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Producing an AV Sequence (Part 3)

Images to a single piece of music

The easiest type of sequence to produce is where a single piece of music is chosen and images are selected to interpret this. However, the relationship between the type of images and the music must be carefully considered. The mood of the music should be reflected in the content of the images. The music will play an important part in 'driving' the sequence, with the images being dissolved in time with the music without becoming too predictable. Long, slow dissolves and punchy, lively music, and vice versa, are not appropriate combinations. Any change in rhythm should be reflected in the dissolve rate and image change. If anything dramatic happens in the music then there must be a corresponding change on the screen. This type of sequence relies much more on the quality of the dissolves than those sequences with text.

Script writing

If text is used, the script may have been written before, at the same time as, or after the images have been taken. I prefer to write the script, or its broad outline first, then take the images to suit a storyboard. The storyboard may only be mental images stored in the mind or a set of rough notes or sketches of the type of images needed to complement the script.

Ideas for scripts may be culled from any source but I prefer to draw on personal experience and life-scripting, which determine attitude and values. In other words, I write about what I feel closest to and most strongly about.

A good script has a beginning, a middle and an end. Some refer to this as sonata form. It is essential to grab the attention of the audience immediately, to have a 'hook', then have a clear development of the idea with a satisfying end. You have only one chance to communicate your message to the audience, therefore it is important to write the script in short sentences which are easily assimilated. It is also important to allow the script to 'breathe', in other words, allow time for the audience to think about what is being said, rather than have continuous commentary throughout. The pauses will be determined by the complexity of the idea being conveyed. As a rough rule of thumb I would suggest that the script occupies no more than two-thirds of the total sequence time.

It is essential to write words which are intended to be "spoken" rather than "read". We don't always speak in sentences, we speak in conversational style, which is different from descriptive passages in a book.

I try not to describe what can be seen on the screen but add information which would otherwise not be apparent. In other words I don't "talk to the slides" but use parallel commentary.

When writing the script, I keep in mind the "aim at the top of the light box", and do not include anything which does not contribute directly to the aim. This gives me a more structured and coherent production and stops me going off at a tangent. (This also applies to sorting the images.)

After I've written the basic script, I leave it for a while, then come back to it and see if I can improve it. I make sure it flows, I eliminate any superfluous words and I try to make the prose more poetic. The art is to convey as much meaning as possible in as few words as possible. I try to make the script as short and tight as possible, always bearing in mind the aim at the top of the light box.

I try to convey moods, impressions and feelings rather than facts and figures. Therefore I prefer to write stories in the first person in order to achieve this.

Examples, which illustrate some of the points mentioned, are as follows:-

In terms of endings I have found that it is sometimes satisfying to come full circle, in other words end with a similar image to one I started with. For example, in Idwal Bach the sequence starts with a scene depicting the family home and its environment. The final image is a similar slide of the family home. The accompanying words, echoing the impact of events, are "Who will look after Mam now?"

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