A director and an editor are both responsible for a film’s rhythm.
But ultimately, in many cases, the editor has the last word.
When an actor delivers a line, we see their face, but usually it’s their voice that matters.
The big reveal at the end of a movie is just as much in what they say as how they say it.
But when we watch a movie, we don’t hear every single word actors say.
It would be exhausting to listen to every tiny detail of their conversation all the way through. Instead, what usually happens is that we hear bits and pieces of dialogue while watching other things happen on screen.
Dialogue doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Actors move around and interact with each other during the course of a scene — sometimes they even move away from one another — but their faces are always on camera for us to see what they’re saying and how they’re saying it.
We might hear just enough words to understand what’s going on, but not so much that it becomes tedious or invasive on our attention span.
That’s because we’re watching two people interact with each other without actually being able to watch them interact at all times (unless there’s some kind of split-screen effect happening).
How Does An Editor Control The Rhythm OF A FILM
Why Do Editor’s control the rhythm of a film?
The rhythm of a film is as important to the success of a film as the structure. The rhythm can be controlled by the editor, which can also dictate how a film is perceived by an audience.
The rhythm of a film is often referred to as its ‘pace’ and refers to the pacing of the film.
A film with a good pace will have a steady flow in which the pace builds up and then leads up to its climax; while a poor pace will either be too slow, or too fast.
The editor plays an important role in controlling how the pace of a film develops – they are responsible for deciding where each scene should begin and end, and what should remain on screen for longer or shorter periods.
For example, if there is a long conversation between two characters during which there is little or no movement, this could stretch out for quite some time and become boring for an audience. So it would be edited differently.
The editor would shorten it by cutting out certain parts which do not contribute to the narrative and building suspense.
The length of time each scene lasts can also contribute to how well-paced the overall film is – if one scene lasts longer than it needs to, it may disrupt the flow of the other scenes.
How Does An Editor Control The Rhythm Of A Film?
So you have a great story and you have chosen the best script to go with it. The next step is to find talented actors and a director to help you bring your vision to life.
But before production starts, you need to hire an editor.
There are a few things to consider before hiring an editor:
- How does the editor control the rhythm of a film?
- What is their thought process when deciding what shots to use?
- What do they believe makes a good shot?
- How do they edit the dialogue so that it transitions smoothly from scene to scene?
- Do they cut on action or on sound?
- Does the editor always follow the script or are there times where they will change dialogue or make cuts that were not in the script?
So many questions! We hope to answer them all in this guide.
Once you start working with an editor, it is important that you stay hands off. If you try to tell them how to edit your film, chances are, you will end up with a completely different cut than what you had intended.
What Do Editors Do In Film?
The film editor is the person who edits the film in a manner that makes it understandable to the audience.
Editors are given footage from all parts of the production, then they assemble it into a product that tells a story.
The film editor’s job is to edit so that the rhythm of the film is fast and exciting, or slow and thoughtful, as required by the director.
In addition to the footage provided by others, editors also have their own footage, often shot on their own cameras. They may be asked to shoot additional footage for specific scenes.
Editing tasks include:
- Choosing and arranging shots into sequences.
- Determining what shots are needed.
- Editing dialogue and sound effects.
- Adding visual effects such as music and titles (credits).
The process of post-production begins as soon as shooting finishes. During post-production, editors work closely with producers to determine how long certain scenes should be.
An editor may find themselves having to cut large portions of a scene because it simply doesn’t fit with the rest of the movie. The editor works with the director until they get a cut of the movie that both agree on.
The director usually makes several versions before he or she considers one final cut. This process can take months for a feature-length film.
Control The Shot’s Duration
In film editing the length of a shot is the amount of time the camera spends focused on any one subject.
The longer the shot, the more time you spend with that subject and the more information you can convey. Certain shots are better suited to certain lengths than others.
Longer shots are typically used for establishing shots, or when you want to really nail down what your audience is seeing. If a scene takes place in a house, for example, it’s important to establish where in that house the action takes place.
A close up of a character’s face would be better served by a shorter shot so you can see as much as possible of their reaction.
