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Showing Dailies in a Digital Video Production

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/7/2011

Showing the dailies can be an important part of any film's production. Digital video films are the same, but have some advantages and challenges all their own.

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    Dailies

    When working on a larger digital video narrative project, mainly a feature, it is important to provide transparency and allow other people to see how the film is turning out. This is a technique that has been used since the earliest days of studio films, but is a little more unique for you. This process is called showing the cast and crew “dailies,” and has strengths and weaknesses when working with digital video.

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    Showing Progress

    Dailies are named as such because you show them at the end of each day. This means essentially that you show them what was filmed that day. These are not full edited scenes or sequences, but essentially raw footage from takes and angles. The idea here is to see what type of footage you are getting, how the different technical and creative elements are working together, and how the cast is appearing on screen. This is essentially shown to above the line crewmembers, above the credit actors, and studio heads or financiers that demand to be in there. Many directors reserve the right to show almost no one the dailies so that they do not have to hear outside input, but this can be a dangerous road because film is supposed to be a collaborative medium.

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    Advantages

    Most independent filmmakers will tell you to stay away from dailies all together. It is extra money and time that you will have to run the production, including processing and projecting the footage. Since you are shooting on digital video it really should not be a problem to show people the footage. As you are filming the tapes should be quickly given to an assistant editor to log and capture on the video editing systems. This means that shortly after the end of a production day most of the tapes should be digitized. From here you can give people the option of coming into one of the edit bays and watching the footage from a monitor. It will not be as good as going into a theater, but they can still get an idea of what the footage looks like. If you really want to project it you are going to need a digital projector, but probably not anything else. Just go to a dark area and project the footage onto a white wall for people to see. You can just take the capture scratch footage and use video playback software to play it for people. If you are paying people on your production then this is quite a bit of extra time spent. Make sure to let them know that viewing the dailies is optional and they will not be paid for that time. One of the greatest things about digital video is that you do not have to go through expensive film processing, which makes the process of showing dailies almost free.

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    Disadvantages and Things to Consider

    Since you are shooting on digital video there are going to be some problems with the dailies. First off, the quality of the footage unaltered in post-production is much less than film. This means that the raw footage is not going to look near as good as it will once the film is put together. In editing you will apply filters and color correction to make the visuals have a more filmic quality. Digital video goes at a faster frame rate than film does so the clarity is different and for many not as aesthetically appealing. Make sure people are aware of the changes that will be made and that they are also knowledgeable about film craft so they will be able to see past the rough spots.

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    Advice

    Be selective about who you show dailies to, and make sure that they are people that will be supportive and able to give you only positive advice. There is nothing worse then having people tear you down entirely or give you no feedback what so ever.