Wednesday, 24 August 2011

telling the truth?

As the summer begins to draw to a close, Issue Four of The Lawkit hit 'the shelves' of the internet today. Initially I had decided not to contribute, but ended up with something wholly suitable more or less by accident. (A blog post which was far too long, essentially.)

I chose to write in this issue about narrative and storytelling, and the crucial role I believe it plays in humanity's essence. Funnily enough, I was about to write a few lines here about something completely different, but an obvious link was prompted in my mind.

I'm currently up in the tower, cutting away at footage from Monday's Refresh Belfast event in the Black Box - an event that went almost went pretty flawlessly. I'm pleased with how the raw footage looks (believe me, I would not mention it, even in this small corner of the internet, if I wasn't, and particularly not pre-release).

However, gremlins do rear their head; though freshly charged and thoroughly tested, the speaker's nifty headset mic decided to fall over half-way through. Not a problem, as we had a spare beside him, ready to go - barely a stumble in the live sense.

However, in the video and out of that context, I'm presented with an editing dilemma. Here's the sequence of events: speaker pauses; begins to make his next point; mic crackles a bit and dies; speaker looks a little confused; speaker is handed a fresh mic; speaker continues, more or less exactly where he left off.

The obvious thing is just to cut the incident out completely, right? And join up the two ends? But this is where my loyalty to narrative kicks in.

Crucially, in a visual sense, things have changed: the speaker now has a mic in his hand, and is seated in a slightly different position. There's no match cut; instead, there's a fairly clear jump in positions which jars. So whilst you don't lose anything content wise - there's nothing to lose - something is different.

My inclination in these situations has become to leave the incident in - to inform the viewer why things have changed. (See, for example, the mildly infamous 'Chris groping Tim Van Damme' moment from Build last year - and it wasn't even our equipment he was fixing!) This may seem unnecessary. However, I feel it actually helps with the 'story' that's being told. Rather than a viewer spending a couple of minutes puzzled by the jump cut, and thereby potentially being distracted from the narrative that's being told, they walk through alongside the teller. No confusion, no distraction - just a little incident, right?


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