switching between shots?

tas9195 wrote on 7/9/2008, 10:16 AM
I have been putting a video together of myself and some friends doing trackdays(sportbikes on road courses, basically a fantasy camp thing for wanna be racers). When I switch back and forth it seems real harsh looking not smooth like on tv or a movie. I don't even realize they are switching back and forth most of the time because it is so smooth. On mine it is very noticeable and harsh and I don't like it. Are there any special things I need to do or tips someone can give me.
Signed Frustrated


baysidebas wrote on 7/9/2008, 10:38 AM
If you're referring to preview playback, that may be limited by your system. Have you tried rendering first? After render, transitions that look rough in preview, become silky smooth.
Former user wrote on 7/9/2008, 10:45 AM
It is hard to tell from your description if you are describing an "aesthetic" problem or a "technical' issue.

Can you post an example of what you don't like?

Dave T2
TGS wrote on 7/9/2008, 12:06 PM
If you are switching between two cameras.
Have both camera tracks sync'd up, one above the other. Make sure you've done as much color correcting as possible before proceeding. Be sure you're happy that it's sync'd. There's no turning back once you start. (not without a ton of work)

To view each camera angle, you can use a composite envelope (looks very similar to volume envelope) on the top camera track and move that envelope either up or down to view which camera angle you'd like to see. Up = top track, Down = bottom track.
(I think Vegas Pro will let you see 2 cams, but the above info is for earlier versions.)

Easiest way to edit:
Create a loop, backwards. Start loop at the end of a 'scene' of video and loop to beginning of that scene. Within the loop, "Highlight" the camera track you want to use by right clicking on that exact track and choose "Copy". Now copy that to a blank video track above the two captured tracks and paste in same place (the cursor should still be sync'd. The reason for looping backwards, is to keep the flashing cursor on the left. This will keep the tracks sync'd. After you copy, the cursor will jump to the right end of that clip. (it will always copy to the right side of flashing cursor)
When you copy the next camera angle, (looping backwards) slightly overlap the copy so it's about 1 second overlapped from the last clip. Don't move the new clip over to do that. Make your new loop, overlap the old one slightly. Then 'Copy & Paste' the new Cam angle. Depending on the length of the overlap, you can get a smooth transition. It will become a quick 'Fade'.

You can also use the Composite envelope and add dots and move the Envelope line up & down to switch between cameras. Quick changes or fades are possible.

But the 'Copy & Paste' method, above, is much faster, once you get used to it. It also works for multiple cameras. You'd work your butt off trying to do the same thing with composite lines on 3 or more cams.

More confusion from others to follow.
tas9195 wrote on 7/9/2008, 12:19 PM
actually I haven't tried rendering yet. I will try that and see if it works. I guess it would be hard to show you what I don't like about it. It basically looks real rough when the shot switches over to another shot. Instead of being seemless like in a movie, tv or music video. I will try to render it and see if that is it. I have only been looking at it in the preview window. Thanks for the advice
TGS wrote on 7/9/2008, 12:28 PM
You don't really have to render to another format.
create a loop around a transition you wish to see
Then go to "Tools/Build Dynamic Ram preview" and select.
This will give you about 5 or 6 seconds of a good preview, fairly quick.
Terry Esslinger wrote on 7/9/2008, 2:19 PM
Your description of a "real rough" switch between the two scenes is too vague to let anyone be of much help. Try to explain what you mean or give an example.
JackW wrote on 7/9/2008, 2:31 PM
As Dave T2 points out, this could be an aesthetic rather than a technical problem. If it is, it's more difficult to trouble shoot from afar.

Cutting from a bright shot to a dark shot can be jarring; cutting from a shot with little movement to one with rapid movement can be jarring. Cutting at the wrong point in movement can be troubling and finding the precise point at which to make the cut is a matter of trial and error.

Dissolving from a shot that has a prominent figure in the upper left corner (for example) to a shot that has the same figure in the lower right corner can be visually confusing. Dissolving from a moving shot to a moving shot can be disconcerting.

Walter Murch (In The Blink of an Eye) suggests that cuts can/should occur at the point where we would normally blink -- that is, at a change in focus within the moment, or when there is a release of dramatic tension within the scene, etc. It's a good read if you're not familiar with the little book. Another resource for the student of both shooting and editing is Mascelli's The 5 C's of Cinematography.

You indicate that you're looking at television and film and both are a great source for learning the art of editing. Put on an action DVD and analyze a small section, asking yourself why a cut occurred when it did. Look at the work of editors like Murch and Thelma Schoonmaker, both of whom are tops in my opinion. Murch's Cold Mountain is so subtly edited that you're scarcely aware of changes in shots.

Good luck

farss wrote on 7/9/2008, 2:34 PM
And make certain you have Quantize To Frames turned On.

bStro wrote on 7/9/2008, 2:45 PM
I think Dave T2's question is the key, and if I had to guess, I'd say the answer is "aesthetic".

