Total Pages: 5 Words: 1918 References: 2 Citation Style: APA Document Type: Essay
Essay Instructions: I need to do a paper about the movie The Silence of the Lambs 1991 , It was directed by Jonathan Demme and stars Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins. The paper should answering the following I will faxed you the requirements of the paper. please read them carefully.
This is a paper for a crime and the movies.
Excerpt From Essay:
Essay Instructions: This is a two page simple summary/response to the Mulvey essay. While you don't need to connect it to how sexuality is articulated in Silence of the Lambs it is a good way to go. I will send the article in.
There are faxes for this order.
Excerpt From Essay:
Essay Instructions: I have the trailer needed to plete this order -
We will offer more money for this one!!
Email for the source.
Can you help with this?
I worked with another student to editing produce a film trailer but we have to produce our own write-up/report of 2500 words.
The situation is that we were given thirteen minutes of film which was edited from the film ?A Touch of Evil?. The brief was to produce a one and a half minute trailer from the piece of thirteen minute film, which we did.
Neither I nor my colleague had any previous knowledge of how to use the editing software which was Adobe Premier Professional although we both had good knowledge of Windows XP.
Our only knowledge of editing was what we read from lecture notes and books on previous sessions via the Internet.
We attended on three sessions at the University. On the first session we watched the film A Touch of Evil. On the morning of the second session we watched a critical review of the film which lasted about fifteen minutes. After this we were put into groups and given instructions on what we had to do - this included how to use the software. We were also given the thirteen minutes edited version of the film.
We spent the rest of all that day and half of the following day producing the trailer.
We tried to create a trailer which incorporated ? as best we could - all the elements of a good trailer.
One of the things that I would like to do as part of this report is to add a shot from the trailer
I will e-mail you the trailer I/we made.
The following is an example of one student?s work from a previous year:
`Touch of Evil' Film Trailer
The process of constructing our trailer involved continual oscillations in our focus between the various stylistic, structural and functional objectives we wanted our sequence to satisfy. It was the tension between these elements vying for dominance in the creative decisions plus our desire to make a unified whole through which these separate strands would interact to evoke meanings that was one of the most challenging aspects of making the trailer. A crucial question, not 'unlike that in writing this report, was where to start: how to find an initial route in amongst the various qualities and considerations in our minds; which of these strands should take priority in shaping each editing decision.
On a stylistic level we wanted the editing and images to perform both aesthetic and functional roles in contributing to the showcasing of the film. We wanted to incorporate editing techniques that would be aesthetically pleasing or arresting in their own right, such as match or contrast of graphic features, but also that would contribute to the meanings and mood of the sequence they were part of. Our concerns for the rhythmic relations between shots pulled in several directions. We wanted to construct a rhythmic pattern that would contribute to the shape of the trailer as a whole, would reflect the mood and meanings of specific parts of the sequence, and would respond to the musical features of the soundtrack.
A central question on which several other issues hinged, such as the temporal and spatial relations between shots (Bordwell and Thompson, 2001), was that of the narrative structure of the trailer: the degree to which the editing should contribute to the audience's perception of continuity and linearity between shots on the one hand and, on the other, the degree to which it should disrupt the development of linear narrative (for example, through disjunctive edits that break conventions of continuity editing).
It was the function of the trailer (in promoting the film to a modern mixed audience) that guided us through these issues and gave the foundations for shaping our editorial decisions. We sought on the one hand to convey information about the film's genre, style, mood, characters and stars and hint at themes and narrative and, on the other hand, to leave open ambiguities. We wanted to highlight the `classic' status of the film and convey its film noir style and yet portray it as appealing and relevant to a contemporary audience. We aimed to draw the viewer in by leaving unanswered questions about the plot, about the characters, their roles in the narrative and relationships with one another. This quality of ambiguity and uncertainty was also in line with the mood and themes we wanted to municate. We identified key themes from the film that we were interested in exploring in the trailer: uncertainty, mistrust, betrayal and loyalty; the boundaries between reality, illusion, dream and insanity; questions of guilt, collusion, corruption, accusation and entrapment; and notions of future and fate, control and responsibility versus chance. This sounds like a demanding agenda. However, the images we had available to us were already potentially rich with many of these notions and we wanted to arrange them in a structured way to municate them.
