Rajo of thesubstream goes over the basics & theory of film editing in The Film Lab. Features soup.
Tags:Film Editing history,Film Editing Basics,filmmaking,theory of film editing,editing,movies,post-production,substream,theory,thesubstream
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What is the creation of a film from raw earth and the furious intention, a sympathetic pandemonium, consecration by artist, a hope, a dream to the bare patch of warehouse floor could be transformed into an Apollonian vessel by actors, directors, writers and producers, set decorators, carpenters, caterers and make up artist calling up together for the birth of a film. Well, it’s not a film yet because some editor somewhere has to put the footage to get in more of a laborer than an artist really, it’s only does fall the specific instructions of the producers and directors this paragons of virtues intensity, dancing mortal. Sure, production can be an incredibly stressful period that relies on the talent and dedication of more than just the handful of people in order for it to really pay off. But you’re crazy if you think for one second that one wrap is called the hard parts over. You think editing is some paint by numbers game that only requires putting shots in order according to a script? It goes way beyond that, to the point with where I would argue is a point in the process with the film is actually made. Yeah, it’s important to get great footage but that will lose all of its power if it’s not cut together in a way that serves at the best. Without the proper timing the funniest jokes in the comedy can fall flat and the most intense performance in the drama can wilt away into a pile of crud. Would you like to know more? Consider this, film as a medium that was never intended for the purpose of telling stories in the first place. People were so freaked out by the technology of moving pictures that for a while anyway they we’re happy enough to just stare in awe at these projections of horses pulling away in or people dancing or whatever. At that time films were all one long shot literally moving photographs or motion pictures if you will. Then about a 100 years ago give there take some dude who are for Thomas Edison thought that might be cool to cut a few shots together into a scene and then he cut a few scenes together into a linear narrative sequence. So, all of the sudden by taking scissors to their movie, filmmakers discovered that they have the power to inject drama and suspense into footage that was already speaking volumes to their audience. And then by the 1920’s, film editing get really sophisticated, a guy by the name of Lev Kuleshov from Soviet Russia decides to really explore the power of film editing by conducting experiments. He showed three separate films to three separate audiences and then gauged their reactions. Kind of like as test screening only it wasn’t turn to figure out a bunch of comic book with nerd with three get it if you got to rid of the giant squid. I’ve made three short films of my own to show you what cool a shot did, here’s the first one. [Demonstration] And here is the second one. [Demonstration] And finally here’s the last one. [Demonstration] So, what he basically did was they took some stock footage that was lying around. A guys face, a bowl of soup, a pretty girl, and a tombstone. He used the exact same shot of the guy’s face in all three movies. But change the shot that followed to soup, girl and tombstone respectively. Want to know how the audience reacted? Audience A was convinced that this guy was jouncing for soup. Clearly the look on his face was that of desperation in hunger. Audience B came out of the theater raving about this performance of the man pining for a love he can never have. What a fine actor. While audience C could totally relate to his feeling of loss. Clearly he’s been emotionally crushed by the death of the love one. Big deal right, yeah actually it is. Psychologically speaking, sticking two shots together in succession creates a contextual relationship in the mind of the viewer, it’s automatic. And despite how sophisticated 21st century audiences might be, they're still going to make those contextual leaps inside their brains. You know take the training montage from Rocky for example, one second he’s lifting weights and theirs rang down the street and then he’s punching aside of beef in a meat locker. Now, as far as I know, Rocky Balboa didn’t have any teleportation parts to speak off. So, how does he jump around from place to place so fast, he’s not, the montage is cut in a specific way so that subconsciously you're given the impression that time is being compressed. He’s actually training really hard over the course of days and weeks, doing different things in different places. This is the coolest shot of effectiveness in its most basic form. But it’s also their in any other cut you will see as well. Whether you dealing with flash backs or showing two bits of action that going to happen simultaneously or even in a very simple two-character dialogues scene. The viewer’s human brain will never stop trying to link everything it sees together in a way that makes logical sense. But it’s solely up to the editor to communicate to the viewer in way that gets the message across clearly and stylishly no matter what your footage looks like. And yeah, it’s really hard work it would have to be. It’s filmmaking in the most literal sense of the word.