Editing: After a couple of

Editing: After a couple of false starts, we're finally set to make the editing tweaks on Souvenir November 2001 this week. (Since I only have FCP 1.0 loaded, and the project got saved in 3.0, I couldn't open it without 3.0.) We really worked to balance the documentary "vocabulary" of the movie, that is, the degree to which the filmmaking process asserts itself: lighting quality, high-contrast exposure rates, handheld camera movement, crew and equipment appearances. Post-preview screening, we heard strong reactions to the contrast between "performed" scenes and "documented" scenes which went to the heart of the story. The two major editing tweaks deal with this balance:

  • slo-mo: The opening airport montage's smoothness needs to be equalized. There are 2-3 shots in the opening airport sequence that are a little too fast. There's also one shot at the memorial where the camera bobbles a bit; Slowing the shot down about 10-20% will smooth that out. This goes in the "performed" column, or the "in control" column, to be more accurate. Fluid and reassuring.
  • documentary "fixes": There's a shot at the crater that Jonah and I debated over endlessly. It was an utterly unscripted, unexpected incident that turned out to be one of the most emotionally charged moments of the shoot (and, hopefully, of the film). Because it wasn't blocked, planned, or anticipated, the camera just flew around for a second or two when we got caught off guard. We'd taken that section out, but I'm going to put it back in; the combination of unexpected occurrence and documentary vocabulary is what people responded to.
  • dialogue/titles: There's one exchange when the guy's asking townspeople for directions. We'd cut off the preceding question, but I think I'll add it back. A little repetition may enhance the rhythm of the sequence.
  • sound levels: A couple of audio files need to be relaid; there are some weird level changes that don't appear in the original tracks.
  • ambient sound: In one of the ambient sound loops (a 8-second clip of background sound that plays under a scene), there's just the wind. And me sniffling. Someone asked if it was supposed to be crying; since it happens every 8 seconds, it's a little annoying. And once it's pointed out, it's even more annoying. So, it'll be a 7-second loop soon.
  • music: I'm thinking about swapping out one of the tracks for another one by the same artist. And I have to add a music credits screen.

    The changes should only add 15-20 seconds or so to the film. Now that it's not constrained by the Cannes 15-minute limit, it's fine. Also, we'll output it to DVD and Beta SP for the first time--a definitive version, suitable for screening at your local film festival (local if you live in Park City or one of the places listed at left). Stay tuned.

  • Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

    Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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    first published: July 9, 2002.

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