The function of a trailer is not to tell a story in pleteness but to introduce enough of the elements and promise of a story waiting to be told to attract the audience. The trailer variously uses continuity conventions and montage effects to create a structure that moves back and forth between providing a sense of linearity and continuity and then jolts away from the emerging narrative through use of disjunctive and discontinuous cuts. In this way it establishes itself as part of a trailer genre, which bears similarities to other non-narrative forms such as music video. This trailer shares some qualities with music videos. For
example: time and space are unveiled inpletely and unpredictably; editing plays a more salient role than in Hollywood film, sometimes surprising the viewer with an unexpected or disjunctive cut, or drawing attention to visual or rhythmic qualities of the edits; the viewer is required to `fill in the gaps' of inplete information.
However, there are also some notable differences between the use of editing in the trailer and that of music video, largely relating to the role of narrative. In the case of the trailer, more demands are made on conventional continuity editing techniques and narrative-based classical montage effects than is usual of music videos, although these techniques are generally used in ways that violate certain conventions of Hollywood film. The audience's knowledge of the role of character, of links between events in linear narratives and their knowledge of the syntax of both conventional Hollywood film and of the trailer genre is exploited through a readiness to construct connections and meanings between shots in a sequence. Chains of continued relationships are implied between images and events. Montage is used in a variety of ways: at some points the Kuleshov effect is employed to suggest continuity of space and time (for example, the shot/reverse shot between Orson Welles with rope and the sleeping Janet Leigh). At others, classical montage, in line with Eisentein, implies connections and signification between images. At other points, modernist montage style is employed, similar to that of Goddard, through the use of disjunctive edits that pull away from any narrative structure, into a discontinuous flow of imagery. In the following discussion I will draw on specific editing examples in the trailer to illustrate these ideas.
In the opening sequence meaning arises through the tension between employing and violating continuity conventions of Hollywood film. The opening shot is of Janet Leigh and Charlton Heston embracing. While the primary role of such a shot is to introduce the characters, their relationship and the stars that play them, the absence of sound at this point gives rise to an effect of eerie silence which contrasts with the traditional meanings we might expect to be evoked by such an image (notions of romance and love). Instead the characters appear distant and the scene unreal, as though a memory or dream.
This dissolves to the image of Janet Leigh standing alone outside the deserted motel. A smooth transition between the shots is achieved through use of the slow dissolve and the graphic match of the screen position and outline of the figure of Janet Leigh in the two shots. Both the match of Janet Leigh's figure, and the dissolve, act as continuity prompts, taking us through the jump in time and place between shots. In Hollywood editing language, a dissolve frequently signifies a time lapse (Bordwell and Thompson, 1993) and the graphic match of Leigh's figure in the two shots highlights that she is the same character, now at a later point in time. The contrast in the situation and in the emotional state of Leigh's character in each of the two shots bine with these devices to set up questions concerning the events of the intervening period. Why is she now alone? What has happened in the interim? What is the significance of her apparent exhaustion?
The introduction of the foreboding music also contributes to the sense of a developing narrative and questions concerning it. The opening bars of Portishead's `Cowboy' are a hightoned insistent pulse that conveys a sense of looming menace. This music and the panning upwards of the camera to the view of the horizon seem to forewarn of perils ahead, giving the audience warnings of which the character herself is un- aware. Again, this hints at a continuous chain of events, this time by drawing links to future unknowns, rather than past ones.
Set against these continuity prompts are violations of Hollywood syntax of shot functions, this short sequence being almost an inversion of the conventional order of types of shots. In Hollywood film an extreme long-shot is typically used to establish the context of a new scene (Vemallis, 2001), with the camera then moving in closer as we get to know more about the characters and their relationships, and the close-up relating something intimate about the character. Contrary to this, the trailer begins with a medium shot of Heston and Leigh in an intimate embrace, leaving their surrounding space undisclosed. Then we move further out to a medium to long shot of Leigh, and then gradually pull back to an extreme long shot of the surrounding countryside. It may be through an implicit knowledge of such conventional functions of long-shots that the shot of the horizon provokes questions about future events.
