The Role of the Editor• The basic role of the editor is thecoordination of one shot to the next• They also eliminate unwanted footage,selecting only those takes that are usable• Eliminate superfluous frames: Those beforethe direction says “action” and after he say“cut”• Decide the best way to transition from oneshot to the next• The editor’s job is closely tied to thedirector’s. The director has to be mindful ofthe way they choose to shoot certainscenes so that they will edit togethersmoothly
The Psychology of Editing• In Walter Murch’s book “In the Blinkof an Eye”, he discusses thepsychology behind film editing:• "There are places in a conversation where itseems we almost physically cannot blink orturn our heads (since we are still receivingimportant information), and there are otherplaces where we must blink or turn away inorder to make better sense of what we havereceived. And I would suggest that thereare similar points in every scene where thecut cannot or must occur, and for the samereasons."
Editing Transitions• The term “cut” is derived from the way in which filmeditors would have to literally cut the film and piece themtogether with either tape or cement• Editors use transitions to signal a relationship betweendifferent shots• Cuts: A transition between two shots that share the same physicaland temporal space• Dissolve: a gradual transition between two shots that show achange in space/time• Any time that they audience feels that there is abrupt shiftin space/time between two shots in a film, this is referredto as a “jump cut”• Jump cuts can sometime be used for stylistic effect
Stylistic Decisions in EditingRealism Classicism FormalismRealism Classicism FormalismSpectrum taken from Gianetti’s “Understanding Movies”Sequence ShotsThe Arrival of aTrainCutting toContinuityA Trip to the MoonClassical CuttingThe Birth of a NationThematicMontageThirty-two ShortFilms aboutGlenn GouldAbstract CuttingRhythmus 21• Like directing styles, editing styles can be classified by the ways in which theediting is obtrusive upon the creation of meaning in the audience• Films that are edited with more realism, use less editing and allowaudiences decipher spatial and psychological relations for themselves,while more formal films are more particular about the images that theyplace in front of the audience
Editing: Sequence Shots• The most realistic style ofediting has little editing at all.Films in this category tend toonly edit to place sequencestogether• Film theorist Andre Bazin wasa proponent of this style. Hefelt that it allowed more powerto the audience in the processof discovery• Example: Children of Men• A film that I worked on:Milton Glaser Draws and Lectures
Editing: Cutting to Continuity• Cutting to Continuity: The process by which unneededinformation in the telling of a story is removed. This illustratesthe ability of editing to condense time• Example: In your movie you need to convey that a womanleaves work and drives home. Using either Realism or Cuttingto continuity, here is how your project would turn out• Realism: Show every part of the process – Her leaving work,getting in her car, driving, arriving home, going in the door• Cutting to continuity: Showing only the essential parts – leavingwork, driving in her car, arriving home. Only the necessary partsare shown to us in order for us to understand the sequence• Cutting to continuity produces the assumption that everythingwe see in the story has a specific purpose in telling the storylater on
Classical Cutting• This style was developed early by DW Griffith to drawviewers into the emotional content of the scene. Thereis still continuity in the edited image and additionallythe editor uses different shots to draw the viewer intothe scene.• This is typically done through coverage – the processin which a scene is filmed using a variety of angles• The Master Shot: a Wide shot of everything that ishappening in the scene, used to establish relationshipsbetween the actors• Close Ups: Used to draw the audience psychologicallycloser to the characters in the scene• Eye line match: If we see an actor refer to something offscreen, or see something off screen, the shot that followsis typically what that object is• Cutaways: Coverage of specific items or actions usedwithin the scene• Matched action: Cuts happen during a major action – Theemphasis on the action, will deemphasize the fact thatthere is a cut
Classical Cutting: The 180 Degree Rule• The 180 degree rule is one of the mostimportant rules in both directing andediting• The rule is made so that screen directionand eye lines are always continuous andtherefore not confusing for the audience• The diagram on the left shows a scenebetween two men. The scene is divided byan axis of action (the dotted line). Thecamera, when covering the scene, mustremain on the same side of this line.Otherwise the actors position on screenand screen direction would be inconsistentfrom shot to shot• The line can be reestablished by cutting toa wider shot and having the actors move tonew positions• The only reason that you should violate therule is if you want to disorientate theaudience
Editing: Thematic Montage• Thematic Montage is a more formalistic editing technique. It involvesediting a narrative together not because they share the same space,but because the editor wants to create a juxtaposition between thetwo actions• Films like 32 Short Films about Glenn Gould use a variety of techniques to explorethe life of a famous Canadian Composer. Sequences aren’t cut together becausethey share the same narrative space, but because they share similar themes• This was a technique that was espoused by Early RussianFilmmakers such as Kuleshov, Pudovkin and Eisenstein. Theybelieved that acting wasn’t necessary, as all meaning could bederived by the process of editing itself• Kuleshov did an experiment where he placed different images after a shot of a man,the shot of the man was identical each time. However, depending upon thejuxtaposition, the audience perceived his feeling to be different in each sequence
The Kuleshov ExperimentWhat createsmeaning?Editing orPerformance?
Editing: Abstract Cutting• As with Avant Garde film, abstract cutting draws attentionto the act of editing itself.• Films of these nature don’t use editing to set up temporalrelationships between objects, but instead cutting is used to createjuxtapositions and meaning, evoking certain emotions in theaudience• Work is mostly non-narrative• Example: Ballet Mechanique (1924)• The Legacy of this can be seen in montages today.