Film and Video Editing
+ Pioneers of film making in the late 19th Century and
early 20th Century
Georges Melies (8 December 1861 – 21 January 1938) ‘A Trip to the Moon, 1902’
Georges Melies was a French filmmaker and illusionist who was famous for leading various technical and narrative developments during the earliest days of cinema. He
is a pioneer because he made a massive contribution to cinema. He was referred to the ‘first cinemagician’ due to his unique abilities to ‘manipulate and transform
reality’ through use of cinematography. His films involved strange and surreal journeys; as clearly shown in A Trip to the Moon (French: Le Voyage dans de lune, 1902)
with its iconic ‘rocket in the eye’ moment which Melies is famous for. The silent film follows a group of astronomers who use a cannon-propelled capsule to travel to the
Moon, explore its surface and escape from lunar inhabitants, after which they return to Earth with one of the captive Inhabitants. The film was an international success
upon its release on 1st September 1902 in France. It was pirated extensively by other studios i.e. other creations included elements from ‘A Trip to the Moon’ which
were transformed and modified without the permission of the original owner nor the bearing of the author’s personality. Melies was clearly influential as he made films
which became examples of the earliest experimentation of plot, action, close-ups and dissolves. A Trip to the Moon is a good example of this because its running time
was unusually high, its emphasis on storytelling influenced other filmmakers and its special effects were innovative in a time period where movies were just beginning to
become a popular attraction.
Melies was also pioneer of special effects; his experiments on film were the likely result of a discovery he made (although it was unintentional) about an occurrence
within the footage of a short film he was making in Paris; the camera’s feed had become distorted and the figures popped in and out of the frame or disappeared from
the frame altogether. Due to this fault which likely occurred due to lack of technology at the time, a new avenue of creative potential was opened up for early cinema.
The way films were made would change forever thanks to this discovery. Melies’ years of experimentation also allowed him to develop:
the first split screen (Un homme de tete, 1898)
the first double exposure (La caverne Maudite, 1898)
the first image dissolve (Cendrillon, 1899)
Georges Melies also incorporated traditional theatrical elements into motion pictures, thus allowing him to create spectacles which would have been deemed impossible
to create at a time where digital methods utilized to create films today did not even exist. There are two examples of how Melies experimented which early cinema; first
of all, he explored ‘Editing in camera’ which involved filming in sequence and then proceeding to atop and start filming. The primary characteristic of this technique was
to capture only what the individual desired in a scene. This refers to the nature of early cinema; people clearly did not communicate their ideas through use of
techniques at the time, which is why Melies was considered influential as he began to experiment on new techniques. He also explored ‘Surreal Editing’ which refers to
the ability to create illusions through movement and imagery (the imagery will have been absurd) of characters appearing to fly, appear and disappear etc. This
technique was employed with the primary motive of challenging the traditional aim of art, which was to represent reality. For example, ‘A Trip to the Moon’ was clearly
surreal as it featured sequences that seemed impossible to accomplish in real life; the film was fictional and this was unusual for films at the time. However, surreal
editing consisted only of simple special effects which were somewhat easy to achieve.
+ Pioneers of film making in the late 19th Century and early 20th
Edwin S. Porter (April 21, 1870 – April 30, 1941) The Great Train Robbery (1903)
Edwin S. Porter was an American film pioneer, famous for his roles as a producer, director, studio manager and cinematographer. He
created 250 films, but the most important ones included Jack and the Beanstalk (1902), Life of an American Fireman (1903) and The
Great Train Robbery (1903). He remains an enigmatic individual in motion picture history and his role and significance as director of
innovative early films is irrefutable. Porter initially joined the Vitascope Marketing Company in 1895 where he utilized his engineering
skills, before retiring to become a projectionist working freelance in 1898. This new job consisted mainly of Porter duplicating Melies’
films, which was illegal. He took apart one act camera reels and attempt to combine several of these into a 15 minute long programme.
Porter also attempted to construct his own camera, however these efforts were in vain. He eventually returned to Edison’s Company,
this time as a producer and director rather than in an engineering capacity. Porter was a fan of Georges Melies films; he attempted to
emulate the trick photography Melies had employed and proved successful in his films, particularly in A Trip to the Moon by the latter.
