The Art of
Film Editing
Bong S. Eliab
Hum 3: Film Appreciation
Mass Communication Department
Brief History
 French George Melies and American
Edwin S. Porter - recorded things as they
happened in front of the camer...
Edwin S. Porter
 Born in Connellsville, PA.
 Worked as a film projectionist
in the 1890s before becoming a
director and ...
George Melies
 Méliès' films from
1905 through 1912
were well behind the
curve of the
groundbreaking work
of filmmakers l...
Brief History
 Sergei Eisenstein -
discovered that if two
unrelated images are
placed next to each other
in a film, a thi...
Montage
 Process of creative editing whereby images
derive their meaning from juxtaposition
with other images.
 Function...
Expansion of Time
 “Odessa Steps” in Battleship Potemkim
(1925)
 The running time of film is longer than
normal/ actual ...
What is Film Editing
 The process of selecting, arranging, and
juxtaposing of materials in order to bring
forth or reveal...
General Stylistic Approaches
 Continuity Editing: portrays action of a
story or sequence in a realistic manner --
the emp...
Time Element
 A two-hour film may cover either a lifetime, or
only ten minutes, or its time coincides with real
time.
 T...
Time Element
 Transitional Devices
 Fade in/fade out
 Lap dissolve/melt
 Superimposition
 Flips and Wipes
Time Element
 Dramatic Time: is structured by the demands of
plot, characterization, theme and other features of
story de...
Rhythm and Pace
 Internal Rhythm: the inherent quality of
movement that depends on the motion
within the shot, the rhythm...
Audio-Visual Relationships
 Image to Image: every scene is affected by
the scene that precedes or follows it.
 Image to ...
Relational Editing
Editing: “psychological guidance” of the
spectator.
Aim at the impression of the audience
Relational Editing
 Contrast: compare contrasting images, one
strengthening the other; cutting between
two different scen...
Relational Editing
 Parallelism: resembling contrast, two
thematically unconnected incidents develop
in parallel; connect...
Parallelism
 Example: if you were shooting a
documentary about fish stocks in the
Atlantic, you could cut from a trawler ...
Relational Editing
 Symbolism
Again, more intercutting,
you move from your main
scene to something which
creates a symbol...
Symbolism
 Pudovkin (living in Soviet Russia) suggested
cutting between shots of striking workers being
shot by Tsarist p...
Relational Editing
 Simultaneity: simultaneous rapid
development of two actions, in which the
outcome of one depends on t...
Simultaneity
 This is used lots in Hollywood today:
cutting between two simultaneous events as
a way of driving up the su...
Relational Editing
 Leit-motif: Re-iteration of the theme
through the use of repeated shots, usually
close up (CU) shots ...
Leit-motif
 This ‘reiteration of theme’ involves repeating a
shot or sequence at key moments as a sort of code.
Think how...
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Session 10 the art of film editing: Film Appreciation Course

  1. 1. The Art of Film Editing Bong S. Eliab Hum 3: Film Appreciation Mass Communication Department
  2. 2. Brief History  French George Melies and American Edwin S. Porter - recorded things as they happened in front of the camera  Edwin S. Porter - inserted a footage within a continuous shot  David W. Griffith - only part of action must be shown
  3. 3. Edwin S. Porter  Born in Connellsville, PA.  Worked as a film projectionist in the 1890s before becoming a director and cameraman for the Edison Manufacturing Company in Orange, New Jersey.  Made groundbreaking use of cross cutting in The Great Train Robbery (1903)  helped lay the groundwork for modern cinematography.
  4. 4. George Melies  Méliès' films from 1905 through 1912 were well behind the curve of the groundbreaking work of filmmakers like Edwin S. Porter and David W. Griffith.
