I am re-editing my film “My Most Difficult Case” and over the last few days, I have been going over the materials. I started on this re-edit quite some time ago, but dropped it for a couple years. I have been trying to work out just what I have before I can start finishing it.
Days of going through notes and checking files reminded me just how important good record keeping is. Or rather, they would be if I had been more diligent in my record keeping.
I keep promising to do a better job next time. I really mean it this time. 😉
I find record keeping a rather mundane and boring exercise, but when it comes to putting your film together, good records make life a lot simpler. I find it hard enough to keep track of all the material for an 11-minute film. I can imagine just how much more difficult it would be for a 90 minute film.
I do have logs of the shots on each of my camera rolls. However, the records for the negative cut fell somewhat short of ideal. I had to re-watch some of the original camera rolls to work out which shots I used in the final film. While reviewing my logs, I realized that I hadn’t bothered to log any of my audio. I will be redoing the sound, so that is going to be a problem for me.
One of the things I wish I had done was keep a project diary. I found multiple copies of similar files, and it wasn’t clear which was the “good one” and which were experiments that I didn’t use in the end. A related problem is finding which file is the original file. When I worked as an engineer, I used to keep a project diary that was very useful when I had to trace back what I had done. So, I really should have known better. It would have only taken a few minutes to write up notes on what I did.
I am currently switching from shooting film to shooting digital. One bit of advice I got, from Mr. Garbutt believe, was to continue using slates. In shooting film, you need to slate all your shots so you can link the image and audio later. In the digital world, you record both on the same medium, so you don’t need slates to synchronize the two. But, when it comes to post production, slates to identifying each shot will make the work much easier.