Going through the process of making a documentary a second time causes me to come face to face with a few situations I’d forgotten about. You tend to gloss over stuff, and forget some of the sharp edges. I guess it’s how we cope.
Anyway, I have drives of footage, which include stuff that has been gone through and stuff not gone through. There should be no reason for stuff to have stuck around in “not gone through” except for time; the process should be methodical. However, there were two sets of interviews that have been sitting around way too long.
The reason is they’re dark.
The camera I use is a little tricky in some light situations, and it took me a while to really learn some of the situations it would freak out in. As a result, some percentage are a bit too dark, dark enough that you would notice if I put them side to side with other shots. The nature of digital recording with video is that there’s also a greater noise floor in the video when you look at them closely.
This is all fixable, everything is always fixable, but given the choice of sitting through watching my dark shots and going to the shots I’m really proud of, I keep going to the others. Luckily, I’m running out of choices and that means I’m nearly done with the clip-making. And it means I’m going through the remnants now.
Given a choice between a dark shot and a light shot saying the same thing, I will choose the light shot. This gives advantage to one group of interviewees for no good reason. 99% of the dark shots may not make it in. It makes it very hard to set the time to go through them, know it may reveal just seconds of used footage.
But it has to be done, and I am doing it. It’s just tough. It always is.
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You could still use the audio in the dark shots if say a snippet of dialog in a shot expresses well the point that you are trying to convey in a given moment. and overlay something else over it, a photo perhaps. Its a shame to waste captured moments if there is still something of value in them.
The obvious solution is to make all the lighter shots darker, so all the shots look the same!
Feel free to credit me as “co-editor” for that little nugget.
Better yet, just use ASCII video rendering for those scenes.