[Lumiera] Suggestion: Shot valuation system

mexicorarara mexicorarara at googlemail.com
Wed Sep 17 18:44:19 CEST 2008

Ok, my idea is about something that is essential in editing, but has not 
been solved satisfactory in almost any existing editing software.
One of the most important parts of the editing process is making the 
actual selection of material which will be used in a movie.
I don't know how familiar you are with the amounts of material that a 
regular movie is based on:

Fiction films are usually shot with a ratio of 5:1 (ultra low budget 
student film) up to 100:1 (hollywood), so that means if you are working 
on a feature length movie (i.e. 90min.), you have from 7.5 to 150hrs 
minutes of material to work with, sometimes more i bet. You have dozens 
of takes for the same shots, alternative camera angles etc. Usually 
script/continuity is taking notes of what scene/shot/take is what and 
passes this on the the editor, so thats the base to work on. During the 
selection process, you need to take a lot of decisions, i.e. first 20 
seconds of scene 1/1/1 were the best, then acting is better in 1/1/15 

The good old way to do this is taking notes in a notebook, works well.
Final Cut has a very rudimentary system of marking good clips by colored 
labels. In Avid you can assign color labels as well as adding custom 
columns in the clips metadata. All these systems allow you additionally 
to set markers in clips and in the timeline, adding descriptions to these.

In documentary it usually gets even more complicated, because the amount 
of material is higher and often the editing process has a bigger part in 
finding a dramatic structure - because things are not as predetermined 
as a script based fiction film. I don't know of any editing system which 
assists this process in a clever way. Photo Cataloging softwares are 
much more advanced in that sense: they allow you to set up keywords and 
categories of keywords, for example Locations, People etc. and assign 
them to each image. The markers that Avid and FinalCut have are good to 
set specific points of interest in longer clips. But usually they dont 
allow you to mark ranges of longer clips - for example there could be a 
shot which is 10 minutes long but has only 15 seconds of really 
interesting footage. Usually you would make subclips of these and store 
them somewhere in your bin.

Some editors i know use a process where they are putting together the 
movie (in fictional movies) with all its takes, all its shots but in the 
right order, then they watch this monster which has ALL the material and 
watch it several times, every time cutting out the scenes which the dont 
like so at the end they are left with the things they consider good.

i know a guy who is working with three video tracks, V1 has all the 
material, then he is moving the stuff which technically is ok (not out 
of focus etc.) to V2, then selecting the stuff which is actually good 
and moving it to V3.

i think it would be really cool to have a freely configurable valuation 
system, where you can assign any kind of keywords or meta-data to clips, 
to ranges of clips etc.

then to have some kind of database UI which allows you to access this 
categorized clips. It would be also nice to have virtual sequences, i.e. 
in a documentary, the team is following a protagonist. if you had marked 
all the portions of clips where the protagonist is visible, maybe a 
little information about the shot size etc. and you could filter out 
something like "show me a sequence of all close shots of my protagonist" 
- that could come really handy.

hmm, i hope this was understandable somehow.

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