For the soundtrack we opted to use the Portishead track rather than original music from the film to appeal to a modern audience and because of its evocative quality of baleful and moody cynicism.
The abrupt cut to the exploding car fits with a distinctive musical chord that marks a transition in the structural features of the music, thus also signifying a transition within the trailer. We have already been introduced to the characters and to questions about their situation and here the drama begins. The graphic, temporal and spatial disconnectedness of this cut draws attention to the production materials of the trailer, distancing the audience from any narrative and allowing more self-reflexive meanings regarding the function and aesthetic of the trailer and qualities of the film to e to the fore. The billowing smoke from the explosion bears graphic similarities to the clouds of the previous shot, juxtaposing life sustaining nature with human destruction.
A conventional use of the Kuleshov effect in the next cut suggests the people are running in response to the explosion. Here the within-frame movements of people running appear to respond to the faster rhythm of the music - sometimes in the same tempo and sometimes as a counterpoint - and the music takes on a quality suggesting that dark forces already abound.
The slow dissolve to Orson Welles' face functions at more than one level. At the narrative level, the fade of the alarmed people running on to Welles' laughing face employs classical montage to arouse the viewer's suspicion of his role in the catastrophe that just occurred. This is a powerful way of introducing this character and implies causal relationships between shots that contribute to a sense of narrative while still leaving ambiguities and maintaining the stylised non-linear form.
Superimposing Welles' face on to images of the action of the film not only implies his role in contriving events at the level of the trailer's narrative, but also refers to Orson Welles the film-maker and actor. For viewers with the background knowledge, his dark laughter can be seen as referring to Welles the dissident, rebelling against the studio's conventional desires for the film at the time. This is particularly pertinent if the trailer were to acpany the version re-edited in line with the requests of Welles' famous memo, thus his dissolving image can be seen to represent Welles' vindicated ghost.
This shot also had a role in the structure of the trailer in marking the beginning of a sequence of shots that question the culpability of each character. In considering the themes of uncertainty, trust and mistrust, betrayal and corruption, we decided to put together a sequence of shots that would imply the guilt of each character followed by a sequence in which each of
these characters was again portrayed as victims. We separated the two types of sequence with the image of a hand swiping cards across the table. This conjures up notions of chance, luck and fortune telling, and in the absence of dialogue and linear narrative, may take on a role as an image-based `language', possibly as the visual equivalent of Detrich's original words `your future is all used up'.
The pace of the editing increases as we move into these sequences and the development of narrative is curtailed as the edits bee more disjunctive and ambiguous. The flow of imagery bees more focused on evoking mood and associative meanings. For example, the image of the spotlight conveys notions of espionage or searching for a culprit.
Janet Leigh's character plays a more prominent role in this sequence than do the other characters introduced. She has already been introduced to the audience as a central character, as has the importance of her relationship with Charlton Heston's character. Here however her role and true alliances are thrown into question. She is seen in the background reflection of the mirror when we see Grandi (who may be perceived to have a sinister role due, in part, to the implied connection with Welles' character through contiguity of these and also to his posture); and the image of her running desperately into the spotlight follows the shot of a hand grasping for a gun under the bed suggesting a link between these two images and her possible collusion in sinister affairs.
Connections are indicated between the recurrent image of Leigh's feverish sleep and the events portrayed in the surrounding shots. This is enhanced by the use of the dissolve, which appears to imply her dreaming and/or remembering these events. The images of her disturbed sleep may suggest a guilty conscience or a dilemma. For example, the dissolve from Leigh in the spotlight to the image of her tossing in nightmarish sleep may imply either a reliving of the experience or an anxiety-driven dream of what could happen. This sequence of stylised, associative edits is interrupted by a more conventional use of the Kuleshov effect through shot/reverse shot (Bordwell, 1993, chapter 7) by cutting between Welles standing with the rope and Leigh sleeping, apparently about to be strangled, thus putting her in the role of victim. Here a straight cut is used rather than a dissolve.
