Saturday, 5 July 2014

Figuring Fencing: the postproduction of Fencing - EDITING LOG


Children who take up fencing tend to be thinkers and she compared it to chess players - they like to solve problems. That got my fascination going when Gillian first mentioned it and I'm a thinker who likes to solve problems so this is really the best way in for me.

Fencing is a short documentary and reflective wiki that I co-created with my colleague, Thomas Wiltshire, for our final year BA (Hons) documentary project. The project was orchestrated between October 2012 to April 2013. For a more detailed overview see Fencing: an examination of the sport and an exploration of the documentary medium.

Presented here is our editing log this was originally collected together onto a single page on the wiki. 

The log contains:


  • the explanations for the various editing decisions we made through the editing period
  • the various edits of the documentary and trailer from different points in the editing process.
  • extracts from the conversations we had over facebook in regards to thoughts and feedback for each others work on the editing.
  • feedback and suggestions from the various individuals we screened the evolving edits for.
  • an explanation behind the thinking for the music that is featured in the documentary and trailer.
  • details on some of the technical challenges and headaches of digital filmmaking.

As you will see, the log was written incredibly spontaneously (to save us time) and some parts are written in third person to better contextualise the joint decisions made from my and Tom's various discussions.

This is quite long, but it offers a very revealing and intricate study of the psychology behind one of the most important and tantalising aspects of filmmaking...




The Editing Log 

This page is an overview of the editing process and how the documentary has evolved throughout that process.

The original intention was for Tom to edit the first 3 minutes and Pete to edit the final 3 minutes. They would communicate via Facebook to keep themselves in sync. While Pete did edit 3 minutes, most of what he edited ended up not being needed because the first half had already established it or incorporated were into the first 3 minutes. The most significant element of Pete's final 3 minutes that was retained is the Davenport/Tim material (experienced fencers vs inexperienced fencers). To this end, Pete gave his materials to Tom and together they compiled a rough cut of a complete 6 minute edit of the documentary on Tom's laptop.

As Tom had taken on the 'manual labour' of actually editing the full documentary, Pete agreed to edit the documentary's trailer.

The original intention for the editing of the documentary according to its initially conceived structure is detailed below:

Tom's segments:
  • Flash introduction 
  • The popularity of fencing 
  • Fencing as a recreational sport. 

Pete's segments:

  • Children who fence. 
  • Variety of people who fence.
  • Problems facing modern fencing.


How this structure went on to evolve throughout the editing process is detailed throughout the following log.



Pete: 18/02/2013 - 22/02/2013 - Documentary

Most of this first week I have spent just looking through the footage and I only really started editing on the Friday. As I explained with the character study I need to find a 'way in' before I can really start editing and that is what I have been doing in this first week. The 'way in' I've found is with the children and the type of children who take up fencing. This comes from something that I honed in on when we were interviewing Gillian: she said that the children who take up fencing tend to be thinkers and she compared it to chess players - they like to solve problems. That got my fascination going when Gillian first mentioned it and I'm a thinker who likes to solve problems so this is really the best way in for me. The reason why I'm editing the second half is because Tom said I would work better with the analytical aspects. I'm always analytical towards everything so this is point I absolutely agree with.

However, 'children fencers as thinkers' is my 'way in' and something I have been assembling in the edit and once I've got that in good shape I can move forward and backwards from that to edit the other aspects I need to explore in my 3 minutes.

Therefore, I have spent most of this first week re-familiarising myself with everything we have shot and with identifying a way back into our documentary idea. Now that I've got a starting point everything else will start falling into place.



Tom: 20/02/2013 - Documentary


As editing begins I'm becoming more and more aware of the advantages the difference in lighting yields.



It can - and most likely will - be employed to both emphasise and enhance certain scenes which bare association with a deep, warm colour palette.



Making the contrast in pigmentation - developed between the Founders Hall and the STV - provide a potentially dramatic and captivating dialogue between visuals and interviews in the editing choices.







Pete: 25/02/2013 - 01/03/2013 - Documentary



Due to the preparation of my Creative Enterprise, I only really invested Thursday and Friday into editing the documentary. As I was able to reacquaint myself with the footage last week, this week was very much about me taking my ‘way in’ – children fencers as thinkers – and developing the visuals around this idea.




I know people can get a bit irritated with this, but my method of editing always starts with me going through the footage, selecting bits of footage that I like and then dumping these on the timeline. I’m the same with essays, I spend hours going through my books writing down quotes before I get round to actually writing the essay. However, I always go through this same process because it gets me in the right frame of mind.


About an hour's worth of clips dumped on my timeline.

I’ve always compared editing to playing with Lego; when I was younger I used to love to play with Lego. I would always know what I was going to build before I would build it but before the actual building I would empty all of my bricks onto the floor and just go through selecting pieces I liked the look of. Then I would organise these into separate piles and then when I had collected enough together I would start building the actual model. This is what I spent the majority of Thursday doing - putting clips onto the timeline and organising them into groups. Friday I edit some of the footage together while eliminating footage I knew I didn’t need. I now have a fairly solid first minute of edited footage.


As I said with the Character Study the ‘way in’ does not always end up being the beginning of your final product and the same is true of the first minute I have edited. This first minute is not even my ‘way in’ and will be the beginning of my 3 minutes of the documentary. This first minute concerns itself with introducing the children fencers and why they do it. Now that I have established that I can continue with the ‘way in’ and establish children fencers as thinkers and with that point use it as a springboard to jump into the different varieties of adult fencers who do fencing which I will edit next week.



Another thing I like about this first minute is it begins with a shot of feet and this was something I did with the character study because I’ve always loved the opening to Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train. 


Tom: 26/02/2013 - Documentary


Initially we thought there would be some problems with editing. Pete's skills were fully honed and perfected on Final Cut 7 and my own were developed and now excel in Final Cut 10. However, we decided that instead of doing some complex transferals whereby we both work on the same computer and spend hours exporting lots of individual shots, we would work seperately from one another. This is not to say there is no sharing of information and ideas, there is a almost constant channel of communication open between us. The additional, unforseen advantage of this is that the second half of the documentary demands a more analytical style of editing which is perfect for Pete because of his natural exterior perspective on fencing. While the first section is ideal for me because not only do I understand the exact weight and timing to express my sport, I understand best the reasons why people fence and will produce an elegant and methodical approach to my chosen factors.



Pete: 04/03/2013 - 08/03/2013 - Documentary


As with last week, I’ve devoted Thursday and Friday to editing and it’s really just been more of the same. I have refined what I’ve already edited and started to formulate the rest of the material I will edit.



The variety of people who fence is developing out of the focus on the children and the different types of children who fence. As I did with the children section, I’ve been going through all the footage and selecting pieces I feel are relevant and placing these on my timeline. These I have started to formulate into their structural relevant order and how this section will continue on from the children who fence. I’m going to endeavour to use the whole of Monday to complete a rough edit of this section. Therefore, by Tuesday I should have a solid two minutes of the second half.



Tom and myself have agreed to meet up some time next week (probably Tuesday) to bring our two halves together and discuss the shaping of the whole documentary; as well as sorting out a full rough edit for the seminar screening. I won’t have the final section of my subject matter – the problems facing fencing – completed when I meet up with Tom. This is just as well, as that last minute is going to be crucial to the conclusion of the full documentary and the conclusion is something that Tom and myself are going to have to agree on.