Not that I claim to be an expert (or even an amateur), but it takes a lot of practice to hone your editing skills so that cuts are smooth. I doubt there are any quick fixes that anyone could summarize efficiently here on this forum (although JackW does a darn good job, now that I've read his post). But here are some books that may help you understand the craft of effective editing:

The Eye is Quicker
Understanding Movies
First Cut: Conversations with Film Editors

Granted, these mostly relate to editing features and may be overkill for what you're doing, but the basic concepts are still relevant. "The Eye Is Quicker" will probably be the most useful because it dives into the decision making of editing. (I just wish I could find my copy!) The second book covers a wider area of film making, and the third book is more biographical.

Goji wrote on 7/9/2008, 10:02 PM
Chances are, your two shots are too similar.

When cutting from shot to shot, you should change two of three of the following

Camera elevation
Shot size (wide, medium, closeup)
Angle of incidence to the subject (30-45 degree change).

Another thing to consider is that the cut should be where an action is just starting, or just ended,

Starting - e.g. when subject sitting in chair _just starts_ to stand up, not after they've already begun.

Ending - e.g. when panning the camera. When the pan has been completed and the frame is stable once again.

The real art of editing is "knowing where the cut" goes.


PeterWright wrote on 7/10/2008, 1:41 AM
I cut a couple of 16mm films back in the '90s.

When you changed your mind about the exact point for the cut, it meant physically removing celluloid or splicing a few frames back in.

Now with Vegas, what once would take minutes is done in seconds.

blink3times wrote on 7/10/2008, 5:44 AM
"Chances are, your two shots are too similar."

I have learned through experience that if you plan on switching angles on the time line then your shots have to be on a different enough angle so that it is clear to the viewer that the angle has changed. If the shots are too similar then it does little more than confuse the viewer and muck up the video.
JackW wrote on 7/10/2008, 10:19 AM
One of the beauties of Vegas is that you can take two similar shots, or even the same shot, and by zooming in change it from an establishing shot to a medium shot. Two dissimilar shots would be better of course, but in a pinch just changing the apparent distance from shot one to two makes the cut work.

Grazie wrote on 7/10/2008, 10:55 AM
Great post!!


" . . When I switch back and forth it seems real harsh looking not smooth like on tv or a movie."

Good start! You are asking the correct question. What is "it" that is different. What are they doing? Well, it will be in front of you. Study real REAL hard. You will see it - honest! If you were sitting next to me and we played yours alongside theirs, we could nail it.

"I don't even realize they are switching back and forth most of the time because it is so smooth. On mine it is very noticeable and harsh and I don't like it."

Well, again, really REALLY train yourself and see with your eyes. Slow down both yours and theirs. Write notes to yourself - I did!! I actually get paid for previewing work and writing down what I see. I enjoy doing it.

"Are there any special things I need to do or tips someone can give me."

Special? Not really. It is knowing that being the person who KNOWS what is coming next - the viewer hasn't foggiest. It is OUR job and duty to sustain that interest.

Mr Murch's "Blink . . " and the "Cs . . " should be read time and time again. My copy of "Blink . ." is a real mess now!!!

I wont repeat all the good detail above here. But I would, again, press upon you to truly, truly analyse just WHAT you are looking at. As long as you have that "itch", as long as you are getting cranky about your work then you are one of a privileged few.

Tell you what, if you want to send me some DivX compressed sections I'll give them a once over - yeah?

tas9195 wrote on 7/10/2008, 12:48 PM
Man I feel like I should have paid for this advice. This is awesome. You guys really opened my eyes. I think it is an aesthetic problem now that I have read all this. Especially thanks to Jack. Some of the issues I had was I did use multiple cameras and they were in the front and back of a small church. Very limited space to place cameras for specific shots. I had one in the back and one up front and the one in the back had more lighting due to the windows in the back of the church facing the angle I was shooting and the one in front didn't capture the same lighting being further away from the windows. I think I will do some fanagiling to make it look as good as possible. I am still learning about editing so I am sure I will learn and get better with time. I love this and would like to get into some kind of commercial side of it and not so much weddings, only if somebody wants me to and the money is right. Doing Vids for businesses and bands like promos and presentations and such. So I think all of your advice will help me in the long run. So thanks alot guys.
busterkeaton wrote on 7/10/2008, 12:50 PM
Greg's reply above is definitely on the right track. Your images are too similar resulting in jarring cuts.

Your cameras were probably set in similar places using similar camera angles and are thus showing pretty much the same shot. So when you cut between things that are very similar, your brain goes "Whuh? Why did it change?" However if you cut between shots that are very different--medium shot of man driving, shot from passenger seat to close up of hand on gear shifter-- your brain can make the huge leap. Because that's what happens everytime we turn our heads or look at our hands. This is why they invented transitions. Try a simple linear left to right wipe. See how much nicer that cut looks.
Don't go overboard on the transitions, it's the classic sign of the new editor wanting to use every tool he has. A very modern transition trick is to use an effect--Glow, Blur, Newprint look, TV-lines, etc, as your transition, you only apply the effect for a very short period though......Hint: look up keyframing.

The reason things on TV look better than your edit is
A. It was shot with the edit in mind. Pro cameramen are always getting more shots and using new angles, close, medium, wide, etc.

B. They have plenty of choices of material for the next shot. If you only film your kid's baseball game from behind the catcher, you only have one basic angle. (You can mix up zoom and wide shots though). Film crews know to get B-Roll. Shots of the crowd. Shots of the dugout, the popcorn guy, shots from the outfield, etc. This way when they get to the edit bay they have way more choices. Then they can choose shots that flow together well and they have a shot they can cut away. For example, right before you kid hits the winning home run, he decides to scratch his butt. So you cut that out and to "cover your cut" you show his Mom watching from the stands. That's the key. You don't have material to cover your cuts and that's why it's jarring.

busterkeaton wrote on 7/10/2008, 12:59 PM
My first film production course met weekly. The homework for the second week was a completed movie. They wanted us to "shoot in camera," that is, there would be no editing. You had to plan and shoot your movie in sequence. I think they were some rough guidelines: the character had to go from A to B, and some story points. But it was a very useful excercise to learn what shots cut well together and how to "shoot for the edit."
farss wrote on 7/10/2008, 3:21 PM
One thing that got drummed into me by my long time editing mate; there has to be a reason for the cut.

Rather than cutting in cutaways I overlay them. Then I don't loose the natural timing of the action or dialogue. Be aware of shot love, doesn't matter how much that shot cost or how great IT looks if it doesn't work, it doesn't work, loose it.

Turn off all the sound and watch, do the images create a pleasing to the eye sequence, do they have a dance of their own.

My vote for best editing goes to Russian Ark :)

All jokes aside, what a breath of fresh air this thread is.

CorTed wrote on 7/10/2008, 4:11 PM
One thing I have been doing alot lately (certainly no new trick) and I enjoy a lot is to have the cuts happen excactly on beats of a music track below it. Some high energy music does call for some serious cutting, but is a lot of fun, and appears to be pleasing to the eye as well. Just cant do it too much or too long, or you'll drive the audience crazy.
The kinda crazy when you watch entertainment tonight or Extra, where they cut every 100 milliseconds to another picture.....ugh...

MichaelduS wrote on 7/10/2008, 5:22 PM
Thanks guys for a fantastic thread. A great learning experience. Cheers
Grazie wrote on 7/10/2008, 9:47 PM
"All jokes aside, what a breath of fresh air this thread is."

Yes Bob! I agree.

Another trick I do is to actually SAY, out loud, what I think of a shot/edit Ive done, walk away and come back.

I also am a serial Vegist. I make many veg files - and it may just be for a 10 second section.

My projects come with their own workflow and I come with my experience up to that point too.

Waaaay back I started off being very anal about where and how I stored stuff. And yes it IS important to be methodical but knowing the rules means you can break 'em!

I've been awake since 3:00am. I had an idea for a section-opener and I have been mulling over it for the past 2 hours. I come here, read and post stuff and in a minute I'll get back to the idea.

The trick is to bash out as much as you can. Vegas wont mind. Have an idea? Bash it out. It doesn't work? Move on. But what HAS happened you/I/we have tried it out. And guess what? - That experiment - may have taken maybe 20>30>40 seconds to achieve - will hold you in good stead at some point down the line for something else, maybe another project altogether!

Sometimes you don't WANT it to flow! Sometimes you WANT jarring. Again, knowing the difference, and having/acquiring the knowledge of where it works and doesn't is privy to but a few. You are one of those fortunates.

Take a permission to experiment.

Be lucky!


Grazie wrote on 7/10/2008, 10:00 PM
. . and masses of useful B-roll. I love doing B-roll material. If by myself, I work real hard at giving myself plenty of material. When working with somebody else I look at the "A" shooter and just KNOW what what would look good as a cutaway. AND THEN DO IT!! I count to 6 or maybe 10 for a "shot" and then move on. Maybe several shot versions, but mostly around 6 to 10 seconds long. This in itself will already start to "speed-up" and make flow your final edit.

The point here is to "Shoot-for-the-edit". And guess what? Not a lot of people think of this! I'm telling you! Yes, the narrative from what is going on in front of you is fundamental to telling you the story. But having the idea of the video and what WILL tell the story, is the real job.

I'll grab/use any tool I can to improve my edit flow. In the last week our JR produced that freebie Notepad thingie. What a boon! I love to use Media Manager in conjunction with Trimmer for quickly auditioning and scooping slices to the timeline. This is what I use for all that b-roll.


ushere wrote on 7/10/2008, 10:12 PM
am with grazie and bob on this....

especially with grazie, being a one man band i know what's on the a roll, so i can easily shot b roll!!!

i always shot at 3:1 ratio minimum, but i realise i'm going to have to look at everything later, so i try and shoot what's needed, what would be useful, and a couple of throwaway's that might make a bit of a difference...

what i still haven't gathered is whether the op actually shot 2 cam IN Sync, or simply one or two cameras iso?

tas9195 wrote on 7/14/2008, 3:07 PM
Once again thanks for all the useful info. I definitely like the info about turning the sound off. After all video editing is suppose to please the eye otherwise it is just audio junk. I really learned alot from this and have already taken a turn for the better on my video in the short time since posting this. I appreciate everyones help and glad to see it helped others as well