Whilst making his own films (including Jack and the Beanstalk), Porter became one of the first directors to shoot at night time. His skills
with editing and various methods of projection resulted in great effect within some of his films in which he combined documentary
footage with footage of his own, hence the documentary style of filmmaking he adopted over the years. For example, ‘Life of an
American Fireman’ combined dramatized scenes shot by Porter himself with stock footage of fires, firemen and fire engines etc., to
create an effective whole. The overall film was described as ‘truly dramatic in a contemporary setting’; this proves that the incorporation
of existing footage with scenes filmed by oneself will result in an experience in which the viewers can strongly relate the elements of the
film to real life, therefore it is more believable. This is a strong example of juxtaposition, in which two different things are placed fairly
close together to provide a contrasting effect. ‘Life of an American Fireman’ is a good example of how plot, action, close-ups and
dissolves were focused on in motion picture films at the time. The fact that Porter attempted to emulate the surreal nature of the
photography employed by Georges Melies proves that the latter individual inspired him to a great extent; there is a chance that Porter
might have come a pioneer mostly in part due to the work of Melies. This also proves that Melies was extremely influential as a pioneer
as he inspired others.
During the course of the 1900s decade, Porter became the most influential filmmaker in the United States, mostly because of his
discoveries of multiple ways to tell stories in films, and therefore communicate intended messages. In that time period (1900s decade),
films were just beginning to become popular and the works of Porter were very unusual and unique at the same time. Porter was also a
pioneer because he was the first to explore certain types of editing techniques in his films which would change the way they look. He
pioneered ways to make movies more dramatic by adding tension and release; he combined existing footage with certain aspects of his
own films. The Great Train Robbery (1903) is considered a milestone in filmmaking as it utilized multiple unconventional techniques
including composite editing, on-location shooting, and frequent camera movement. The film is one of the earliest to utilize cross cutting,
in which two scenes from different locations are shown to suggest that they are occurring simultaneously. This is another reason why
Porter was a pioneer because his film was actually considered ‘the first Western film with a recognizable form’. The film is also said to
be ‘culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant’. The editing techniques Porter explored are:
Workbench cutting: where physical film is cut/spliced and stuck back together in a the desired order. It was utilized long before digital
technology with reels of film.
Continuity Editing: attempting to create a coherent transition between shots i.e. ensuring they make sense.
+ Pioneers of film making in the late 19th Century and
early 20th Century
The Lumiere Brothers (Auguste Marie Louis Nicholas [19 October 1862 – 10 April 1954] and Louis
Jean – [5 October 1854 – 6 June 1948]
The Lumiere Bros. were the first filmmakers in history. They patented the cinematograph which allowed
simultaneous viewing by multiple parties, as opposed to Thomas Edison’s kinetoscope. The Lumiere Bros.
actually pioneered the advent of a film medium; their first film, Sortie de l’uisine de Lyon (1895) is
considered the first true motion picture in history. The Lumiere Bros. along with Thomas Edison (who
invented the phonograph and the motion picture camera) were pioneers because they first came up with
the essential aspects of the production of a motion picture.
Auguste and Louis Lumiere also directed and produced L’Arrivee d’un train en gare de La Ciotat (Arrival of
a Train at La Ciotat) which, hence its name, was simply about a train arriving a station. The action taking
place (which consisted of the train arriving, the doors opening, and people boarding the train) was shown
in a single take static long shot. Sortie de l’uisine de Lyon (Workers leaving the Lumiere Factory) which
was also made by the Lumiere Brothers, is referred to as ‘the first real motion picture’. Within both films,
the camera remained static and the flow of action went uninterrupted. The cinematograph, developed in
1894, was patented by the Lumiere Boris at a time where photography was becoming more accessible
than ever. The term ‘cinematograph’ was coined by Leon Bouly who was unable to hold the patent. The
Lumiere Brothers introduced large audiences to the motion picture, and went on to create the first films in
Compared to Georges Melies and Edwin S. Porter, who came up with surreal editing and cross cutting
respectively i.e. they experimented with early cinema to ensure films could tell stories and please
audiences, the Lumiere Brothers seem far more important, mostly due to the fact that they kick started
motion picture history and it can be concluded that without the work of the Lumiere Brothers, Melies,
Porter and many individuals who explored the capacities of cinema wouldn’t be pioneers at all, and in
addition to this, motion picture may not have even existed. This proves that the Lumiere Brothers must
have been the most influential figures in motion picture history.
