Saturday, 11 October 2008

Some Terms for Understanding of Editing

180° rule. The rule is a basic film editing guideline that states that two characters (or other elements) in the same scene should always have the same left/right relationship to each other. If the camera passes over the imaginary axis connecting the two subjects, it is called crossing the line. The new shot, from the opposite side, is known as a reverse angle.

Buffer shot (neutral shot). A bridging shot (normally taken with a separate camera) to separate two shots which would have reversed the continuity of direction.

Continuity editing. It is the predominant style of editing in narrative cinema and television. The purpose of continuity editing is to smooth over the inherent discontinuity of the editing process and to establish a logical coherence between shots. In most films, logical coherence is achieved by cutting to continuity, which emphasizes smooth transition of time and space. However, some films incorporate cutting to continuity into a more complex classical cutting technique, one which also tries to show psychological continuity of shots. The radical montage technique relies on symbolic association of ideas between shots rather than association of simple physical action for its continuity. It is What became known as the popular 'classical Hollywood' style of editing was developed by early European and American directors, in particular D.W. Griffith in his films such as The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance. The classical style ensures temporal and spatial continuity as a way of advancing narrative, using such techniques as the 180 degree rule, establishing shot, and Shot reverse shot.

Cross-cut. A cut from one line of action to another. Also applied as an adjectuve to sequences which use such cuts.

Cut. Sudden change of shot from one viewpoint or location to another. On television cuts occur on average about every 7 or 8 seconds. Cutting may:
  • change the scene;
  • compress time;
  • vary the point of view; or
  • build up an image or idea.
  • There is always a reason for a cut, and you should ask yourself what the reason is. Less abrupt transitions are achieved with the fade, dissolve, and wipe
Cutaway/cutaway shot (CA). A bridging, intercut shot between two shots of the same subject. It represents a secondary activity occurring at the same time as the main action. It may be preceded by a definite look or glance out of frame by a participant, or it may show something of which those in the preceding shot are unaware. (See narrative style: parallel development) It may be used to avoid the technical ugliness of a 'jump cut' where there would be uncomfortable jumps in time, place or viewpoint. It is often used to shortcut the passing of time.

Cutting rate. Frequent cuts may be used as deliberate interruptions to shock, surprise or emphasize.

Cutting rhythm. A cutting rhythm may be progressively shortened to increase tension. Cutting rhythm may create an exciting, lyrical or staccato effect in the viewer.

Editing. Shaping language, images, or sound through correction, condensation, organization, and other modifications in various media. A person who edits is called an editor. In a sense, the editing process originates with the idea for the work itself and continues in the relationship between the author and the editor. Editing is, therefore, also a practice that includes creative skills, human relations, and a precise set of methods.

Establishing shot. In film and television, an establishing shot sets up, or "establishes", a scene's setting and/or its participants. Typically it is a shot at the beginning (or, occasionally, end) of a scene indicating where, and sometimes when, the remainder of the scene takes place.

Fade, dissolve (mix). Both fades and dissolves are gradual transitions between shots. In a fade the picture gradually appears from (fades in) or disappears to (fades out) a blank screen. A slow fade-in is a quiet introduction to a scene; a slow fade-out is a peaceful ending. Time lapses are often suggested by a slow fade-out and fade-in. A dissolve (or mix) involves fading out one picture while fading up another on top of it. The impression is of an image merging into and then becoming another. A slow mix usually suggests differences in time and place. Defocus or ripple dissolves are sometimes used to indicate flashbacks in time.

Film/video editing. It is an art of storytelling practiced by connecting two or more shots together to form a sequence, and the subsequent connecting of sequences to form an entire movie. Film editing is the only art that is unique to cinema and which separates filmmaking from all other art forms that preceded it (such as photography, theatre, dance, writing, and directing). However there are close parallels to the editing process in other art forms such as poetry or novel writing. It is often referred to as the "invisible art," since when it is well-practiced, the viewer becomes so engaged that he or she is not even aware of the work of the editor.

Inset. An inset is a special visual effect whereby a reduced shot is superimposed on the main shot. Often used to reveal a close-up detail of the main shot.

Insert/insert shot. A bridging close-up shot inserted into the larger context, offering an essential detail of the scene (or a re-shooting of the action with a different shot size or angle.)

