Join Chad Perkins for an in-depth discussion in this video Editing dialog, part of Creating a Short Film: 08 Editing.
- [Narrator] As a film editor you will spend a great deal of your time editing dialogue. So, for the next several tutorials we're going to look at some techniques to make that process easier and help you get much better results. Now one of the most important things to be aware of when editing dialog is that you have a lot of flexibility to be creative. And really there are three main concepts that I'd like to share with you here. I'm sure there is tons of amazing tips out there but I just wanna share and highlight three specific things to be aware of as you're editing dialog.
The first one is that you can play with the pacing a little bit. By editing the dialog. Let's look at an example of this. Here we have the goodbye scene. And let's just kind watch what we have here so far. Just a few seconds. - You're the chosen one. - Cordea, you are the assurance. - [Narrator] Okay. So I like that. But I wanted to make that feel even more intense and panicked. So in the original version of the script we had these bad guys in the back and they thought they were in danger, so they were kind of saying goodbye. And there is some pauses here, before and after actually she says, Cordea so.
She says, you're the chosen one. And then there is a little bit of a pause. Then she says Cordea, and a little bit more of a pause. - Chosen one. - Cordea, you are. - [Narrator] And I wanted to get rid of those pauses. So what I wanted to do is come in here and right about here, so this is the Cordea saying you're the chosen one. And Ta'ani says, Cordea that's what this little wave form lump is right here. So I'm gonna select this clip and I'm gonna press cmd + k on the Mac or ctrl + k on the PC to split that right there and then I'm going to go over here after she says that, after she says Cordea.
- Cordea. - [Narrator] And I'm gonna go ahead and trim right there juts like this. cmd + k, ctrl + k, and what I'm going to do, is I am going to trim this like so, and trim this like so, juts to get rid of some of that excess. Actually we could even be a little bit more aggressive about this if we wanted to. And now I could maybe trim this a little bit.
And bring this over. And let's see how that plays. - The one. - Cordea you are the assurance. - [Narrator] See how that is? It increases the intensity quite a bit. - Chosen one. - Cordea. You are the assurance. - [Narrator] The problem is now we've created a jump cut here. And actually what I might even wanna do, is I might want to overlay this a little bit so almost like she interrupts her a little bit. So maybe I can bring that in. A little bit like so.
Bring this clip over again. - One. - Cordea. You are the assurance. - [Narrator] So I like the intensity of that. But obviously it creates some issues with the jump cuts. So what I can do, is take the first clip this clip right here and extend that out. So that's my second tip. Is that when you play with the pacing and trim things up and create jump cuts by editing your dialog or by editing out ums and ahhs or whatever else you wanna do by cleaning up the dialogue, and you have these jump cuts you can patch the jump cuts by using reverses from other takes.
So here we're not seeing Ta'ani's face, so it doesn't really matter what she's saying, so let's go ahead and play that back. - The chosen one. - Cordea. You are the assurance. - [Narrator] See how that plays really nicely. Now there is some perfecting that we could do to this. We probably wanna add some transitions. One of the things I like to do is I like to select these end points here and press cmd + shift + d on the Mac or ctrl + shift d on the PC. That creates the default audio transition which is constant power.
So it's almost kind of like a little quick and dirty fade out, and so I can click and drag this transition like so. So it's a little bit less abrupt and then I can just select this clip and just press the keyboard short cut again. ctrl + shift d or cmd + shift + d and then that puts, if you have a clip selected and not and edit point then it puts a transition at both sides of the edit. I might wanna do that over here as well and again cmd + shift + d, ctrl + shift d, and that way this all kind of blends together a little bit better.
And now this scene plays with a lot more intensity. - Chosen one. - Cordea. You are the assurance. - [Narrator] And I might even shrink that even more, might even bring that in a little sooner, let's try that. - Chosen one. - Cordea. You are the assurance. - I think that works really well. And it just so happens to be that she says, you are the assurance, which she's going and putting her hand on her face. So that really adds to the intensity as well. - Chosen one.
- Cordea. You are the assurance. - [Narrator] So that quickness that pace, by cutting out those moments there. And that really as an editor makes a huge difference. Here is the after that I put a little bit more care and effort into, and play around with a Ta'ani a little bit better. And here is what I originally have. - The chosen one. - Cordea. You are the assurance. - [Narrator] Yeah, I just love that so much better. Now another thing. My third point here is you could actually use audio from a completely different take and patch it in.
You don't have to use the same audio that goes with that video. So you might remember in the sixth course in the series working on set we talked about this little float that Andrew Tribolini figure here. A little accent that he made where he accidentally mimed on set instead of actually saying his line. And let's go ahead and play that back so you can watch this happen again. It's only a few seconds. But watch the audio meters here. This is a live take. Even though it seems quiet, because the actors are al miming this is, the audio from this is being recorded.
- Keep going, go back to one. - Sorry, I don't know why. I was watching them mime. And then I started miming. (laughter) - [Narrator] So he didn't say anything when he was suppose to say his line put them away he actually didn't say anything. He mimed because he saw the other extras miming as well. But I really liked his performance. I really liked the way that he looked I liked the camera angle. I liked the way the extras we're in the back. I really wanted to use this take. This visual take of him saying that but I didn't have any audio.
So I went to another camera. From another take. And I got this one. - Put them away. - Cut. - Cut. - [Narrator] Okay so you can tell from saying cut and stuff like that without the laughing and stuff this is a completely different take. But the audio still kind of synched up. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go ahead and hold the alt key on the PC or the option key on the Mac and I'm gonna select these takes of audio and just hit the delete key. To delete them. And then I'm going to do the same thing but click the video of this first clip which I don't need anymore and hit delete and I'm gonna go ahead and actually just click on this bottom clip and delete that as well.
The audio. So now we just have this piece of audio from another take, and this piece of video. And I'm gonna go ahead and hit the actually I'm gonna go ahead and just drag this to the left, so we could zoom in a little bit here and I put this marker right here, this is where he says put them away. And this is the audio file and you could just see the waveforms, you can actually can kind even use that as a guide to line these up, and let's just try that. See what that looks like. - Put them away. - [Narrator] Look at that. - Put them away.
- [Narrator] No one is the wiser. So this is a completely separate take but for some reason, he's just a really experienced actor. He has a lot of experience in theater, and so he's used to being like really well rehearsed and he did it the exact same way both times. So much so that it completely works for this short little piece of dialog. It looks like he's just lip synching it. - Put them away. - [Narrator] And it really matches. No one is gonna know, that this is from another take. So again, here is the example that I actually used in the rough cut of The Assurance. - Put them away. - [Narrator] So these are just a couple of little examples.
Remember that these are just a few techniques and there are countless others to creatively edit dialog together to make a scene work. Now in the next tutorial we'll look at how to use room tone to help us edit dialog scenes.
- Telling stories with edits
- Syncing audio and video
- Matching eyelines
- Knowing when not to cut
- Controlling the pacing
- Controlling emotion with shot size
- Working with audio
- Creating a rough cut
- Creating end credits
- Rendering and output