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Angel Short Film - Behind The Scenes #3: Editing The Preview

Throughout the making of my film about Angel and the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, I will be posting Behind The Scenes videos to provide a more in-depth look at my production process. The third installment looks at how I edited the content in the preview that was released last week, and some of the effects I added to each clip that you see (NOTE: I added a different background track than the actual music in the film due to lagging issues while I was capturing my screen). At the very end, you will also get a very quick hint on the next segment of the film! If you missed last week's installment on my process of sorting through footage, click here!

A behind the scenes look at how I edited the preview for my upcoming short film about Angel and the Taiji dolphin slaughter. Audio is not the music used in the film, had to replace audio due to lagging while capturing my screen to record the behind the scenes content. WARNING: Some content may be graphic or triggering to some viewers (Taiji dolphin capture footage present).

Below, I provide a brief overview of how each clip seen in the preview was edited and why those changes were made.

In the first clip, you will notice that there are two diamonds in the "Effect Controls" panel in the top left of the screen and a blue clock icon next to the text that says "Position." This indicates that there are keyframes that enable my editing software to adjust the clip's position on screen over time. A keyframe is basically a "marker" at a certain point in time for parameters of a video clip such as position, scale, and opacity. You can also keyframe animations, effects, text, and other things that may change in a clip over time.

In the case of this first clip, I wanted to edit the position so that the "camera" panned away from her towards the bottom of the tank. Since I'm not able to record footage of Angel myself, this is very handy to try and makeshift the shots I want.

In this screenshot of the first clip in the preview, you can see the keyframes (marked by diamonds towards the top center of the screen in the "Effect Controls" panel) for position.

Each diamond you see is a different keyframe. You'll notice that the parameters for position (the blue numbers) are also different for each keyframe. If you watch carefully, you'll observe that those numbers are changing over time between each of those diamonds. So think of the first diamond as the "start point" of my pan-down effect, the space between both as the transition where the camera is moving further down the screen, and the second diamond as the "end point."

I keyframed the position and held it at this end point because I wanted to overlay footage of the dolphin captures in Taiji with this clip of Angel's tank. Doing this instead of just cutting to the capture footage gives a better feel like this is a memory in Angel's mind. I added opacity keyframes as well to the capture clips to make them mesh smoothly together and continue to develop that "feel" I'm looking for. You can compare how the film looks with the overlay and opacity keyframes and how it would look without them in the images below.

Comparison of a capture clip at the same time with and without overlay effects. The first image shows what the clip would look like without opacity effects. The second image shows the clip overlayed with the first clip of Angel.

In the third clip, there is another set of position keyframes. I added these because the original clip of Angel you see here was in a completely different aspect ratio (think of what a video would be if you recorded it with your phone straight up instead of tilted on the side). This meant that I had to zoom in on the clip a lot to fit it on screen without any black bars - this is why the scale of the clip is set at 319%. So, I added this keyframe to have the "camera" pan down towards Angel at the bottom of her tank so she stayed in the frame.

The fourth clip in the preview has position keyframes as well, for much the same purpose as the first clip (overlaying capture footage to convey the feel of a memory). This is the last clip where keyframes were added in.

You'll notice in the video timeline (bottom portion of the screen) that there are yellow rectangles at the start and/or beginning of a lot of the clips. These are transitions, to make cuts between clips smoother or to add a certain feel to them as they change. The most common one that I used in the preview is called "cross dissolve." Think of it kind of like fading one clip out and another one in simultaneously. It also acts as a fade in/fade out transition if it's only applied to one clip (and not connected to the end of one and the start of another like you would normally with transitions). In the preview, I actually use it most as a fade in/fade out transition. The reason for this is I like the smoothness of it compared to the actual fade transitions I have.

This screenshot of the film's video timeline shows where I added transitions. They are denoted by yellow rectangles at the start and/or end of a clip. The colors of the clips act as labels for its source and/or type (so I can easily track where I'm pulling things from).

Now that the preview is edited, it's on to editing the next parts of the film, finishing the script, and finding a voiceover actress to record the lines! At this point, I have around two and a half minutes of the rough draft film edited. When the rough draft is complete, the process of polishing everything, changing out clips if there's a better fit, and adding effects will begin! At that point, I will likely be adding voiceover lines to the film as well.

For the time being, there will be no more behind the scenes updates until the film is released. If I posted those now, a lot of the film would be shown and give it less of an emotional impact when it is released (since you'd all know what's coming). However, once the film is released, there will be a lot of behind the scenes content of editing the film, adding effects, and more.

Thank you all for reading and for supporting me as I continue to work on the film!


Music: Epidemic Sound

Footage: The Cove - Oceanic Preservation Society

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All content has been used either with permission or with a purchased license/subscription and the rights remain entirely with the owner of the content used. You may not use any of this content for your own production without express permission or licensing from its owner.

This free behind the scenes video is for the purpose of providing an inside look to the making of the Angel Short Film, and is not necessarily reflective of the content in the final released product.



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