In today’s lecture we will learn about how to interpret the assessment brief, what we need to do and how to do well.
Assessment 1: Portfolio
Brief 1: Deadline 16/3/20 by 4pm – 50% toward the unit.
- Starting 17/2/20 we will be supplied with 2 pools of pre-recorded audio and visual documentary materials.
- We will need to attend our session with Graeme that week to ensure that we receive the footage.
- We should review the 2 pools and pick one to create our edit.
- Using post-production software we will edit, order, layer and mix the audio – visual content to produce one film of approximately 3 minutes duration video clip which will form the main part of the assessment submission.
- The evaluation of our work will focus on these basic competencies including using the FCP (Final Cut Pro) software to produce an edit that demonstrates:
- Narrative cohesion
- Continuity principles
- Appropriate shot selection
- A coherent sound mix
- Form should follow function
- E.g. Our decisions should be appropriate to the content and the tone that we want to create with our film so that we have an integrated aesthetic.
- Narrative cohesion: The film we produce should make narrative sense.
- Continuity principles: The film should respect continuity principles. Our editing should not be too noticeable, if these are broken there should be a compelling narrative reason.
- Appropriate shot selection: Not all of the footage is suitable; so you need to select it carefully and in a way that helps to power our story forward.
- Appropriate transitions: We should be cutting at appropriate times and using appropriate types of edit.
- A coherent sound mix: Sound is often neglected but we should layer our sound mix so add to the aesthetic and integrate sound with aesthetic.
- Integrated means that the edit we produce should have a consistent tone and feel, that is organic and sinuous.
- FCP arguably makes it too easy to produce something hyperactive and heavy-handed.
- However, hyperactive is admittedly an integrated aesthetic.
- It’s better to do something that is easy to watch and that has rhythm and flow and feels natural rather than forced or an assault.
- Review and rank footage putting an emphasis on narrative and tone.
- Organise footage into bins.
- Rough cut.
- Fine cut.
- Manage audio.
- We will be expected to provide a critical reflection of 1000 words.
- It should talks about the reader through our creative and organisation decisions and workflow.
- It should also include illustrative supporting documents showing how we have done the following:
- Organised the material to tell a coherent story with a coherent tone.
- Used the software and explaining our creative choices along with any appropriate legal documents.
Structuring the 1000 words:
- Introduction: Explain our approach and what tone I’m aiming for.
- Organisation: Explain how I organised my material with an emphasis on story and tone. Use secondary materials.
- Creative Decision: Explain specific creative decisions that contribute to the tone of my film. Use secondary materials. Show and illustrate how I have done this. Provide specific examples from my film. This might include discussion of specific sequences, specific cuts or sound mix.
- Explain what I think works well and what I need to work on, to allow it moving forward.
Illustrate my workflow and decisions by:
- Screenshots of the FCP interface.
- Screenshots of my film.
- File structure/organisation.
- Post-it notes on my wall.
- These ought to be labelled clearly and I should refer to the images (don’t make them just cosmetic).
- The more I interface the more detailed my analysis can be.
File structure organisation
FCP audio J cut close-up
Things to consider:
- Most importantly 1000 words is not a lot so we will need to be super efficient.
- Try not be mechanical.
- And do not try to be ‘by-the-numbers’.
- Show rather than tell.
- Don’t say things that could be said about any other film. My film will be original make my critical reflection original too.
- Use terminology that makes me sound like an editor.
- So be aware of the correct terminology for shot sizes and types of edit / transition.
This is how we’re being marked:
- We must demonstrate that we have acquired and developed technical skills to tell a coherent story using Final Cut Pro (FCP) software.
- We must work to eliminate obvious errors by showing attention to detail in producing a coherent timeline and sound mix.
- We should work to produce an edit that is organic, fluid and sinuous.
- We could – where appropriate – include the use of music, titles, graphics and make use of further additional applications within the FCP application.
Professionalism and preparation
- We must attend class regularly.
- We must do appropriate preparation working outside of class to practise our editing, review the footage and produce our edit.
- We must do appropriate preparation working outside of class to research our supporting documentation and produce our supporting documentation.
- We should go through a number of drafts of our written component.
- We should go through the recommended steps in producing our edit.
- We should use the skills we learnt on this unit on our two parallel units.
- We could watch a range of shot and log documentary films considering how they are edited to help you become sensitive to edit in this format.
- We must produce an edit of approximately 3 minutes in length that communicates a coherent story.
- We should consider the possible stories that are baked in the footage supplied and make creative editing decisions to communicate our story.
- We should be sensitive to the tone of our story and – on this basis – make appropriate decisions about our edit in terms of shot selection, story, pacing rhythm etc.
- We could consider how to make our own edit distinctive through our creative decisions.
- We must produce 1000 words that reflect on the storytelling and creative decisions made in our edit.
- We must engage with secondary materials.
- We must reference appropriately and include a bibliography.
- We should focus on the tone that our edit is aiming for.
- We should illustrate our portfolio with images and screenshots.
- We should justify our decisions in terms of the documentary / factual genre and the tone our film is aiming for.
- We could restrict our secondary material to editors working in the industry.
- We could focus exclusively on one aspect of our edit i.e. sound mix, pace, rhythm etc.
Quick reminder: on Monday of week 8 is dedicated to how to do well in assessment!
- Cutting on action – cut from one shot to another, whilst the subject is on action.
- Cut away – cut into an insert shot of something and cut it back.
- Cross cutting – cutting back and forth.
- Jump cut – cutting in the same shot, show the passing of time.
- Match cut – cut from one shot to a similar shot, through action or composition (sometimes it can be cut based on audio).
- Fade in / fade out – dissolving into or out of black.
- Dissolve – blending one scene to another.
- Smash cut – erupt transition.
- Iris – open or close a circular hole into the subject.
- Wipe – can come in any shape, but there would be a clear boundary line to separate one scene from another scene.
- Invisible cut – move from one scene to another thought black, camera movement or object moving across the frame.
- L cut – is an audio based transition, when an audio from one shot moving on to another shot.
- J cut – is the same but you can hear the sound before the shot.
You can be very creative by combing them together. This is called ‘creative combination‘.
Here are some quotes about cuts and transitions:
- ‘The most common means of joining two shots in the cut’ (Bordwell and Thompson, 2008, p.219)
- ‘Cuts are perceived as instantaneous changes from one shot to another’. (Bordwell and Thompson, 2008, p.219)
- ‘A dissolve briefly superimposes the end fo shot A and the beginning of shot B’ (Bordwell and Thompson, 2008, p. 218-9)
- A ‘dissolve indicated a brief, indeterminate… inconsequential passage of time, either within a scene or to a scene that shortly followed’ (Monticone, 2016, p.61)
- ‘A fade-out gradually darkens the end of a shot to black, and a fade-in accordingly lightens a shot from black’ (Bordwell and Thompson, 2008, p. 218)
- ‘A fade to black signalled the end of an “act” and presaged a lengthier temporal gap’ (Monticone, 2016, p. 61)
- ‘In a wipe, shot B replaces shot A by means of a boundary line moving across the screen’ (Bordwell and Thompson, 2008, p.219)
- Wipes were the functional equivalents of dissolves, denoting brief ellipses, but they better maintained a fast pace and were thus thought appropriate for comedies and action films’ (Monticone, 2016, p. 61)