This post is a continuation of the Video Project part 1 post. After creating our storyboard, we had to actually shoot some video. Then edit it into a rough cut. Then show that rough cut to the class. Then refine the editing into a final cut. Oh, and add the audio. And refine that, too. We had our work cut out for us.
We started by shooting the office scene and the coffee scene. We reserved a room on the ITP floor and transformed the space into an office. We thought it would take a couple hours; it took four and we didn’t even get to the coffee. We’d only begun and were already behind. In the week that followed we kept to a very aggressive shooting and editing schedule. We shot the coffee scene and the sandwich scene at the ITP House and elevator scene on the floor. Everywhere we went we had to carry a lighting kit or two, the camera, and at least one tripod. The scenes took hours to shoot. We were constantly adjusting the lighting and, because we knew we wanted so many cuts and different perspectives, we had to act each scene all the way through over and over again from each camera angle. Adding to this was the fact that none of us had any experience with the camera or the lights. We’d set something up, review it, change it, record some stuff, realize it looked bad, scrap the setup and start over. Occasionally, we’d hit upon a setup that worked. As the shooting continued, we became better at figuring out how things should be setup. We were learning…
We felt continually grateful that we’d decided not to shoot in a public space or with professional/aspiring actors. We were able to control most of what was going on and didn’t need to worry about upsetting any individuals who are just trying to get their laundry done or unnecessarily wasting the precious time of other Tisch students.
After completing the shooting of a few scenes, we started to edit using Premiere Pro. Even though we were all new to Premiere, because we had thought carefully about the scenes during the storyboarding and shooting process, the editing for the rough cut went well. Our movie was starting to come together.
Despite our best efforts, we still didn’t get everything done. The rough cut we presented to our class had only four scenes and we’d originally envisioned six or even seven. The feedback from our class was good and everyone felt like it was long enough, that we didn’t need to add any more scenes. Although we liked the concept with the additional scenes, we were glad to move on from the shooting and dig our heels deeper into the editing and adding the audio. We had thought we’d put a song over the entire movie, but a couple tests in class showed us that it would look better if we added sound effects instead. Music seemed to drive the emotion too much and take away from the acting.
We spent the next week putting final touches on the video editing and adding sound. The sound work took much longer than we had expected and we were kicking ourselves for not using a zoom recorder to capture sound as we were filming. We had some success finding sound files on freesound.org but, for the most part, we re-created the sounds we wanted to use in the video.
Even though we knew it wasn’t exactly perfect, we had a final cut to show in class. When we heard it through speakers (instead of earbuds) for the first time, we recognized the areas that needed sharpening. Some scenes were much louder than others and a few effects were so loud it seemed like the props were made from concrete. Those things aside, the response from the class was good and we felt good about our work. Gabe suggested that we add music in addition to the sound effects — a classical piece over the entire thing that builds to the crescendo at the end. So, we took another week, fine tuned the sound, made some edits to the video, and added music over the whole thing.
Here’s the final piece for your viewing pleasure! We feel pretty good about how it turned out. A month ago, we knew nothing about shooting or editing video, but we were able to make this!