Week 9 Reading Log
This is final week there is reading for, after this, all that is left to do in my project is to edit the footage together and present it in front of an audience.
- Rabiger, M. (2004) Directing the Documentary, London: Focal Press. 34 Editing: The End Game
Rabiger opens this chapter by addressing a likely problem an editor will run into; being over-familiar with the footage. Although so far an editors dream has been to become familiar with the footage, over-familiarity can lead to one missing the point of the film as the entire thing runs into one long stream. As Rabiger says, “Every alternative version looks similar, and all seem too long.” pp.455. His solution, make a flowchart.
Making a flowchart
This Rabiger describes, begins with stopping the film after every sequence and labelling:
- Factual information given
- Any new characters
- Any developments in situations already established
- Length of sequence
This should all give an overview of each sequence for an editor to see the flow of information and when subjects come up, characters are established and if any information is repeated. Rabiger has this as a final part of editing whereas I would argue, if an editor did this technique throughout the editing process, noticing themes and creating a flow would be much simpler.
In my own editing in the past, I have not done this as I have found this makes my work too regimented. I have in the past used paper edits to give a rough outline to my work, but I feel creating a flowchart of events may make my film too rigid. I prefer a natural flow.
Rabiger stresses the main pro’s to this technique is spotting repetitions in information given or to purge scenes that do not add any new information. This is basically like writing a plan for an essay after writing the essay. Getting all the topics in an order that links them whilst continuing a flow is important, and this technique is a method to revise one’s work as one would redraft an essay. I do this by watching the film over and over until I can’t spot anything, and then showing it to as many people as possible and asking for their opinions. What I believe Rabiger is suggesting is a method to revise an edit without having to consult an audience. I shall try this technique for my film.
A First showing
This is what I have discussed above, a viewing of my film to a small, select group of people. Rabiger says “the less they know about your film and your aims, the better” pp.458 and I could not agree more. This is a control group who will be able to give insight into what they enjoyed in the film and what they did not. Rabiger does say something I disagree with here, that the group in question should match your “tastes and interests.” This is not a control group as they are more likely to enjoy what you do and thusly can never be the best critics.
Surviving your critics and making use of what they say
This section is full of good advice on what to do with advice. I shall break it down into bullet points.
- Ask for impressions of the films as a whole and on specific sections of the film
- DON’T explain the film or your intentions for any section. (A film should work on its own merits, if a film needs the creator’s input, it is not a good film.)
- Don’t rush to fix anything: Two audience members criticism may cancel out each other, you asked for criticism so they were looking out for it, you can never please everyone
- You should only act on suggestions that support and further your intentions as a filmmaker
These are all suggestions I shall take in after showing my film to an audience for the first time.
Dubious editing practices
This section acts as a warning to issues that may arise in the edit of a documentary film among misrepresentation. As editing is cutting down footage and linking different clips together, there is great opportunity for misrepresentation by cutting an interviewee before they clarify a statement or linking unrelated events to create a new truth. The second paragraph in this section is legal issues in liable that one could get into when misrepresenting an interviewee. As my film does not have a public release, and it made by an amateur, me, I doubt I will encounter these issues.
This was only a breif chapter, but I feel it sums up the final section of post-production before a film is released to a wider public audience. This final step is important as it is the first insight into what an audience may think upon seeing your film. For me, this is the best part of any production, the premiere. For a lot of filmmakers, this is a painful step as their baby is criticised for the first time by an actual audience, but I enjoy people watching what I have made and any suggestions to improve I take as helpful advise to alter only what I deem necessary. This is the conclusion of my reading log as this is the final chapter to read through.
The book most of the readings have been from, Directing the Documentary (2004), has been a huge help to my learning in this new field of cinema I have not studied before, let alone made a film in, so thanks Michael Rabiger.