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  • 7/31/2019 Continuity Editing 2012



    Introduction to the Art of Film


    Old SchoolEditing:
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    What is editing? Which shot to use The most effective take of each shot

    The arrangement and duration of shots Transitions between shots Strongly affects viewer responses What do editors do:
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    Major Concerns of Editing Transition

    Line of sight/Matching

    Duration of shot:
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    The Cut The break and common border that links

    two pieces of film and separates two shots

    Smooth cuts that add to continuity:
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    Shot/Reverse Shot Two or more shots edited together that alternate characters, typicallyin a conversation situation. In continuity editing, characters in oneframing usually look left, in the other framing, right.

    Over-the-shoulder framings are common in shot/reverse-shot editing.

    One of the most firmly established conventions in cinema, and theyare usually linked through the equally persuasive eyeline matches. Can be exploited to make improbable meanings convincing, as in this

    sequence from The Stendhal Syndrome(La Sindrome di Stendhal,Italy,1996). Director Dario Argento has his protagonist Anna looking atBotticelli's The Birth of Venus(c1485)... ...but with the use ofsuccessive shot/ reverse shots, eyeline matches and matching

    framings, it soons begins to look as if Venus herself is looking atAnna!

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    Optical Effects for Transition Fade outs

    Fade ins

    Dissolves: Iris in/out:

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    Eyeline Match A cut obeying the axis of actionprinciple, in which the

    first shot shows a person off in one direction and thesecond shows a nearby space containing what he or she

    sees. If the person looks left, the following shot shouldimply that the looker is offscreen right. The following shots from Dario Argento's The Stendhal

    Syndrome(La Sindrome di Stendhal, Italy, 1996), depictAnna looking at a painting, Brueghel's The Fall of Icarus.The scene takes place inside Firenze's most famousmuseum, the Uffizi Gallery

    First we see her looking... then we see what she looks at
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    Graphic Match Two successive shots joined so as to create a strong

    similarity of compositional elements (e.g., color, shape).Used in transparent continuity styles to smooth the

    transition between two shots, as in this clip from WomenOn The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown(Mujeres alBorde de un Ataque de Nervios, Almodvar, 1988).

    Graphic matches can also be used to make metaphoricalassociations, as in Soviet Montage style. Furthermore,some directors like Ozu Yasujiro use graphic matches asan integral part of their film style.
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    Match on Action A cut which splices two different views of the

    same action together at the same moment in themovement, making it seem to continueuninterrupted. Quite logically, thesecharacteristics make it one of the most commontransitions in the continuity style. Here is anexample from Traffic(Steven Soderbergh, 2000)

    Adds variety and dynamism to a scene, since itconveys two movements: the one that actuallytakes place on screen, and an implied one by theviewer, since her/his position is shifted.
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    Short History of Editing Chronophotography: sequence of

    photographs of human or animal motion Eadweard Muybridge:

    tienne-Jules Marey:
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    Short History of Editing -

    Edwin Porter

    Credited with introducing editing techniques

    that are the basis for continuity editing The Great Train Robbery1903

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    Continuity Editing Utilizes a broad array of technical choices

    that support the principle of effacing

    technique to foreground human agency orclarify thenarrative.


    In other words, continuity editing is invisibleand seamless. It allows us to follow the point of view of the

    camera without interruption.

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    Continuity Editing Relies upon matching screen direction, position,

    and temporal relations from shot to shot.

    The film supports the viewer's assumption thatspace and time are contiguous betweensuccessive shots.

    Also, the diegesis is more readily understoodwhen directions on the screen match directions inthe world of the film.

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    Crosscutting (parallel editing) Alternates shots of two or more lines of action occurring in different

    places, usually simultaneously. The two actions are therefore linked,associating the characters from both lines of action.

    Edward Yang's Yi Yi(Taiwan, 2000), father and daughter
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    Cut-In/Cut-Away An instantaneous shift from a distant framing to a closer

    view of some portion of the same space, and vice versa. In Lars Von Trier's Dancer in the Dark(Denmark, 2000)

    Selma and Bill have a dramatic conversation in Bill's carthat is framed by a cut-in and a cut-away.

    The two cuts neatly bracket Bill's anguished confessionas a separate moment, private and isolated, that only

    Selma knows about. This editing-constructed secrecy willultimately have drastic consequences for Selma.
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    Montage Soviet Montage proved to be influential around the world forcommercial as well as avant-garde filmmakers.

    We can see echoes of this in The Godfather(Francis Ford Coppola,USA, 1973).

    In a famous sequence from the film, shots of Michael attending hisson's baptism are intercut with the brutal killings of his rivals.

    The montage suggests Michael's dual nature and commitment to bothhis "families", as well as his ability to gain acceptance into both ontheir own terms -- through religion and violence.
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    Patterns and Logic of Editing Continuity editing vs. disjunctive editing 180-degree rule & axis of action:

    30-degree rule: a shot should only be

    followed by another shot taken from aposition greater than 30 degrees from thatof the first
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    Continuity Editing Shot/reverse shot

    An eyeline match

    Point of view shot Reaction shot

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    Temporal Relations Chronology is the order according to which shots convey

    the temporal sequence of the storys events Chronologicalcreated by linear patterns

    Achronologicalcreated by non-linear patterns A take: a single version of a filmed shot or scene Short takes Long takes:

    Robert Altmans The Player(8 min)

    Orson Welles Touch of Evil:

    Sequence shots Overlapping editing: when 2 shots of the same action are

    shownviolates continuity
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    Elliptical Editing Shot transitions that omit parts of an event, causing anellipsesin plot and story duration.

    In this clip from Traffic(Steven Soderbergh, 2000), a drug

    party is rendered through elliptical editing (achieved with aplentiful use of dissolves and jump cuts) in order to bothshorten the time and suggest the character's ramblingmental states.
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    Elliptical Editing Elliptical editing need not be confined to a

    same place and time.

    NottinghillAint No Sunshine:
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    Editing from scene to scene A scene consists of one or more shots that can

    be described in terms of a continuous space, timeand action

    A sequence consists of any number of shots thatare unified as a coherent action, such as a walkto school, or as an identifiable motif, such as theexpression of anger, regardless of changes of

    space and time A segment refers to the filmic units that can becombined to make a whole film

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    Disjunctive Editing Refers not to a single editing system with rules and

    manuals like Hollywood continuity editing, but rather to avariety of alternative practices that may be organized

    around any number of different aspects of editing Spatial tension Temporal experimentation Rhythmic or graphic patterns Confront the viewer by calling attention to the editing for aesthetic,

    conceptual, ideological or psychological purposes, or working todisorient, disturb or viscerally affect the viewer

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    A Quick Review

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    Credits Corrigan, Timothy. The Film Experience

    Yale Film Studies: