Talking Stone Film

Film Reviews & Headlines


Hi there! Welcome to episode 2 of This Guy Edits. We get to see this guy edit. I want to talk a little bit about selecting for scenes. Selecting is the process that you’re doing before you start editing. It’s already a creative process where you’re looking at the footage, artistically or in terms of the performance and you selecting what the good moments are in a scene. I have a very particular way that I’m doing it, I’m sure there are many other ways and many other techniques that editors used to select their scenes, but I’m going to show you what I’ve been doing in the past 10 years or more of editing. I picked the scene that actually has two cameras rolling at the same time. You see our main character here sitting in the middle of an AA meeting, and covered this meeting in Philadelphia, and it actually happens to be a real meeting. So everybody else in the scene is a real person that showed up to a real AA meeting, and Mark is playing a character in there, and his mother has been leading this group, of what I assume for many, many years. I haven’t really looked at this footage at all, all I did is I sync the footage to the audio and I made what is called a multi-clip, we’re can see a scene, run and I can see both angles at the same time, and can and I could be cutting back and forth between the two different angles. I’ll start at the beginning. (Actress)Have a seat. Don’t be doing that! Don’t be doing that, you suppose act like they’re not there. No, ok, that’s it, I’m whoop your ass in about a second. (Actor) Oh, I though you want me to say something. (Actress) No. gotta act like it’s not there. (Sven) So as you can see, the shoot starts and somebody walks in and he acknowledges the camera, so he’s breaking what is called the fourth wall, so most of the stuff, I’m probably not going to be able to use, but I still like what’s happening in that moment, like she, Marks mother, is very much in control of what’s happening, we get a real good sense of what her character is. She knows how to talk, she knows the lingo and it feels real. So even though most of that stuff might not actually end up in the movie, I still like what’s happening, and anything that has potential to be used I’m going to select. And then, I just keep on watching. (Actress)All right, please, I told you I was having a rough morning, yeah. (Actor) uh-huh. (Actress) Ok. (Sven) So at this point, still he’s acknowledging the camera, I’m going to use it anyway. (Actress) So anyway, we were doing introductions, and the topic that I wanted to talk about this morning is what are some of the struggles that people that are having to deal with recovery, coming back in the community have to deal with, especially those of you that have done time, right? What are like some of the real issues that you’ve had to deal with? (Sven) She basically introduced what this meeting is about. What I’m going to do with this part, because it’s all usable, I’m going to select it, but I’m actually going to put it one layer up, and that’s a system that I specifically use and that I sort of developed for myself. I would like to have a chronological order of what is happening in the scene, and then, if something happens that should deserve more attention, I’m going to move it up one video layer, so that when I look at my timeline at the end, it’s going to really reflect, sort of like a, like a waveform of what the good moments are in a scene. What I really liked was that moment should talk about people doing time, so maybe I’m even going to give it a marker, so that I remember or that my eyes is drawn to that moment, when I start cutting the scene. I’m actually gonna take that moment here, (Actress) Especially those of you that have done time, right? (Sven) For me something is happening there, that I feel like could maybe become a valid moment in the scene, so let’s keep on playing. (Actress) Anybody wanna say your, say your name or… (Sven) Now is the reaction shot there and I can already see the other shot, this guy is going to raise his hand, so maybe I’ll cut from this reaction shot over here, (Sctress) Your name… (Sven) To the guy on the left. (Actress) Hey William. (Actor) … and the biggest problem that I have is a employment, I have a real hard time of keeping that second chance, you know. Thanks to … Jerusalem, you know, they afforded me the second chance, you know I’d like get on time of my life situation. (Sven) I can tell now we’re gonna close up here on this guy. (Actress) How much time did you do? (Actor) I did 18 years. (Actress) 18 years? (Actor) Yeah, and still came up with that…. It’s alot you got to deal with, you know… So again, I really like this moment here where she asked him: how much time did you do?” so, I’m gonna put that up one layer. So at this point, somebody is walking into the room and this door is creaking, everybody gets distracted. So I’m going to see what happens here but I’m probably not going to be very excited about this moment here. The door finally closed. So now we’re back in. So I’m gonna move this to the bottom layer. It happened and I’m still going to watch it and I’m going to see it when I’m cutting the scene, but I can already tell that this is a little bit distracted, maybe worth of with an audio mix that can be fixed. (Actress) Well I’m here to help do whatever I can support you in your recovery. (Sven) So whatever you said here, (Actress) Well I’m here… (Sven) and then I’m gonna be cutting to her (Actress) how do whatever I can support you and your recovery and staying on the outside right? (Sven) Great moment, so as you can tell, I’m starting to build this waveform on the timeline here, and I can already tell these are good moments, this is pretty good moments and this just happened. So if I watch this back, (Actress) How much time did you do? (Actor) I did 18 years. (Actress) 18 years? (Sven) So I really wanted to be in the close-up here, so I’m just going to switch the camera angle, (Actress)How much time did you do? (Actor) I did 18 years. (Actress) 18 years? (Sven) This is just very rudimentary, first touch and go editing, so that when I do watch back this whole timeline, I already get a sense of what the coverage is. The coverage is the different angles in a scene, close-ups, wide shot, medium shot, so I know what moments are covered in what way. (Actress) Well I’m here to help do whatever I Can… …and what where some of the major issues that you have to deal with? (Sven) ok, so they’re basically shooting a documentary at this point, and they’re just going with what happens, now they are adjusting the camera as the action is happening, and that can sometimes be good because you don’t want to disturb the moment, you don’t want to disturb the flow and you don’t want the people to constantly be reminded that they’re being filmed, but at the same time, that whole moment of introducing himself and then talking about what his story is, is basically not covered. I basically have it in in audio, so find some cutaways where can cut to something else, maybe some hands or whatever I could think of or happened, I could maybe, cover some of that camera adjustment and still use it. Lots of commotion. Phone is ringing. Here we go, now we’re settled into the scene, it’s a beautiful close-up of him on the right side. So at this point, it gets kind of funky again, so I’m going to make this a layer 2, don’t want to lose anything at this point, because once once I not put it in the timeline, it for me it doesn’t exist anymore, it’s gone, it’s very hard for me to go back to the dailies and track something down. So I want to cover everything that is has potential, that might be in the movie and put it in this timeline. because I’m going to be working off this timeline a lot, and as we continue developing these scenes and I start cutting, you’re going to see how I’m always referencing back to these select reels. (Acterss) So you can’t find employment because you got felonies? (Sven) Great question from her and again, there was a lot of camera movement before an end, but I got this little moment here, and that’s maybe all I need in the scene, because I really don’t, that scene is probably not about everybody’s life story, it’s going to be just moments, everybody it’s just going to be able to represent who he is in a sentence or two, and that moment, just now that we saw, was really beautiful between her and him, and lets watch it again. (Sctress) So you can’t find employment because you got felonies? (Sven) So that’s, that’s great, and it’s very authentic. (Sctress) So you can’t find employment because you got felonies? (Sven) S he’s going to say that in the wide shot for now. And he’s gonna answer in the medium shot. This is all good stuff. (Sctress) Well I’ve seen you over the weeks and you look, look like you’re really progressing, I’m very proud of you, very proud of you. Uh, the shy guy,. I already like this guy, feels very real, obviously. And I have feeling that this moment, right here, it’s going to make it into the movie. Actually, lets make this a close-up. I’m going to continue with the scene and I’m sure Mark is going to get his turn here to talk about his problems, again, he’s playing a character here, that’s somewhat based on his own experience, I can already tell this is a really good scene to set the stage for this movie that happens early on, where we understand that we were really out there in the hood and she is a real person, and I think that’s really important at the beginning to, to make her a strong character, and to understand what she’s all about. So I’m going to leave it here, and I hope you enjoyed this episode. In the next episode I’m going to just run through this timeline where quick with you, and we’re going to move on to the next scene. And if you did like this video please like, comment and subscribe. Have a great day!