Throughout this editing process I have been reading The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film by Michael Ondaatje. The book is a collection of interviews between Ondaatje and Walter Murch in which they discuss the editing art form. During the summer I read Murch's In A Blink of an Eye and came across Ondaatje's book not long after. I've refrained from reading it until now because I wanted to read it while I was actively editing a project and the fencing documentary has proven to be the ideal opportunity. Reading Ondaatje's book throughout the editing process is allowing me to actively think very critically about all of the editing choices I’m making and allowing me to improve my editing craft.




Pete: 11/03/2013 - Documentary



As I have to devote Wednesday to filming EYES (my creative enterprise project) and Thursday and Friday to my dissertation, I am only able to devote Monday and Tuesday to editing the documentary. However, Monday proved to be an extremely productive day (I did nine and half hours of editing) and in which I was able to move onto the variety of people who fence.




0:46 – 1:09 Is transition material, moving the subject away from children who fence to the wider variety of children who fence. Initially, with 1:09 onwards, I started with my initial plan to just present the interviews of the different people I spoke to; to this end I begin with Robin and it was when I edited this in that something occurred to me. The footage I had captured of his duelling match I could use to illustrate what Tim said in his character study interview about the advantage of having experience as a fencer. 

This is something I had wanted to use in the character study but I refrained from doing so because I didn’t have any footage to illustrate it. This is actually the reason I captured Robins duelling match because I could see that it was playing out what Tim had previously described. Of course, after all the shoots, it was something I had completely forgotten about. The reason why I wanted to include this information in the character study and why, ultimately, I have included it in the fencing doc is because it very clearly illustrates the superiority a person can gain from fencing and why someone would keep doing fencing.

I found this to be a much more interesting theoretically and visual idea to present than the variety of people who fence, which is immediately established and explored when you cut from young children fencing to 65 year old Robin. It was also at this point that I messaged Tom to say that we should reconsider the conclusion and have it focus less on the problems of fencing and more on the essence and elegance of what fencing is. At five minutes we want to start winding the subject down not opening it up even further. The essence of fencing is closer to the material before it opposed to the controversial tone of the problems that is really just to do with money.



Pete: 12/03/2013 - Documentary

In the morning Tom met with me in the gatehouse. This was the first time that we watched each other’s edits and side by side in chronological order. Tom’s was vastly more complete than mine and much more stylized.



When we agreed to edit 3 minutes each we were aware that we would might end up using some of the same footage. Some of the footage was the same, but it wasn’t too drastic. If anything where Tom had used the same bits of footage as me served the same purpose I had used them for – mostly to introduce points or ideas. The fact that they were present in Tom’s half meant that I could eliminate them from my half. This was something I was glad for because It gave me some of my three minutes back and time to tell what I didn’t have time to tell in rough cut 3.



Seeing the two halves together also allowed us to work out the conclusion which decided should ultimately be the Bath Sword Club. Essentially, then, using what I’ve already edited, my half will now consist of:


  • Children who fence 
  • Experience and coaches – why people fence – the intellectual and physical advantages of fencing 
  • The problems of cost and how this can prevent people from accessing fencing. 
  • The costs effective advantages of joining a fencing club - If you join a club you will eliminate a lot of the costs and be fully trained - the bath sword club is shining example.

As Tom was more finished than me, he also agreed to start work on the 30 second trailer, while continued to finish the second half. I was very impressed and love what Tom had stylistically done with his half; therefore, I will be adopting this style for my half as well.



Tom also left me with an export of his half so that I had something to reference.



However, after Tom had left and I had had a fiddle, something occurred to me about the structure which is very clearly explained in the following Facebook message I sent to Tom:


I need to talk to you about the structure in your half, you're probably going to hate me for this. I've been going through it and I've broken it down into four segments: 
  • Flash opening (0:00 - 0:24) 
  • Children visuals (0:24 - 1:18) 
  • What is fencing? (1:18 - 2:20) 
  • Is fencing elitist? (2:20 - 3:02) 



Firstly, I do now agree with what your friend said about the children visuals needing some form of narration. 

Secondly, I think it makes more sense to combine my children stuff with the children visuals, because at the moment we are saying the same thing twice - that children do like to fence. The only difference is one does it with narration. 

Thirdly, because the two children sections should be combined we should rearrange the order of the segments to: 

  • Flash opening 
  • What is fencing? 
  • Is Fencing elitist? 
  • Children visuals + narration


I've already done this on my timeline and it plays with a much stronger logical progression. 

  • we start with the stereotype of fencing 
  • we elaborate on what fencing is 
  • we question if it is elitist 
  • and THEN we open up the subject and say "fencing is much broader than you think," using the children to illustrate this. 

Doing this now gives me nearly three minutes to cover young and old, the coaching, the money and bath sword club, etc. 

I'll upload you an export to show you what I'm talking about. 

At the moment with the children sections I have eliminated the duplicate shots in my segment and put my segment on the end your segment. However, that is still too long and the two segments really need to exist within each other. Therefore, if you do agree with what I propose, do you want to re-edit your children section incorporating what I've done (I'll give you my project file) and I'll just carry on with everything else? 

I promise you this is the best way to go. 

Something else I've noticed with the elitist section, the gap between Len coaching and Gillian delivering the final point is too long. It's a good idea and you can keep the cut to black, you just need to reduce the length of the gap. At the moment it makes Gillian's statement come across as something separate to the earlier material; it feels like Len coaching is the final point of that section and Gillian's statement is the beginning of a new section (which it is) but it still needs to feel connected to the earlier material of which it is a definitive final point. 

Below is the restructured edit I talk about in the message.


Therefore, my thinking for the overall structure of the documentary is as follows:



  • Flash opening 
  • What is fencing? 
  • Is Fencing elitist? 
  • Children visuals + narration = Children who fence 
  • Experience and coaches – why people fence – the intellectual and physical advantages of fencing 
  • The problems of cost and how this can prevent people from accessing fencing. 
  • The costs advantages of joining a fencing club - If you join a club you will eliminate a lot of the costs and be fully trained - the bath sword club is shining example. 



Next week I will be devoting four whole days (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) to finishing the edit. It’s impossible that I will have the edit complete for the peer review session on the Tuesday, which may still elicit some useful feedback towards what we’ve already done and plan to do. However, it is my aim to have a fully finished rough cut done for the beginning of the Easter break. To this end, Tom and myself can use the Easter break to polish the edit and finish the 30 second trailer.




