Skill Level Intermediate
- [Narrator] This week I want to show you an easy to use but powerful technique you can employ to speed up your work flow on short films, features, and documentaries, by setting up and dropping accurate scene markers. Some editors, including maybe yourself, might scoff at the extra time it takes to drop a marker, every time there's a scene change. For a feature, this can be quite a tedious activity, but hear me out. I'll explain why it's such a powerful tool and easily worth the time. So, the process is simple. Basically, you want to be in grid mode. So you change over to grid mode and I'd have my grid set to one frame.
So right up here, set that to one frame grid and you want to go and find the edge of every scene. So, I haven't dropped on here. I'm going to zoom in a little bit and watching up here we're in her bedroom, and as I move closer to the edge of the scene, we switch to outside on a hill - walking up a hill. So for this case, you could use the plus and minus keys and the numeric key pad to nudge - notice I have the nudge value set to one frame as well, and I can hit plus right up until I get to the exact frame which is right here at 01:00:46:13.
Right when the scene switches to the hill, and then I'd hit enter on the numeric keypad to drop this new memory location or a marker. And I would name this something descriptive. So, if you have access to the script, you might name it 'Scene 4B Exterior' or if you don't, you can make up something that accurately describes what's going on. So for this one, I might say exterior E-X-T hill. And then you want to go through the whole film and do this, and as you see, I've done this. So, we have this one right here - we go from the title card into the interior bedroom on this scene shift and you can see if I zoom out, I've done this for every scene change.
So, here we're outside and as I move closer to the marker, we see we go into his studio. So, for a whole film, this could take an hour or two and a short like this one, takes about a half an hour to do this work. And now that you have these markers, the navigating advantages are super obvious. So, by opening up under Window, if I open up the memory locations, Command+5, I now have access to snap around through the film scene by scene. So I can go, "Okay karaoke bar, main room, parking lot, car, beach" - so I can quickly navigate throughout the film using these markers.
But what's not so obvious, are the advantages to your editing process. Let's take background editing for example. Now that you have an exact road map, right to the scene frame boundaries, you can cut backgrounds perfectly to the exact frame boundary, and here's an example of that. Over here, you see, I've got these backgrounds going right to the edge of that scene marker, and over here is an even better example. Here we have the background sound and it cut right to the edge of the scene marker and I have the new incoming cut right to the edge of the scene marker.
And notice how I like to extend the fade by one frame, over the scene boundary. And I have these markers there as a roadmap, so I know exactly where that occurs. I'm going to go to one another scene and show you the advantage of these scene markers and that's when you have a lot of cross cutting. So in this scene right here, we have going from her bedroom - let me move this out of the way. Going from her bedroom, into the car, back to her bedroom, into the car, and if I play this scene, you'll see the advantage of having all of these scene markers right at the frame boundary, and you can see already, how it helped my edit.
As I was working, I had this road map to work against. So, here we go. - What? - Hey, Lex? - What the hell? It's 5:30 in the morning. Are you okay? - Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm just - I'm sitting here I'm - I'm listening to your demo and I'm really diggin it. I mean, this is beautiful. And that tentative stuff - - So again, by having these scene boundaries, not only was I able to cut the backgrounds accurately to the scene marker, but you heard what's going on in the dialogue.
I've got a lot of cross-cutting between her sound and then the phone sound, and going back and forth. So it's a complex scene but, by having this road map, it made it a lot easier. I was able to keep my head in the creative space, instead of worrying about where the scene boundary is. So this technique is really about saving time and being efficient, and it's about being accurate as you edit, without having to sweat the small stuff like hitting those frame boundaries when you're in the creative zone.