Used Final Cut Pro 2 AGAIN and loving it!!!

Posted by KelliWorld 
Used Final Cut Pro 2 AGAIN and loving it!!!
May 22, 2011 05:16AM
My director used the Canon T2i/550D again for the next video that we shot. This time we added a moving dolly and other stands to hold and maneuver the camera so that the angles would be more interesting. The transitioning from shot to shot was much better this time and making us have much more interesting edit. The audio was added and edited using Final Cut Pro2.The lens he used was a Canon 16-35mm f2.8L. I rented it from Samy's for about $35. I need feedback, please

Please note that there's rapping in the song

Re: Used Final Cut Pro 2 AGAIN and loving it!!!
May 22, 2011 10:18AM
You guys can really benefit from learning how not to cut on the beat. The whole "one cut per drum hit" thing can be an okay gimmick once or twice, but by the third time you used it, it was just flat and predictable. You weren't looking at how the actual subjects in the shots were moving; you just cut in and out because that's where the drum hits were, and you never deviated from that formula whenever those drum hits came. So the result is that the viewer can predict exactly where your cuts come. The shots may as well have been stills, since they only served the function of marking the cuts.

The visuals are more interesting than the last one with the four women, but once again, we have a strict "proscenium" style that's anything but cinematic. Have you ever tried shooting from anything other than a dead-on axis? Here's where your dead adherence to on-the-beat cutting also screws you. You're forced to edit much faster, so that the information and gestures of each shot are compromised, and you're also forced to use more shots than you have truly good coverage for.

Even for a proscenium style, I felt your backgrounds weren't very well chosen. No details, no personality. It felt like you shot where it was convenient and cheap, not where it was interesting and relevant. And for such a long video, in my view you needed at least two other setups to help sustain the song. I think the video ran out of steam around the 1:20 mark for me -- same, same, same.

To me, the crucial shots were the insert of the cross necklace, and the "raining" shot. That's where I felt like you had better ideas rather than the clichéd bump-and-grind women and dead-to-camera braggadocio of hip-hop videos. Should have done a lot more of that.

The rappers looked self-conscious in at least half of the shots. The second guy, especially. I don't feel like you've worked hard enough to push them towards a performance with more personality. They needed loosening up. It's not that they need to be moving all the time; a lot of times, a charismatic performance can be entirely seated -- look at Extreme's "More than Words" or Coolio and L.V.'s "Gangsta's Paradise". In "Gangsta's Paradise", L.V. was only ever shot in a 2/5 ECU angle from the side, with no body language, but he looked extremely powerful because of the intensity of his expression and performances, and the kick-ass lighting. In "Mama Said Knock You Out", LL Cool J gave a performance that was only in front of a microphone, and we can't even see his eyes, but he was so engaged and confident that you can't take your eyes off him.

In your video, the one rapper who came off the best was the guy with the clear glasses. He looked like he was having fun, rather than just hitting marks, and he had personality that was unique from everybody else. His expressions made it look like he was communicating with an audience.

I would have talked with the artist about cutting down on the length of the song. For a six-minute video, you really didn't have enough visual variety to sustain that long a track. They probably wanted to feature every rapper, but there are ways to make a shorter "video edit" without losing an actual rapper.
Re: Used Final Cut Pro 2 AGAIN and loving it!!!
May 22, 2011 07:58PM
I agree with Derek on a lot of his points...and the imagery looks good for the most part. My 2 cents:


Nobody ever spends time on the grafix (logo / title sequence / credits). It sets up what you are going to be looking at....creates the beginning of a mood. Chunky graphics = "did these folks spend any time on this?"

* Opening logo = looks chunky and off-color (unless that's your goal).

* "Cracked" font = I would not have chosen this. Really tough to read in many scenarios. Would have gone with a more slick handwritten script. Think "Cinematic".


* I thought it was long. After about 2.5 minutes of the same beats, and cutting to every segment of beats, it gets repetitive really fast.

* Too many individual rappers doing segments (7)...and ALL right into the camera. No deviation.

* Cutting to the beats / snare hits all the time...I simply cannot watch more than a few seconds of that. Use it as a transition here & there, but not every time is happens.

* It's the same dolly move back and forth / push in & out with the same 2 backgrounds. This is not interesting. One pan to set up all the artists...maybe a few cut-aways throughtout. Need to see more backgrounds.

* Cutting to the CUs out of focus...?? Should have at least racked on those shots. Too many "out of focus" shots...they look like mistakes.