Pete & Tom: 18/03/2013 - Documentary

On the 14/03/2013, Tom replied to my proposal to revamp the structure and below I have pasted his Facebook reply:

Ok, we really need to revamp this structure because we've lost sight of a few key aspects that we started out this project with. 
The biggest opposition to, and therefore one of our main topic areas is the opposition to fencing. Assumptions, prejudices, poorly informed prior knowledge and so forth. 
In placing the interview section at the front (after the intro), we are force feeding the audience with way too much information too early. We can't underestimate the assumptions they will be prepared to make, even if they do not guess what the content of the interviews about popularity will be; they will convince themselves they knew it all along because it will appear so obvious after having been recounted. 
The majority of people who watch this film will not care about fencing. If we have any chance of making them care in 6 minutes, then our approach needs to be more subtle. 
In order for them to care we need to reveal an aspect of fencing which they did not know of beforehand - the interest and passion shown by so many children. Children having fun is a natural ice breaker for any topic, no matter how unknown or misunderstood. 
Which is why we should combine both our edits of children into the space after the action packed start.
- a layer of subtlety is introduced here with the pacing. To snap straight from a period of fast, dynamic cutting to a comparatively static interview is very awkward indeed and makes the audience work harder than they have to - which for a subject which they initially do not care about is very dangerous. 
In using the children to get them to care about fencing, we now have a iron grip on their attention. 
From which point we can begin the torrent of informative opinions, because our audience will be far more willing to receive and understand what they are hearing (you ask questions of yourself while watching, such as "would i have enjoyed fencing as much as they clearly are doing now?"). 
A curiosity is born, which we then satisfy with a crushing blow of interviews and visuals - "nothing quite like fencing...you have to think". 
From which point we move into a more elegant example of what our interviewees have been referring to - the davenport interview + visuals & Tim. 
The audience's curiosity is satiated and then reinforced tenfold with concrete proof.
At this point there is only one preconception left to conquer.  
The accessibility. 
Throughout the film there is nothing to suggest that those who feature are not members, or related to members of 'the house of lords' as Dennis put it. 
So we introduce the elitist section, followed by the money and Bath Sword which you're doing.
In tandem with this we can build in the sense of pace and weighting. The most straightforward expression of which I can think of at the moment is to do with the music: 
Wild card -> Elysium -> Borealis -> Elysium -> Wild card 
ending on an upbeat high, and a subconsciously natural conclusion, as well as a conscious one.
So to summarise:

1. Intro (Wild Card)
2. my kids footage (Elysium)
3. your kid footage (Elysium)
3. majority of interviews (Borealis)
4. Davenport (Elysium)
5. Elitist (Elysium)
6. Money / Bath Sword (Wild Card) 
Thoughts?
Also, a couple of other hot button topics.
I think Gillian's initially miss placed section - "there's something for everybody" should narrate my section on children.
The footage of the dad, and the lunge which the little indian boy in the red t-shirt needs to be collated into the same part of the film, because he does not say enough interesting stuff to appear at 2 very different points. 
Thoughts?


Discussing this on the 18/03/2013, I was very much behind everything he had proposed. I was a little worried that he would not agree with what I had suggested for the overall structure, but what his message shows his he took my idea and developed it further. Most important of all, as he says in his message, he has used the rethinking of the structure to restore the whole documentary back to our original intentions for it. Therefore, both our suggestions for revamping the structure have made the documentary a much stronger and unified whole.

The plan for today was to meet up In the Gatehouse and edit together, so Tom would edit his half on Final Cut 10 and I would edit mine on Final Cut 7 and then we would bring the two halves together. However, we were not able to do this as the Gatehouse was completely packed. Therefore, we retreated to the library and work on the whole thing on Tom’s laptop and changed it to reflect the newly agreed structure. This actually worked better as some of what I had edited was already 'established' in Tom’s half and the two original elements of my half – children narration and davenport – were very short and could be very easily incorporated/recreated in Tom’s half.

Tom working on the edit, while I created the line script for EYES.



The music was discussed with Tom pointing out that the music needed to work as a whole and its structure needed to be symbolic of the subject matter and the shape of the narrative that is operating in the documentary. Therefore, we worked our way through the music we had available and have used music that we feel has a consistent style throughout and works to support the subject matter of the documentary.

In terms of filling the editing sequences out it was fairly straightforward as we both know the footage through and through. It was really just a case of making it work with the music and bringing all the points together in a satisfying conclusion with the final point – fencing is like life. Tom was very keep to have Tim’s line: “It’s like life” as the final piece of information in the documentary, I agreed with him only as long as we could make its insertion work and not be clunky. As It exists at the moment I believe it to be very clunky. With the edit we completed on the 18/03/2013, the presentation of Tim’s line was still a bit clunky but we agreed to leave it in and see what the feedback would be like from the rough cut screening on the 19/03/2013. 



Pete & Tom: 19/03/2013 - Documentary

Rough Cut Seminar Screening

The response to the screening of the rough cut in the feedback seminar was largely positive.

Below are the main feedback points raised:

Sound – the levels need adjusting better judge the balance between the dialogue and music. Make the dialogue slightly louder than we think it needs to be.

Some of the transitions need to be smoothened. 
Use visuals to illustrate the title shots. 
Ending – “It’s like life.” While our basic idea for the ending was a good idea, the consensus was we needed to adjust the execution – make it less clunky.


Below are the questions asked by Tom and Pete; as well as the responses that were provided by the seminar group.



Did you learn anything from the documentary?



Yes. Generally people said their knowledge of fencing had been expanded. Particularly in regards to children fencers. They were surprise how popular it was with children. 

Does the documentary feel like a unified whole opposed to a compendium of separate sections? 

Yes. Everyone agreed that there was a consistent narrative thread throughout. 

Does the documentary set up and pay off? 

Yes. 

Has it changed your perception of fencing? 

We didn’t really get an answer to this question, but we can infer from question 1 that their perceptions had been altered. 

Below is the feedback Richard Falknus gave to us:




Getting Advice on the Sound

After the rough cut screen Tom and Pete spoke to Rich Wood about the sound. Rich worked his way through the original final cut project file and identified 3 key issues:

  1. Sympathy to dialogue - testing the sound on multiple outputs: different speakers and different headphones to determine the best levels for the dialogue. 
  2. Sound compression - compressing elements of the sound that are not needed and help to obscure the elements that are needed, such as unnecessary hissing. 
  3. Fading in and out music – tweaking the in and out points of each of the pieces of music to make them play smoother and to reduce the volume of music when dialogue is playing.


Rich attempted to polish the sound but encountered problems as he had to work from Tom’s Final Cut 10 project file. Further problems were encountered when Rich tried to export the project into alternative programs. Therefore, it was agreed that Pete and Tom would go away and refine the edit to the point where the picture was locked and then Rich would assist them in refining the sound. They agreed to meet on the 08/04/2013.



Polishing the Edit

Transitions/Visuals – We ‘smoothened’ some of the transitions but largely they are still the same. Tom and Pete decided to keep the titles playing against a black backdrop opposed to against a visual as they agreed that they are bombarding the viewer with visuals throughout the rest of the documentary and the title shots are moments that allow the viewer to catch their breath.

The ending – “It’s like life.” The dialogue from Tom’s interview clip is now played over the shot of the children hugging. This arrangement plays much more smoothly and allows the children hugging to remain the last visual of the documentary. This is something both Tom and Pete felt was important as they both agree that it is a visual that sums up the essence of what they believe fencing to be.

A few other minor tweaks were implemented. Tom and Pete concluded the session with Tom agreeing to go away and complete all the changes agreed upon. As Tom is now handling the edit for the documentary Pete has agreed to complete the edit for the trailer.



Pete: 21/03/2013 & 22/03/2013 - Trailer - Rough Cut 1

My approach to making the trailer was very simple: I worked my through the documentary and marked out pieces of visuals and information that would work together to create a 30 second narrative tease. While I was marking out sections of the main documentary to use, it occurred to me that I could just recycle what I had edited from my half/the 2nd half of the documentary. Now that Tom and myself had combined our edits, with the exception of the children narration and Davenport/Tim material, most of what I had edited was not used as it just repeated points already set up in the first half. Therefore, I went back to my original Final Cut 7 project file and began to craft the structure of the trailer out of that material.