+ Characteristics of early film production
The characteristics of early cinema would have been significantly different in comparison to the way films are in this current
decade. Back in the early 20th Century, when films were just starting to become popular, there was a lack of technology which
will have otherwise allowed for longer films with a great deal of shots. The earliest films in motion picture history tended to be
brief, usually lasting no longer than one minute in length. Audiences seemed to respond to moving images projected before
them; for example these would have ranged from the simple observation of everyday actions (Workers Leaving the Lumiere
Factory) to focus on large scale events (A Train Arriving at a Station) within the frame. The use of ‘long shot’ seemed very
prominent in early films; this will have enabled the aspects of a location within a film to be visible to the audience. A good
example of this is during ‘Arrival of a Train at a Station’ which, like many other films at the time, was filmed in a single, long
shot. The repetitive use of this shot could imply that there wasn’t a great deal of knowledge about the different types of shots
and what they each represent e.g. close-up and medium shots. The same thing can be said in regard to other films at the time
which basically depicted the aspects of everyday life for many people, whether it be eating food or driving/getting transport
Most films were very short, portraying events in a single-take, static locked shot, which is evident in ‘Workers Leaving the
Lumiere Factory’. This was the direct result of filmmakers, who at the time will have been reluctant to splice different shots
(especially from multiple locations) together. There could have been concerns that attempting these actions might damage or
destroy the footage (which at the time was made up of reels rather than recorded digitally) and even confuse audiences. It
became obvious that audiences would prefer films which offered an entirely different experience compared to films which had
no story or editing. This is possibly the reason why individuals decided to adopt new styles and techniques that would forever
change the way films are made, and it was the Lumiere Brothers who screened films to an audience for the first time. Before
such techniques were employed, films did not have a story. They didn’t have dialogue or even any sound and there were no
editing techniques. This implies that the production process of the earliest films would have been short; possibly consisting
solely of finding a suitable location and taking a single shot with a camera. Cameras also did not film in colour, therefore all
films at the time were in black-and-white.
The pacing in the earliest films was quite fast. A good example of this is during the course of ‘Workers Leaving the Lumiere
Factory’. The motion within the frame made the aspects of the film e.g. people walking and carts being pulled by horses look
as if they were moving at quick speeds. This makes the action taking place within the film appear quite rushed. Other short
films e.g. ‘Arrival of a Train at a Station’ also seem to share the same pace. This could prove that filmmakers did not have the
means of altering the footage they obtained in any way e.g. editing it. The films created by the Lumiere Brothers do not look as
if they were edited in any way. Based on all of this, it is obvious that the process of production for films was not like the way it is
today, in which case a large number of people are responsible for planning, production, post-production, and distribution of
films. Back in the early 20th century, things will have been far more complicated.
+ What effect did these characteristics of early film have
on the production of films?
The Great Train Robbery (Edwin S. Porter):
The characteristics of early film production had an effect on how ‘The Great Train Robbery’ will have turned out after production was completed. For example, the constant and
repetitive use of long-shot; which was in fact the only type of shot used in every scene in the film, resulted in the film being intercut. This was the case from the scene where the
bandits attack the telegraph operator to the splitting of the money and the final shootout; these were the first and final shots respectively. There were only fourteen scenes
within the film; each one was shown in a single-take, locked shot. The use of a long shot encompasses the action taking place within the scene, however the lack of different
shots makes the scenes look boring and the aspects of action e.g. guns firing not seem effective. The overall video has a passive feel i.e. it looks as if it hasn’t had any active
enhancements during post-production and this makes the film seem far from sophisticated. The fact that films were short at the time of early cinema affected the quality of the
Great Train Robbery in terms of how long the film lasted. The film was just over 10 minutes in length. There was no dialogue whatsoever and no editing. Because filmmakers
seemed focused entirely on the quality of films, they did not bother with editing and this will have hindered the quality of the film. The Great Train Robbery will have been
affected, solely because of the fact that cameras did not film in colour, therefore the film lacked in quality and meaning. It looked very dull.
