Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Technique of Film Editing by Karl Resiz

Karl Reisz, The Technique of Film Editing. 8th Ed., New York: Focal Press, 1960.

This book claims to be the first film editing published in England when it was first published in 1953.

V.I. Pudovkin declared that film editing is a form of creativity. How a film is edited can help express emotions and ideas. Even the early Lumiere Brothers films of the 1890s realized that editing was a form of expression.George Melies used camera trick shots in his eiditng. Edward S. Porter, a camera operator for Eison, used shots from different shoots to place together into displaying an intended idea in a film. Porter’s editing were revolutionary then in film. Porter demonstrated that editing can display a sense of time or could display a continuity in parallel actions. D.W. Griffith shows how editing can increase dramatic tension. Griffin woud show increased details in showing larger schenes for heightened drama. The editing of various degrees of close shots and long shots can heighten audience reactions. The correct rhythm of presenting scenes in editing impacts the visual presentation.

Sergei Eisenstein observed that the use of cross cuts, close shots, flash backs, etc. has similarities to literary techniques. The book notes that Soviet filmmakers then were taught how to create film for achieving political objectives.

Pudovkin wrote of the principle of constructive editing. Editing consider the celluloid film  and the composition of its appearance. A film narrative is displayed.

Griffith often favored long shots continaing close shots that crease dramatic effects. Pudovkin preferred continuity with details exposed in sequence. .Pudovkin did not like shots that lasted too long or using close shots more to break up a too lengthy scene.

Pudovkin experimented to demonstrate how shots are edited could change a viewer’s emotions. He saw film editing could be a mens for composing art.

Griffin’s films usually featured human conflict. Pudovkin’s films often concentrated ore on sidelights and story overtones. The editing reflecting their needs.

Eisenstein’s silent films were aimed more towards commentary over plot and the editing presents ideas leading to an ideological point. Eisentein saw his movies montages as intellectual movies where each picture in the moive has a single meaning that presented together create an intellectual context. The author finds the main difficulty with Eisentein’s style of movies is that viewers often find the point of the movie as obscure. It requires many viewers to further study an Eisetein silent film to understand what Esenstein intended to present.

The introduction of sound to film complicated film editing as sound and sight both needed to be edited. It became more important to pre-determined the order of shots in a film, how cameras should be set to film, and the timing of cuts when editing. A film had to have editing that was smooth in appearance. By contrast, many silent films including ones by Eisenstein and Griffin often had abrupt editing.

The director is usually responsible for a film’s continuity. Thus the director is often in charge of the editing.

Filmmakers ofen used symbolism in films. Often these are skillfully edited into films.

Documentary films often reuqire editing that focus on the film’s plot.

Edwin Porter had a rudimentary editing style. Conflict was timed in order to uplift the hero. Reaction shots contributed to visual contrasts.Cross cuts showed physical conflicts.

The author advises presenting an audience the physical details on a scene before moving to an action scene. Otherwise the viewer may be confused. Action scenes need to be carefully edited so the emphasis of the action is properly placed.

The placing of actors and their movements are important in scenes and how the scenes are edited.Sometimes editing focuses on a particular character, or sometimes a particular star actor that is the draw in attracting people to see the movie.

Serious films usually avoid jerky cuts that detract from its serious nature. Comedies are more apt to use jerky cuts or similar cuts that create discontinuity or anything that increases comedic distortions.

Russian montage sequences often use contrasting images that contribute towards an intended cumulative effect.In most American and British films, montages are generally rapid shots that convey a specific story.

Whatever a film has a plot or a theme often determines how it is edited. Documentary films are often theme oriented. Documentaries often have much raw film that needs to be edited into a documentary report. The presentation often has to appear life-like.

A film editor has to select which filmed material to use What is chosen should represent the desired mood. The sequence chosen should bolster that desired mood.There often should be a smooth continuity.

An educational film must b edited to avoid confusing the viewer. The changes presented must be deliberate.

The timing of shots is important. If the timing is too quick it may be confusing. If it is too long it may be boring.

Editing newsreels often requires keeping a “human angle” to the film.

Ernest Lindgren sees editing as “a filmic representation of reality through abrupt changes of view as a proper rendering of observed experience.” It is noted that most views occur from a stationary camera position and editing alters the directions of view or makes shots closer or further away. A lucid, smooth edting is usally required. The editing needs to be properly timed with a proper pace and rhythm.

Cuts can occur through dissolves or cuts. Some comedies use dissolves to allow time for laughter while moving to the next scene.

Sound editing can involve different levels and quality of sounds

Editin (circa 1960) involved numbering wih a wooden clapper the scenes that are shot. A sharp modulation appears on the sound track associated with the clapping sound These points are notd on the celluloid. The celluloid is placed into a synchroniser. A synchronized reel of sound and another of picture are created.  The reels are shown to check that they were properly synchronized. The same numbers are printed on the edges of both reels. Editing is done with either a Movioa, Acmioar, or an Editola. The film is placed into one of these achines and film viewed at a speed, up to three times normal, which is controlled by a foot pedal. A switch determines whether the film is viewed forward or in reverse. Most machines have a flywheel that slow the film viewing speed. The flywheel can be used manually to view frames one or a few at a time. When it is determined where to cut a film, that point is marked by pencil. Scissors are used to cut the film. Films are joined together on a splicer.

Editors usualy are who decides to lengthen or shorten a scene. Sometimes a sound editor or a composer may make a similar decision although usually the director makes the final decision.

While editing, the film editor must decide whether to use dissolves, fades, wipes, or some other optical effect. These decisions are on a form used by the laboratory developer.

After the visual is edited, a sound editor often works on a film. The dialogue is checked. If there are problems with the dialogue, actors may return to re-record the dialogue in what is knon as post-synchronising.

The music is usually added by the sound editor after this point. The sound editor then re-checks the sound. Some sound effects may be added. Some sound effects use as much as 12 tracks.

Sound dubbing occurs at this stage. The sound volume is set according to what is desired. Sound mixers may change the volumes of different tracks. The approved final sound is recorded onto one final version track.

A picture negative is then created in a laboratory. A married print is made from the negative for projection to viewers.

No comments: