Finer points of V.O. vs. O.S.

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  • #16
    Re: Finer points of V.O. vs. O.S.

    Originally posted by Deus Ex Machine
    In the golden age, (O.S.) was used to indicate dialogue that would be captured "live" on the set during the filming of a scene. (V.O.) was used to indicate dialogue that was to be captured in a recording studio and added as an additional track in the mixing process.
    Good thinking. Always go back to the original source to understand the what and the why of screenwriting conventions in use today. (e.g., M.O.S. = "mit out sound". Danke schőn, Herr Stroheim!)

    This historical explication of O.S. vs. V.O. clarifies the point that you made earlier about determining if the dialogue is "organic" to a scene. Organic means more than just whether or not the dialogue could be heard naturally by the characters. It's also a question as to whether the dialogue is "in" the scene (organic = a part of) or instead is superimposed upon it.

    I am using V.O. here essentially to overlap two scenes: the visuals are an EXT. establishing shot while the dialogue is from an INT. scene that isn't shown. (We see the occupants once they get out of the car and continue their conversation, at which point the two scenes merge.) I think this is the very point that one of Stephanie's authors is making:

    Originally posted by Steph76
    Quoting Straczynski: The designation (vo) means voice-over, meaning that we hear the character talking over an established shot, say a hotel or resteraunt or an office building, then cut inside to find the actor in action. The voice-over thus functions partly as a transitional device to smooth over a change in location.
    I'll have to look into the Straczynski, to see if it is worth buying. Most of the screenwriting "how-to" books I have looked at are sketchy on the specifics or maddeningly inconsistent in their explanations. Such is the sorry state of publishing today. Very few books get properly edited.

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    • #17
      Re: Finer points of V.O. vs. O.S.

      EXT. CITY STREET - DAY

      Gridlock. Doug's puke-green rental surrounded by a sea of yellow cabs.

      DOUG'S VOICE
      We might as well unpack here.

      WENDY'S VOICE
      I love it when you talk dirty.

      DOUG'S VOICE
      You do?

      INT. DOUG'S RENTAL - DAY

      The windows are fogged. Doug and Wendy go at it in the back seat, hot and heavy. Wendy's a hearty girl, two tons of fun. She's got Doug's head in her lap. There's a RAP on the glass. Doug comes up for air.

      DOUG
      Must be room service.

      WENDY
      God, what i'd give for a shrimp cocktail and a porterhouse steak.

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