Never Say Cut? Part 1

With project sizes growing, calling cut more often to shorten takes can have a more positive impact on the project.

Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to test out storage arrays of various speeds and sizes. Invariably, when I write about my experience, I include an obligatory sentence about the increasing size of the footage folder created from a shoot and, by way of ingesting, the size of edit projects. Over the next few posts, I’d like to present an editor’s perspective on the impact of increasing project sizes.

Project sizes are growing. It’s true that some of that can be attributed to the increasing resolution of cameras and their ability to output raw files. But there’s another reason for that—the director.

The director calls the shots—literally. Certainly, a director’s vision can have an impact on how much footage ends up on my desk. And I’m all in for as much coverage as I’ll need to tell the story. So, I’m not really talking about fewer shots.

What I’m talking about is cutting every once in a while. It used to happen in the past, but now? Not so much. When shooting film, calling “cut” was important since it saved on film and time.

Film camera loads are limited to about 11 minutes. Once the roll is getting down to the end, you either make sure the take will be short enough—so the film doesn’t run out mid-take—or you stop everything and wait for a camera reload. Reloading film isn’t as quick as swapping out a memory card.

With digital capture and the aforementioned larger and larger storage options, saying “cut” isn’t top of mind for some directors. So “takes” are getting longer and longer.

I get that directors have a lot on their plate. And I also get that many have learned their craft completely on digital—they never had to be concerned about cutting the roll. But not cutting can have an impact on their project.

Next time, how “never having to say cut” impacts the workflow.