Why do you Edit?
blue + blue = same meaning
blue + red = new meaning
How do you Edit?
Please have books open, write date,
title…’Editing’ and then take notes.
Walter Murch wrote a book called “In the Blink of an eye”:
Watching paint dry and fighting in a boxing match!
According to Walter Murch, when it comes to film editing, there are six main criteria
for evaluating a cut or deciding where to cut. They are (in order of importance,
most important first, with notional percentage values.):
Emotion (51%) — Does the cut reflect what the editor believes the audience should
be feeling at that moment?
Story (23%) — Does the cut advance the story?
Rhythm (10%) — Does the cut occur "at a moment that is rhythmically interesting
and 'right'" (Murch, 18)?
Eye-trace (7%) — Does the cut pay respect to "the location and movement of the
audience's focus of interest within the frame" (Murch, 18)?
Two-dimensional plane of the screen (5%) — Does the cut respect the 180 degree
Three-dimensional space of action (4%) — Is the cut true to the physical/spatial
“NEVER make a cut without a positive reason.”
“Whenever possible cut 'in movement'.”
Visit Yale University Film Studies
web site for some key definitions:
• Basic Terms
There are many different editing techniques.
In today’s lesson we are going to look at the following:
•MATCH ON ACTION
CROSSCUTTING, aka PARALLEL EDITING
Editing that 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.
In this extended clip from Edward Yang's Yi Yi (Taiwan, 2000),
father and daughter go out on dates at presumably the same time,
and go through the same motions, even if the father is in Japan
and the daughter in Taipei.
A cut obeying the axis of action principle, in which the first shot
shows a person off in one direction and the second shows a nearby
space containing what he or she sees. If the person looks left, the
following shot should imply that the looker is offscreen right. The
following shots from Dario Argento's The Stendhal Syndrome (La
Sindrome di Stendhal, Italy, 1996), depict Anna looking at a painting,
Brueghel's The Fall of Icarus.
First we see her looking... then we see what she looks at.
As her interest grows, the eyeline match (that is the connection
between looker and looked) is stressed with matching close-ups of
Anna's face and Icarus's falling into the ocean in the painting. Again,
this implies that Anna is looking directly at Icarus's body.
A transition between two shots, for a moment the two
images blend in superimposition.
Dissolves can be used as a fairly straightforward editing
device to link any two scenes, or in more creative ways,
for instance to suggest hallucinatory states.
In this series of shots a young woman becomes so
absorbed by Brueghel's The Fall of Icarus that she
actually dives into the painting's sea!
(at least in her imagination, in "real life" she faints).
MATCH ON ACTION
A cut which splices two different views of the same
action together at the same moment in the movement,
making it seem to continue uninterrupted. Quite
logically, these characteristics make it one of the most
common transitions in the continuity style. Here is an
example from Traffic (Steven Soderbergh, 2000)
A match on action adds variety and dinamism to a scene,
since it conveys two movements: the one that actually
takes place on screen, and an implied one by the viewer,
since her/his position is shifted.
The perceived rate and regularity of sounds, series of shots, and movements
within the shots. Rhythmic factors include beat (or pulse), accent (or stress), and
tempo (or pace). Rhythm is one of the essential features of a film, for it decisively
contributes to its mood and overall impression on the spectator. It is also one of
the most complex to analyze, since it is achieved through the combination of
mise-en-scene, cinematography, sound and editing. Indeed, rhythm can be
understood as the final balance all of the elements of a film.
The prelude to the final shotdown of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Il Buono, il
Brutto, il Cattivo, Italy, 1966) runs for several minutes (of which we only see the
last minute here), as three men face each other in a triangle, waiting to see who
will take the first step. One of the film's theme songs is played in its entirety, from
a slow, elegiac beginning to a frenzy crescendo that is abruptly cut off by the first
gunshot. The slow mounting crescendo is paralleled by an increase in the editing
rate, and an intensified framing (the sequence actually begins on a long shot
similar to the previous one).
1. A synonym for editing. 2. An approach to editing developed by
the Soviet filmmakers of the 1920s such as Pudovkin, Vertov and
Eisenstein; it emphasizes dynamic, often discontinuous,
relationships between shots and the juxtaposition of images to
create ideas not present in either shot by itself.
In a famous sequence from the
The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, USA, 1973), shots of Michael
attending his son's baptism are intercut with the brutal killings of
Rather than stressing the temporal simultaneity of the events (it is
highly unlikely that all of the New York Mafia heads can be caught
off guard at exactly the same time!), the montage suggests
Michael's dual nature and commitment to both his "families", as
well as his ability to gain acceptance into both on their own terms --
through religion and violence.