Following the image of the hand swiping the cards is a series of more abrupt cuts linking images of the individual characters shown as victims, backing away in fear from an unseen assailant. The space and time relations between these shots are clearly discontinuous, the content of the shots acting as the connecting feature and thus creating the theme of victim of unidentified horror and making the edits themselves a salient feature. The climax of this mini-sequence is a figure seen through the darkness smashing the window from within, attempting escape.
The classical montage devise shot/reverse shot is used to less conventional ends with an eyeline match between the window being smashed and Marlene Dietrich watching: following this we cut to the explosion, then the title `A touch of Evil' and back to a continuation of Marlene's gaze. This draws attention to the illusory effect of the edits by throwing into question what it is Marlene is looking at. Still at the smashed window? The explosion? The title? Back at us, the audience? It may be this device along with the relatively long duration of the slow-motion shot of her blowing smoke that gives this image significance. Her worndown unshockabiltity and steadfastness and the slow motion of her actions contrast with much of the drama and exuberant action in the shots that precede her. This calms the pace of the sequence bringing us to a sense of closure and re-stabilisation. This sense of resolution is
continued in the following closing shot of an unidentified body floating in water. At the graphic level, the visual features of the cigar smoke match, through the dissolve, on to the reflection on the water.
Closing the trailer with apparent equilibrium brings the trailer's structure in line with Todorov's narrative structure: equilibrium to disruption to new equilibrium. The trailer's structure can be seen as a loose abstracted reflection of the narrative trajectory of the film; for example, in referring to hinge-points in the film's narrative such as the explosion as the trigger for the events that follow. The sense of resolution at the finish of the trailer is itself, however, only illusory since it opens more questions and uncertainties than it answers, and so is, we feel, an appropriate end-point to our trailer.
Being novice editors, the process of constructing the trailer allowed us to explore using concepts of editing for the first time. The use of non-linear digital editing software not only shaped our experience of editing but also enhanced our learning of editing concepts due to the increased efficiency and flexibility of the process and the opportunities to experiment. Our creative decisions were informed from two directions: on one hand we used our developing technical skills and knowledge of what the software would allow us to do to mould our decisions; on the other hand, we were discussing and imagining the effects we wanted to end up with and working back from this vision, grappling with the technology in attempting to realise our ideas. Thus the software in some ways acted to scaffold and shape our ideas and, in others, was a vehicle with which to realise our vision, occasionally limiting our possibilities. As we became more familiar with the technology, our planning was able to incorporate its abilities and limits, and we were more able to anticipate what we could do. With more experience we also became more adept at anticipating what effect a specific editing decision would yield and thus we were able to shape our ideas more swiftly and smoothly, with less need for a `trial and error' strategy.
One technical difficulty we had was in manipulating the soundtrack. We wanted to be able to separate out the different strands of sound on the sound track - both on that of the original film footage soundtrack and on the Portisheads tracks - in order to split the characters' speech from the music and the singing voice from the instrumental of the Portishead music. We also initially hoped to control the speed of the sound track more easily (manipulating the rhythm of music, for example) so as to blend two music tracks together more smoothly. This would have allowed us to acplish our initial aim of changing to a different music track partway through the trailer in order to achieve a better fit with the changed the tempo of the trailer. The simple fade in/fade out functions we were using seemed a little crude and the resulting shift in music jarred and failed to give the intended effect.
An unexpected difficulty due to a bug in the software meant that, following our attempts to change the music track, we were unable to revert back to our alternative plan to fade the `Cowboys' track out at the end and to have the original film's soundtrack acpanying Welles' character floating in the water. In an attempt to recreate the sound of the lapping water we instead inserted a `rain' sound available on the Movie programme.
The experience of creating the trailer enhanced our understanding of the way in which the qualities of a sequence can be manipulated for desired effects and how various types of narrative structure can be created from this. The process also highlighted how little information is needed in order for the audience to begin `filling in the gaps' to construct ideas about a narrative. It revealed to us the appeal for the audience of being presented with
ambiguities and the excitement and viewing pleasure that results from the challenge of piecing these ambiguities together. Constructing the trailer therefore further enriched our understanding of the ways in which meaning can be made in putting together moving image and such learning experiences would also apply in school teaching of digital editing.
