboard. We also did this to recreate the cigarette as we could not smoke in real life.

Next, we scouted for a location best fitting the location of the film. When exiting our school grounds there is a section which contains two brick walls and a road. For the beginning of our remake we were able to film in the school canteen. These two locations were good as we could easily move the dolly and camera; however, in the driveway of the school we were often interrupted by cars entering and leaving the school which meant that we had to move our filming equipment.

Filming 

Arguably, the filming aspect of the task is where we let ourselves down. Initially, we were only meant to film during one lesson; this is a 50 minute time space. However, we were unable to complete the task in this time frame and so we had to film over another lesson as well. We had to get changed, draw on beards, set up the cameras, be in the correct positions and obviously film in the short time frame. This mixed with people disagreeing with aspects to the filming led to the time being pushed.

Firstly, we decided to film the scene in the canteen. We decided to do this part first as the canteen would have been used by other students in the school later on. We also began with this scene as it was arguably the easiest scene to get right. We camera did not need to be moved and the positioning was fairly simple. We all agreed on the positioning and actions straight away and carried out the first scene fairly well and accurately.

Next we filmed the scene of the Reservoir Dogs walking against the brick wall. We carried this out in our first session by using a dolly and crab shot. This is where we all began to disagree. The people who had originally noted down the positions and actions left their notes in their folders in the media room. Because of this, we had to position ourselves using a clip of the opening titles on Millie’s phone. The first time we filmed this, we changed positions a lot. We all got in our positions and began to walk, Emily then moved the dolly with the camera facing us as a crab shot. This resembled fairly closely how the scene took place in the opening scene. However, we soon realised that it would be much more practical for further filming if we filmed from the other side of the pathway. By doing so this would match the scene from the film much more accurately also. We knew that we would have to film the scene again. We did the same as before but from the other side of the pathway.

The next aspect of the scene to film were the various close ups. This is where we let ourselves down the most. As people had varying opinions on how to film, we ended up filming with the camera on a tripod rather than a dolly. Because of this, the close ups were not as close to the shots from the film as it was clear that the characters were not actually walking in ours. We did this to save time; however it would have only added a few minutes to get it right. We had the camera on a tripod infant of the characters. During the shot, the characters waled on the spot to make it look as if we were walking. This looked unrealistic and somewhat reduced the accuracy of our film. We focused on the positioning and managed to get the correct characters in each shot just like the original close ups; however on a couple of the shots we characters were on the wrong side and so I had to flip the shot in editing.

The final piece of the opening titles needing to be recorded was the end where the Reservoir Dogs are shown to be walking away from the camera. For this part of the scene we focused on the positions and managed to fit them fairly well. We placed the camera on a tripod behind us in the driveway. We then walked into the distance as a group like in the film.

Editing

The editing aspect to the task is the part that took me the longest. It was also our last chance to get our footage to match the footage from the film as accurately as possible. To edit we used the software, Final Cut Pro X. We have used this before and so I was comfortable with using the software once again and rediscovered aspects, such as the marker,  from when we edited our music videos for GCSE.

Firstly I had to download the footage, I then opened this footage in Final Cut Pro X. I then found the original part of the film that we were re creating. I needed this to use as a guideline as I wanted to get my version as accurate as possible. With help from Bryony Grant I opened up the original opening titles alongside my version on the viewing screen in Final Cut Pro X. This was really useful as it meant that I could fit the two versions as exactly as I could. Next, I began to find the correct footage and crop it down to fit. To get the exact footage was hard as ours was of varying length and accuracy to the film. I found it hard to find the correct pace of slow motion and whenever I changed my mind and changed the speed this of course altered the rest of my footage and where it is placed. I also had to flip a couple of pieces of footage as the positioning was not correct. Although this somewhat distorts the geography and location of the shot, so far no one has noticed! I then had to add in the transition of darkness from the canteen scene to the walking scene. I also had to add a black screen for the credits. Once I had matched all of the footage up, I muted all of my footage so that it would not effect the soundtrack from the original. The music helped edit as the different shots often changed with the beat of the song and so it ended out more accurate.

The trickiest part of editing for me was when we had to add the text for the credits, titles and names of actors. In order to get this as accurate as possible I researched the font which is… Garamond and Palatino. I then had to find the perfect colour. To do so, I used the tool that allows you to use the colour of a selected piece. I used the original footage to select and so the colour is as similar as possible. I then had to use shadows and text outlines in order to get it the same as the original one. I also found it difficult to get the end titles to rise to the correct positions.

