I am working on a short film at the moment and in one of the scenes a girl is vacuuming then turns the vacuum off and looks towards her living room, cuts to shot of room, then cuts back to her and now we see the vacuum behind her. Should I use sound to make it seem like she was moving the vacuum during the duration of the cutaway shot or ignore it? If so, is this regular thing to fix continuity mistakes using sound? Thanks in advance!
Hi Luke! Interesting sequence. How distracting is the vacuum magically moving? I’ll be honest, if its not so distracting, and you only see it because you’re the film maker, then maybe its not worth it?
If the cut back to her is the same shot, maybe it’d be distracting, but if its a slightly different shot, I think you’re ok getting away with it!
I’d say do whatever keeps the viewer focused where they need to be. Where is the story focus? What’s she looking at, and why is she looking? Adding in the sounds of her moving may just be an unneeded distraction all its own. Doing something to highlight the sounds of the character, or maybe something in a region away from the background vacuum in the later shot, will likely keep the viewer from noticing the discontinuity and serve the story better.
Of course, it’s always smart to ask the director what they would want done. 😉
I would use sound to indicate a sudden jump through time, thus possibly justifying the move of the vacuum cleaner. For example, as she looks at the room, you could fade in an abstract drone atmos, which ends in silence just as it cuts back to her. This could indicate that the audience/character has lost some time, during which the background has changed.
If this can be justified within the story I would try it, especially if the director is really unhappy with the continuity error.
Alternatively, you can use Foley and make it sound like she moves the vacuum cleaner whilst she’s looking in the other room, but that might come across as a bit forced.
I think Doug is correct about the off screen sound being distracting. If it’s not too wide of a shot you can scale up the “cuts back to her”. It might hide the vacuum and if you shot in 4K (lucky you) better yet. It may although create an undesirable feel. If it’s not too late in the game, re-shoot. I corrected a similar problem six months after the fact by shooting it over again. Fortunately we weren’t done filming so she still had the costume and maintained her hair style.