Below is the first completed rough cut of the trailer.



I wanted to start with the children as, essentially, the main documentary begins with the children and ‘children who fence’ was a subject that fascinated me as an outsider to fencing. Therefore, the visual of children in a fencing situation– something that completely goes against the elite stereotype of fencing – was a perfect high energy kickstarter for the trailer and it sets up the main theme of the documentary – we want to challenge people’s perceptions.

My feeling was then to compare and contrast this with older fencers. The theme of old and young in fencing had been something that had interested me when Tom first spoke to me about the project. I also felt it made sense to keep the subject of the trailer fairly light and I felt presently ‘young and old’ would be the best way to go without giving too much of the documentary away. However, this seemed too simplistic to me to the point where it felt like it wasn’t saying enough about the documentary and this is where the question: ‘A sport for the elite or a sport for everyone’ came from or two questions, as they appear in the trailer.



Following on from Mike's suggestion for the titles in the main documentary I have placed the question text against visuals. I felt it was important to place questions against shots that displayed inanimate iconographies of fencing - to allow the viewer a brief "still" moment to step back and to contemplate the questions being asked about fencing.

Not only did the inclusion of these questions allow me to broaden the subject matter beyond just ‘old and young’ but their insertion also instigated a natural three act structure for the trailer, as indicated below:

Section 1: ‘Children who fence’ (0:00 – 0:05).

Question 1: “A sport for the elite?” (0:05 – 0:08).

Section 2: ‘Diversity of age and people’. (0:08 – 0:18).

Question 2: “A sport for everyone?” (0:19 – 0:22).

Section 3: ‘Fencing itself’ (0:23 – 0:33).

Documentary title: Fencing (0:33 – 0:38).

I already had the ‘children who fence’, essentially, I had ’diversity of age and people’ and ‘Fencing itself’ seemed like a natural addition as this is documentary about fencing as much as it is about challenging perceptions of fencing. I’ve refrained from included any mention of the word ‘fencing’ in the trailer to allow the final visual of the ‘fencing’ title shot to have more resonance. There is only one instance where I have used footage (0:32 – 0:34) that is not in the documentary.



I’ve used this piece of footage because I love the fencer’s elated cheer of triumph when he scores a blow against his sparring partner (this is not surprising when you consider this is the same fencer who was competing against Robin Davenport). Tom had told me about the feeling of superiority and triumph that can be achieved in fencing and he identified that as one of the appealing attributes of fencing. Therefore I felt this piece of footage summed up a very key element of fencing, visually complemented Tim’s exclamation: “Give a small boy a sword and invite him to hit his friend…” and may even be something we can add into the documentary.

In terms of the music, I chose this particular piece as it is used in the documentary but because it is very quiet it is very minimal and drowned out in comparison to the other music. I felt it would be good to champion this piece of music in the trailer and It feels very cerebral which is a feel I wanted for the trailer. The main documentary is very fast paced and constantly throwing information at you. Therefore, with the trailer I wanted to slow things down a bit, take advantage of the limited amount of time and allow the trailer to feel more like a gentle though process while still building anticipation with teasing at the subject matter of the documentary and its aim to challenge perceptions.

The trailer is not yet finished and I fully intend to refine, even if it is only a short trailer. I have shown it to Tom and a few other individuals for feedback. Tom made a good point that I cut away from the opening shot too quickly which makes it unclear and, to this end, I’ve thought of another shot I want to use in its place. Most of the feedback received is to do with basic technical issues, such as: dialogue needing to be louder, better contrast on the question shots, etc, all issues I intend to deal with once I have the content locked down. This feedback, together with some thoughts I have had since finishing the first rough cut I will implement on Monday.

However, the question I have asked people is, regardless of the technical issues, does the arrangement of the verbal and visual material come together to supply enough information to get a feel for the documentary’s subject while still leaving the subject matter open? Thus far, the replies I have received have been: “yes.”



Pete & Tom: 22/03/2013 - Documentary 

Tom and myself met up in the Gatehouse to work our way through the edit to make sure we were happy with the content of the documentary. Following on from our meeting on the 18/03/2013 and the rough cut screening on the 19/03/2013 Tom had made some agreed changes in my absence. I was very happy with the changes he had implemented and the amount of time he had invested.

With the picture locked, arranging the sound levels was our next task and this went fine apart from centralising the native sound as originally filmed. Due to an error, all of the sound captured from all the shoots had only been recorded on one of the NX5’s channels and this meant that this native sound was only playing in the left channel. While this is a little irritating, it is not a huge problem to fix, you just centralise the sound in Final Cut so that it plays out of both the left and right channels. In addition to balancing the sound field, this enables the narrative sound to play much louder in relation to the other sound elements, which in our case is the music track.

When I was editing my half on Final Cut 7 I easily achieved this reset by:
double clicking on the layer of sound

changing the Pan value from -1 to 0 in the sound options screen

pressing enter

and the sound is centralised.


Achieving this in Final Cut 10 proved much more problematic as we couldn’t figure out how to do it. Even after researching online we were still unable to do it in Final Cut 10. Therefore, once we had finalised all the audio levels in Final Cut 10, I reasoned the best thing for us to do was to:

export the native sound from Final Cut 10 as an mp3

import it into Final Cut 7

centralise the sound in Final Cut 7

export it from Final Cut 7 as an mp3

import that mp3 file into Final Cut 10

and then use the new mp3 to replace the original native audio track.



While this did work, it now meant that we would be unable to fiddle about with the sound. Obviously, we have kept the original sound elements on Tom’s timeline (they are just muted) so we can go back and fiddle with the audio levels. Although, if we do need to fiddle with the original elements, unless we figure out how to centralise the sound in Final Cut 10, we will need to go through the above process again. For this reason, the method above is something that should ideally be avoided. However, Tom and myself are now at the stage where we are very nearly finished and we feel the documentary does not require any further substantial changes.

To this end, Tom and myself have agreed to meet and devote the whole of 08/04/2013 to going over everything one final time; as well as getting Rich Wood to have a final look at the project file to see if anything else needs addressing. However, we are confident that we have addressed all the issues raised. We now wish to get away from the documentary for a while to focus on our other studies and to ensure we have a fresh outlook when we come back together again on the 08/03/2013 to absolutely finalise the edit for its submission.



Pete: 26/03/2013 - Trailer - Rough Cut 2



In the edit above I have responded to the feedback and used a different opening shot that shows the same thing – children running – but does it more clearly. I wanted the energy of the children to start the trailer because with a trailer it’s always good to hit the ground running and grab the viewer’s attention from the first millisecond.

I've adjusted the questions shots, they’re not even question anymore!




I’ve tweaked the brightness and contrast of the footage behind the text to allow the text to have more prominence and I have increased the size of the text. I’ve removed the questions marks because I realised it was better to present these notions as statements that contradict each other – their combined information needs to allow the viewer’s themselves to question the established assumptions of fencing, which is exactly what the documentary does. I haven’t capitalised all of the text because it didn’t look right; it made the statements appear too big, like I was trying to cram the information down the viewer’s throat. I believe the text’s current presentation in mostly lower case works better with the style of the trailer – a cerebral contemplation.