Finally, I had to select the correct options so that ,when playing, my footage would be shown but the original soundtrack would play. Here is my final artifact…

We encountered various problems with this task. Firstly, we were working in one large group and so there was a huge mix of opinion which led to disagreements. This also caused chaos and a lack of organisation. Another problem was that we did not film the shots for long enough, if we had then we would have had more freedom with the editing. When filming in the driveway, cars kept on driving in and out of the school; this meant that we were constantly moving all of the equipment. When filming the close ups, it is obvious that we are walking on the spot, if we were to do this again we could put the camera onto the dolly and move with the characters to improve this. If we were to film this again, we would also have tho focus on the continuity of our filming… In this version our characters are shown to be walking one way in the opening scene yet walking the other way at the end! Although there are many negatives to our remake, I am happy with my version and had a lot of fun making it!

 

 

 

Preliminary Exercise: Evaluation

Although I am happy with the end product from our task, there are various things that I would do differently if doing the task again.

Filming 

We were given one lesson to film our short video. This is a 50 minute slot and so we had to be efficient with our filming. Firstly, Emelia and I collected the equipment whilst Adam went to find our actors. We then met in our room for the video, the irrational room. Although it is a small room, it was bright and large enough for our idea.

The first problem that we came across was to do with setting up the equipment. With this being the first time any of us had used this equipment this was bound to happen. Our first problem was the camera as we could not get it to film. To resolve this we had to speak to one of our teachers, Mr Grant. It turned out that we were on the wrong setting. Our next problem was to do with the sound recorder and the boom pole as we could not hear the noise through our headphones. At first, we believed this was because the headphones that we were using were broken but when we used a different pair we came across the same problem. When checking over the various settings, I spotted that we had our wires in the wrong input and outputs. Our microphone was plugged into the headphone jack and vice versa. Once we swapped these over the recording was working as expected.

Our next major problem that we came across was to do with our script. Due to the fact that our script only consisted of a couple of lines we decided to be creative and write it in Spanish. However, our time to film conflicted with the Spanish lesson and our actors were not up for speaking Spanish and so we had to cut that part out and do it in English. Although this took away our original idea, we could still stick to the actual content of our script.

Once we had overcome our various problems, there was not a lot of time left to film and so we had to be as efficient as possible. In order to succeed in our task we decided to film the most important scenes first such as the speaking scenes and left the shots such as the different angles of opening the door and reaching for the handle to last as these were not critical for succeeding the given task. This proved to be a success as once we had filmed all of the pivotal scenes we could focus on using different angles and movements in order to make our video much more varied and interesting. Although we did not manage to film as much as we had originally hoped, we were happy with the result considering the problems we faced.

Editing

To edit our video we used an app called Final Cut Pro X. This is the same software that we used for our coursework at GCSE when we made music videos. Although this is good because I had an idea of how to use it, it had been a long time since. Also, this task was very different as I had to match up video footage with the correct recording and at the specific time. I had never done this before. Originally we were given one lesson, 50 minutes, to edit our videos. However, not many people finished in this time slot and so we had one more lesson to complete it.

Firstly we had to download all of our footage and recordings onto the Macs. Once this was done, I created a folder that contained everything that I would need for editing the video. Firstly I downloaded it all into Final Cut Pro X and began to view the footage. Then I began to edit my footage. I decided to cut and fit together the video footage first. This was not too difficult as I remembered various similar features from using the same software in GCSE. I found that I was cutting down various clips into much shorter clips so that the video would display different angles and shots. This caused more problems when matching the sound but I felt was a necessity. Once I had put together all of the trimmed clips it was time to match the sound recording. This proved to be the most difficult part of the process. When filming we used a clapperboard in attempt to make this easier and more accurate, however, we did not think to say which take the clip was on each one and so it proved to be difficult matching the correct recording with the correct footage. Arguably, this was one of the main reasons as to why editing took much longer than expected. However, by the second lesson I had finished my editing.

Conclusion

Once I had finished editing my video, I showed it to my classmates. We watched one another’s videos and gave critical feedback. I got various points of feedback that I could work on if I were to complete the task again…

  • Be careful when matching up footage so that the action does not appear to occur more than once. For example when putting together the various shots for the opening of the door, make sure that each shot flows correctly.
  • To always film from eye level unless using a bird’s eye view on purpose.
  • To say out loud which shot we are filming when using the clapperboard so that when matching up footage and recordings we know which is which.
  • To focus the camera properly before filming the scene.

If I were to carry out this task again, I would consider each of these pieces of feedback. Although I will not be carrying out this task again, all of the feedback and practice of using the equipment and software will help me with my final production. The problems that I have faced, I now know the solutions and so can apply this new knowledge in the future on important projects.