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Film Editing, Movie Editing and Video Editing


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FILM EDITING, MOVIE EDITING, VIDEO EDITING - Editing is a true art form. The editor strives to impart visual variety to the picture by skillful shot selection, arrangement and timing. He recreates rather than reproduces the photographic event to achieve a cumulative effort often greater than all the actions in individual scenes put together.Below are some of the basic ideas underlying techniques. More information can be found on this page about FILM EDITING COMBINATIONS

TWO BASIC METHODS TO EDIT A FILM


Continuity Cutting
-- Storytelling is dependent upon matching consecutive scenes
-- Consists of matched cuts in which continuous action flows from one shot to another and cuts away in which the action shown is not a portion of the previous shot

Complication Cutting
-- Storytelling is dependent on the narration and the scenes merely illustrates what is being described
-- Soundtrack holds the narrative together so things actually make sense

Many editors prefer to make their cuts on movements so that the actual switch from one shot to another is masked by the action

A motion picture is a custom-made jigsaw puzzle in which filmmakers fashion the individual pieces. Each piece requires special attention so that it will merge harmoniously with pieces surrounding it.

EACH SHOT SHOULD MAKE A POINT

Make them laugh or make them cry, but make them care

PUT YOURSELF IN THE PLACE OF THE AUDIENCE
1) What is the audience going to be thinking at any particular moment?
2) Where are they going to be looking?
3) What do you want to them to think about?
4) What do you want them to feel?

Any fisherman can tell you that it's the quality of the bait that determines the kind of fish you catch. You can only end up with a great film if you bring quality footage into the editing suite.

Editors chop the film into pieces and create a heart and soul.

THE AUDIENCE ACCEPTS CUTS BECAUSE THEY RESEMBLES THE WAY IMAGES ARE JUXTAPOSED IN OUR DREAMS

CUT WHENEVER YOU BLINK -- OBSERVE YOUR OWN PATTERN AND USE IT TO MODEL YOUR CUTTING

What is causes people to blink?

Start a conversation with somebody and watch when they blink. . .

The listener will blink at the precise moment when they get the idea of what you are saying. Blinking interrupts the apparent visual continuity of our perception
THAT'S HOW YOU CUT YOUR FILM

The rate of people blinking is geared to their emotional state. The more excited you are, the more you blink. Notice the number of cuts in an action film as opposed to a comedy or romance, and you'll see what we mean!

One of the tasks of a film editor is to become sensitized to the rhythms that the actor gives you

NOTICE WHEN AND WHERE THE ACTORS BLINK - IT WILL GIVE YOU CLUES TO THE FLOW OF THE SCENE AND HELP YOU DECIDE WHERE TO CUT

THREE STEPS TO APPROACHING CUTTING WHEN FILM EDITING
1) Identify a series of potential cut points
2) Determining what effect each cut point will have on the audience
3) Choosing which of these effects is the correct one for the film

The job of the film editor is to anticipate and to control the thought process of the audience, to give the audience what they want before they ask for it.

DIGITAL ADVANTAGE
We've moved into the age of digital film editing, where you can finish a film as fast as you can move a mouse. The advantages are:
a) Increased speed
b) Reduced cost
c) Fewer people in the editing room
d) Easier access to the material
e) Director can easily review all of the material
f) More civilized working environment
g) Special effects

An editor is not cutting a film, they're joining a film

With the material you receive from the director, the editor also receives the potential to make a lot of movies. Your first task is to choose what movie you are making

ALWAYS TRY TO DO THE MOST WITH THE LEAST

The audience will only remember how they felt more than what they saw. They will remember what they saw if they felt strongly in that moment.

AN IDEAL CUT IS THE ONE THAT SATIFIES THESE SIX CRITERIA AT ONCE
1) It is true to the emotion of the moment
2) It advances the story
3) It occurs at a moment that is rhythmatically connected to the flow of the film
4) It is connected to the eye-trace, the location and movement of the audience focus
5) It connects to the stage line, two dimensional plane of screen
6) It respects the three-dimensional continuity

EMOTION when making a cut is what you should try to preserve at all costs

If you have to sacrifice anything - rhythm, continuity, for EMOTION - DO IT!. Of the three, EMOTION AND STORY ARE MOST IMPORTANT. The audience will forgive - or not even notice - continuity and rhythmic inconsistencies as long as they are engaged by the story.

Watch Goodfellas for a film riddled with continuity errors -- but who cares? You remain engaged by the story, and the errors don't even register.

Never accept less when more is available to you

Give up something, but don't ever give up EMOTION.

Put yourself in the place of the audience:
- What is the audience going to be thinking at any particular moment?
- Where are they going to be looking?
- What do you want them to think about?
- What do you want them to feel?

THE FILM EDITOR ALWAYS NEEDS TO COME IN WITH A FRESH LOOK

the picture for what it is - not how it got there. A director may see what he intended to shoot, but it's the editor's job to see what's actually on the film.

THE DIRECTOR IS THE DREAMER AND THE FILM EDITOR IS THE LISTENER. THEN IT FLIPS

THE FILM EDITOR NEEDS TO REMAIN FRESH FOR EACH SEQUENCE

Most times if there is a problem, it's not in the scene itself but probably the scene that happened five minutes before.

The perfect film strikes you as though it were unwinding behind your eyes and your eyes were projecting it themselves so that you were seeing what you wished to see. Film is like thought. It's the closest to the thought process of any art form.


Walter Murch, Film Editor
(Apocalypse Now, The English Patient, Cold Mountain)

"When I assemble a scene for the first time, I do it silently. Even a dialogue scene, I'll cut without listening to the sound because it tunes me more closely into the body language and the little tiny things that an actor does. If you're listening to what they're saying, you're a little blind to them. I feel I'm a hunter and I need my night vision goggles in a scene, so I edit silently."

"An editor is a performer and the editor comes up with a version of a scene, just like an actor comes up with an interpretation of a character. And the director that is presented with that as a fact either accepts it, rejects it or says 'That's very good but what if we modified it in this direction?' The difference, of course, is that the director and editor are in the same room for months and months and months on end with the same material. So you really have to be almost part of the same organism. You have to get along on a human level."

"I take my cues from the director, from the script, from what the actors are doing and the rhythms they're doing it in. I try to find the one or two key actors who are setting the tone for the film. I find the rhythm that they're doing things in and use that to influence my own rhythms. Once you begin to really feel these rhythms, you can extend them into areas that may have few or no actors in them. For example, say you have a shot of a landscape, how long should that be? It depends on what the rhythms of the film have been up until then."



Read more about Film Editing in our section on FILM EDITING COMBINATIONS



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