12 film elements - editing

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    film

    ELEMENTS

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    6. EDITINGEditing is the process of trimming and piecing together lengths of film in

    order to make an artistically concise and complete motion picture.

    This is certainly the most obvious technique of film language. The terms

    editing, cutting, and montage are often applied interchangeably to the

    process.

    In montage, the emphasis is on the juxtaposition of ideas resulting fromthis process. Cutting stresses the physical work with the actual strips of

    film. Editing encompasses both.

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    This is the original editing machinean upright Moviola, o r a

    flatbed machine. Film editing has since evolved from the processof a film editor physically cutting and taping together pieces of film,

    using a splicer and threading the film on this machine with a

    viewer.

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    Steenbeck filmeditingmachinerollers

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    Before the widespread use of non-linear editing systems, the initial

    editing of all films was done with a positive copy of the filmnegative called a film workprint. Today, most films are edited

    digitally and bypass the film positive workprint altogether. In the

    past, the use of a film positive (not the original negative) allowed

    the editor to do as much experimenting as he or she wished,

    without the risk of damaging the original.

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    A single shotwhich is the length of film exposed at one time,

    without interruption, by one cameramakes a visual and aural

    record of some segment of the physical world

    by effective editing, this record can be taken apart, restructured,

    and shaped into an imaginative world or a discourse about the

    world...

    HowEditing Works

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    The first editing stage is the Editors Cut. Sometimes referred to as

    the assembly edit or rough cut, it is normally the first pass of whatthe final film will be when it reaches picture lock. The film editor

    usually starts working while principal photography (shooting) starts.

    In the first stage of editing the film editor will usually work alone

    (save for his or her own team of assistant editors, associate or co-

    editors and/or visual effects and music editors). Likely, prior to

    cutting, the editor and director will have seen and/or discusseddailies (or the raw footage shot each day) as shooting progresses.

    Screening dailies gives the editor a ballpark idea of the directors

    intentions. Because it is the first pass, the editors cut might be

    somewhat longer than the final film. The editor continues to refine

    the cut while shooting continues, and often the entire editing

    process goes on for many months and sometimes more than ayear, depending on the film.

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    When shooting is finished, the director can then turn his or her full

    attention to collaborating with the editor and further refining the cutof the film. This is called the Directors Cut. This is the time that is

    set aside where the film editors first cut is molded to fit the

    directors vision, and before the studio and/or producers are

    generally allowed to have input. (In the U.S., under Directors Guild

    ofAmerica [DGA] rules, directors receive a minimum of ten weeks

    after completion of principal photography to prepare their first cut.)

    While collaborating on what is referred to as the directors cut, the

    director and the editor go over the entire movie with a fine tooth

    comb: scenes and shots are re-ordered, removed, shortened and

    otherwise tweaked. Often it is discovered that there are plot holes,

    missing shots or even missing segments which might require that

    new scenes be filmed. Because of this time working closely andcollaboratinga period that is normally far longer, and far more

    intimately involved, than the entire production and filmingmost

    directors and editors form a unique artistic bond.

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    Often after the director has had his or her chance to oversee a cut, the

    subsequent cuts are supervised by one or more producers, who represent

    the production company and/or the movie studio. At times, the final cut offilms produced by the major studios is the one that most closely

    represents what the studio wants from the film and not necessarily what

    the director wants. Because of this, there have been several conflicts in

    the past between the director and the studio, sometimes leading to the

    use of the Alan Smithee credit signifying disownership or the

    aforementioned directors cut re-issues in subsequent years after theoriginal theatrical releases. Some directors are also the producers of their

    films, and, with the approval of the funding studio, have a much tighter

    grip on what makes the final cut than other directors. The most well-

    known examples of director who lorded over all aspects of their films, with

    little studio intervention, and worked completely outside of the Hollywood

    system are Ingmar Bergman, Stanley Kubrick and Woody Allen. On the

    other hand, Orson Welles is an example of a director constantly dogged

    by studio supervision and many times had films taken away from him.

    Independent directors who work outside of the studio system are usually

    more free to have a final cut; thus independent films often take more risks

    and have more creative rewards than studio films.

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    StylesofFilmEditing

    ContinuityEditing

    This is the uninterrupted connection of the action from one shot to

    another to create a coherent visual story.

    Match cut is the technique used when the action is logically joinedwith other shots.

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    StylesofFilmEditing

    DiscontinuityEditing

    This is the distortion of the smooth flow of the action from one

    shot to another.

    Jump cut is the technique used when the cut breaks the continuity

    of time by jumping forward from one part of an action to another.

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    1.

    Fiction films contain on the average approximately 6 cuts, one

    every 10 seconds.

    .

    Editors strive to hide their work by cutting on action, so that the

    movement of a character's arm in one location flows into another

    such movement elsewhere, masking the change of shot.

    Things OneShouldKnowAboutEditing

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    3.

    More important is the principle by which an editor anticipates thespectators line of inquiry.

    By releasing information just as the spectator needs it, the editor

    constructs a natural drama whose seams are invisible.

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    4.

    Beyond rendering scenes in unobtrusive or striking ways, editingconnects scenes into sequences and larger units. It serves as a

    system of punctuation.

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    5.

    Editing permits highly dramatic effects that could never be staged in

    a single shot.