The Indian Rubber Head (Georges Melies):
This film was also affected by the key aspects of early film production in the 1900s decade. For example, the pace of the film was quite rapid; this would have been the direct
result of the manner in which the reels of film were processed. Filmmakers were hesitant to alter the reels of film in any way, fearing that doing so would damage or destroy the
reels, therefore ruining the film. Because this wasn’t the digital age, this was the only way to put films together and if the reels were damaged, it would be irreparable. The
characteristic of rapid pacing in films is a good example of how the aspects of early film production affected film at the time because films do not look like that at all today as
people can now control things like pace and speed. Filmmakers were limited in the level of technology they could use; this affected their films which lacked in special effects
and multiple shots in a single scene. If the Indian Rubber Head possessed these aspects, it might have looked far more better in terms of quality and performance; it might
have also being able to convey meaning more effectively through use of certain shots e.g. close-up and high/low angle. It can be stated that audiences would have preferred
something different rather than the same fast-paced films with single-take scenes. The Indian Rubber Head focuses primarily on a chemist in a laboratory who places his own
live head to a table, fixes a rubber tube to it, and blow with all his might. This causes the head to enlarge until it bursts, after which the chemist throws an apparent outburst at
this failed experiment. The film , unlike many, does have special effects (the head blowing up), therefore it is considered a milestone in filmmaking. However, due to lack of
colour or dialogue, it still lacked in many areas. There was presence of piano music which is clearly an example of editing. This will have benefited the film as the music flows
smoothly and ties to the mood of the film; a slightly comedic feel is created.
Effect on Audiences
The characteristics of early film production will have not only affected films at the time, but also audiences. For example, when the first ever films were made, audiences were
provided with a whole new experience. Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (Lumiere Bros.) only featured a train arriving a station (hence its name), but this was enough to send
members of the audience into a panic i.e. some even leaped from their chairs and darted to the back of the room. They assumed the train was actually going to hit them. There
was no presence of camera movement, editing or dialogue, thus proving that the film lacked in many areas. The whole film (which lasted mere seconds) was a single-take,
static locked shot. Despite the lacking elements, the motion within the frame was sufficient enough to amuse/frighten the audience e.g. images of people, cars and trains
moving at a time when films were only just being discovered, let alone becoming popular. It can be proven that the aspects of early film production had an adverse effect on
films like The Great Train Robbery and The Indian Rubber Head, but a positive impact on the audience who were introduced to the concept of film which would later become
famous and bear significant importance in the world, as of today.
+ Examples of early film editing
The following techniques were employed long before the introduction of digital editing:
Linear Editing: this form of editing revolves around a painfully long process of selecting, arranging and modifying
images and sounds in a pre-determined and sophisticated manner, in an effort to enhance the quality of a product. This
was done by editing analogue video tape and cutting and sticking frames together to create a sequence. The positive
aspects of linear editing are: It is simple and inexpensive - Minimal Complications due to lack of hardware (it is not
digital) - Easier than digital (non-linear editing)
Filmmakers would only be able to dub and record each desired video clip onto a master tape. For example, an editor
could take apart a section of analogue video tape whilst recording a clip onto a master tape simultaneously. If the
overall clip is achieved as desired, the recording comes to a stop and the process will be repeated several times with
the other sections of analogue tape.
Celluloid Film: This is a traditional editing technique that was registered in 1870. Although it had many uses, its main
use was in movie and photography film industries, which utilized only celluloid films prior to the digital age (aside from
other enhancements to celluloid film). As the sole method filmmakers were able to use at the time (there was a lack of
technology in the earliest parts of the 20th Century) celluloid involved cutting and pasting reels of film together. These
reels were able to capture hundreds of images which would make up a single moving image. This process is quite
similar to that of film stills cameras. Celluloid is highly flammable, easily damaged and difficult and expensive to
produce. The process of editing will have been very long and difficult for filmmakers and if the reels were damaged,
problems would occur as it is irreparable. Using celluloid film, filmmakers were able to splice reels of film together in an
effort to create the impression of a moving image.
A good example of how filmmakers could use celluloid film to combine shots and create a moving image is the advent
of the Rollable Transparent Films in a new era of photography. Filmmakers could roll reels of film onto a spool, without
the need to strip or treat it, and create a process in which both glass and paper dry plates were used to make films in a
manner never before approached. This benefited filmmakers as they could fit the various roll-holders in a wide range of
sizes for reels of film.
Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein (22 January 1898 – 11 February 1948) Strike (1925)
Montage is the act of editing unrelated shots together to create an often symbolic meaning and condense space, time and
information. The term has been used in multiple concepts and was introduced to cinema primarily by Sergei Eisenstein.
The technique was utilized in Soviet Russia for creative editing. ‘Montage sequence’ usually suggests the passing of time;
this technique was used in American and British film studios. The purpose of montage sequence was different in
comparison to the purpose of montage in Soviet Russia, where it was used with the intent of creating symbolic meaning.
The technique involved selecting, editing and piecing together separate sections of film with the primary intention of forming
a continuous, uninterrupted whole with a smooth flow of action.
Eisenstein is an important individual because he pioneered the theory of montage and its practice. He is best known for his
silent films Strike (1925), Battleship Potemkin (1925) and many others. His works have had a significant impact on
subsequent filmmakers as he attempted to manipulate the emotions of the audience through linking related images
together; this is an example of montage which later became a specific use of film editing. Eisenstein transformed the
principles of classical editing into something else entirely through his experimentation with creating montage.
Montage sequences tend to combine numerous shots with special effects e.g. fades, dissolves, and split screens. It was
also combined with music. This form of montage is possibly the result of Eisenstein’s ideas as individuals built on these to
interpret the technique in a different, possibly more effective manner. In montage sequence, it would be a single pictorial
composition achieved by the superimposition of many images.
The Adventures of Mark Twain (1994)
A good example of montage is The Adventures of Mark Twain which was produced by Warner Bros Pictures and directed
by Irving Rapper. The film utilized the editing technique to convey the most important aspects of the story in an effective
manner. According to reviews, the montages were considered ‘absolutely extraordinary’ in the film. This is a good example
of montage because it shows just how much the technique influenced filmmakers over time; therefore it was an overall
effective editing technique.
Lev Vladimirovich Kuleshov (13 January 1899 – 29 March 1970) The Project of Engineer Prite (1918)
Lev Kuleshov was a Soviet filmmaker and theorist who taught at and helped establish the world’s first film school. He is often
considered the world’s first film theorist; he developed his ideas of editing before those of Sergei Eisenstein (who was a student
of Kuleshov). From the viewpoint of Kuleshov, the essence of cinema was juxtaposition i.e. the incorporation of one shot
alongside another to provide a contrasting effect or compare the aspects of two shots. In an effort to illustrate this theory, he
created the Kuleshov Effect. Kuleshov himself was able to prove his theory; he believed that viewers are able to derive more
meaning by interacting with different elements at the same time e.g. two sequential shots rather than a single shot. This became
a mental phenomenon amongst viewers.
Juxtaposition is achieved by alternating various shots together; each of these would depict an expression e.g. grief, regret or
desire. A good example of how this was achieved by Kuleshov is during one of his short films which he edited. During this film,
a character’s facial expression is shown alongside alternating shots of a plate of soup, a girl in a coffin, or a woman; each of
these suggest, grief, hunger and desire respectively. The audience would have being led to ponder on whether or not he was
‘looking at’ each of the aforementioned shots. In essence, all the shots put together suggest the mood he was in over the soup
on the table, the sorrow he was feeling for the dead girl, and the implication of lust as he observed the woman; all from the
exact same facial expression. In all three cases, the character’s face was exactly the same. This is a good example as it shows
how Kuleshov tried to indicate the overall effectiveness of editing in film production. In filmmaking, shots are generally
juxtaposed in an often fast-paced manner to add to the effectiveness and quality of a scene.