13 thoughts on “Scene Selection in Film Editing

  1. Sven — do you keep selects for each scene in their own timeline for reference? This is what I've done in the past. Is this your method, or is there a better way?

  2. Sven – Coming from this from the Avid/Premiere perspective, do
    you feel it is still necessary or beneficial to create scene bins from
    the dailies, while working in this "selects" fashion?

    I'd love to save time by not creating them, but I wonder if I'm shooting
    myself in the foot organizationally by skipping this step. For example,
    if a director wanted to see a particular take or to compare it with
    scripty notes, I would have to hunt through my initial selects timeline
    to find it. Then if I was cutting off the slate in said timeline, it
    would make it even more difficult to find a shot.

  3. Love these. Your selection strategy will be invaluable for the upcoming documentary I'm editing. Thank you so much. I'm going to binge watch all of your videos between now and the end of the year haha. πŸ™‚

  4. Always worth going back to the older TGE videos to learn something (again) πŸ™‚ Your selection process is really interesting. So, you:

    1. put all shots from one scene in a scene bin
    2. create a 'first_selects_scene_timeline' for each scene where you put the first selects and arrange them on different tracks (waveform style)
    3. create an additional 'first_cut_scene_timeline' for each scene where you do a first rough cut
    4. have a 'master timeline' where the entire movie lives and where you copy clips over from the 'first_cut_scene_timelines'

    Did I get that right?

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