Film editing/Understanding "L-Cuts"/When allowed

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Narrative Film Production:
Course: Fundamentals of narrative film editing (which is editing a conversation from a dramatic scene with scripted dialog.)
This lesson is:
Understanding "L-Cuts" in dialog editing
The pages of this lesson are:
Summary - "Hearing Voices" & "Fireworks Display"
What are "L-Cuts"?
When are "L-Cuts" allowed?
"Hearing Voices" DVD-Video
"Fireworks Display" DVD-Video

Read my lips!
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When are 'L-Cuts" allowed?

"L-Cuts" are a trick
"L-Cuts" are a trick which can only be used in certain circumstances.
Not allowed
If you use a wide-angle two shot (two people standing side-by-side facing each other), you will see one person talking then you will see another person talking in the same shot. Back and forth.
In this case, you can never use "L-Cuts". That is because you see both their lips.
"Now for your close-up!"
But most people do not film a conversation with a wide angle lens. Therefore, you only see one person at a time.
Or to be more accurate, you only see one person's lips at a time.
That is when you can use "L-Cuts".
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Hidden lips

Shots which do not show the listeners lips
There are two kinds of shots which do not show the listener's lips.
  1. Close up shot
  2. Over-the-shoulder shot
"L-Cuts" allowed
If you use these kinds of shots, you can use "L-Cuts".
With "L-Cuts", you hear dialog from one clip while watching another clip. As long as you don't show that the two are out of sync, you have no problem.
That is if you use close up shots and over-the-shoulder shot, you can easily hide the fact that the audio is not in sync with the picture.
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When are 'L-Cuts" allowed?

Can you see the listeners lips?
The basic worry about "L-Cuts" is lip sync. You cannot use "L-Cuts" if you see both actor's lips.
The trick
The trick is to use a close up shot or an over-the-shoulder shot so the person off screen can be out of sync and no one will notice.

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Not always perfect

Readjust lip sync
Sometimes, you will loose lip sync when you use "L-Cuts". But often it is not that difficult to regain lip sync.
If you are lucky, all you have to do is make a very tiny adjustment to the audio edit to regain lip sync. In your editing program, you see both audio waveforms (the one that you are using and the one which actually came with the clip.) It really is not as difficult as it sounds. But you must look for this and fix it when you see it.
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The ultimate test

Very simple rule
Just watch the movie. If it looks ugly (out of sync), you cannot do it.
This is not rocket science. If there is a problem, you see it instantly.
This makes "L-Cuts" very easy.
If you follow the methods shown in these lessons, you will find "L-Cuts" to be extremely easy. We do it in a very natural way.
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Two examples

DVD-Video disks
The Star Movie Shop created two disks which demonstrate this. One is called "Hearing Voices" which shows a three way conversation. The other is called "Fireworks Display" which goes into much more technical details of a two way conversation. Even though the Star Movie Shop is no longer open to the public, your instructor can still loan you these extremely rare disks if you promise to return each disk in one month.
These disks are very easy to use. You just watch the demos and see the many options. Then, if you want, you have all the film dailies to try this yourself.
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The next page

The next page discusses the first disk about "L-Cuts".

Contact your instructor