Over the years, shots have been standardized and every filmmaker knows them by heart.
For example, if you’re following a character walking across the screen from left to right, that’s known as an “establishing shot” (or “master shot”). This shot is meant to tell us where the action is taking place—perhaps a city street or in someone’s home.
A close up is another standard shot. It should be filmed differently than an establishing shot because it has less of its own context than an establishing shot.
Support The Emotion And Tone In Film Editing
Film editing is the art of choosing which shots, sounds and other effects to include when putting together film or video. You can use it to convey a mood and control how the audience feels.
Editing is creating a story from pieces of footage and sound that have been taken during the filming process. Proper use of editing techniques can help you give your film a consistent emotional tone.
This is a process that is easy to master if you have the right knowledge. Film editing is really about imagining what your film will look like before it’s shot.
Consider what type of effect you are trying to create by using certain types of edits and visual effects.
There are many different ways to edit film.
Learning the different techniques takes time, but once you have mastered the basics, you can begin experimenting with more advanced ones. These may include jump cuts, wipes and fades.
Jump cuts allow two shots to be edited together so that there’s no transition between them.
Wipes transition from one shot into another by means of a curved or straight line appearing across the screen.
Fades are even simpler as they just involve one shot fading out while another fades in at the same time.
Create The Pace Of The Scene In Film Editing
Filmmaking is just a big puzzle of putting together the right shots in the right order. When you are editing your film, you have to create the pace for the scene.
The editing process for each scene will determine how fast or slow your audience will feel during that scene.
There are 6 different paces in film editing:
Scenes that take a long time to develop, but suddenly explode into action after a build-up of tension. This pace creates a sense of uncertainty and anticipation for the audience.
Scenes where there is high tension from the start, with little or no build-up before it starts.
Short scenes that keep the audience interested because they go straight to the point and don’t drag on too long.
Slow-paced scenes where not much happens or there is not much character development. These are used to show that your character is bored or indifferent about something.
Fast paced scenes where a lot happens quickly like quick cuts, jump cuts and fast camera movement, it’s also known as kinetic pace.
The movie Memento (2000) has a very unique style of filming by using short scenes that cut back and forth between two different sets of characters in two different timelines. The audience feels confused, yet curious because they want to know what’s happening.
How To Edit Like Walter Murch
Walter Murch is the rarest of editors — not just a great technician but also a great artist. His films are known for their visual splendor, and his editing is a key part it.
Murch edits on Final Cut Pro, so he has no use for Media Composer’s powerful but cumbersome Magnetic Timeline. “I’m an old dog,” he says, “and I’ve learned my way around Final Cut Pro X.”
Murch edits with two monitors side by side viewing the pictures and sound at the same time. He edits on a single keyboard with his hands on both sides of it, so that he can “feel” the sound in one hand as he works with the other.
He believes in having as much of himself physically involved in the process as possible — “the eyes and ears are actually more important than most people realize.”
His films are known for their long takes and complex sound design, which requires building up tracks from many layers.
Working in an NLE that isn’t optimized for sound editing makes this process harder than it should be. “The sounds are at one end of the timeline and the picture is at the other,” Murch says, “so you’re always going back and forth between them.”
Films With Rapid Edits
There’s a lot of discussion about the importance of editing speed. The human eye is capable of processing images at around 10 frames per second, so why do we need to edit faster?
Trying to edit faster than 10 fps doesn’t make sense. However, there are times when this rule can be broken (if you’re trying to save time on a project, for instance).
Editing too fast can cause serious problems, including:
Disjointed edits. The viewer is being flashed with images too quickly to process them properly.
They’re not seeing a smooth transition between shots; instead, they’re seeing a series of split-second cuts that don’t match up. This can make viewers feel ill or disorientated.
Confusion over continuity. Editing too quickly makes it hard for the viewer to follow what’s happening on screen. If they have a hard time understanding the continuity, then it’s likely that your message will be lost on them too!
This is something that might happen subconsciously in your audience; they may not consciously realise something’s wrong with your video, but they’ll still feel confused or frustrated while watching it.
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