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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    Screenwriting Class  ›  V.O., O.S., or something else? Moderators: George Willson
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  Author    V.O., O.S., or something else?  (currently 1151 views)
FrankM
Posted: July 9th, 2019, 6:54am Report to Moderator
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Hello, collective wisdom of SS, I have a riddle for you...

How does one format the dialogue for a scene when we're watching a car from the outside but hearing the conversation going on within?

In this scene it's important to see where the car is and where it's going, but also to hear what's being said. Basically, the camera and the mic are in different locations.

At a guess, I'd say it's V.O., but I'm not certain because the characters are physically in the scene hidden from view which usually screams O.S.


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Matthew Taylor
Posted: July 9th, 2019, 8:24am Report to Moderator
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Personally, I would use O.S since the characters are in the scene, you just can't see them - I have no reference for this choice, it's just what I would use.


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LC
Posted: July 9th, 2019, 9:01am Report to Moderator
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I'd say O.S. too.

I was looking up V.O. and O.S. previous posts in SS Screenwriting Class. It may or may not add another POV.

https://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-screenwrite/m-1146405859/s-0/

If I find anymore I'll add but with your scenario I'd say O.S. and would need to be convinced otherwise.

I'll add a couple more links which really just emphasise and back up the fact that it should be O.S.

These are links to V.O. use and how there's a clear distinction with it as opposed to using O.S.

http://www.scriptsecrets.net/tips/Tip260.htm
https://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?m-1162344572/

Resurrecting old stuff but it's relevant as these debates and discussions are timeless.



Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
LC  -  July 9th, 2019, 9:14am
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Angry Bear
Posted: July 9th, 2019, 9:06am Report to Moderator
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IMHO, I always think like an editor when I encounter a situation like this. Not that I am one, but I have done some in the past.

To me. it's O.S if the dialogue was recorded at the time the video was shot. Even if you can't really see the characters in detail. I think of V.O as dialogue recorded separately and added on later as narration.

EXT: HIGHWAY - DAY

The SUV zips down the road. Speed limit ignored.

             BOB (O.S)
You know how to get there?

             TOM (O.S)
No, but my phone does.


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FrankM
Posted: July 9th, 2019, 9:18am Report to Moderator
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Thanks, everyone.

The audio here would almost certainly be recorded separately (there's no need to sync with the lips, so why complicate the shot), but it is "supposed" to be happening right there in real time.


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ReneC
Posted: July 9th, 2019, 9:31am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from FrankM
Thanks, everyone.

The audio here would almost certainly be recorded separately (there's no need to sync with the lips, so why complicate the shot), but it is "supposed" to be happening right there in real time.


Yes, O.S. for anything in the same location but not on camera. And yes, anything recorded in the car would be done with ADR.

Widows has a long (continuous) scene with two people talking in a car and we can't see them. We see them enter and exit, but for like five or seven minutes all we see is the windshield reflections as the car drives.


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LC
Posted: July 9th, 2019, 9:34am Report to Moderator
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You know what Frank, a quick search shows pages and pages on these boards alone re O.S. and V.O. And outside links within those pages are plentiful too, such as this goodie:

http://screenreads.com/formatting/character_headings/vo_and_os.html

Warren had a question here re O.S. & V.O. not too long ago.
https://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?m-1526541720/s-12/highlight-O.S./#num12

I think your example/query is pretty straight forward compared to the debate that can rage on with some other threads.  

Seems a general consensus with O.S.


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Angry Bear
Posted: July 9th, 2019, 9:43am Report to Moderator
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I meant that it is recorded to be happening at the same time. In other words with car and road noise and such even if recorded adr. . V.O is narration type that is added over the scene. Sorry if I wasn't clear......


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Angry Bear
Posted: July 9th, 2019, 9:46am Report to Moderator
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Main thing is to write so the reader can easily understand. I doubt there is any reader or director or whatever that don't understand that in my sample, the dialogue is taking place inside the car!  


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FrankM
Posted: July 9th, 2019, 9:51am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from LC
You know what Frank, a quick search shows pages and pages on these boards alone re O.S. and V.O. And outside links within those pages are plentiful too, such as this goodie:

http://screenreads.com/formatting/character_headings/vo_and_os.html

Warren had a question here re O.S. & V.O. not too long ago.
https://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?m-1526541720/s-12/highlight-O.S./#num12


I did see that thread, but didn't think this question would really add to it. I suppose I could have found a closer match eventually.


