Film and TV Essay (U31, U33) Unit 31 “Film editing is now something almost everyone can do at a simple level and enjoy it, but to take it to a higher level require teh dedication and persistence that any art form does. ” Walter Murch The History Of Editing (L. O. 1. 1. , L. O. 1. 2. ) Editing in early cinema was very basic and linear yet despite this it must have been one of the most exciting times in the film industry. Filmmakers had all the creative freedom at their finger tips as no one had created any rules or knew how to shoot a movie.
The pioneers of film are the Lumiere brothers who were the first people to ever record moving images from a camera in 1895. The simplicity of their first movie was incredible with a camera set outside a factory and workers streaming out of the front door. It was in black and white, had no sound and had no cuts and yet thousands of people flooded to the cinema to see these images. However from this one simple film came every single motion picture and television show so their innovation should never be forgotten.
In the years to follow came the birth of the first genres with “A Trip To The Moon”, the first Sc-Fi shot in 1902 and directed by Georges Melies. It was based on H. G. Wells “The First Men In The Moon” . It was followed in 1903 by Edwin S. Porter’s “The Great Train Robbery” , the first Western. Even in this short time period cinema had evolved significantly to include cuts, animation, visual effects and even colour in certain frames although this had to be achieved by manually painting on to the actual film strip.
At this stage film was becoming rapidly more popular with the general public and by the 1930’s Hollywood started creating some of the first “Classic Hollywood” motion pictures we know today, such as Howard Hawks’ 1932 “Scarface”. The introduction of Hollywood cinema dramatically increased the size that a film production could be and with increased investment it meant more actors, bigger production teams and more distribution to the rest of the world. If you look back at the timeline of cinema from 1895-present (2013) and find the halfway point you could argue that cinema had reached its peak in the form of Alfred
Hitchcock. Alfred Hitchcock is arguably the most famous and influential directors of all time. His masterpiece, the 1960 “Psycho”, created the first movie that used editing to truly terrify people, using long tracking shots with ominous music to draw the audience into the scene before using quick cuts at the peak of suspense to send movie goers running out of the cinema in terror. After this came the post modernist era. This saw directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Ridley Scott and Martin Scorsese break onto to the scene. However another leviathan of cinema emerged in this period in the form of Steven Spielberg.
The advances in technology meant that cinema was becoming more digital so CGI started to play a big factor in all mainstream Hollywood editing and Spielberg utilized this in his films such as “Jurassic Park” (1993) “Saving Private Ryan” (1998) and “Indiana Jones Temple Of Doom” (1984) with millions of dollars spent in post production effects. Finally we have everything in the present day. Editing in modern cinema is playing a bigger and bigger factor in films with many of todays blockbusters seeing quick cuts with multiple cameras and a larger amount of footage being shot in-front of a green screen.
The Development Of Genre Specific Editing (L. O. 1. 2. , L. O. 1. 3. ) Why is it every genre has a different feel to it? How can you tell that you are watching a western and not a comedy? The main answer is editing. Editing is the most crucial factor in deciding the pace of the film. Different techniques and styles are used in the editing of each individual genre. This is because each genre brings with it different audiences who want different forms of entertainment.
For example people who enjoy Romantic Comedies tend to be teenagers want to be filled with a sense of happiness and probably just want a film that is not too intense and is easy to follow yet thoroughly enjoyable. So with this knowledge it is not surprising that Romantic Comedies are famous for young glamorous actors, having a soundtrack with current music fresh from the charts, shooting in non treating locations and having basic cuts that are neither too long or too short. It is interesting to compare this to a Thriller. Thrillers tend to attract males from 15 years and over.
People who watch Thrillers want to be entertained by a hero protagonist fighting against some sort of evil enemy in exotic countries with lots of violence and action. So editors of thrillers will know to include quick cuts using multiple cameras, using an exciting, usually orchestral, soundtrack and putting in multiple sound and visual effects of explosions and car chases. Having an editor with a very clear grasp of how to change their style of editing depending upon the genre of the film is vital in any production crew. Unit 33 “The essence of cinema is editing.
It’s the combination of what can be extraordinary images of people during emotional moments’ or images in a general sense, put together in a kind of alchemy” Francis Ford Coppola TV Production Editing (L. O. 1. 1. , L. O. 1. 2. ) Breaking Bad ”This is the first day of the rest of your life, but what kind of life will it be, huh? Will it be a life of fear, of “Oh, no no no I can’t do this”? Of never once believing in yourself? ” Walter White Walter White is a ordinary High School Chemistry teacher that has been diagnosed with lung cancer and wants something to leave for his family.
