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Some Tips on Shooting Movies with Outside Editing


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#1 Killian

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 07:43 PM

Some Tips on Shooting Movies with Outside Editing

Ok, here’s a coupla tips and pieces that might be of use to people just venturing into the daunting realm of OE from TM.

#1 Don’t be afraid to shoot short
By this I mean, don’t feel that you have to cram all your shots into one long movie file (as you know, that’s where the dreaded lip sync issue starts to rear it’s ugly head); keep sequences short, which means a) less time faffing about with them, B) faster exporting, c) less chance of sound buggage. Using an OE program makes it very easy to stitch chunks of footage back together, so don’t struggle with the unwieldiness (is that a word?) of TM’s clunky editing interface when you don’t have to.

#2 Multiple Studios means less loading

Using a studio lot for each bundle of shots can ease the burden on a groaning PC; create a lot purely for a bunch of shots you’re going to need (i.e. all exteriors, all city sets, all interiors, etc), shoot the footage you need for each block of shots, export it for OE, then load up the next lot and do that block… this means you can utilise all the sets you want without having to worry about cramming every last set into a tiny space, avoids excessive use of large lot mods (which I’ve had issues with before) and doesn’t clog up your processor with unnecessary rendering of stuff you don’t need in a lot. Remember, you DON'T have to shoot stuff in sequence if you don't want to; you can shoot all your interior shots on one set at once, if you want, and cut them all back into the right place once you've exported the file and got it in your OE.

#3 Get to know your Editor…
You can learn on the fly, but that’s usually not a great idea unless you have loads of time to correct any dodgy footage or weeks to play with the damned thing beforehand! Spend some time learning what things do, where things go… what you can and can’t do in your editor before you start trying to seriously edit your magnum opus with it, or you could go belly up very quick.

#4 Pretty visuals do not a movie make
More of a caveat to newer OE “virgins” that haven’t had to struggle with TM’s interface before. Don’t assume that OE will make your movie the next best thing to sliced bread; OE can help ENHANCE a movie… it won’t make something dire into a blockbuster just by throwing in some nifty effects shots. It won’t replace a bad script, bad performances or bad editing (bad editing is bad editing, whether done in PP or Vegas/Magix, etc); you still need to have the goods there to allow OE to buff up, knock off the rough edges or get that shot you can’t get any other way.

#5 Lip Synching still is the purview of TM
Obviously, you can’t lip synch once you’ve got the file out of TM. You at least need the files in to get the synching done before you export, but don’t struggle with adding sounds and music in through PP when you can add it in afterwards.

Here’s a quick example of how I approach a shooting block using OE.

A) Using my shooting plan and the completed script, I block out the shots I want to get. I try to get several angles of the same shot (you can always cut out the ones you don’t use later), and check it carefully for set corners, scaffolding, etc before I “sign off on it”
B) Repeat Step A) until you have a coupla mins of footage completed to your satisfaction.
C) Get the movie shot as usually.
D) Take the shot film into PP and do the initial editing pass (i.e. big scene cuts (try to leave a fair bit of running “film” either side of the shot, if you can, to give you room for manoeuvre) and lip synching; DON’T do anything else to it at this stage). Remember to switch off mumbling and any background ambience tracks you don’t want on your final “reel”.
E) Export the movie at Highest (or whatever you can manage) quality.
F) I always take the exported file out of the Movies folder and stick it into a working footage folder before I start, but use whatever method works best for you (if using this approach, ALWAYS Copy the file; don’t cut and paste it into the working folder; if something goes hideously wrong, you can always start from scratch with an untouched version if needed).
G) Pop the raw footage into your editor; save it STRAIGHT AWAY with a recognisable name before you do anything else (so again you can back out of any disastrous editing errors if you need to), and remember to save OFTEN (some editors can get a tad buggy if you are handling a large file and the last thing you want is for it to crash on you after 3 hours of editing and you suddenly remembering you never saved it…).
H) THIS is the point where you do your “fine cutting”; with an OE, you can pretty much cut a frame at a time if necessary (although it will take you months if you do the whole movie this way! :P); this is a godsend, especially when handling chromakeying to stop shots bleeding over each other.
I) Once you have the second cut how you want it, you can then do some fine tuning of your volume levels on specific actors and/or scenes, add in your music (and can align it so it starts and stops exactly where you want it) and anything else you need (not going into effects shots in this post, nor green/bluescreening, but may do if people want some tips on how best to do it).
J) Save the final block again.
K) Repeat Steps A-J with each block of film you want to edit. Save each as an incremental file (i.e. Chunk 1a, Chunk1b, etc) as you go along.
L) Create a new blank editor file. Open the first completed editing file you did, copy ALL the completed chunks and files inside that edit, and paste them into your “Completed Movie” working document. Do the same with the rest of your working files, in sequence, closing the working files as you get the content out going along.
M) Once you have the whole thing in place, make sure you run through it once or twice COMPLETELY to make sure all the shots are in the right place, the sounds are ok, etc. If you are happy with it, you can then export the whole lot from this “completed” file as your finished product.

