Month: August 2013

Syria – Calm Heads need to Prevail


The Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) was solved by a trade off which was kept secret. Similar calm heads are required regarding the outcome in Syria.

The problem now for all politicians is the 24/7 media world, bloggers, Facebook and Twitter. Too many people, broadcasters and journalists report the simplest of comments and professional Tv and Radio journalists strike down any politician who has the courage and conviction to change their minds.

Politicians are now expected never to change their mind on any given problem. No one else in any society lives their lives under the same constraints.

People change their minds every day. A politician changes their mind and it is reported as a revolt, climb down, a sign of weakness.

I recall Denis Healey, when he was Secretary for Defence, making a statement in the House of Commons over the question of nuclear arms. He was shouted down by opposition MPs.

Afterwards he remarked that he thought the idea of having a parliament is that you listen to a reasoned argument and change your mind if you hear a better proposition.

The Cuban Missile Crisis was solved by a trade off which was kept secret. In order for the Russians to withdraw their missiles from Cuban bases the Americans agreed to remove their missiles from Turkey but asked the Russians not to make it public.

It appeared that the Americans had stayed strong and forced a climb down by the Russians. In the end diplomacy had worked, not the warmongers who wanted to have a crack at the Russians in a war that would have destroyed much of the USA and just about the whole of Europe.

It is to be hoped that diplomacy will solve the situation in Syria.

So far, most of the interviews I have heard on radio are driven by presenters hoping they will get a ‘declaration of war’ live on air.


Let it Be – The Beatles – DVD

Time for Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr to rattle a few feathers down at Apple and get the film, ‘Let it Be’ released on DVD in the UK.


One of the definitive music documentaries of that past and still a major contender for one of the best music documentaries ever made is The Beatles, ‘Let it Be’ directed by Michael Lindsay Hogg, edited by Tony Lenny and Graham Gilding, cinematographer Tony Richmond.

For those who have never seen the film, the reason it has the tag ‘one of the best music documentaries ever made’ is because it shows the amount of hard work which is required to create an album.

It is an honest film; a warts and all approach which would not be allowed by many music artists now.

It was filmed at Twickenham Studios and in Apple’s offices. The final scene to the film is a live concert on the roof at 3 Savile Row, London.

Yet fifty three years later it is still unavavilabe as a DVD in the UK. Why? It has been released in the USA on DVD, why not the UK? I seem to remember the Beatles were a British band. They started in England and Hamburg, made their first serious amounts of earnings in England.

The rights to the film are held by Apple, a British company. Why then no release? Are they waiting for the last of the Beatle fans to die off? Is the final cut negative and sound mix of the film lying on a shelf in Apple’s London office?

Can’t show a clip as most of the examples which were on You Tube have been taken down by…Apple.



Shooting drama ~ overlapping action


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Shooting drama ~ overlapping action

Nothing makes the blood pressure of a film editor fly      off the scale more than directors who do not ‘overlap’ the action. It is essential for any film maker who wants to  make their film appear seamless.

Americans in England -extract -screen test

This extract is taken from a script ‘Americans in England’.  In this scene Mary arrives for a meeting to confront Tony about information he may have regarding what happened to her father.

Here is the first shot for the sequence


Here is a reverse angle of the car approaching


Those two shots are all we need to set up the scene. Notice how on the first shot we let Mary stop the car, open the door and then walk to Tony before we ‘cut’.

On the second shot we repeat the whole action of Mary driving into the yard. Again we let her get out of the car and walk to Tony and start the dialogue.This is called ‘overlapping the action’.

If we had cut the camera with Mary not getting out of the car it would have made for a very static edit. As you will see in the edit below it allowed us to have a smooth cut on her move as she gets out of the vehicle. In the videos below you can see two ways of cutting the same shots.

1 – the ‘action cut’ is when Mary steps out of the car


2 – the action cut is on the moving car


Both edits work. It is down to personal choice as to which you prefer.

Which cut you use would depend on what happened in the previous scene, whether you are cutting off a moving shot, close/wide shot or a tracking shot.


Credits: Mary – Billie Bacall Tony – Glen Conroy Director of Photography – Paul Bernard


Shoot and Edit Your Home Movies like a Pro (eBook with video examples + storyboards)