Tuesday October 16, 2012 – FILM LECTURE
Today’s topic: Editing
Things to bear in mind: editing, which governs relation of one shot to the next, can be
seen as an additive and subtractive process.
Additive: It strings together diverse shots together the shots of a film.
Subtractive: It allows each shot to replace the shot that precedes it.
Editing is a procedure that does not affect the content of the image. It has no influence on
the actual material that will appear on the screen. Editing influences the structure of the
The Khoolishov effect: has to do with idea that a film performance gets constructed
through not only the actor’s performance but also the way an actor’s performance is
paired with other images. Here, editing can help create meaning by producing a context.
Types of transitions
Dimensions of film editing
Continuity editing and its alternatives
Types of transitions:
Editing allows a transition from one shot to another. Transitions can occur abruptly or
slowly. Most common transition = the straight cut also known as cut which is an
instantaneous switch from one shot to another. Straight cut = most popular type of cut.
All other types of transition allow a more gradual type of movement from shot 1 to 2. We
can have fade-ins or fade-outs. They do not need to be paired by they often are. Straight
cuts and fades denote a diff passage of time. Straight cuts used within various scenes that
make up a sequence. Fade-out fade-in combination used to signify a long passage of time
has occurred between 2 shots that are joined. The fade does not have to happen to and
from black (to and from white is the second most popular type of fade). Other transition =
dissolve (or cross-fade) which is when the screen never blackens completely and the
images fade into each other. There is a moment of superimposition (we shot both shots
simultaneously). Fourth type of transition = wipe. A wipe draws attention to itself, it is
hard not to notice. For a wipe, an image is replaced by another with a boundary line. Last
transition involves the iris: the iris-in and the iris-out. In iris-in: image increases form a
pinpoint to a full screen while the iris-out is the contrary. Iris-in ushers us into action
while iris-out takes us away.
Dimensions of film editing:
Editing creates relationships between successive shots in 4 ways: graphically,
rhythmically, spatially and temporarily.
Graphically: We can have graphic repetition that emphasizes differences or
similarities between 2 shots (ex: In Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, at the
beginning). Graphic match: deliberately emphasizes graphic relation constructed
through editing. For example, if we have a smoothness of action across different
shots/edits, we have graphic match. Or we can have the graphic properties of shot
1 that match the graphic properties of shot 2 due to geometric shapes in image. Rhythmic relation between shots: These determine a film’s tempo or pace. Series
of relatively brief shots create a quick pace. If shots long, we feel there is a less
quick pace. If shots uniform, the sequence will feel evenly pace. Also, if shots not
uniform, we have a feeling of uncertainty. We can have shots that gradually get
shorter or longer as action progresses. If shots get shorter, we can have tension
that mounts until we reach a climax.
Spatial relations: What editing allows for is the creation of spaces that have
absolutely no correlation with reality, that don’t exist in reality. We can create
synthetic spaces through editing (= creative geography). We can remake the work
with film. Filmmakers exploit creative geography is by editing together interior
and exterior places by making them seem as if they are continuous (ex: we can
film the outside of an apartment on location but all interior scenes are filmed in a
studio location). Editing can create illusion of contiguity.
Temporal relations: Certain editing techniques allow plot to be different from the
story. It is still possible for elements from other times to be inserted in the present
(flashbacks or flash forwards are possible). Films always compress time of story.
Editing allows to streamline story. Material often ellited (it is excised). Less
common is shots where we can elongate the time in a film (make moments longer
than they should be like in slow motion shots). Overlapping editing: extending
duration of events by way of editing. We can also do overlapping editing by
repeting an event in its entirety. Editing can also affect temporal relation through