Comm Lab: Video & Sound, Final Video

First, here is the final cut of our group video:

My class spent an entire class period looking at each group’s video and then critiquing the hell out of it.  Our professor, as I mentioned in the last comm lab post, taught us what to look for when revising our videos.

My group decided to do some more shooting, since our video jumped from one vignette to the next without establishing much context.  I was late to the group meeting because I remembered the wrong time, so I apologized for that.  But then we went out to the NYU-Washington Square Park area again to film.  This time we used a tripod, which made our new footage much smoother.  We actually brought the tripod along with us the first time, but I think we were still so unused to the equipment and to filming in general that we didn’t think it through, even though our professor told us to always use a tripod!  It’s funny how you can tell someone to do things, from his own experience, but you won’t listen until you learn the hard way yourself.

We also paid more attention to lighting this time, avoiding direct sunlight and areas with varying sunlight, to avoid hotness later when editing the video.

We took long shots of our characters walking or skateboarding or eating, with The Asshole walking as well, to set up the convergence of his Assholish event.  The footage came out a lot better, though I think some of my zooming was still kind of rough.

When we were done, we went back to school to edit.  Final Cut Pro X went a LOT smoother this time around.  We took turns editing, so we’d all be able to watch each other and learn how to do certain operations.  While this can be more laborious, it 1) lets everyone learn what everyone else knows and 2) retains continuity since everyone is involved in the same editing process.

We were not planning to use any audio from the footage but when we ran the first cut with music, we found that the sound effects could add context to the video without taking away from the effect of the music, in carefully-placed spots.  I think I had wanted originally to use Denis Leary’s “Asshole Song” for our soundtrack, …

… thinking it was perfectly suited, but my team rightly kept seeking ideas and we found Crystal Castles.  The song worked great, and I think the rest of the group was right that Denis Leary’s lyrics would have distracted too much from the video.  The audio editing was fun, raising the sound effect levels in some areas and dampening the street sounds in others.  We lined up some scenes with changes in the song.

Color balancing helped a lot.  Final Cut Pro X has a color matching function which lets you choose the colors from one frame and map it onto another, so you get more continuity.  We had footage from one day of shooting where it was cloudy, and shooting from another where it was sunny, so we minimized the disparity using this tool, plus some of Danne’s color editing skills to clean it up.

Thanks to Stefanie, Michael, and Danne.  And to our professor, Marianne Petit, for the wonderful instruction!