Friday, 21 October 2011

The Notion of Editing

This an Agfa 8mm film splicer, one of which I own and used extensively when I was shooting on Super 8.

Film has its own language which encompasses mis-en-scéne (everything that exists within the frame), soundtrack or musical score, editing and cinematography. The notion of editing is like a combination of Proof Reading and Annotating. It really embellishes everything that has occurred during the scriptwriting and the production process. So, I want to outline some of my thoughts on the process.

When beginning an edit we may first want to consider the characters and the story. It is imperative to being able to understand what we are cutting together first before we consider all the techniques we can use in order to do so. Next a few considerations may want to be made using an Edit Log List, this is a table which contains details such as Shot Number, Scene, Dialogue, Comments, and Duration. Having an extensive Edit Log will allow you to easily place your footage in the manner of an Offline Edit (that is in draft form). As you are putting together your Edit Log think about the Graphic relation between shots (colours, textures and lines), thinks about the Rhythmic relations between shots (Compilation sequence, Montage/Collage), consider the Spatial relationship between shots (Open shot/Closed shot), and consider the Temporal relation between shots (Transitions - mood, idea, words and objects).

All these visual components fall under the technique of Continuity Editing, creating a seemingly seamless flow of narrative that allows the viewer to immerse themselves within the world of the film. Continuity Editing requires a basic understanding of cutting techniques even if you plan on heavily using iconography/iconoclastic cuts, symbol/metaphor, or Indexing to enhance or deepen the narrative structure of the film you are piecing together.

Basic continuity techniques will include eye-line matches, cross cutting, shot duration synchronized action, shot reverse shot, ambience, Foley, silence and even flashbacks/flashforwards. This is an essential methodology for creating Transparency. This is what we would experience as a fairly linear narrative structure.

If you plan on including Framed shots (i.e. shots that make us aware we are watching a movie) then thinking about juxtapositional techniques such as counterpoint sound - counterpoint image, iconography/iconoclastic, and Indexing might be something you will require to think about during the editing process. This is what we would experience as a more non-linear narrative structure.

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