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Editing conventions?
  • Anyone know any good resources for editing techniques. Ive read a coup of books on editing but they always end up being more philosophical rather that practically show you some different ways to edit. Ideally free resources online. I want it to cover exhaustively the different kind of editing conventions that affect the narrative.

    I saw this and wondered if there are any similar online tutorials or info, this is great but only a few conventions....I assume there are a lot more.

    *Note to forum owner. Why not make a few more filmmaking threads. Editing, Scriptwriting, Cinematography, Documentary? Squeezing everything that isn't about a new camera product into 'Art' needs to end.

  • 14 Replies sorted by
  • You know I don't have the thinking I am entitled to some responses but seriously this kind of question on filmmaking is so rare here. Does this forum want to be a filmmaking forum or just a prosumer camera fetish forum? Cause at this point the filmmaking side is non existent. Which actually is a missed opportunity honestly as I think there is even with my non responses something people are interested in. But whatever...maybe I should start a filmmaking one myself.

  • Does this forum want to be a filmmaking forum or just a prosumer camera fetish forum? Cause at this point the filmmaking side is non existent.

    Well, I fully agree on your point about more orienting to such topics, but...

    To make it more oriented you need more people who are very good at this things and who are also interesting in participating and sharing. Many people are not sure about their skills and many just do not have time or are bad in expressing though (or think that they are bad) and talks.

    I suggest to look around and just not hesitate to send email and invite some editors (of reasonable scale :-) ) that you like here. This is real way to make changes.

  • I just think the categories tend to lead toward gear rather than a discussion about filmmaking. Even a real general category like 'Filmmaking discussion' or 'the art of filmmaking'. I went to a Stanley Kubrick exhibition the other day and was blown away by how much is involved in making a movie in terms of script, ideas, practicalities, costume, visual references, politics etc. That I think so much of the filmmaking process is simply not in filmmaking community forums this is same for DVXuser, Reduser, BMCuser etc.

    I get about some not feeling confident to share or communicate but I personally have no problem seeing myself as a perennial student of filmmaking so sharing and learning is why I go to forums in the first place. I'm asking for pooling of ideas and resources not really only expert opinions.

  • Well, you are posting in exactly this category now, just without word "filmmaking".

    Yes, and to express an opinion on public place you need some state and skill.

    Just open any scientific statistics and you will see that even extremely active communities have 5% writers and 95% readers, and more usual it is 1-2% and 98-99%. It has very little with online thing, as if you ever had been in big class on the task that require public speaking and expressing thoughts and defending position it is also very few people who will and can do it. Most fun thing here is that forcing this statistics to change without changing society you are getting facebook like quality.

  • @suresure123

    I totally agree that it would be great if we would have more discussions about different filmmaking crafts , and also with Vitaliy's opinion. The thing is that many of those crafts so to speak are not exact science in any way, especially the editing. It is a dark art, anything is ok if it works. You might check out "Inside the edit" website (not free*), but it is a good resource of editing tutorials not focused on gear and software skills, but on general craft and art of editing.

    I would not call those editing "conventions" since they are more general stylistic devices that can be observed in many other art forms. You can add many more to that list and find good examples in cinema. In editing by juxtaposing new information and emotional content you create new meaning and relations that go from purely visual and visceral all the way to complex theoretical concepts. The art and craft of editing is unique to cinema and inter tangled with its theory and history so deeply that it is impossible to study one separated from the other, also from other visual arts history, theory and practice, music theory, popular culture etc etc. So so complex no wonder no one talks about it, but hey, let's do it :)

    I think that it would be much more doable to share and discuss specific examples that we find interesting then to try and encompass some broader topics.