Bordwell, D. and Thompson, K. (2001) Film Art: An Introduction, London: McGraw-Hill, 6`h ed.
Bordwell, D. and Thompson, K. (1993) Film Art: An Introduction, London: McGraw-Hill, 4`h ed.
Burn, A. and Reed, K. (1999), `Digi-teens: Media Literacies and Digital Technologies in the Secondary Classroom', English in Education Vol. 33, No.3
Vernallis, C. (2001), `The kindest cut: functions and meanings of music video editing' Screen vo1.42, no. l
Film Education (2001) http://www.filmsttidies.co.uk/teachers/docs/FS1 pdf
Gates, K. Interpretation and the Cinema http://members.locos.co.uk/kevgates/interpretation.htm
Watts, D. (2001). A critical parison of the narrative structure of "Star Wars" and "Un Chien Andalou"' http://www.frame24.co.uk/articles/chienandalou.html
What is editing? Bordwell and Thompson
Film Art (Bordwell and Thompson, 2001), probably the most authoritative book on film form, starts its section on editing with a deceptively simple definition: `Editing may be thought of as the coordination of one shot with the next.' This has percolated into definitions of editing that feature in Media and Film Studies textbooks. Price (1993, p.242), for example, says that editing `structures narratives, shapes screen time, and thus creates meaning'. In the glossary of their Media Student's Book (2003), Branston and Stafford define editing as the `sequencing of text, images, and sounds.' And Susan Hayward, at the start of a prehensive listing on editing in Cinema Studies: the key concepts (2000), calls it `literally how shots are put together to make up a film'. Both Hayward and Graeme Turner (1993) connect (or confuse?) editing with montage - a term with a more specific meaning than broad editing (see Session 2). Elsewhere, editing tends to elide straight away into `continuity editing', a system of sequencing shots that has e to dominate mainstream, if not Hollywood, film and television production. This reflects maybe not just the predominance of this form of editing in western moving image culture, but also its appearance on exam specifications in this country.
Phillips (2000, p.36) says `Editing bines the images of the mise en scene, thus determining the order and frequency with which we see them. Editing exploits the natural tendency of the human brain to `make sense'. We see a set of images in an edited sequence and immediately, automatically, set to work, making meaning out of them by establishing links and connections'. What Phillips' definition adds is the sense that the edited sequence, and the editor, works in collaboration with the viewer; the edited sequence doesn't create meaning on its own, but in interaction with our expectations, foreknowledge, experience of film grammar, attentiveness etc.
Editing in education
Because the focus of this course is ultimately a practical exploration of " editing, and by proxy at that (i.e., because the emphasis is on how students might use editing technology), it is important to think of editing in terms of the functions it may perform in education. This will need to be tentative, as editing in schools is a relatively recent development, and little is yet known about it. The most obvious functions, however, are:
? Vocational Tonal - a simulation of the craft of editing, premised on its value as an introduction to the practices of media industries
? Analytical - a practical way of understanding the meaning-making practices in moving image media, for the purposes of studying such practices (in specialist media or film courses, for instance)
? Expressive - a use of editing (and moving image media in general) as a creative medium
? Literacy-based - a use of editing to develop `media literacy' - which might include the ability to operate the "language" or "grammar" of the moving image.
Physically, in industrial (i.e. in film and TV) terms, editing is a key part of post-production, after the basic footage, rushes, coverage, have been filmed. Often more filming happens afterwards - gaps are filled, sequences re-shot, alternatives filmed. The purpose of editing, at this stage, is to produce a text, plete according to a design - the conception of a single author, or director, or of a team of people. The design may, rarely, have been prepared pletely before editing, even before filming. The director Alexander Mackendnck allegedly filmed The Sweet Smell of Success according to a meticulous design that meant that the studio couldn't interfere and re-edit the film using discarded master shots or `coverage'. This level of detailed preproduction design is rare, however. Traditionally the practice is to overshoot footage and then design and pile the film in the `cutting room'.