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    In Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), the title characters

    are seen cornered by lawmen on a high cliff overlooking a river, intowhich they make an almost suicidal leap to their escape.

    Actually, the scenes involving the two leading actors on the cliff and

    those of the dives were shot weeks apart, and they involved

    different crews and even different rivers, yet the audience readily

    accepts the illusion created by the editing.

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    6.

    Often a film editor is blamed for improper continuity. For example,cutting from a shot where the beer glass is empty to one where it is

    full. Continuity is, in fact, very nearly last on a film editors list of

    important things to maintain. Continuity is typically the business of

    the script supervisor and film director, who are together responsible

    for preserving continuity and preventing errors from take to take and

    shot to shot. Generally speaking, the editor utilizes the scriptsupervisors notes during post-production to log and keep track of

    the vast amounts of footage and takes that a director might shoot .

    However, to most editors what is more important than continuity is

    the editing of emotional and storytelling aspects of any given film

    something that is much more abstract and harder to judge

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    EditingTechnique:TheAccordionSequence

    (a) a drawing room conversation between two people is introduced in

    an establishing (long) shot of the setting and the actors.

    (b) The editor will cut to a full shot of the actors once they begin their

    dialogue, because their speech gives them prominence over the setting.To help viewers understand the nuances of the dialogue, the editor will

    move in for a medium shot, showing both characters from the waist up.

    (c) alternating close-ups of each character (generally from over-the-

    shoulder shots) to convey innuendos and reactions.

    (d) back out of the sequence in the reverse order, going from close-up

    to medium shot, to full shot, and finally to long shot

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    Cut is the instant change of one shot to another achieved by joining

    the last frame of a filmstrip to the first frame of another filmstrip . It

    may or may not signify the change of time and place.

    EditingTechnique:BasicCut

    A variation of cut is cut-away shot. It is a shot inserted into a scene to

    show a secondary event. This is also known as the insert shot.

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    EditingTechnique: Fadeinand Out

    The screen is left dark for a moment. This is the gradual change

    from a black screen or a dark screen until a shot appears (for fade

    in), and the reverse (forfade out).

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    EditingTechnique:DissolveorMix

    The picture dissolves, or mixes, to a new scene, with one image

    showing on top of the other for a moment.

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    EditingTechnique: Wipe

    A line moves across the screen that wipes out the preceding

    image while introducing the next.

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    EditingTechnique:Iris

    There is a gradual reduction of the old image from the edges to a

    pinpoint size and then the expansion of the new one in the reverse

    way.

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    EditingTechnique:Turnover

    The entire screen seems to turn over, with the new image seeming

    to appear on what was the reverse side.

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    EditingTechnique: Freeze Frame

    The change from a moving action to a steady shot achieved byphotographing the last frame of the moving action several times on

    a filmstrip.

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    EditingTechnique:Superimposition

    This is the simultaneous overlapping of two different visual imageson the same filmstrip. It heightens related visual images.

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    EditingTechnique:MultipleImages

    This is the showing of several visual images on different parts of aframe at the same time. This is also called the split screen.

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    Max Ophls connected the separate episodes of La Ronde

    (1950) by means of the musical leitmotiv of a hurdy-gurdy tune.

    OtherCreativeEditingTechniques

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    In Vivre sa vie (196 ), Jean-Luc Godard, one of the outstandingFrench New Wave directors of the late 1950s, introduced chapter

    headings marking the heroines step-by-step involvement in

    prostitution and, ultimately, her murder, as if it were a didactic

    19th-century novel.

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    Alfred Hitchcock, probably the greatest director of suspense films,

    in his British film The Thirty-nine Steps (1935) cut from a woman's

    scream to the similar sound of a train whistle, an effect so

    dramatic that it was frequently imitated thereafter.

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    Montage

    There are at least three senses of the term: In French film

    practice, montage has its literal French meaning and simply

    identifies a movies editor. In Soviet filmmaking of the 1920s,montage was a method of juxtaposing shots to derive new

    meaning that did not exist in either shot alone. In classical

    Hollywood cinema, a montage sequence is a short segment in a

    film in which narrative information is presented in a condensed

    fashion. This is the most common meaning among laymen.

    In film terminology, a montage (from the French for puttingtogether or assembly) is a film editing technique.

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    Like camera-work, editing is a function that is ordinarily hidden from

    the audience, but it is vital to the finished picture

    It is the editors job to judge the length of each shot and to choose the

    exact moment to cut. The length of a shot may depend upon the

    amount of detail it contains, its scale, its dramatic impact, or its context

    in relation to the shots that precede and follow it. Though the audience

    is unconscious of these judgments, the impact of the finished filmdepends on how well they are made.

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    In his book, On Film Editing, Edward Dmytryk stipulates seven rules of

    cutting that a good editor should follow:

    Rule 1 Nevermake a cut without a positive reason.

    Rule 2 When undecided about the exact frame to cut on, cut long

    rather than short

    Rule 3 Whenever possible cut in movement

    Rule 4 The fresh is preferable to the stale

    Rule 5 All scenes should begin and end with continuing action

    Rule 6 Cut for proper values rather than proper matches

    Rule 7 Substance firstthen form

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    JFK (1991)OLIVER STONES

    Now, letswatch

    WITH EDITING BY JOE HUTSHING AND PIETRO SCALIA