This and the want to live on the wild side makes him a meth drug lord. ”Breaking bad has been hailed by critics as one of the best TV series’ ever created. “Breaking Bad” increases that cognitive dissonance, turning some viewers into not merely fans but enablers. ” Emily Nussbaum. Breaking Bad blurs the lines between what you feel is just and good and breaks the conventions of a TV show based round a family where it it is clear to see that no one is perfect and everyone has individual flaws that create their character. This is a very deliberate decision that Executive Producer and creator Vince Gilligan made.
Watching Breaking Bad you rarely feel that you are looking at famous Hollywood actors but instead real people that have found themselves in terrible situations. This is something that also comes off often in the editing as during scenes of character development or scenes with deep emotions there is no score playing in the background no real sound coming from anywhere apart from the space that the character is occupying with very few cuts with little camera movement so the audience can capture the real emotion of the situation. This ‘lack’ of editing can be more effective than having many different camera angles.
This editing technique fits well into the Crime Drama genre well as it does not distract from the plot which is often complicated which means the audience has a much better chance of following the and therefore enjoying the storyline more. However throughout the episodes we also see evidence of very creative and artist editing and camera work. this is most effective in the montage sequences were meth is being cooked. This way the audience gets a brief glimpse into how complex the method is and get a good feel of the time it takes to make the meth without having to sit through each individual stage and watch the whole process.
There is no doubt in my mind that Breaking Bad will go down in history as one of the greatest TV Programs of all time. The absence of obvious editing makes it feel like you are actually in the scenes with the characters living their emotions. Vince Gilligan’s style of storytelling fits perfectly with the way he has chosen to edit this production. He has brought a new feel to the Crime Drama. One that makes you feel that even the most ordinary person can become extraordinary if they believe in what they have and they have a plan to back it up. The Wire “A life, Jimmy, you know what that is?
It’s the s**t that happens while you’re waiting for moments that never come. ” Freamon The plot and storyline of The Wire is so clever and captivating that you can actually do a degree in it. Many who claim to be The Wire fans will argue that there has never been nor ever will be a better TV program made. And with the captivating storyline, emotionally complex yet lovable characters it is hard to argue otherwise. Like Breaking Bad, The Wire is a Crime Drama so similarly there is a lot of intricate dialogue which focuses heavily on character development and plot development.
However unlike Vince Gilligan David Simon has decided to edit his clips more heavily. There are scenes that defiantly have few cut so the audience can understand the emotions that are occurring in the scene. How it differs from Breaking Bad by also looking closely at the complex relationships that many of the characters have whether they be in the work place, in the pub or at home. To edit these scenes David Simon decided to cut between over the shoulder MCU’s. I feel this was a better way to edit these clips then just long uncut shots as it gives the feel that the people in the scene are interacting with each other more.
Also it fits well with some of the witty comebacks that have been written into the script as people retort to any allegations being made against them. As the series progresses we see how relationships are made and broken down by the pressure that the characters find themselves in. it is interesting to see how the strength of the relationship that the characters have with each other on screen effects the editing. For example if a characters relationship is good we see less cuts between cameras. This helps the audience feel the comfort the two have with each other and how it is a very unthreatening scene.
If the two characters on screen have a poor or hostile relationship you will notice that more cuts are brought in to show the anger or disgust on each characters face. However having quick cuts between cameras does not always mean that the relationship that the two characters have is poor, it can be quite the opposite as quick cuts accompanied with quirky or cheery music in the background can show that the characters are having a good time. As far as the sound in The Wire goes its again pretty minimal with not too many special sound effects and no unnecessary score.
What it does do how ever is use a very clever diversity of Jazz and Rock songs throughout the entirety of each episode. David Simon chose very specific songs to try and create the feel that you were in the Baltimore area. Giving a very realistic and authentic feel to the footage you were seeing. This technique really puts the audience in the scene as they can relate the music playing to what is happening in the scene. The Wires success lies in showing how the relationships between people and institutions develop and David Simon has done a fantastic job of showing that through his editing. Film Production Editing (L. O. . 1. , L. O. 1. 2. ) Reservoir Dogs ”I don’t wanna kill anybody. But if I gotta get out that door, and you’re standing in my way, one way or the other, you’re gettin’ outta my way. ” Mr. White In my mind Reservoir Dogs is Tarantino’s masterpiece. It is one of my all time favorite films and a large part of its popularity is the control of its pace. Reservoir Dogs was edited by Sally Menke who was famous for working along side Quentin Tarantino to create some of his great motion pictures including Inglorious Bastards and Pulp Fiction. When you compare these three films together it is obvious they have the same editor.