I’ve also swapped a few shots around, added a couple of other shots and done quite a bit of trimming. I did this because I wanted the visual flow to play smoother (the incentive of the next shot is instigated in the action of the previous shot) and I wanted to quicken the pace to keep the viewer engaged through, while still retaining the cerebral feel.



The feedback I have received on the second rough cut as been positive and Tom is pleased with it. However, I still feel I can better bring out the diversity of fencing through the visuals and I will have another fiddle with the trailer before I meet up with Tom on the 08/04/2013 to finalise the edits.



Pete & Tom: 03/04/2013 – Documentary

In my absence, Tom has been having a fiddle with the documentary and today he sent me an export of the new cut via Dropbox. Posted below are the feedback points I sent him over Facebook:

I was actually going to ask if you could incorporate into the montage at the end a shot I’ve included in the trailer (0:33 – 0:34). I’ve grown rather fond of the impact of the fencer cheering with joy when he secures a hit. I think it has a lot to say about the adulation of the sport as a whole and would fit nicely with the feeling of the end montage. I don’t specifically know which video file the footage is in but I can tell you its from shoot 4: 24/01/2013. The fencer who secures the hit is actually the same fencer who was obliterated by Davenport – hence is adulation in this shot.

Feedback on the new cut:
 
Ending



I’m mixed with what you’ve done with the ending and the transition into the credits. I thought it worked fine as we had it established before, the cut from visual to black in the previous version helped to masked the abrupt dip in the sound track when we leave Tim’s soundbite and I think that is the problem with the transition as it exists now – the abrupt dip has come back. Have you tried it without Tim’s soundbite or you have tried starting the music as soon as Tim’s soundbite ends? 
Sound.

The sound in the whole thing is out of sync! 
The music is too quiet now, way too quiet! It’s like it’s not even there and the pace is suffering as a result. It doesn’t have the same energy as the earlier cuts.
However, we need to take a step back from the sound. Since we last met various things have occurred to me. 
That audio file I corrected in Final Cut 7 – delete it. Honestly, delete it and just work from the original NX5 elements you have in your Final Cut 10 program. The sound definitely still needs some work and If we’re still fiddling with the picture, it’ll be easier to work from the original elements. We’ve lost a considerable amount of control over the sound by working from the final cut 7 file. Honestly, delete it, work from the original elements and then when the picture and sound levels are finally, definitely, absolutely set in stone– then give mp3 exports of the soundtrack to correct in final cut 7.

To avoid the problems we had last time, I’ll need two mp3 exports of the soundtrack:
Export 1 – an mp3 just of the dialogue, ambient sound of the footage- all the sound that was original shot – NO MUSIC or added SOUND EFFECTS. 
Export 2 – an mp3 of the music and added sound effects– NO DIALOGUE or AMBIENT NOISE as original filmed.

If you give me two exports we won’t have the problems we had last time. If you’re not in Bath dropbox me the mp3s, I’ll correct them in final cut 7 and dropbox the corrected ones back to you. 
2:20 – 2:26 here it is painfully obvious that some sound suppression has taken place to the point where it pulls you out of the film. I would restore some of the original sound of the kids messing about –to bring the naturalism back and to make it sound less artificial.

2:41 – 2:55 – the same problem with Davenport’s audio. Again, I would restore some of the original back ground sound because it is painfully obvious that some sound suppression has taken place.

I think the problem we have is, because we don’t know how to pan the sound in Final Cut 10, you can only hear the original NX5 audio material compressed into one channel and, therefore, you can’t hear it in its full range. While only being presented compressed through one channel , there’s a lot more detail in the recorded audio you can’t really hear. We need to be clear on this, it’s not like the NX5 only recorded sound on the left channel. The NX5 recorded a full range (left and right) of sound; the reason why we have the sound on one channel is because I had the NX5 setup thinking it was recording from two microphone sources, when we only ever had one microphone plugged in. Therefore, the audio through the microphone we were recording on was only being captured onto one of the NX5s recording channels, but still as a full range (left and right) of sound. 
I can’t tell from listening to Daveport’s original audio after it has been corrected to occupy the full sound field (left and right channels) – it doesn’t need any sound suppression. Also with the clip of the mother I would say that it only needs minimal sound suppression. Even with the kids messing about I could clearly hear what she was saying after I corrected it in Final Cut 7.

This is why I keep going on about correcting it because if a full range of sound is being squeezed into one channel then it is being compressed, if it’s compressed then it is going to be a lot quieter than it would otherwise be across two channels. I now realise this is also the problem with the corrected sound I gave you from Final Cut 7 and why the music is now so quiet. I’ll explain: 
When you gave me the mp3 export from Final Cut 10 it had sound data (the dialogue and ambient sound as original shot) on one channel and music and sound effects that were already formatted to output on two channels. Therefore, what happened when I corrected the dialogue and ambience from one channel (left channel) to both channels (placing the sound in the center of the sound field) is it shifted the music and sound effect (which were was already in the center of the sound field) further way from the center of the sound field. Therefore, all we did was uncompress the dialogue/ambience (put it in the centre) and compress the music/sound effects (move it away from the centre). This is why you need to delete the file I gave you and why I need two different exports of the sound when you’re done with the edit, that way I can avoid uncorrecting/compressing stuff that is already corrected/uncompressed.

Follow?

Don’t worry, just delete the file I gave you, work from the original elements and send me two exports of the sound when everything is set in stone.

The music from 0:05 – 0:14 is missing. I don’t know whether that is intentional? The music gave the opening a kickstarting energy and it sucks without it.

Gillian 4:25 – 4:36.

I think unless her testimony can be made to look more visually exciting, you should get rid of it. In the previous edits what I liked about that elite/coaching section (4:02 – 4:49) was that after the Davenport section (which is a nice break for the viewer) the elite/coaching section started to build the pace up again. With the addition of Gillian’s contribution it stretches the section out too much and gives it a pace that feels slower than the Davenport section. The Elite section is where we need to start building the pace up not slowing it down even more.

Little girl putting fencing mask on (0:00 – 0:04).


I don’t like the opening visual you’ve added, AT ALL. I can not support it! There’s nothing wrong with the visual itself but if you put it at the beginning you’re completely undermining the essence of what 0:05 – 0:30 is all about: changeling the ignorant perception of fencing as an elite sport. By putting the visual of the little girl before the visuals and statements of the flash opening not only are you already challenging the established perception of fencing (and making the flash opening redundant) but you’re introducing the concept of children fencers way too earlier. For me it’s too much too soon! In terms of the psychology of the whole thing it definitely works better to start with the flash opening and visuals of the “elite fencers”, so to speak and juxtapose those visuals with the statements “for the few” etc and THEN open up the playing field by introducing the children fencers.  
Not only does the original arrangement of the opening have a narrative logic but jump starts the whole thing. The fade in from black as the lights blast on and as the music starts up is the absolute best way to begin the whole thing. The little girl visual is fine and I think it would be worth incorporating it elsewhere, just not at the beginning. I just don’t buy it.  
Actually if did want to incorporate it into the beginning you could put it just before or after the “maybe not” statement. The visual would then be mimicking the text: 
Shots of fencer iconographies – “for the few” 
Shots of stereotypical fencers - “maybe”  
More shots of stereotypical fencers then a shot of little girl putting fencing mask on – “maybe not”  
BOOM – cut to children fencers. The narrative logic is there.  
Credits 
You want to change “Filmed by” to “A Film by” 
Put another line between “Peter O’Brien” and “with thanks to” and you want to change “with thanks to” to “special thanks to”. 
Put the Bath Sword club website address after “it would not have been possible” because you never know, someone might be inspired to join after watching this.  
You might even want to give Bath Spa some form of recognition, considering it was their equipment we used. 
Maybe put a credit in for the Music. 
Add my name to the disclaimer at the end.  
Other than that, all is good :D


Pete & Tom: 04/04/2013 - Documentary
Today Tom replied to the feedback Pete had sent him about the new edit of the documentary. Pasted below are his comments and their ensuing Facebook discussion on how to further proceed with editing the documentary.
Tom:

Ok feedback: 

Let's meet at my house on Saturday morning to discuss everything and kick this in the nuts. So I can send you the audio as soon as possible.
In the mean time.
 

