The filmmaker in that editing room has just discovered the real limits of DV technology. He's fallen into the eyeball gap
The eyeball gap is what you get when you subtract the amount of time the filmmaker has spent looking at equipment—including equipment books, magazines, websites, and forums—from the amount of time the filmmaker has spent looking at the actors. Normally the result is a large negative number. And that's the problem. Equipment can be a dead-end trap. I've fallen into it. A lot of people have fallen into it. Much progress can be made toward avoiding it by setting your priorities according to three simple rules:
- No increase in pixel resolution can reveal to an audience a portrait of reality that isn't present in the story.
- No standard of professional lighting can force an audience to feel fear, or love, or joy, that isn't on the actors' faces.
- No addition of 'filmlook' attributes can elicit a level of artistic respect that isn't already demanded by the plain video final cut.
The more polished your production, the emptier and more soulless your film will feel if the fundamentals of story, character, and sequence are weak; therefore, not only is an obsession with technical achievement not much of a positive for an independent movie—it can be a real negative.
All you really need is whatever it takes to consistently achieve a point of clarity between the performance and the viewer. Clear, consistent picture. Clear, consistent sound. When home video technology reached that point, with Hi-8 and then DV, it was ready. Everything else is purely optional, and whatever visual beauty you can improvise on the set is a plus, but not at the expense of your focus on performance, and performance, and performance. It's the rarest quality out there on tape, because it's the one thing you can't buy off a shelf and apply mechanically or electronically. And if it's not what you're thinking about most of the time, don't be too surprised when you don't get it.