Different editing styles/different types of text
Different editing styles
-------- different ways in which editing functions in different kinds of text: in drama or fiction films; in adverts and music videos; in title sequences and trailers; and in documentary. But a higher order distinction pertains between different styles of editing. These styles will relate to the type of text and its practical function, but also to ways of representing the world. The most important stylistic traditions to mention here, perhaps, fall into two main categories.
Montage is the style developed by early Russian theorists and filmmakers, in particular Sergei Eisenstein. The importance in montage was the meaning generated by the conjunction of two shots, rather than a meaning inhering simply in one or the other. This highly formalistic style assumes that meaning is not simply `out there' in the world, waiting to be recorded, but is actively constructed by juxtaposition, and by the inferential work of the spectator. The relation to the real world, then, is very much that reality needs to be interpreted and posed, and that it does not need to look like the world in any simple, analogical way.
There are other, overlapping, definitions of montage. One sense is, loosely, `an impressionistic sequence of images'. Another use of the word, quite specific this time, es from the classic Hollywood studio era, when film sequences that functioned as extended ellipses were referred to as `montages'. Where we use the term montage in these materials it will be to refer either to `impressionistic sequence', or the Eisenstein version.
Continuity editing is the style developed by classical Hollywood film. Its purpose, unlike montage, is to secure a convincing impression of naturalism, by using editing to build an apparently seamless viewing experience for the spectator. This style emphasizes coherent links between shots which establish continuity of space and time, so that, for instance, the eye line of a character looking out of shot matches up with the angle at which the object or person viewed is seen in the next shot, or a character moving out of shot will be seen moving in the same direction in the next shot. Paradoxically, continuity editing is just as much built out of a fragmentation of space and time as is montage - the difference is in its effort to create the illusion of continuity, where montage plays upon surprising juxtapositions.
Needless to say, there are countless variations on these themes, including many stylistic breaks with the continuity tradition, most famously by the directors of the French `New Wave' cinema in the 60s. For our purposes, the important thing is to identify editing styles in quite specific ways, relating them to the types of text, the functions of these texts, and their aesthetic nature, and the kinds of knowledge and experience of editing that texts assume their audiences can read.
Music videos and adverts
Editing has a different role in the making of music videos or adverts. The major purpose of a music video is to `sell' a song, and a performer, and it does this by creating visual analogues or acpaniments to the music track. Because the emphasis is on marketing the song, it is important, as Carol Vernallis points out, that no single element dominates a video; the images must be patible with the music, but not overwhelm it. Even so, sometimes music videos are mini-narratives, or showcase the performer, but basically the purpose is to make an almost viscerally appealing piece of film, in which music and image tracks enhance and reinforce each other, and stimulate an emotional response in the viewer. Editing then bees a case of pacing the attention of the viewer, provoking emotional or visceral responses, and of bining images and music appropriately.
The relation of shot to shot: Editing
Since the 1920s, when film theorists began to realize what editing can achieve, it has been the most widely discussed film technique. This has not been all to the good, for some writers have mistakenly found in editing the key to good cinema (or even all cinema). Yet many films, particularly in the period before 1904, consist of only one shot and hence do not depend on editing at all. Experimental films sometimes deemphasize editing by making each shot as long as the amount of film a camera will hold, as with Michael Snow's La Region centrale and Andy Warhol's Eat, Sleep, and Empire. Such films are not necessarily less "cinematic" than others that rely heavily on editing.
Still one can see why editing has exercised such an enormous fascination for film aestheticians, for as a technique it is very powerful. The ride of the Klan in The Birth of a Nation, the Odessa Steps sequence in Potemkin, the hunt sequence in The Rules of the Game, the shower murder in Psycho, the train crash in La Roue, diving sequence in Olympia, Clarice Starling's discovery of the killer's lair in Silence of the Lambs, the tournament sequence in Lancelot du Lac - all of these celebrated moments derive much of their effect from editing.
Perhaps even more important, however, is the role of editing within an entire film's stylistic system. An ordinary Hollywood film typically contains around a thousand shots; a film centering on rapid action can have two thousand or more. This fact alone suggests that editing strongly shapes viewers' experiences, even if they are not aware of it. Editing contributes a great deal to a film's organization and its effects on spectators.