Kuleshov was actually the first to dissect the effects of juxtaposition. Through his research and experiments carried out,
Kuleshov discovered that, depending on how shots are assembled, the audience will attach a specific meaning or an emotion to
a film. He, along with Eisenstein, are very similar to each other in many ways. First of all, they were both two of the earliest film
theorists in history. They are both from Soviet Russia and the editing techniques they pioneered worked in conjunction with
each other really well e.g. while montage created an effective sequence, juxtaposition helped the audience to identify the
relationship between the shots. Kuleshov was also the contemporary of Eisenstein; this is highly evident due to the fact that the
two theorists adopted and proved their own theories at almost the same time as each other. This proves that both Kuleshov and
Eisenstein are very influential together and this ensured that they could combine their own techniques (juxtaposition and
montage respectively) to create an innovative style of filmmaking and the communication of ideas and themes. Both Eisenstein
and Kuleshov also believed that an idea should be derived from combining two independent shots together so there is
contrasting effect, thus bringing an element of collage into a film. This is a strong example of juxtaposition. The theories the two
filmmakers employed enabled each of them to create metaphors in films, which are very easy to appreciate and attract a great
deal of audience attention. Car chases, fight scenes and screen kisses are good examples of metaphors in film. Also, a
metaphor is defined as a figure of speech that identifies something as being the same (or similar) to something else that is
unrelated, thus creating a rhetorical effect and highlighting similarities between the two. This is similar to the effects of
juxtaposition and the use of metaphor in films is the likely result of the works of Kuleshov and Eisenstein.
+ Film Editing Definition
Film Editing is the art, technique and practice of altering and
assembling shots into a sequence in a coherent manner. It is
considered a vital part of the post-production process of
filmmaking. Originally derived from splicing analogue video
tape together, film editing is increasingly involved with the use
of digital technology in the present day.
+ Types of cut/edit
Cut: A cut is the splicing together of two different shots. Between shots, an instant transition between an area of time and space to another
occurs, unless it is a different type of cut which will have a different meaning e.g. cross cutting. An instant transition from one scene to
another, otherwise known as a straight cut, seems to be the most common type of cut used in films, most likely because it is the most simple
one to use. For example, the scene ‘The Eagles are Coming’ from LOTR: Return of the King has two shots; the first shows Gandalf looking
up at something. An instant transition then occurs to the next shot in which a giant eagle attacks one of the ‘Wraiths’ in the air.
Fade-out: this is an editing technique that is utilized in films. It causes the picture to darken and gradually disappear; it tends to take place at
the end of a scene. It could be used to create an impression of loss of hope. For example, if a tragedy takes place in a film i.e. the death of a
character, a fade-out could occur at the end of the scene. It is commonly used at the very end of a film. A good example of this is at the end
of LOTR: The Two Towers; there is a final, extreme long shot of the land Mordor before the scene fades to black and the credits begin. The
use of the technique is effective as it provides a smooth, effective transition.
Fade-ins: an editing technique that is the reverse of a fade-out. It causes a period of complete darkness in a film to brighten until a picture
appears. This often takes place in the beginning of a new scene, and sometimes as the start of the first shot in a film. Like fade-out, the fade-
in technique results in a smooth transition from one image to another. During a fade-out, a picture slowly appears on the screen in a transition
from darkness. An example of this technique is present in many opening scenes of films, one such film is LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring.
After the title sequence, a fade-in occurs and the audience is made to glimpse the first scene in the film as it comes into view in a gradual
manner. The use of fade-out is effective because it creates tension; the viewers will not be able to fully realize the nature of the scene
Dissolves: A dissolve is a gradual transition from one image to another. The transition is usually smooth and is quite different in comparison
to a cut, in which case one image would suddenly ‘jump’ to another without a transition of any kind. When a dissolve occurs, the end of the
first shot is briefly superimposed over the beginning of a second shot. Dissolves were quite common in classic cinema. An example of this
technique is present in the opening sequence of the 1941 American drama film Citizen Kane in which multiple dissolves are used, however
these were slow and short as the filmmakers intended to create a sense of morbidity within the opening scene using alternate techniques.
Wipes: a wipe is a film transition in which one shot replaces another by travelling from one side of the frame to the other, sometimes with a
special shape e.g. a star to connote a sense of added value to a scene. A moving boundary line tends to cross the screen, and the next shot
would ‘push’ the first shot from the screen. There are many examples of this shot which exist within the Star Wars films; George Lucas made
sweeping use of wipes. This web link shows some of the wipe transitions Lucas used within the episodes ‘Return of the Jedi’ and ‘The
Phantom Menace’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z72bJXrVko4
+ The four relationships between shots
There are four graphic relationships between the shots in a film. They are:
Editing and Graphic Relationships: GRAPHIC
Editing and Graphic Relationships: RHYTHMIC
Editing and Graphic Relationships: TEMPORAL
Editing and Graphic Relationships: SPATIAL
Editing is able to highlight the relationship between a series of shots and
whatever combines them. A good example of how this could be accomplished
would lie with controlling rhythmic succession, altering the dimensions of time,
and creating narrative space. Filmmakers and editors tend to work with various
ideas regarding how to convey their intended messages in films, as well as to
create meaning and understanding.