Quoted from LC
I think your example/query is pretty straight forward compared to the debate that can rage on with some other threads.  

Seems a general consensus with O.S.


NARRATOR (V.O.)
And they're in the car, and Bob is all like,
"You know how to get there?" and Tom is
all cool and says, "No, but my phone
does."


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eldave1
Posted: July 9th, 2019, 10:54am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from FrankM
Hello, collective wisdom of SS, I have a riddle for you...

How does one format the dialogue for a scene when we're watching a car from the outside but hearing the conversation going on within?

In this scene it's important to see where the car is and where it's going, but also to hear what's being said. Basically, the camera and the mic are in different locations.

At a guess, I'd say it's V.O., but I'm not certain because the characters are physically in the scene hidden from view which usually screams O.S.


It's OS.

Basically, when the audience doesn't see a character in the scene who is speaking the dialogue.

In your example, these are characters talking (as opposed to narration let's say). They are just not seen - like a character in a different room. It's definitely OS

VO is used when the characters are not physically in the scene OR the line is not actually spoken - i.t., it's an inner thought of the character in the scene.  

For example - the voice on the other end of a phone call would be VO. A reporter's voice from the radio would be VO, etc. since they are not physically in the scene.

Narration is always VO (think Gump or ShawShank)

Inner thoughts are always V.O. - i.e., a character's inner-monologue.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Angry Bear
Posted: July 9th, 2019, 11:21am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from eldave1

For example - the voice on the other end of a phone call would be VO. A reporter's voice from the radio would be VO, etc. since they are not physically in the scene.


Like I said, main thing is to make it easy for a reader or director to understand what the writer means. In your example here, I write --

        TOM
You haven't left yet?

        BOB
   (on phone)
I'm taking a dump, okay.

-- and --


        REPORTER
        (on radio)
The water treatment plant in
Jonesville is reporting a massive
blockage in one of their main
sewage lines.




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eldave1
Posted: July 9th, 2019, 12:08pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Angry Bear


Like I said, main thing is to make it easy for a reader or director to understand what the writer means. In your example here, I write --

        TOM
You haven't left yet?

        BOB
   (on phone)
I'm taking a dump, okay.

-- and --


        REPORTER
        (on radio)
The water treatment plant in
Jonesville is reporting a massive
blockage in one of their main
sewage lines.




Like it


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Lon
Posted: July 9th, 2019, 5:12pm Report to Moderator
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OS = Off-Screen.  The character is a participant in the scene, and is physically present, but is not visible.  They're on the other side of the door, or under the floorboards, or standing off to the side just out of view of the camera, etc.

When we hear the character's voice but the character him/herself is in another physical location, that's when you get into the things Angry Bear pointed out -- stuff like (on the phone) or  (over the speaker) or (on the radio).

VO = Voice Over.  This is basically narration, usually the main character's voice, and is typically used to relay information or subtext not otherwise delivered in the scene itself.  Think Travis Bickel's VOs in Taxi Driver, or Lester Burnham's in American Beauty.  Be smart with VO; don't just use it for the character to describe what's happening in the scene.  That would be redundant.

As I stated, it's usually the main character's voice, but not always.  For instance, Samuel L. Jackson's VO in Inglourious Basterds.  SLJ only chimes in once during the entire film, tp deliver important regarding the flammability of a particular film stock at a vital moment in the story.  He has no character in the film, he's just an ambiguous, omnipresent narrator who speaks that one time and is never heard from again.

Incidentally, you don't really need to include (VO) beside NARRATOR, as VO is a given when using a Narrator.  But it's not a rule or anything, just a matter of preference.
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Dreamscale
Posted: July 10th, 2019, 5:26pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Lon
OS = Off-Screen.  The character is a participant in the scene, and is physically present, but is not visible.  They're on the other side of the door, or under the floorboards, or standing off to the side just out of view of the camera, etc.


Yes, exactly...BUT...

Lately, I've seen some SS writers use OS when a character is right there in the scene, but he is trying to direct the shot and have the camera on someone or something else, which is a big mistake, IMO.  It just leads to confusion.



To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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