Comm Lab, Video & Sound: Our Final Video Project

My group went out to film our movie a couple weeks ago, and we’ve spent the last week or so editing it and putting the story together in Final Cut Pro X.

Final Cut Pro X took up the bulk of our time, as we fought it like a big fish on our line.  We knew what we wanted to do, but had to translate our wishes into Apple terminology.  That said, it got easier, of course, with time and practice.  Some crashes, but the software is constantly saving.  The non-destructive editing is nice too, for expanding the size of a clip on the fly.  We had problems with adding titling and with keyframes, though.  Really, it seemed like way too much work after I’d put together a pretty quick, nice video in Adobe Premiere.  But that was on a PC.  I hear Premiere runs like trash on a Mac.  Plus, real video editors are using Avid anyway!  One can’t win.

Clearly video literacy has not quite reached the internet yet, despite large advances and the advent of YouTube.  But I think I’m going to stick with Premiere…

So our video, which details vignettes of an asshole in NYC, has been quite a learning experience.  While we thought we had a pretty good rough cut, once we saw it projected on a white wall, a lot of blatant errors stuck out immediately.  Especially after our professor, Marianne Petit, taught us what to look for in critiquing videos.  We had massive color inconsistencies, scene continuity issues, you name it.  Plus we didn’t shoot nearly enough footage.  We came in with the least footage of the groups, and so we’re starting at around 1:30 while others are trimming down from 4 minutes to 13 minutes.

I felt like the Panasonic camera we had was gorgeous but we should have used a tripod.  It didn’t really occur to us.  Lighting outside was constantly a problem.  Now I understand why so much money is spent and why so many people are involved in movies.  It takes a real pro to get the taping right, getting the audio right, the lighting, then the actors doing the takes right, etc.  Plus you’re dealing with real people so you need pretty strong trust in a director to keep doing takes over and over and knowing it’ll end up right.

One of my goals for ITP was to come out being strong in video, since it captures things so well in today’s internet era, but man, it is a lot of work.  There are so many things that can go wrong that you just don’t notice until you look at the footage later.  We had our bags in a lot of shots, and we even had footage of one of the other teams filming in Washington Square Park that we didn’t even notice till class viewing.  Which is actually kind of cool — if only every team could have a scene with another group being filmed in it for some connection.

Computers have definitely gotten better with finalizing videos — especially now that the standard is quad-core and will soon be SSD as well.  The age of video has barely begun.

Here are some screenshots of our favorite asshole, Michael.  We’ll have the final version up sometime next week.

Below you can see one of the other groups filming in the middle, in front of the fountain.