How To Edit Good

31 12 2007

Okay, that’s a snarky title.  But there are two video clips from the creators of the movie HORRORS OF WAR, that talk about editing on action, overlap editing, etc.  These are things that most of us take for granted but it’s always good to remind ourselves, as editors, that not everyone knows what we know.

Tip #1 (cutting on action) — there’s one cut in here that doesn’t look right to me, the cut from the wide shot of the soldier with his rifle, to the closer shot.  Of course, this is personal taste, but I’ve always found that it’s better to cut at the beginning of a piece of action (I call it on the energy of the start of the action) rather than in the middle of the action.  Actors rarely match their speed exactly and, besides, even if their action is at the same speed, it’s going to look slower in a wide shot than in a tighter one.  You need to go for the perceived energy, not the exact energy.

Tip #2 (Split Edits or “L-cuts”) — They talk using these edits to make the edit invisible, which is only a small part of the story.  However, the directors correctly mention that half of a film’s power is about how people react to information.  Of course, there’s a lot more to this than what can be discussed in two minutes.  You really want to choose the exact words where you cut away to the second shot.  I often cut in the “afterbreath” of a word which makes the cut less noticeable.

Another short film from the same people discusses Music and Effects tracks, and has a funny bit where the move from the mixed English language tracks to the music and effects only track to the Japanese dubbed track.  Cool.

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