Marauders was recorded on a portable 1" tape machine that was made by Ampex and Nagra. It was called the VPR-5. It was built to be portable, but it was impractical in the field because it was too fragile. To edit, we struck VHS copies with time code displays off the masters and off-lined on two machines with a controller. We made the cuts and wrote the in and out time codes down. When we were ready to on-line - edit off our 1" tapes - our recorded time code decisions became the EDL (Edition Decision) list. We read these out to our on- line editor and he assembled the movie.
Digital video formats, such as Digibeta, Mini-DV and DVD-Pro, are reasonably straightforward to edit. Of course, you need a lot of hard drive space to digitize Digibeta because it is uncompressed. The professional HD formats are a different kettle of fish. A special HD monitor is required in the field and digitization is not so straightforward.
How did you come up with the idea for going without dialogue in Defenceless? Was there ever a point that you wished you could slip a line or two in there, to make things easier?
I liked the challenge of making a film with no dialog. Defenceless was conceived to be that film. Exposition is usually delivered with dialog, so we were hamstrung by our decision when exposition was required. I cheated by using magazine headlines and text messaging to communicate particular information. Mostly the experience was freeing. The strokes are broader when you are shooting without dialog; the audience has to work harder. At the same time, the film is more open to interpretation.
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