I really don't find tims sound bite that prevalent. It's not obvious to my ear at all. Maybe you could point it out to me on Saturday, but I think we should keep the new ending. The problem with the old one was that the gap between the film ending and the credits was far too long, making the end seem way, way too abrupt and jagged. this way we keep the rhythm flowing, until there is nothing more to see. In addition the final shot of the kids hugging needs to last longer, it's a cliche if we use it as a cliche - a brief fleeting shot that we think the audience wants to see. By making it longer we declare our faith in it, our ownership of it...it becomes unique to our film. 
 

I've been watching both the exported version and the one in final cut, the sync in both is perfectly fine. I don't know what happened between exporting and you seeing it but that's very strange. I'll export multiple copies of varying qualities before we settle on one to hand in. Just to be sure.
 

2:20-2:26 definitely remove background noise suppression I'll get on that 
 

Davenport is quite hard to hear over the background noise, particularly when the viewer naturally compares him to Tim. Do you think it would be better to edit the sound levels for that sequence on your file in 7? Then export it to me again.
 

Because I can't edit Davenports sound in detail as it and the background are all on the same file.
 

I will remove the correction of the mothers sound.
 

I'll also put the intro back the way it was. And with regard to Gillian talking about state schools, I've picked out some excellent imagery based on masks to interlay over and around what she says.
 

The music we used is royalty free, so I'm not sure a credit is necessary but its more than worth it to ask someone, I'll send an email to Richard
 

And thank goodness I decided to just mute all the original sound files in final cut instead of deleting them when you gave me your edit!!!! Haha
 

Pete:
 

If you want to meet up then come to my house and I can show you what I mean about the sound. I've followed Rich's advice and listened to the edit through four different types of outputs: in ear headphones, out of ear headphones, small speakers and very large speakers.
 

No, I what you've done with the ending is fine. I think the still frame and the fade works much better than before. It's just that abrupt dip after Tim's soundbite which is spoiling it for me.
 

If you want proof of how Davenport's sounds after being corrected in 7 watch this from 1:08:




Tom: 

In 2:56-3:01 or thereabouts it might be different on your copy but I have tim from your edit on Davenport saying "you can have...you know you can have a" is that intentional?
 

Pete:
 
With the music credit, I'll leave that up to you, I just suggested it to keep Mike happy. However, I have added a music page to the wiki which I was going to suggest you fill out (It's in postproduction). Just a brief overview on the details of the music, its source, its copyright standing and why it was the right music to use for the documentary. 

Tom:
 
I've moved everything back to the original individual sound files and it sounds so much better 
Also put the beginning back to what it was 
Working on Gillians section now

Pete:
That's just the way Tim originally said it, I left it like it because I'd liked the cognitive quality of it - like the audience is actually listening to someone explain it opposed to a pre-recorded polished narration. It also establishes Tim's rhythm of speaking and makes his later slip (3:55 - 3:58 in your cut) seem less awkward and more natural to his form of narration. 
I won't be able to go up to the Sword Club tonight. However, I can go next Thursday or on Monday, if both Tim and Nate will be there then?  
Tom: 
I'll Fb them and ask 
The Davenport tim section is far from bad it was just an observation, that for me personally if we bring up the background noise, for that room in particular, it will drown him out or certainly make a few key words very hard to catch 
I've also made Gillians stare school section far more interesting
I'm not going to export any audio until we both decide we are happy with the visuals on Saturday, I've more or less cracked everything we talked about, will finish off this afternoon
Going to make some of the transitions more engaging and less jumpy/abrupt
Unify the text some more
 
What time do you want to start on Saturday? The earlier the better for me

Pete: 
10, 11? I don't mind.

Tom: 
I'll be at yours at 10 

Pete:
 
Cool.


Pete & Tom: 06/04/2013 - Documentary - Picture & Sound Lock Session

Tom met up me with Pete to implement the decisions they had discussed in their previous discussions. They met up at Pete’s house so that they could hook Tom’s laptop up to Pete’s surround sound system. This allowed them thoroughly assess the soundtrack in a bigger sound field than the Gatehouse or a pair of headphones can provide. Obviously, though, while the system is 5.1, Pete set it up to only output on 2 channels: the same project settings of Tom’s Final Cut 10 file. Formatting the documentary for 5.1 output is currently beyond Pete and Tom’s knowledge and not really required for something that is going to put on YouTube.

However, before producing two mp3 exports of the sound elements as detailed in Pete’s specifications in his 03/04/2013 feedback (see above), they went through the documentary and reviewed the edits Tom had made in Pete’s absence; as well as agreeing on additional changes.

Gillian’s state school section.

Tom had added some visuals and transitions to make it more visually interesting. Pete highly approved of the additions and commented on how they quicken the pace of the section. The pace as whole works much better because of these additions. The pace of the Davenport section (and middle of the documentary) is deliberately slow and even to give the audience a break and a chance to reflect on the sections content. Then immediately as we cut into Gillian’s state school material the pace now starts to increase and along a definite upward curve continues through the coaching and problem sections to its crescendo with the conclusion montage.

The transition between Tim’s sound bit and the end credits.

Pete definitely preferred the freeze frame and the fade; however, the very noticeable dip in-between the end of the Tim’s soundbite and the beginning of the credits music was a big problem for Pete. He had suggested to avoid the dip the music should start as soon as Tim finished. This kind of worked but ultimately was too much too soon! However, Pete proposed another solution which had implemented for an identical problem in the trailer…

Pete:  
In the first rough cut the transition between the shot of the fencers and the iconography/text shot seems awkward (0:04 – 0:08):

Now watch the same part of the trailer (0:04 – 0:08) in its second rough cut: 


The transition is less obvious and plays much smoother. The reason for the awkwardness in the first rough cut is that there is a significant dip in the soundtrack. In the shot of the fencers you have audio of the narration and audio of the ambient sounds of the shot. Cut to the next shot the ambient sound carries on under the iconography shot but suddenly ceases (this is because the original sound was compromised by sound that was so obviously not part of the image its inclusion in the soundtrack would have been confusing). Due to this, there is a significant dip and absence of the sound in-between the fencers’ ambient sound cutting off and the ambient sound that was recorded in Dennis’ interview. 
This brief absence of sound spoils the entire transition (it’s amazing how much the material before and after a transition can influence that transitions effect)! To solves this problem and to allow the shot of the iconography to be long enough I dragged the ambient noise over onto the iconography shot; due to the compromise of the original recorded sound I did not have enough sound to fill the silence in-between the beginning of the iconography shot and the beginning of Dennis’ interview/ambient sound. The iconography shot could not be shortened because it needed to play for long enough to allow the viewer to absorb its two main points: the iconography of fencing and the proposition the text proposes. 
Therefore, I solved the dip by getting some general ambient noise of on mass fencing from another shot and then slotted that sound into the gap. Thus, I now had a sound bridge to smoothen the transition that disguised the presence of the actual cut.

