Party dogs

Posted by Jamie Austad 
Party dogs
August 21, 2008 12:45AM
Okay, I am embarrassed to put this up because I am a complete novice and this doesn't compare with any of the work I've looked at in this list. But I am putting it up anyway because I want to get better, so please feel free to point out good and bad.

The shots are all handheld (very obviously) on a DVX100b in a hotel lobby, so the lighting was horrible and I tried to figure out which filters to apply to make it look the best it could.

I do not have license to use the music, so although I was hoping to put this on the magazine's website, it seems that could be a big bad mistake without permission.


Re: Party dogs
August 21, 2008 01:18AM
Aside from the dissolves, which feel arbitrary and not too motivated, not much wrong with the piece, I thought. It's not meant to carry much narrative or meaning, it's about cute moments with cute dogs. Maybe a bit more stringent shot choices (ie. cutting out some of the more vague shots) would give you a tighter piece, but it does the job.
Re: Party dogs
August 21, 2008 10:03PM
Thanks for the feedback... what kind of changes would you make to the dissolves? I added a few but I left a lot of the cuts without any dissolve because of the music - the dissolves wound up being distracting to me because the tempo of the soundtrack felt too quick. Do you disagree there?
Re: Party dogs
August 21, 2008 11:16PM
It's been my long-time theory that if you let the music dictate the cuts, at least 60 per cent of the time you'd be making cuts that don't fit the images as well as they could. That's the feeling I got. I don't think you did badly; there were just a few points where I saw techniques that didn't really fit the shots chosen for those techniques.

Just as a training exercise, try cutting the piece with no music. Use either silence, or sync sound. See if you can convey the moments you want, some kind of structure and build.

Now lock the picture, put the music back on top. I guarantee you the music will find many sync points on its own. You can also cut the music to fit the picture.

That doesn't mean you can't ever use music, but the method is to counter the (I'd argue faulty) assumption of most young filmmakers (just peruse those badly cut YouTube "tribute" videos), that cutting dead to music is good editing, and putting a marker on every four beat and putting your cuts dead on the markers is good editing. Film is much more fluid than that; even the greatest music videos aren't cut dead to the beat. If you let the cuts fall on the beat, that means your actual shots and onscreen movements are all off the beat.

Here's a metaphor: If this were a dance sequence, for example, and you had one cut every beat, then your dancers' actual moves would be missing all the beats. Would you think that's a good thing?
Re: Party dogs
August 22, 2008 12:14AM
Okay, that makes a lot of sense and I see the error of what I did. I watched it without the music and then I watched it with a different song, totally different rhythm, and I think I actually liked the feel of it better, maybe not because of the song but because the visual image didn't hug the sound so tight. I did know you shouldn't edit to the music but I think it can be an easy trap to fall into if you don't have a specific plan or story when you start cutting.

I'll try recutting, but I need to move on to a different project - and I will keep this great advice in mind. Thank you!!

aside: one thing I am proud of in this piece is that I DID cut the music, and I think it's pretty seamless. It's only one spot, but I really strove to make it completely unnoticed. I was very pleased with the audio transition tool. One day I'll think, yeah, whatever, but right now I think it's a bit magical.
Re: Party dogs
August 22, 2008 12:54AM
> I was very pleased with the audio transition tool. One day I'll think, yeah, whatever, but right
> now I think it's a bit magical.

Nothing wrong with taking pleasure in learning something from doing it. Good filmmaking has to include a fun factor.
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