Intercutting. Here editor cuts back and forth from one subject or event to the other. With this technique, the events appear to be happening at the same time. In parallel editing or parallel cutting, sometimes also called cross-cutting, the sequences or scenes are intercut so as to suggest that they are taking place at the same time. Parallel cutting might show shots of a villain being villainous intercut with shots of the hero or heroine coming to the rescue. Most chases use parallel editing, switching back and forth between pursuer and pursued. Phone conversations, too, are often parallel edited.

Invisible editing. See narrative style and continuity editing.

Jump cut. Abrupt switch from one scene to another which may be used deliberately to make a dramatic point. Sometimes boldly used to begin or end action. Alternatively, it may be result of poor pictorial continuity, perhaps from deleting a section.

Matched cut. In a 'matched cut' a familiar relationship between the shots may make the change seem smooth:

  • continuity of direction;
  • completed action;*
  • a similar centre of attention in the frame;
  • a one-step change of shot size (e.g. long to medium);
  • a change of angle (conventionally at least 30 degrees).
  • *The cut is usually made on an action (for example, a person begins to turn towards a door in one shot; the next shot, taken from the doorway, catches him completing the turn). Because the viewer's eye is absorbed by the action he is unlikely to notice the movement of the cut itself.

Motivated cut. Cut made just at the point where what has occurred makes the viewer immediately want to see something which is not currently visible (causing us, for instance, to accept compression of time). A typical feature is the shot/reverse shot technique (cuts coinciding with changes of speaker). Editing and camera work appear to be determined by the action. It is intimately associated with the 'privileged point of view' (see narrative style: objectivity).

Narrative mode. (also called narrative voice, narrative point of view, or mode of narration) It is any method through which the author(s) of a literary, theatrical, cinematic, or musical piece conveys his/her/their story to the audience. It refers to through which person's perspective the story is viewed and, also, how it is expressed to the audience. Whoever this person is, he or she is regarded as the "narrator," a character developed by the author for the specific purpose of conveying the story. The narrative point-of-view is meant to be the related experience of the character of this narrator—not that of the actual author (although, in some cases, especially in non-fiction, it is possible for the narrator and author to be the same person). In addition to through whom the story is told or seen, the narrative mode employed may also construct how the story is described or expressed, for example by using stream of consciousness or unreliable narration.

Narrative structure. It is generally described as the structural framework that underlies the order and manner in which a narrative is presented to a reader, listener, or viewer.

Narrative style. To understand style part it is important to understand the narrative. A narrative or story is a construct created in a suitable format (written, spoken, poetry, prose, images, song, theatre, or dance) that describes a sequence of fictional or non-fictional events. The word "story" may be used as a synonym of "narrative", but can also be used to refer to the sequence of events described in a narrative. A narrative can also be told by a character within a larger narrative.

Parallel editing. Editing that alternates shots of two or more lines of action occurring in different places, usually simultaneously. The two actions are therefore linked, associating the characters from both lines of action.

Reaction shot. Any shot, usually a cutaway, in which a participant reacts to action which has just occurred.

Reverse cut/crossing the line. Crossing the line is a very important concept in video and film production. It refers to an imaginary line which cuts through the middle of the scene, from side to side with respect to the camera. Crossing the line changes the viewer's perspective in such as way that it causes disorientation and confusion. For this reason, crossing the line is something to be avoided.

Shot reverse shot. A shot/counter-shot in a film technique wherein one character is shown looking (often off-screen) at another character, and then the other character is shown looking "back" at the first character. Since the characters are shown facing in opposite directions, the viewer unconsciously assumes that they are looking at each other. Shot reverse shot is a feature of the "classical" Hollywood style of continuity editing, which deemphasizes transitions between shots such that the audience perceives one continuous action that develops linearly, chronologically, and logically.

Split screen. The division of the screen into parts which can show the viewer several images at the same time (sometimes the same action from slightly different perspectives, sometimes similar actions at different times). This can convey the excitement and frenzy of certain activities, but it can also overload the viewer.

Stock shot. Footage already available and used for another purpose than the one for which it was originally filmed.

Superimpositions. Two of more images placed directly over each other (e.g. and eye and a camera lens to create a visual metaphor).

Wipe. An optical effect marking a transition between two shots. It appears to supplant an image by wiping it off the screen (as a line or in some complex pattern, such as by appearing to turn a page). The wipe is a technique which draws attention to itself and acts as a clear marker of change.

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