  • From what I can recall from my editing classes in college, they basically taught you about the philosphical techniques outlined in the video you've posted. The mechanics of actual physical editing were taught separately. As you went on to make your own films, you utilized the philosophical and mechanical knowledge you had acquired to edit your films, following some hard rules when it was appropriate, other times doing things differently when it made sense for you to do so. This is how we formed our own individual styles to editing. It's different for everybody. Give raw clips to 10 different editors and you'll get back 10 very different looking and feeling films. I don't know of any online resources that go into the kind of depth that you are looking for. If there is, you might find yourself overwhelmed with how deep the discussion can become. Well, you say that you want exhaustive coverage of different editing conventions. That's a bit too general to start with, IMO. Maybe try posing more focused questions in this or some other forum about certain things you would like to accomplish in your own editing. For example, "How can I edit my action film to have the same kind of nail-biting tension as the movie Speed?" You probably have a few movies whose editing you admire, so get a focused discussion going on those and you're more likely to get responses that are direct and more useful to you.

  • The only book I ever read on editing was Murch's In the Blink of an Eye. From there on I learnt from doing and experimenting. I studied more the films themselves, trying to understand the motivation behind the more interesting and even experimental choices.

  • I've read Murch's book too, interesting but ultimately doesn't say much more than hey we blink so editing shots is a bit like our attention span and blinking...ok but 1 page could of done it honestly.

    I think there is more conventions to editing than people are suggesting here. The point is everyone has their own style but to know HOW a certain edit affects the audience is important just like knowing a wide angle shot communicates something differently to a close up.

    There is stuff if I google but its separating the junk from knowledgable respected info.

    And tons of books but many are very weak in practical advice.

    I'm not asking for a masterclass just good stuff others have learned from. Editing strikes me as too important to filmaking to just say, oh do what you think works.

  • Karel Reisz's book on editing contains some great pointers, including tips on techniques like action overlaps, although the terminology in the book has become a little antiquated - lots of timing notes in feet and frames, but it's all good stuff. More substantial than the elusive Mr Murch. When I was starting out, I was fortunate enough to have a great mentor, but do your own legwork too - I watched movie after movie, on a vhs m/c that had a jog function/wheel on it - used to go through action sequences timing cuts. That kind of thing is good homework. Master the rules before you break them...

  • @mrbill Exactly thats what I think, we got to know rules to know when to break them and the effect it has. Its like you got tho know the 180degree rule but its also good to know the affect it has if you do break it for some narrative reason.

    I just find editing info is either grouped into technical stuff on how to use Avid/FCPX etc or floaty ideas about your gut feeling. There has to be more to editing as its the art that holds cinema together in my opinion.

    This is an interesting if slightly overly pedantic view of a certain editing choice from a great director.

    Also interesting Hitchcock on how a shock to audience is given.

    Good stuff here too..I think youtube has quite a bit.

  • A book I forgot to mention is Steve Katz's book on film directing. There's so much great information in there about shot order, shot contrast and so on that I think it's essential reading for editors - it's probably more useful for those whose first interest is cutting narrative, but there's something in there for all the family. You'll also get a pretty thorough grounding in covering a scene if you're interested in directing drama of any sort.

  • I think all directors should edit and then they understand what they need to shoot not to leave people without a cat in hell's chance of making a coherent scene.

  • What is film editing? Good film editing? Great film editing?

    Verna Fields: The answer to all three: whatever makes the picture work. Sound cutters make the best editors [sound more than music editors] because they have a feeling for rhythm and pace necessary to make something work. They can make things work by manipulating within the picture without changing the picture.

    Death of Editing?

    Chaos Cinema Video Essay ( 18 min )

    Rapid editing, close framings, bipolar lens lengths and promiscuous camera movement now define commercial filmmaking. Film scholar David Bordwell gave this type of filmmaking a name: intensified continuity. But Bordwell’s phrase may not go far enough. In many post-millennial releases, we’re not just seeing an intensification of classical technique, but a perversion. Contemporary blockbusters, particularly action movies, trade visual intelligibility for sensory overload, and the result is a film style marked by excess, exaggeration and overindulgence: chaos cinema.

  • I think there's an awful lot of truth in that. The last famous spy blockbuster is a good example - confusing dialogue editing and a certain amount of style triumphing over content. Look at a film like 'Frantic' - whatever you make of Polanski's off-screen antics, the clarity of story telling in this (and most of his films) is beautiful.