* Like Derek said, the performances (except one) was just talking and dancing in front of the camera. That one guy was FUN TO WATCH. Everyone else looked bored / going through the motions. One of the girls is also good with the camera. When she is on, she has my attention. It has to be that way for all. The artists need to love that camera intimately. It's one of the hardest things to do if you are not trained to do it. That is why some Directors believe in rehearsals (and some SHOOT their rehearsals because some Artists give a more candid REAL performance if they think they are not yet "doing it for real"winking smiley. Working with Artists is a skill in itself.


I would have done a lot more Pre-Pro before shooting. Even though technically the footage looks good for the most part, there are no camera aesthetics / production value to it. It looks like it was put together in a few hours. I would have scouted more locations (5 to 10 more). I would have scripted out some cool vignettes (scenes) and had the artists act them out rather than have every person rap directly into the camera and break the "4th Wall". If that "intimidation style" (staring the audience down with the camera) is what you are after, there are better more theatrical ways to do it. I would have looked into having real actors act out vignettes...and cut the scenes in...breaking up 6 minutes of dollying back & forth.

Also "Creative Rotoscoping" adds a TON of "Production Value" to any piece...pan past an image / building / person / have a person walk past the camera and use that person as a wipe to another camera angle / scene by rotoscoping them. There is so much you can do with this.

There are so many Actors that would jump on something like this for FREE just to get a credit on the piece (I did that for years in the 80's & 90's). If you want, you could probably get hydraulic bouncing cars / hot tubs & bikinis / cool cars / nice homes / night clubs / huge empty warehouses / etc. Run an ad in Craig's List, visit a local school with a Performing Arts program or a local acting teacher.

When life gives you dilemmas...make dilemmanade.

Re: Used Final Cut Pro 2 AGAIN and loving it!!!
May 22, 2011 09:20PM
I'm not doing another video until I confer with Derek and Grafix Joe 1st smiling smiley Thank you for taking the time to go over the video and constructively criticize it. The "some of what I would have done" section is very thought provoking and those ideas and mentions will definitely be utilized once an actual budget comes into play. Until next time gentlemen winking smiley
Re: Used Final Cut Pro 2 AGAIN and loving it!!!
May 22, 2011 09:40PM
Just for exploration, try cutting the video again. Even if it's just an "editor's cut" that the client and director won't see. This time, rather than matching your cut points to beats, try finding actions onscreen that fit the beat. Also, try cutting to the general groove of a section of music, rather than letting the beats dominate every cut.

And if you try this exercise, don't go from the cut you already did. Start from a fresh, blank timeline. Recuts can often be bogged down by old cuts so that you're not free to explore new approaches. You can always copy things from the old timeline if you so choose, but sometimes you need a blank slate, uncluttered by older decisions, in order to really expand the horizons of what the footage is capable of doing.

A third way to milk new experiences out of this: I assume you synced up every take to the music? Take one take of the performance -- such as the guy with glasses -- with the synced music in place. Now turn off the music and cut only with that take. Use your eyes to find the cut points, not the music. Cut the dancing, movement, performances and angles without listening to the music, and don't worry about what you're cutting to -- if you want to remove something, just leave a hole there. Do the whole take. You'll end up with a single take with holes cut in. Now turn the music back on. See how the music finds its own sync points without you deliberately making every beat a cut. You can also find limitless permutations of this technique by cutting another take like this, then overlapping the two takes to see how they interact.
Re: Used Final Cut Pro 2 AGAIN and loving it!!!
May 23, 2011 12:42PM
An example of a hip-hop video I edited last year.

Re: Used Final Cut Pro 2 AGAIN and loving it!!!
May 25, 2011 04:12PM
Thanks Derek...Really. Valuable suggestions you have provided me. And I understand what you're saying. Will definitely go at another edit. Your video's edit is exceptional. Would love to work with you in the future! Respect smiling smiley
Re: Used Final Cut Pro 2 AGAIN and loving it!!!
May 25, 2011 11:06PM
Here's an older one that many LAFCPUG members have seen. It's more representative of my style because I directed and shot this one as well. You can see the director of "Do Your Thang" in it -- he's the dude with the basketball in the beginning. All the performers in this one are his peeps.

Re: Used Final Cut Pro 2 AGAIN and loving it!!!
May 28, 2011 08:29PM
Wow Derek, I loved it!!! The direction and editing was spot on smiling smiley
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