We see the same long uncut tracking and panning shots in all three of these films. As far as genre specific-editing, Sally Menke has tried to use editing techniques to utilize the great and enjoyable aspects of a gangster film. For example to draw the audiences attention to the intricate dialogue and complex plot we see long uncut shots so we don’t get distracted by too many different camera angles. This is a technique used across may genres but perhaps used most effectively in the gangster genre as the long uncut shots gives the audience time to read the expressions seen across the faces of all the characters as their story unfolds.
Reservoir Dogs like many other gangsters have very long and wordy scripts. This means that the main audio focus will be on the dialogue between characters as the audience explores the mind set of these gangsters. However an editing technique that we find in all of Tarintino’s movies is associating characters to songs and how it makes the audience think more deeply about what they think these criminals often showing a more human side to them that people can relate to. This is most evident in the torture scene between Mr.
Blonde and the police officer when just before we see Mr. Blonde about to mutilate and then set fire to the police officer he puts on the radio and starts to dance. I think Reservoir Dogs is such a great film as unlike many films today Tarintino understands that over editing takes away from the enjoyment of the cinema experience. I feel that directors over edit because they don’t trust the look and substance of the material they already have so they feel the need to add cheap effects and try to came up with as many cuts between artistic shots as possible.
However it may be this reason that so many gangsters have been edited successfully as the characters, emotion and narrative is usually so interesting that it could captivate an audience even if there was no visuals whatsoever. Alien “Final report of the commercial starship Nostromo, third officer reporting. The other members of the crew, Kane, Lambert, Parker, Brett, Ash and Captain Dallas, are dead. Cargo and ship destroyed. I should reach the frontier in about six weeks. With a little luck, the network will pick me up.
This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off. ” Ripley Like Quentin Tarantino, Ridley Scott used the same editor (Terry Rawlings) in his early career and it was with the assistance of Terry Rawlings that he was able to create some of his great masterpieces such as Bladerunner, Legend and arguably most famously Alien. Looking at Terry’s career we can see that he a real specialist in editing tense movies full of suspense. It is probably because of this that Ridley Scott chose him to be editor of Alien.
Alien’s success must be put down partly to how masterfully it was edited, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats and making sure their hearts never left their mouths. It was a challenge to edit Alien as due to the lack of Effective CGI at the time it had to be shot using real props and costumes. However this meant that showing too much of the Alien for an extended length of time would reveal to the audience how fake the costume looked. For suspense and tension to reach their peak only brief glimpses of the Alien could be seen at any one time.
This is a very deliberate editing technique as if the audience can not see the creature they have no idea how gruesome or horrifying it really could be mean their imaginations will run wild and they will create their own monster in their mind which is a much more terrifying thought than simply it being shown within the first 20 minutes of the film. Another Element which is interesting to note in Alien is the use of sound and music to create the suspense that you feel the whole way through the movie.
One of the most important things you can remember when editing a movie is that its not always how much sound you use but when you chose to use it. Alien is a prime example of this as Ridley deliberately just had the diagetic sound that you saw through the camera in the background instead of adding a score and multiple sound effects. This isa very clever editing technique as he recognized that humans are most uncomorftanble when they are bathed in silence. This lack of sound means that the audience tension reaches a peak just before the Alien appears when the human fear of loud noises kicks in.
Upon the reveal of the Alien there would be a sudden burst of sound and music. We hear the screech from the Alien the screams for the crew and a large orchestra starting to play in the background. The combination of these two things is one of the most used editing techniques in the horror genre. It is used to disorientate the audience to make the feel as vulnerable as possible to create maximum terror. Alien is the perfect template of how to edit a Sc-Fi Horror. The combination of the visual and audio techniques combine to make one of the most watched horrors of all time.
Conclusion In investigating I have discovered how editing has played such a vital role in the creation of some of the greatest TV and Film Productions ever made. Being an editor may not be the most glamorous job in Hollywood but after writing this essay I now understand that it is one of the most important. ———————–  Walter Murch – 1983  Francis Ford Coppola – 1983  A No-Rough-Stuff Type Deal Season 1 Episode 7  Emily Nussbaum – The New Yorker August 27th 2012  The Wire Season 1 Episode 8  Reservoir Dogs 1992  Alien 1979
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