+ GRAPHIC relationships
Graphic matches (or match cuts) are highly useful when it comes to establishing a relationship between two shots
that are not connected to each other. Two different objects, spaces, compositions etc. should match graphically
with each other; this helps to establish a strong continuity of action that links the two shots together so that they
are both coherent. This would benefit the audience as they would not become confused. The overall film would
most likely benefit due to the presence of an effective transition from one scene (with an object in it) to another.
A good example of how to use graphic matches is by ending a shot with the frame containing the same
compositional elements e.g. shape and colour as the beginning of the shot that will come next, and when the first
shot cuts to the second, the compositional elements remain the same, thus juxtaposing the graphically similar
images and providing the audience with increased elements to interact with.
Between the two shots, a connection is established and a smooth, coherent transition occurs.
For example, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey utilizes a match cut in one of its scenes. The two shots
consist of a bone and a space station. In the first shot, a primate tosses a bone from a deceased animal high into
the air; the strange object is focused on so it is implied that it bears a significant level of importance in that period
of time, at a time where humans had just started to exist. The first shot then cuts to the second shot which depicts
a satellite orbiting the Earth. This shows that a smooth transition occurred between the two shots and that in
between them, millions of years are implied to have passed with technological innovation occurring within those
Both objects in the
two shots (the bone
and the space
station) share a very
similar shape and
size; this ensures the
them is smooth and
despite this, there are
within each shot
including the colour,
atmosphere etc. This
does well to provide
implication of how
different the whole
world will be in the
compared to the first
shot could be quite
consider for the
Shot 2: The second shot is implied to be set
millions of years later in the early 21st Century,
in an era where mankind has developed the
technology needed to travel into space.
Compared to the ‘dawn of man’ scene, the
concept of travelling into space is far more
Shot 1: the first shot is
shown to be set during ‘the
dawn of man’. An
impression is created of the
bone found being of
significant importance at the
time. In the present day this
wouldn’t be the case.
+ RHYTHMIC relationships
Editing has the ability to alter the length of shots to control the rhythmic succession of a
scene/multiple scenes. This can be accomplished by adjustment of the screen duration of
shots. This would be an example of pacing which, for example, could be rapid and this
could evoke intensity and excitement within the scene and the viewer respectively. It could
also be slow and this would do well to evoke a sense of calmness and relaxation.
Controlling rhythm is effective as it has the potential to evoke various emotional responses
within the audience. Usually in sequences of film, the law of rhythm applies to the fact that
the screen duration of shots should vary; this would ensure a strong sense of rhythm is
created within the scenes of a film and this increases the chances of the audience being
When it comes to establishing a sense of rhythm between shots/sequences of film, the law
of rhythm states that shots are assembled differently to each other to provide a rhythmic
pattern. This is sometimes dictated by music, as shown in the Jack Sparrow and Davy
Jones fight sequence from POTC: At World’s End in which many of the different shots
(which consist of shot-reverse-shot, low angle shot, close-up etc.) are on screen for
different amounts of time e.g. some have a long screen duration, others are shorter. The
contrasting lengths of shots contribute significantly to the tempo, or pace, of this scene as it
helps them to match the dramatic music in the background. This supports the fact that
rhythm has a strong relation to the narrative of a film. POTC: At World’s End, for example
possesses an overall dramatic feel and the rhythm of the shots, combined with the nature
of the soundtrack, does well to intensify the atmosphere of the film.
Link to POTC: At World’s End (Sparrow V.S. Davy Jones
Hinweis der Redaktion
Why were they pioneers?
e.g. types of shots, framing, pacing.
e.g. the ones we looked at.
Different ways filmmakers could combine shots using the technology of the time. Use images/weblinks.
Describe the concept of ‘montage’ and juxtaposition (remember Eisenstein and Kuleshov) and give an example.
Describe the concept of ‘montage’ and juxtaposition (remember Eisenstein and Kuleshov) and give an example.