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Dailies are raw film footage which is collected after a day of filming for viewing by the crew and sometimes the cast of a film or television show. They perform a number of important functions, and viewing them can be a festive occasion, especially after filming an intense or especially tricky scene. Typically, they're are not available to members of the general public, for a wide variety of reasons, not least of which is the sheer volume of footage involved.
Dailies are also sometimes called rush films or rushes, in a reference to the speed at which they are produced. To make them, film is developed, synced with the sound, and then quickly printed to film so that it can be viewed. Many modern film and television sets prefer dailies in digitized form, but film versions are still used, especially on big-budget pictures.
For the crew, the dailies offer a chance to check on the basic technical details of the filming, ensuring that scenes look right, and that film wasn't damaged or distorted. The director and members of the artistic team may check them to see if they like the way in which scenes are playing, and to see how things look on film, as opposed to in real life. If footage needs to be shot again, the set should still be fully assembled, thanks to the fact that it was just used, so dailies save money by eliminating costly returns to previous sets and locations.
Some actors also like to check the rushes to see how they are looking, especially when they play with new techniques and looks. It can be tricky to know how something will look on film until the scene is shot and printed, so actors in a sense fly blind on the set, making a periodic glance at the dailies important.
Because this footage is raw and unedited, they can look rough and choppy. For example, special effects have not been added yet, so a scene may look incomplete or very strange, and chunks may be missing if they were shot by a different film unit. They may also jump around chronologically, which can be confusing for people who are accustomed to looking at finished pieces.
Because producing dailies is expensive and watching them is time-consuming, a director typically indicates whether or not a scene should be kept after it is filmed. In this instance, after yelling “cut” to indicate that the cameras should stop rolling, the director will add “print,” indicating that he or she wants to see the footage in the dailies.
Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly are 'dailies' in the context of film and television production?
Dailies, also known as rushes or daily footage, refer to the raw, unedited footage shot during a day of production on a film or television set. This footage is typically reviewed by the director, producers, and other key personnel at the end of each shooting day to assess performance, continuity, and technical aspects like lighting and focus. Dailies are crucial for ensuring that the production is on the right track and that any necessary adjustments can be made promptly.
Why are dailies important for directors and film editors?
Dailies serve as an essential tool for directors and film editors to gauge the progress of their project. They provide an early glimpse of the actors' performances, the effectiveness of the day's shoot, and whether the visual storytelling aligns with the director's vision. For editors, dailies are the building blocks of the final product, allowing them to start assembling scenes and identifying the best takes. This early review can also highlight any issues that need to be addressed, such as technical glitches or continuity errors.
How do dailies contribute to the post-production process?
In post-production, dailies are the first pieces of footage that editors work with. They begin the meticulous process of selecting the best takes and constructing the narrative flow of the film or show. Dailies also allow for the early detection of any problems with the footage that may require reshoots or additional sound and visual effects work. This initial footage helps to establish the pace of the editing process and sets the stage for the final cut.
Can dailies be accessed by anyone on the production team?
Traditionally, dailies were viewed in a controlled environment by a select group of production team members, including the director, producers, cinematographer, and editor. However, with advancements in digital technology, dailies can now be more easily shared and accessed by various departments via secure digital platforms. This accessibility allows for a more collaborative approach to reviewing and making decisions about the footage, although discretion is still practiced to protect the integrity of the material.
Have technological advancements changed the way dailies are handled?
Yes, technological advancements have significantly changed the handling of dailies. With the advent of digital cinematography, dailies can be processed, viewed, and distributed much faster than in the era of film. Digital dailies can be uploaded to secure cloud-based platforms, allowing for immediate review by authorized personnel across different locations. This has streamlined the feedback process and enabled real-time collaboration, making it easier to keep up with the fast-paced nature of film and television production.