“What to do when your audio times out less than your script called for”. A SugarFly Studios Video Production Blogpost April 2012
It’s awkward. It sounds awkward, it looks awkward, something is just wrong with it — but you don’t know what it is. Its the pause in the video. It’s supposed to be 30 seconds, you wrote it for 30 seconds, and for some reason – when delivered, your voiceover comes out less than 30 seconds – and that throws it all off. Sometimes you’re hanging on a thread – and a shot looks awkward – especially if it’s an “on-camera” shot. How do you fix it… what can you do? You want to save the piece – everything else in the video is great – but the one section… it’s just wrong.
My videographer and I ran into this issue this past week. It was a 30 second script. A doctor on camera saying a line as we closed to an end tag. The problem was, we changed a couple lines early in the script on site (not for the worse). Timing wise… it should have still worked out. But it didn’t. In the proof, it played awkward. With video, the simple fix is… separate the pause to another location in the video. We did not anticipate this on site – “the pause” – we didn’t read back the new script in full, timing it with a watch. Since the number of words were the same – meaning we took out five words/replaced with another five words – we simply did not read it back through completely and time it. By not doing this, we did not see or hear a newly created “pause” and where it would fall in the video playback.
And boy does it make you mad… should have seen it coming. And you learn. How do you correct this error? Over 11 years of writing and producing videos, I find that you need only revisit the structure and rhythm and flow of the script. Where can you extend a pause, hang on one emotion – sequence – series of shots, then bring the video back so that it’s tight through to the end. Earlier in the video we were highlighting the store’s interior, and merchandise shots. By extending these shots and incorporating with more merchandise closeups, we were able to effectively show more product, have the music bed carry these new shots, and accomplish the goal of fixing the video. Moving the pause to this new location, we were able to tighten the doctors shot so that he was right on cue coming out of a section about their technology, and made for a nice finish.
Changes in your script on site? Yes, it happens frequently. Even simple changes can have a dramatic effect. The Butterfly Effect – or named SugarFly Effect for this post. If you find yourself on site, script in hand, and you hear the words “we have a few changes in the script” – don’t panic. Never panic. It’s pointless. Deal with it. Sit down at a desk. Get out pen and paper – write it all over again, incorporating the new changes. Have your laptop with you? Type it out. Save it to a jump drive, transfer it to somebody’s computer on the network, print it out & trash the other one. Work with a fresh, new document. Time it out. Rework the scenes there, and you’ll save yourself a headache later. But… should you find yourself seeking the bottle of Bayer, know that you simply need to — separate the pause.
Find a new home for the pause – he’ll rest nicely in his new home, and you’ll sleep better too.