WHAT EDITING IS
Editing may be thought of as the coordination of one shot with the next. As we have seen, in film production a shot is one or more exposed frames in a series on a continuous length of film stock. The film editor eliminates unwanted footage, usually by discarding all but the best take. The editor also cuts superfluous frames from the beginnings and endings of shots. She or he then joins the desired shots, the end of one to the beginning of another.
These joins can be of different sorts. A fade-out gradually darkens the end of a shot to black, and a fade-in accordingly lightens a shot from black. A dissolve briefly superimposes the end of shot A and the beginning of shot B. In a wipe, shot B replaces shot A by means of a boundary line moving across the screen, as in Seven Samurai. Here both images are briefly on the screen at the same time, but they do not blend, as in a dissolve. In the production process, fades, dissolves, and wipes are "optical effects" and are marked as such by the editor. They are typically executed in the laboratory.
The most mon means of joining two shots is the cut. In the production process a cut is usually made by splicing two shots together by means of cement or tape. Some filmmakers `cut' during filming by planning that the film will emerge from the camera ready for final showing. Here the physical junction from shot to shot is created in the act of shooting. Such "editing in the camera," however, is rare and is mainly confined to experimental and amateur filmmaking. Editing after shooting is the norm. Today much editing is done by means of video transfers stored on discs or a hard drive, so that the cuts (or edits, in video terminology) can be made without touching film. Nevertheless the final version of the film will he prepared for printing by cutting and splicing the negative footage.
As viewers, we perceive a shot as an uninterrupted segment of screen time, space, or graphic configurations. Fades, dissolves, and wipes are perceived as gradually interrupting one shot and replacing it with another. Cuts are perceived as instantaneous changes from one shot to another.
from Film Hrt, Bordwell and Thompson, Mcgraw-Hill, 2001, Chapter 8
Consider an example of cutting, four shots from the first attack on Bodega Bay in Alfred Hitchcock's film The Birds:
1 . Medium shot
2. Medium close-up.
3. Extreme long shot.
4. Medium close-up.
Each of these four shots presents a different segment of time, space, and pictorial information. The first shot shows three people talking. An instantaneous change - a cut - shifts us to a medium close-up shot of Melanie. [....] In the second shot, space has changed (Melanie is isolated and larger in the frame), time is continuous, and the graphic configurations have changed (the arrangements of the shapes and colors vary). Another cut takes us instantly to what she sees. The gas station shot presents a very different space, a successive bit of time, and a different - graphic configuration. Another cut returns us to Melanie, and again we are shifted instantly to another space, the next slice of time, and a different graphic configuration. Thus the four shots are joined by three cuts.
Viewers sometimes assume that films are shot with several cameras running simultaneously, and that editing is principally a matter of picking the best shot to show at a given moment. Some big-budget films do employ this multiple-camera technique. Sometimes a filmmaker will use several cameras to capture a performance from several different angles and distances; such was the case with Marlon Brando's scenes in Apocalypse Now. Contemporary filmmakers may employ an "A" camera for a master shot and a "B" camera for closer views, as James Cameron frequently does. More often, multiple-camera shooting is used for recording spectacular or unrepeatable actions: explosions like the one in the opening of Lethal Weapon or stunts like Jackie Chan's slide through several stories of department store decorations in Police Story.
Nevertheless, throughout film history, most sequences have been shot with only one camera. In The Birds scene, for example, the shots were taken at different times and places - one (shot 3) outdoors, the others in a sound stage (and these perhaps on different days).
A film editor thus must assemble a large and varied batch of footage. To ease this task, most filmmakers plan for the editing phase during the preparation and shooting phases. Shots are taken with an idea of how they will eventually fit together. In fiction filming, scripts and storyboards help plan cuts, while documentary filmmakers often frame and film with an eye to how the shots will be cut.
DIMENSIONS OF FILM EDITING
Editing offers the filmmaker four basic areas of choice and control:
1. Graphic relations between shot A and shot B
2. Rhythmic relations between shot A and shot B
from Film Art, Bordwell and Thompson, Mcgraw-Hill, 200 1, Chapter 8
3. Spatial relations between shot A and shot B
4. Temporal relations between shot A and shot B
Graphic and rhythmic relationships are present in the editing of any film. Spatial and temporal relationships may be irrelevant to the editing of films using abstract form, but they are present in the editing of films built out of non-abstract images (that is, the great majority of motion pictures). Let us trace the range of choice and control in each area.
