PreProduction: Return To The Silent Era

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Return to the Silent Era

The original movies had no verbal audio, mood was set by the use of music; despite this with out them movies wouldn’t be what they are today. These movies were called Silent Movies, and usually required a talented actor/actress who was good at getting his/her point across; most notable silent movie actor being Charlie Chaplin.

For the assignment Return to the Silent Era, I am required to take a well known movie and create a 3-5 minute trailer rendered to the form of a silent movie. In which I’m required to include the aspects of a silent movie, such as, the black and white look, music or sounds in place of the audio, and subtitles over scenes where there would be verbal audio. A process which may seem complex, but in all actuality its fairly easy.

There are many ways one can go about editing videos, the best one I suggest and use my self has to be, Adobe Premiere Pro. Premiere Pro is a video editing program, it offers a wide variety of features most of which are required to help make the silent era movie.

The process I will be using uses scratches and effect layers to give a old feel, such as slowed jittery movements, jumpy scenes, and of course the black and white look. The first step is to give it a jittery look, movies that were out back in the day were not smooth as they are today; so it is required to change that for a more authentic look. This process can be done in Premiere by going to, Time – Video Effects – Posterize Time. With the effect of Posterize Time you can edit your frame rates, either slowing them down or speeding them up. In this situation I would cut the time by half; usually from 24 to 12.

Step two which I believe is the most important step is to make the video black and white. Now there is a reason why this is step two and not step one; the reason is if you use the black and white effect first when you use Posterize Effect it will cancel out the previous effect. So it is important it is step two instead of one. In order to get the black and white look in Premiere, you go to, Video Effects – Image Control – Black and White.

Being that older films were faster than the ones today, it is best to speed up the original clip. This can be done by accessing the Speed/Duration menu by right clicking on the video itself. From playing around with this option I found 120 speed was the perfect rate of speed. Along with this I like to edit the color of the grays for a more faded video look. This can be done by going to Brightness and Contrast under the Color Correction tab. Increasing both Brightness and Contrast give more of a rustic feel.

Finally by adding scratches, which give a aged film reel effect, it should give the completed look of a silent film. The only thing left is to add some music over the original track and you have a silent film.




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