Ultimately, this is how the problem of the transition into the credits was solved. Tom and Pete found a piece of ambient sound without dialogue in Tim’s interview and use that to fill the gap in-between the Tim’s dialogue and the beginning of the music. They slightly reduced the gap between Tim and the music and allowed Tim’s ambience to fade out under the start of the music to smoothen the change. Due to the fact that the ambience noise had the sound of basketball in the background, the inclusion of the sound bridge sounded very odd. However, when viewed in the context of the whole thing it was almost none existence. The noticeable dip after Tim had vanished and the ending transition played as one smooth, unified whole that didn’t bring attention to its inadequacies – the ending had been finalised.

Cheering Fencer Shot



As he had already indicated Pete was keen to integrate the shot of the cheering fencing from the trailer into the documentary. Tom and Pete set about finding an ideal place for it in the documentary. After trying it out early on in the documentary Pete concluded that the best place to put was, as he had originally indicated in the conclusion montage. Tom was more hesitant towards this as he felt it would break with the logic of the montage, in that, the montage currently plays as just visuals and music – there is no ambient sound. As the cheering shot is reliant on its ambient sound of the fencer cheering its integration into the montage would break with this rule. Pete could understand this from Tom’s point of view because editors set themselves rules due to patterns they have identified in their work (as Walter Murch as demonstrated on numerous occasions). 

Pete had done the same with the Character Study by electing to only use footage that had been shot from the character study shoot and, therefore, designed use in the character study. However, Pete point out that while these patterns and rules do sometimes make sense from a narrative point of view, this was a case where the rule was something that was satisfying only the editor (Tom) and is not something that the audience would even care for or perhaps even be aware of. 

In fact, Pete said that the integration of the shot and the inclusion of its ambient sound (at least the yell part) further help to strengthen the integrity of the montage and to emphasise the final message it was conveying – fencing is a highly skilled sport that is open to anybody and from which anybody can achieve a huge amount of satisfaction. Placed in-between the shot of Tim and the shot of kids hugging and following the curve of the music the cheer supplied a triumphant crescendo that leads nicely into the cerebral presence of the final image (children fencers hugging in camaraderie) and Tim saying “it’s like life” – roll credits.

Tom was very hesitant and this proved to be the only point where Pete and Tom nearly had an argument. However, after seeing the shot played in the context of the whole documentary, opposed to isolation, Tom agreed with the logic of the shots integration and the definite meaning it established in the final montage. Visually, it does differ from the other shots of the montage as they are not white balanced (from Flounders Hall) and the cheering shot is white balanced. 

As Pete and Tom have decided to leave the Flounders Hall footage the way it is, feeling that it adds another layer of meaning (division in Tom’s case, formalistic grittiness in Pete’s case), Pete suggested they should tint the cheering shot to match the other shots of the montage. Tom didn’t feel it was that important and Pete was ambivalent towards it anyway, so they left the shot as it is.

Pete made a suggestion for Tim’s narration at the end of the Davenport section. Tom had not cutaway from Tim speaking as he felt it made sense to linger on Tim as he was conveying a key piece of information in regards to the appeal of fencing. At the end of this Tim sums it up by saying: “It’s like life”, which is the same piece of dialogue we use to close the documentary. However, as everything before this line of dialogue was informative but general stuff Pete pointed out that they should highlight the really vital point that is Tim’s final proclamation. 

To this end, he suggested making an artificial close up on Tim’s face so there would be a shift of information as you cut into Tim as he says “it’s like life”. To the viewer, this would highlight it as a significant piece of information and set up its re-iteration and pay-off in the conclusion. While he agreed with the logic of it, Tom was hesitant. He cited the problem of increased grain in the image which is what had happened with an artificial close-up he had created with Gillian’s footage. However, Pete said this was all more reason for integrating it: stylistically the increase of grain would fit with the mis-matched/gritty quality of the rest of the documentary as being formalistically representative of the realities of the sweat and exhaustion of fencing. Also, if they had already used an artificial in the documentary, it made sense to be consistent and include another one.


Sound:



Due to the nature of the NX5's artificial sound being off centre in the sound field and therefore more quieter as a result he had explained that this had effective Tom’s decisions in regards to using sound repression on certain ambient elements to highlight the dialogue elements of certain interviews (see feedback in Pete: 03/04/2013). As Pete had been able to listen to the corrected sound in Final Cut 7 (the sound properly centralised in the sound field) he had said that most of the sound repression was not required and the original sound would become apparent when properly corrected. To this end, Tom has removed the majority of the sound suppression.



In regards to what has already mention, not much work was require on the soundtrack and all that remained was to export two mp3 exports containing different elements of the sound track for Pete to correct in Final Cut 7. He is working from two separate mp3 to avoid the problems of the previous attempt to correct the sound between 7 and 10. For details of what each mp3 contains, see below:





It was a very productive two hours and the picture and sound are now locked as a result of it. The soundtrack awaits its corrected completion on Monday.


Pete & Tom: 08/04/2013 – Documentary - Final Cut 

As Tom and myself had locked the picture and sound for the documentary on Saturday, all that remained was for me to correct the audio elements in Final Cut 7. Therefore, I came into Uni today to do just that. It was slightly more problematic than I had first envisioned because the two MP3s Tom had exported for me had acquired some popping defects in the audio and this caused the sound to be of a noticeably lower quality. However, I very quickly discovered a way to use the audio from a reference export of the whole documentary Tom had exported and Dropboxed to me yesterday. I was able to pull the two layers apart in this export and then pan correct each layer different; thereby allowing all the sound to be centralised with none of it out of being pushed out of center (which is the problem we encountered the first time around). It was annoying not being able to use the two separate MP3s but I’m actually glad it happened because now I have discovered a much simpler way of fixing the problem in future!

There was one additional problem with the soundtrack: a short 5 second section of ambient sound was missing. I checked with Tom to make sure it was an error and not an intentional admission. He said there should be ambient sound in those 5 seconds and was confused as to where it had gone to. It was not the pan-correction that had shifted it out of center and made it inaudible, because I checked both the two original MP3s and export – the 5 seconds of ambient sound was completely missing from all of them. However, it was not a huge problem as I just pulled the ambient sound from an earlier rough cut export. With reference to the picture and sound around it I synced and slotted the audio into the gap. Also fiddled with the levels to make the 5 seconds of audio consistent with the sound either side of it. I checked the MP3 file after I exported it and it was fine. I Dropboxed it to Tom and he concurred at his end.