  5. 5. Brief History  Sergei Eisenstein - discovered that if two unrelated images are placed next to each other in a film, a third meaning emerges.  Eisentein and Pudovkin developed the principle of montage. Sergei Eisenstein Vsevolod Pudovkin
  6. 6. Montage  Process of creative editing whereby images derive their meaning from juxtaposition with other images.  Functions of montage:  To compress time  To expand time
  7. 7. Expansion of Time  “Odessa Steps” in Battleship Potemkim (1925)  The running time of film is longer than normal/ actual time -- heightening the drama  Principle: devote more film time to more dramatically important events and less to the insignificant
  8. 8. What is Film Editing  The process of selecting, arranging, and juxtaposing of materials in order to bring forth or reveal a subject or event in the most dramatic manner or effective way.  Major Concern of Film Editor:  Time element  Rhythm and pace  Visual and aural relationships
  9. 9. General Stylistic Approaches  Continuity Editing: portrays action of a story or sequence in a realistic manner -- the emphasis is on the creation of smooth continuous flow of events.  Dynamic Editing (Parallel): disregards realistic spatial relationships in order to have more focus on the drama of the action.
  10. 10. Time Element  A two-hour film may cover either a lifetime, or only ten minutes, or its time coincides with real time.  The editor can accelerate or retard time according to the desired end. He has the total control of time:  The use of inter-cuts and detail shots  The use of optical effects, like transitional devices to link scenes and sequences
  11. 11. Time Element  Transitional Devices  Fade in/fade out  Lap dissolve/melt  Superimposition  Flips and Wipes
  12. 12. Time Element  Dramatic Time: is structured by the demands of plot, characterization, theme and other features of story development.  Physical Time: attempts to show all the phases of an action or event.  Affective Time: events are arranged so as to have certain effects upon the audience’s affective sense of time.
  13. 13. Rhythm and Pace  Internal Rhythm: the inherent quality of movement that depends on the motion within the shot, the rhythm of the cutting of shots, and rhythm of the sequence itself.  External Rhythm: depends largely on the length of time a shot or scene remains on the screen.
  14. 14. Audio-Visual Relationships  Image to Image: every scene is affected by the scene that precedes or follows it.  Image to Sound: every sound affects the audience reaction to what is seen. Every image conditions the audience’s response to what is heard.
  15. 15. Relational Editing Editing: “psychological guidance” of the spectator. Aim at the impression of the audience
  16. 16. Relational Editing  Contrast: compare contrasting images, one strengthening the other; cutting between two different scenarios to highlight the contrast between them.  As an example, Pudovkin suggests moving from scenes of poverty to someone really rich to make the difference more apparent.
  17. 17. Relational Editing  Parallelism: resembling contrast, two thematically unconnected incidents develop in parallel; connect two seemingly unrelated scenes by cutting between them and focusing on parallel features
  18. 18. Parallelism  Example: if you were shooting a documentary about fish stocks in the Atlantic, you could cut from a trawler being tossed about in the ocean to a family chomping down on some fish’n'chips – in both scenes drawing our attention to the fish: the object that connects them. It creates an association in the viewers’ mind.
  19. 19. Relational Editing  Symbolism Again, more intercutting, you move from your main scene to something which creates a symbolic connection for the audience.
  20. 20. Symbolism  Pudovkin (living in Soviet Russia) suggested cutting between shots of striking workers being shot by Tsarist police and scenes of cows being slaughtered: in the audience’s mind, they associate the slaughter of the cattle with the slaughter of the workers.
  21. 21. Relational Editing  Simultaneity: simultaneous rapid development of two actions, in which the outcome of one depends on the outcome of the other
  22. 22. Simultaneity  This is used lots in Hollywood today: cutting between two simultaneous events as a way of driving up the suspense. If you’re making a film about a politician on election night, you might cut between shots of the vote being counted to shots of your main subject preparing to hear the result. This extending of time builds anticipation.
  23. 23. Relational Editing  Leit-motif: Re-iteration of the theme through the use of repeated shots, usually close up (CU) shots or POV shots
  24. 24. Leit-motif  This ‘reiteration of theme’ involves repeating a shot or sequence at key moments as a sort of code. Think how Spielberg uses a ‘point of view’ shot in Jaws showing the shark looking up at swimmers. The first time he does it creates a visual code for “the shark’s about to attack”. Every time we see that underwater POV we know an attack is imminent. He has allowed us to participate in the decoding.

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