There we go; a few pointers I hope people find useful in the murky world of OE.

#2 db4321

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 08:12 PM

Thanks for posting this. I'm sure this will be of use to a lot of people.

#3 hippieking

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 08:20 PM

Thanks for posting this. I'm sure this will be of use to a lot of people.


I second that
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#4 Killian

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 08:46 PM

Merci beaucoup, gents. I know a lot of this is stuff people who use OE will already know, but one or two pieces might be useful to folk, and for someone who has never yet known the joys of an Outside Editor, it might be handy to see the plus points of "taking the plunge".

#5 Carver

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 08:56 PM

Excellent tips Killian! I just recently bought Magix and messed around with it a bit, but with these tips they will certainly help me out :)

#6 hippieking

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 09:22 PM

Excellent tips Killian! I just recently bought Magix and messed around with it a bit, but with these tips they will certainly help me out :)


I wish I had Magix :17:
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#7 Guest_asa.oleary123_*

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 09:30 PM

Thanks Killian, I might have to steal the multiple studios thing :)

#8 sisch

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 09:41 PM

Great tips, Killian!
I work very similar to you, but I never got on to the idea of having different studio lots - how many builduings do you have in those lots? I tend to have two beauty farms (because I always end up slimming my characters at least twice) and as little of the other buildings as possible...
I look forward to hear how you work special effects and chroma keying! :)

#9 Killian

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 10:12 PM

Lots-wise, I go this way...

Sets, sets and more sets... casting office, star facility, AMM & PP... and that's pretty much it. I don't bother with any other facilities (as I have instant film and instant build on), unless (as in your example) I really need em (I never bother hiring janitors or builders as I also keep buildings dont need repair on as well, and the less wandering render-monkeys, the better). As I have custom Starmaker stars, if (for any reason) they start to run too old or too seedy, I can fire em quite happily and get their clone in (purely because with the out-of-sequence shooting, it doesn't matter).

If there's enough interest, I might be tempted to do a pictures-and-everything-post about basic chromakeying in Magix, but I'm sure you can do a much better job of it, my dear ;)

#10 sisch

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 10:21 PM

Aaaah you charmer, you! :)

I don't have the time - I thought about making a walk through quite often, but I have just too little time. Some people around this forum wait for loads of vo's from me (I feel them glaring at my back right now :P), plus there's Grace on the menue - so I rather gladly dump this on you.... :biggrin:, if you're willing to do it!

As for lots, we do work them the same. :)

#11 Jase180

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 10:46 PM

My quick tip: Don't Suck at it.

#12 rileyman

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Posted 11 November 2008 - 11:06 PM

Just one thing I might suggest:

Be reluctant to make any cuts whatsoever in the Post Production editor -- particularly cuts at the front of shots. You'd be surprised how much fine detail (facial expressions especially) gets lost when you make cuts. If you export each scene in its entirety, it maintains all such details.

#13 Killian

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 01:13 AM

Good point, Riley; I tend to cut long and trim down later (especially if using a looooong scene but I only want to use a specific shot or animation movement from the actor).