Technically, this was the final task to be done on the documentary, but Tom did send me the following suggestion for an alteration. This is taken from our Facebook conversation:

Tom: 
speaking to my parents about it 
one thing came up 
with andy's clip 
in the problem section 
the general opinion was why are we including him if we are about to hammer what he says with 
other peoples views 
its seems as if people aren't going to listen well enough to identify the distinction we are making 
that andy is talking about international competitors 
and everyone else is talking about low level / recreational fencers 
the recommendation was some sort of visual stimulation like the olympic rings for example, 
perhaps replacing the visual of the children on the right 
still mobile obviously, thoughts?

Pete:
I don't think it matters. What Andy is saying is so incredibly unspecific, unless you personally know of the distinction between high level and recreational fencing, you will just take what he is saying as being validation of everything we've just seen with the fencing club. 
I think if you introduce the concept of the Olympics now, it might seem a bit out of place in relation to everything else. 
I don't know, you might as well give it a try, because the Olympics will be at the back of everyone's minds. But I'm worried that directly establishing the Olympics will seem anachronistic in relation to what we have already covered in the doc 
Actually, with Andy just leave it the way it was. Honestly, his section is so short and what he says is so vague there is not even an apparent distinction being made between high level and recreational. With Andy's unspecific dialogue it just plays as if he is talking about 'devoted' recreational fencing. 
If we pull in the Olympics as this stage it will broaden the problem section and, ultimately, detract from the conclusion as being about the fencing club accessible to all. not about fencing on an international scale. 
It will also leave an unresolved point in the narrative: we've introduced the Olympics/high level fencing, established the main problem of it and then... not followed it up. 
That's why the conclusion we have at the moment works so well because it brings together and sums up everything before it and relevant to it. There is nothing before it that feels out of place because there is nothing before it that is left unresolved.

Ultimately, Tom didn't make any further changes and below is the final cut.






Pete: 08/04/2013 - Trailer - Final Cut


Seeing how I was in Uni, I reasoned I would have another fiddle with the trailer. This is what I told Tom I was going to during a Facebook conversation:

I don't really know. I'm just going to have a fiddle with it tomorrow to try and bring it more in line with the style of Doc. It probably won't work because the music for the trailer is more cerebral and less hectic, but I'll see if there are some points (preferably with transitions) in the doc I can use in the trailer. I mean, I'm not going to go crazy because I think the trailer is fine as it is and I can't go over 40 secs, but I want to have one final fiddle with it. I'm definitely going to squeeze the shot of the woman ("It's great fun") in the trailer to bring out the fact that females are included in the diversity.

Ultimately, I didn’t end up doing most of that. It just didn’t feel right with what I’d already done. In the previous cuts I had established a nice cerebral presentation with some key points and themes of the documentary. If I had tried to cram any more in it would have felt bloated and would have lost its thoughtfully paced approach. Therefore, the final cut is largely the same as the previous cuts.

However, I trimmed some of the shots and added one new one. The main problem I had with the previous edit is it occurred to me that it seemed incredibly male orientated! This, of course, goes against the idea of diversity and I was determined to insert an overt female presence in the new edit. I did try using the shot I had suggested to Tom:



However, this just didn’t work! What she was saying didn’t fit smoothly into the narration that was already there and the fact that she is staring directly into the camera broke too much with the style of the rest of the trailer. Using this shot just felt anachronistic. Therefore, I have used a different shot that has two females in it one a coach and one a fencer who very briskly attacks her male sparring partner – it was perfect and slotted nicely into the narrative of the trailer!



I also had another fiddle with the soundtrack to ensure that I got the audio levels the best I could get it. Then I export a high definition 1080p export, uploaded this onto my YouTube account as an unlisted video and embedded it in the Fencing – Trailer page on the Wiki.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it! Below is the final cut of the trailer:





Tom: 22/04/2013 - Documentary - Music


The music for this piece, was a revelation.

I was forever aware of music in the background of film, but not always necessarily concious of it.

It was only when I compared the first draft of the edit, with and without a backing sound, that it struck me like a thunder bolt.

Music if delicately inserted into our documentary had the potential to take the entire ensemble to the next level of perfection.

The two most important aspects which fuelled this decision, were the relaxation factor and control of pace (rhythm).


The relaxation factor:

It is always a stretch, for someone who is so invested in the film they are making, to take a step back and view the work with some degree of objectivity. Yet this is what I impressed upon Pete we should do from the outset and I think we've achieved great success by keeping that at the forefront of our decisions. 

In viewing the film time and again, it is more than easy to become comfortable and complacent about the dialogue, the interviews, the imparting of knowledge. However, for the viewer, those words take on monumental importance. They are a source of rich understanding hitherto unknown, which is naturally quite intimidating. To have speech which is accompanied only by silence is quite dangerous, and should be employed with the most delicate of care. Which showed me the first benefit of music, the relaxation factor. The background sound, provides an alternative to the ear - it provides the viewer with the luxury of choice, deciding for themselves what they would like to listen to. Now this is of course a relatively null decision, because the viewer has subconciously decided the words are of greater importance because that is our base form of communication. The music eases that process and maintains the ignorant bliss of the subconcious. The soundtrack we have provided takes care of any unavoidable silences, potentially awkward moments between visuals and any anxiety the audience may be feeling in the viewing.

Which brings me to the second key point.

Control of pace (rhythm):

The film, as an independant entity is not merely a succession of images accompanied by audio. It is a living breathing entity, it must be so in order to connect on more than one level with the viewer. So it must have a heartbeat, a rhythm to which it exists. This can be found in visuals, it can be found in ambient noise, but that requires a team of dedicated professionals and a healthy dose of luck. So the next best thing is music, this is what we based our rhythm around and as a result, we were able to create a powerful, evocative sense of pace in our visuals and dialogue as well. I would prefer for you to identify for yourself the cadence of the film by watching, it because mere words could, but are not sufficient to express the effect. If they were we may not even have need of film.

So I will detail the choices I made in the selection and why, to better inform your viewing.

Borealis: the first piece I encountered in the Final Cut library. A soft, gentle combination of wind and string instruments, this seemed more than ideal for the intervew sections. Particularly those in which some of the more knowledgeable fencers (the coaches) go into greater detai about the sport. It breeds an air of intelligence and application of thought, while encouraging more attention from the viewer.

Wild Card: this piece (also belonging to Final Cut) was perfect for the dramatic, action packed visuals. It's upbeat rhythm, drawing on everything from Hip-Hop to RnB gave a very modern element to specific sequences of the film. Vital, seeing as one of our aims is to making fencing more appealing and accessible to a younger generation who would be forgiven for imaginig Classical music whenever they watched the sport. Perfect to express the rampant ferocity of the competitive and professional fencers.

Daydream: another Final Cut jingle, which after much searching through the archives struck me like a bolt of lightning. This was a perfect combination of Borealis and Wild Card, it meant that I could ease the viewer into the conclusion of the documentary with relatively little awkwardness whatsoever!

Elysium: a perfect linking piece between the rapid pace of Wild Card and the slow, melodic tones of Borealis. I was overjoyed to find this because we had absolutely nothing that would suit the gentle relaxed atmosphere of fencing. Nothing that would emphasise the colossal variety of the sport. Ideal to express the visuals of the recreational fencers (Final Cut owned again).


The postproduction concerns continued with the various technical hurdles and the issue of whether or not we would colour correct the final cut...

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