– different takes: you have footage of someone saying a long speech, but for whatever reason you don’t have a completely usable take with the entire speech. This could be because the actor dropped a line, or stumbled over part of a line, someone could jostled the camera, or another camera issue, or there could be a technical issue with the sound, like a dog barking in the background or a sampling problem where the sound cuts out. You have to stitch together two takes. But how?
– speech too long: you have a good take, maybe only one, but the speech as written is just too long. The audience may lose focus when they watch the scene. You may or may not need to cut some of the middle of the speech. But how can you integrate the two or more pieces of the take left over?
Use Multiple Angles:
Your basic editing, you’re cutting between cameras for the same speech. If you only had one camera, it will of course be for a different take – with a consistent performance from the actor you can cut the sound from one single take into another if you have to in order to avoid differences in sound quality. This obviously requires some advanced planning since you’d need to have shot this when on location in the first place!
Cutaways: while the speaker’s audio continues, cut to:
a reaction shot of the listener. This is pretty much covered under “multiple angles”: the footage you took of the other actor, listening while the person is speaking. Since their mouth is not moving, it could well be from another take and they could therefore be reacting to a different line, so be careful it makes sense! Reporters do this all the time; sometimes faking the reaction footage of themselves after the interview, as famously depicted by William Hurt in the film “Broadcast News.”
a photo of the thing the person is talking about (especially for documentaries – like the “Ken Burns Effect”)
an object in the same venue as the speaker – for example, the dialog is in a cafe; you show the napkin dispenser… or one that could plausibly be there, if you didn’t film it originally (pickup shot road trip!). Good for developing atmosphere.
a totally random other shot – this has to do with Eisensteinian theory of continuity, but basically you pick something that the audience can relate on some metaphorical level to the situation or dialog or character
If none of that is going to work, you’re stuck with a shot of the speaker. So we’re down to:
Dissolve into same shot:
Cut for sound, omitting some footage between two takes — that is cut the dialog so it sounds good, and then adjust the video. The simplest non-jarring transition is a dissolve between the two takes. Popular in documentaries.
Mirror the shot on the next take:
This is similar to the dissolve except it lets you cut between two takes of the same shot. I saw this in The Aristocrats (2005), directed by and I think edited by Paul Provenza. He took a shot of a comedian talking, and cut directly to the same shot that had been flipped on the vertical axis, so left is right. If the shot is done slightly lopsided, or especially if you mirror AND zoom the shot a little, it looks like a different camera.
Fukubukuro, or “Mystery Bag,” is a Japanese New Year’s Day tradition during which merchants sell sealed bags of various items at a substantial discount, often as high as 50%. Shoppers may get some great deals on the contents of these bags – even if they don’t know what exactly they’re buying.
BRAIN: oh right
BRAIN: like a grab bag
BRAIN: we have that at Obon
BRAIN: except since it’s so americanized I never knew the japanese name for it… (plus I hadn’t done it for new years)
OJ: there is something in singapore called a “lucky dip”
OJ: which is a raffle thing
OJ: you buy a ticket (5 or 50 or whatever dollars), get a draw and a number
OJ: Japan celebrates NY on 1/1 correct?
BRAIN: you have to clean your house
BRAIN: and have friends over
BRAIN: with a lot of food available
BRAIN: generally there’s some enka awards on TV
OJ: interesting, so similar to some of the chinese traditions for lunar new year
BRAIN: what happens for that?
OJ: lots of diff traditions depending on rural village
OJ: common ones include: big meal, or vegetarian meal
OJ: clean house
OJ: pay off debts
OJ: eat oranges or pineapples (pun on words)
OJ: “lucky money” / “red envelopes” from married people to kids (nieces/nephews also)
BRAIN: related: I found out recently what you do with your daruma after the eyes are filled in – you burn it at the temple at the end of the year
OJ: oh… interesting
OJ: i want a Hello Kitty daruma but i won’t fill it in or burn it
OJ: unless hmm, i had extras
BRAIN: so what, she’d just be eyeless forever?
BRAIN: so so sad
OJ: well u fill in one eye?
OJ: or you hae one with both, but don’t make a wish
BRAIN: a free ride for HK daruma?!
BRAIN: wtf, that’s even worse!
BRAIN: you commie!
Halfway through I’m at Macy’s and there’s a ton of people made up like the Neanderthals from the GEICO commercials. They stay in character, just going about their business shopping (I can’t recall any clerks who were Neanderthal-Americans), and occasionally being loud about being discriminated against in a Cro-Magnon-centric world. Although I don’t think we’re supposed to use that phrase anymore.
The phenomenon is so awesome it’s hard not to giggle constantly. I tweet that it’s happening (I used Twitter in my dream about GEICO!!), before talking to an elderly woman in a wheelchair, being pushed by a relation. They are both Neanderthals. I both play along and try to get her to break character, making a comment about picking up something with her feet — I’m not sure if she’s turning into a chimp, or I’m just stupid, or if I’m baiting her deliberately — she almost breaks character but does not.
Later my friend Jackie and I sneak into a big party on the roof of a hotel downtown… it turns out to be Tom Hanks’ birthday party, and Richard Branson is there with a cloned triceratops.
Tom Hanks is sitting with a friend at a small table while everyone comes up and wishes him happy birthday (he looks young!), and when I do, he seems to mistake me for someone else because he thinks we may have met before. Either we actually have met before and I’m fuzzy on it or I capitalize on his confusion, because I give him one of my MOO cards with the little weird images from my films on it.
LATER as I’m awake, I realize the GEICO mascots aren’t actually Neanderthals, they are early modern humans, just “cavemen.”