Anyhoo, here is the very quick, very dirty Killian Guide To Magix Chromakeying; don't expect anything fancy or earth-shattering! If you already know how chromakeying works, it won't be of any interest, and for those that don't, it's a very VERY basic overview of how it works in Magix (hopefully enough to give you a basic grounding to work from).

#14 Nero

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 06:13 PM

Thanks for taking the time to this Killian , Much appreciated - i pretty much still suck at Magix
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#15 sisch

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 06:25 PM

Very good video tut, Killian!

I guess that answers a lot of questions (and would certainly have helped me a big deal when I started out with Magix - actually seeing something being worked is so much easier than just read about it!). Great work! :)

#16 piotrtheman

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 06:55 PM

Great tips Killian and a good video tutorial. I'm sure this will come in handy for many of us:wink:

#17 Killian

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Posted 12 November 2008 - 07:12 PM

If folk get some assistance out of it, it was worth the time it took to make (about 15 mins; not exactly astronomical production values, but then that's not the point; so long as the info was clear enough, it's done it's job).

I thought of doing a "picture thread", but the sheer amount of screenies would have taken loads of time to prep, instructions would have had to be clear and concise and to be honest it was kinda fun to do it this way, anyway;)

Hope you chaps and chapesses find it useful :)

#18 Killian

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 11:32 PM

CLEAN CHROMAKEYING & SCENE TRANSITIONS
Something I just thought of in conjunction with cutting in Magix (in particular) and other OE's in general.

When shooting the original movie, especially if it contains chromakey shots, it's very easy to "bleed" frames over into the shot (i.e. you cut the shot, do your overlaying, render it out then realise that a piece of background slipped through at the start or end of the shot (like below)) :-
Posted Image

In the above shot, a frame of the preceeding chunk has "bled" over into the next shot, showing through the chromakeying.

In order to avoid this, there's an easy way to deal with it. Position your timeline marker as close to the end of the preceeding shot as you can, then using the arrow keys, edge the shot forwards or backwards 1 frame at a time til the shot flips to the next scene. Then, back up one or two frames and use the "split scene" button (for Magix users, just under your video preview screen) while the offending track is highlighted. This cuts the filmstrip at that point.

Next, before you do anything else, frame advance a couple of steps with the arrow keys again until you are firmly into the next sequence and apply the split once more.

What you should now have is a little piece of movie about 2-5 frames in length in between the two cuts. Zoom in on the timeline, highlight and delete this section, then pull your timeline back together (check that it doesn't overlap and "autofade" frames, unless that's the effect you are going for).

This should eliminate those "rogue bleeds" from your movie; it can take some practise (and a lot of patience, especially if you have done a lot of chromakey scenes) to get them all, but the final, clean transistion is worth the effort.

This process also works if you want to "fine tune" a cut on a scene (for example, if you were using a tracking shot and the end of the scene displays a piece of set or other item you didn't want); frame advance, cut, frame advance, cut and delete and voila... it's gone!

#19 sisch

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 11:44 PM

Killian, a question - and I think this might interest a few people, so I'll ask it here -

I want to greenscreen a second scene into a viewscreen aboard a spaceship. So far so good - no problem.
But - I've made a sweeping camera shot on the scene I want the other to put into, with the viewsreen slowly appearing in the field of vision. Now the problem - of course the second scene moves with the camera sweep, but I would like it to be static - I tried to tie it to a set position in the first shot, but that doesn't work (or I'm doing it wrong). Have you experience with this type of shot, is it possible at all? (and I hope my ramblings here make sense, somehow)

#20 Killian

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 11:50 PM

Makes perfect sense to me (but then again, I am a rambler myself, so I can follow the steps easily enough :))

Yes, there is a way to do it (the scene in Mckinley's Office at the end of Part 5 uses it, though that's not a brilliant example of the technique, and it took me a while to figure out how to do it!)

I'll rattle off another mini-viddy to show you how it's done, as it's rather finickity to explain without a visual aid...




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