The Art of Editing #1

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Information about The Art of Editing #1

Published on January 10, 2014

Author: shannondawnwalsh



Lecture #1, The Art of Editing


WHY ARE YOU HERE? • What do you bring to the table? • What would you like to learn? • Participation and sharing • Don’t be afraid to try! All learning comes from failures • Look at the world around you everyday & watch films • Watch for the CUT!

COURSE DESCRIPTION & AIMS What is editing? More than a technical skill, it is an art! Editing is an art of composing space (as totality or fragment, continuous or discontinuous) and time (linear or non-linear) through the arrangement, assembly and interaction of images (static or dynamic) and sounds (on screen or off screen), and an art of visualizing rhythm and tempo as emotional flow or movements of intensities.


COURSE OUTLINE & WHAT WE WILL DO Editing Assignments: 1. Action Continuity 2. Shoot for the Edit 3. Music Video 4. Trailer LECTURES / SCREENINGS / WORKSHOPS Lecture: 13h-14h50 Workshop: 15h-16h20


"... Editing is a lot about patience and discipline and just banging away at something, turning off the machine and going home at night because you're frustrated and depressed, and then coming back in the morning to try again.” -Thelma Schoonmaker "You get to contribute so significantly in the editing room because you shape the movie and the performances." -Thelma Schoonmaker

ALCHEMY “The essence of cinema is editing. It's the combination of what can be extraordinary images of people during emotional moments, or images in a general sense, put together in a kind of alchemy.” -Francis Ford Coppola


EDITING CONCEPTS 1. ACTION CONTINUITY 2. ACTION / REACTION (Cause & Effect) 3. CONSTRUCTION OF TIME (Flashbacks, flash forward, logic sequence) 4. CONSTRUCTION OF SPACE (Continuity and discontinuity, parallel editing, jump-cuts, etc.) 5. EYE-LINE MATCHING 6. GRAPHIC RELATIONSHIPS

STAGES IN THE EDITING PROCESS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Digitizing footage Organizing and Naming footage First Assembly Rough cut Fine cut Final Cut

HISTORY OF EDITING: 1895 ONWARDS When the first motion pictures were created, editing did not exist. A single shot was a single scene. • “Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory” 1895 • “Arrival of a Train at the station” 1895 • “The Kiss” 1896 Camera was placed without thought to compositional or emotional consideration, lighting was notional even for interior scenes, the camera recorded an event, an act or an incident, and most early films were a single shot.

HISTORY OF EDITING: STORY OF FILM In 1903 Edwin S. Porter begins to use visual continuity. Porter also discovered that the shot was the basic building block of the film. The Life of An American Fireman (1902) The Great Train Robbery (1903)

HISTORY OF EDITING: ‘THE SHOT’ • Locations change • Time changes • Subjective POV firing his gun directly toward the audience • Entering a shot in midstream suggests that time has passed • Exiting the shot before the action is complete and viewing an entirely new shot suggest a change in location The overall meaning of the story comes from way the shots are edited together, with the shifts in time or place implied by the juxtaposition of two shots

HISTORY OF EDITING: STORY OF FILM “A trip to the Moon” 1902 George Melies The ‘magic’ of cinema – Special Effects, Disappearing, altering the real

DRAMATIC EMPHASIS: D. W. GRIFFITH “The Birth of a Nation” 1915, 190 min • Formally innovative: Variation of shots for impact: long shot, close up, cutaway & the tracking shot • Cuts made for Dramatic Reasons • Parallel editing • Variation in pace • What film could do with ideas: Racist nationalist propaganda. The history of film is political.

CONSTRUCTIVE EDITING: VSEVOLOD PUDOVKIN “Film art begins from the moment when the director begins to combine and join together the various pieces of film. By joining them in various combinations in different orders, he obtains differing results.” (Pudovkin, 1929)

EDITING AS ART OF FILM PUDOVKIN In Mother :not using emotional or psychological effects of performance, but “plastic synthesis through editing.” “Pudovkin theorised that actors on screen do not really act; it's their context that moves us - something established, through montage, by their relationship to exterior objects. Thus the factory owners and police officers in his films wear sinister leather gloves, which he cuts to in close-up before returning to the peasant nursing her child. More subtly, he uses editing to suggest psychological states.”

“THE STORY OF FILM” Mark Cousins, (2012) Watch for: •The Shot •“Then” (continuity) •“Meanwhile” (parallel) •Intellectual editing •Dramatic effect

Rules to remember: PERSERVERANCE, INTUITION, FEAR & FAILURE! • • • • • Emotion is the heart of good editing Challenge the comfort zone & your assumptions Learn the difference between what we think & what we feel Imagine failure and setbacks as positive learning experiences: Fail Harder! Take responsibility for your imagination

NEXT WEEK: ACTION CONTINUITY EXERCISE Group Leaders: 5 groups of 7 students • Meet new people! • Invite people into your group if they don’t have one! • Bring names of group to me by end of first class

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