Three Shot Exercise and Edit

The ‘Three Shot Exercise’ we did in class was a lesson in how to ‘shoot to edit’. This prompted the question: how can we record vision and sound that will give us options in framing and ordering during the editing process? I worked with Helena and Annick on a fairly simple scene where someone walks down the stairs and then calls someone on their phone.

Often when we ‘shoot to edit’, we ‘shoot the shit out a scene’ by capturing the same action in multiple ways (using different angles, shot sizes, camera movements and length of takes). In retrospect I think we could have done a lot more of that for this scene, because as soon as I sat down to edit the sequence I realised that 1. There weren’t many different ways I could order the shots and 2. It was going to be difficult to make the scene look continuous because we hadn’t shot enough ‘extra’ footage (we had really only given ourselves two alternative angles for the stair shots).

As a result of this I feel like my final edit lacks energy. I would have liked to quicken the pace of the cuts to build some tension in the scene, but because I only had two different shots of the staircase, the fast cuts felt unmotivated and didn’t add anything new or interesting to the sequence. I also struggled to make the scene look continuous, not because of the visuals, but because of the audio. We hadn’t taken an external microphone out with us to shoot that day and we also forgot to record an ‘atmos’ track, which is critical when shooting to edit. I had a realisation during the editing process for this scene that much of the ‘flow’ in films comes from the audio continuing from one shot to the next. This is a fact that I take for granted, because I usually rely on being able to ‘cut on action’ to make my scenes appear continuous. Although I did layer some of the audio tracks for this scene, the shots still feel somewhat disjointed because the sound recordings were not of a high quality. Ultimately, I have come to the conclusion that even though shooting multiple shots of the same action takes a lot of time and recording good quality audio can be a bit of fuss, it is all worth it for the edit.