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A Message From Editors to Cameramen: DON’T COVER THE LENS!

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I recently spoke with a TV editor with multiple credits under his belt, and he had a small bone to pick with DPs and directors. Often times a director won’t call “CUT” but will ask the actors to start the scene from the beginning (they’ll say “back to one”), or they’ll re-adjust and have the actors deliver a line while the camera’s still rolling. DPs will often take this direction and cover the lense with their hand in order to signify to the editor that the scene is being reset. DON’T DO THIS! Editors hate this. If the camera is rolling, don’t interfere with the shot even though the actors might not be in full character. Editors will decide what footage goes into the cut, not the DP. You never know when the editor might need to use that footage even though it was not intentionally captured for the film. Sometimes actors will give a great candid performance that wasn’t intended by the director but finds its way into the final edit. Or sometimes, the camera may be capturing a great cut-away that can be used later in the film. No matter what, if the camera is rolling, don’t stop filming until the director says CUT. Let the editor decide what footage to use.

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