Graphic Relations between Shot A and Shot B
The four shots from The Birds may be considered purely as graphic configurations, as patterns of light and dark, fine and shape, volumes and depths, movement and stasis - independent of the shot's relation to the time and space of the story. For instance, Hitchcock has not drastically altered the overall brightness from shot to shot. But he could have cut from the uniformly lit second shot (Fig. 8.6, Melanie turning to the window) to a shot of the gas station swathed in darkness. Moreover, Hitchcock has usually kept the most important part of the position roughly in the center of the frame. (Compare Melanie's position in the frame with that of the gas station in Fig. 8.7.) He could, however, have cut from a shot in which Melanie was in, say, upper frame left to a shot locating the gas station in the lower right of the frame.
Hitchcock has also played off certain color differences. Melanie's hair and outfit make her a predominantly yellow and green figure, whereas the shot of the gas station is dominated by drab bluish grays set off by touches of red in the gas pumps.
Alternatively, Hitchcock could have cut from Melanie to another figure posed of similar colors. Furthermore, the movement in Melanie's shot - her turning to the window - does not blend into the movements of either the attendant or the gull in the next shot, but Hitchcock could have echoed Melanie's movement in speed, direction, or frame placement by movement in the next shot.
In short, editing together any two shots permits the interaction, through similarity and difference, of the purely pictorial qualities of those two shots. The four aspects of mise-en-scene (lighting, setting, costume, and the behavior of the figures in space and time) and most cinematographic qualities (photography, framing, and camera mobility) all furnish potential graphic elements. Thus every shot provides possibilities for purely graphic editing, and every cut creates some sort of graphic relationship between two shots.
At one level we perceive all film images as configurations of graphic material, and every film manipulates those configurations. Indeed, even in a film that is not pure abstraction, graphic editing can be a source of interest to filmmaker and audience.
Graphics may be edited to achieve smooth continuity or abrupt contrast. The filmmaker may link shots by graphic similarities, thus making what we can call a graphic match. Shapes, colors, overall position, or movement in shot A may be picked up in the position of shot B. A minimal instance is the cut that joins the first two shots of David Byrne's True Stories. Similarly, in the "Beautiful Girl" song in Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly's Singin the Rain, amusing graphic matches are achieved through dissolves from one fashionably dressed woman to another, each figure posed and framed quite similarly from shot to shot.
More dynamic graphic matches appear in Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. After the samurai have first arrived at the village, an alarm sounds and they race to discover its source. Kurosawa cuts together six shots of different running samurai, which he dynamically matches by means of position, lighting, setting, figure movement, and panning camera movement.
Filmmakers often call attention to graphic matches at transitional moments. Such precise graphic matching is relatively rare. Still, an approximate graphic continuity from shot A to shot B is typical of most narrative cinema. The
from Film Brt, Bordwell and Thompson, Mcgraw-Hill, 2001, Chapter 8
Excerpt From Essay:
Essay Instructions: Pick a film whose violence seems to fit in the Grand Guignol and/or Jacobean characteristics of violence, and write an essay that analyzes specific scenes dealing with violence in one or both of the aforementioned descriptions. Do you believe that Harold and Sobchak’s claims are correct in that there is too much “carelessness toward violence” and that “we need noise and constant stimulation and quantity to make up for lack of significant meaning”(Grand Guignol)? Or is violence sometimes an avenue that provides “multiple moral perspectives on evil character” (Jacobean Theatre)? Your film may have both characteristics, but rather than focusing on the whole film, pick a few violent scenes that you could analyze from a critical perspective. In the process of writing this essay, you may include cultural or moral issues, including misogyny (Mayer), revenge, morality, and the like.
Some suggestions for film include:
Kill Bill Volume 1 or 2
A Better Tomorrow
A Clockwork Orange
V for Vendetta
Wild at Heart
American History X
Godfather I, II, or III
Silence of the Lambs
Natural Born Killers
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