A Filmmaking Blog | VashiVisuals
AVERAGE SHOT LENGTH
Analyzing the average shot length (ASL) of films / TV / music videos can be very telling or completely irrelevant. Taken as its own metric…it is just a number. The supposition that action / thriller / sci-fi films genres have a shorter ASL is statistically accurate but that does not mean a longer ASL means less tension, action, drama or intensity. I have been deep-diving into ASL statistics for several years and shared a lot of SHAREABLES to help filmmakers and cinephiles further comprehend the mystery behind the numbers.
David Fincher is a precise and peerless filmmaker that accepts nothing short of perfection. On the spectrum of ASL as attributed to directors…he falls on the quicker end. Fincher’s average ASL for feature films can be calculated at 3.87 seconds. No matter what the number and how it compares with other filmmakers…his films never feel rushed. In my opinion, they bloom and play out at a sublime pace that suits each individual film. The amount of craft and care that goes on behind the scenes (and never seen by the audience) is second to none. I’ve been lucky to see the process first hand and helped create the post production workflow for GONE GIRL as his team made the transition to Adobe Premiere Pro from Final Cut 7.
Stephen Follows has an amazing article that further breaks down ASL by genre and number of shots to further delve into the analytics. Here’s a sneak peak at the ASL Genre Breakdown but please visit his site for the full story.
THE FINCHER NUMBERS
Back to David Fincher, it’s important to note that his films I’ve documented have a higher number of average shots than most films. Combining all genres the average feature film has approximately 1200 individual shots. By importing a full-length feature film into Davinci Resolve and using the Scene Detection function…I have been able to automatically recreate all the separate edits in an entire film. I then removed any edits that were created in dissolves or scenes with flashes that would add false edits to the final count. Here are my results.
Click on the images to enlarge to full 8K high resolution:
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO – 3.2 AVERAGE SHOT LENGTH
GONE GIRL – 3.7 AVERAGE SHOT LENGTH
Until next time…
His second feature film as a director was The American starring George Clooney. The story of an assassin hiding out in Italy for one last assignment is the short version of a much more layered tale.
Corbijn chose to use epic wide shots to help balance the internal conflict of the lead character and at the same time show his place in the greater scheme of things as microscopic. One of my favorite cuts as a film editor is to go from a close up to a majestic wide shot. It signals a change. Often it is a dramatic change of thought / point of view / location or story point. When done purely through visual means it creates a moment so that you can absorb what just occurred and prepare you for what may yet come.
Corbijn uses wide shots as connective tissue to bridge scenes but to also release tension and remind the audience of the beauty of the Italian locations. Here are all his massive vista wide shots in chronological order:
Until next time…
PIXELS / RESOLUTION / SPATIAL FIDELITY
Steve Yedlin is the DP of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Looper, Brick and numerous other films. His quest and passion for Spatial Fidelity is legendary. He just released an in-depth video analysis of six high-end filmmaking cameras.
His 67-minute video pulls back the curtain on the truths of resolution and image quality that all filmmakers have been struggling with in this constantly evolving technical world. His empirical testing shows that resolution (HD/2K/3K/4K/6K/8K/11k) is not the most important component of image capture and that Spatial Fidelity is by far the most important concept for delivering the ultimate image.
His term “Authoring the Image” encompasses many elements including: resolution, perceived sharpness, pixel count, lens choice, sharpening, compression, perceptual differences, grain, halation, optical aberration and order of operation.
We discussed my journey from professional hockey player to editing 11 feature films in Hollywood and the creative process that spans both worlds.
I share how I starting shooting and editing films with a VHS cameras and decks in the 1980’s all the way up to working on: Deadpool, Gone Girl, 6 Below and Sharknado 2 and more.
Here’s the 16-minute video:
Director Peter Hyams had experience in Sci-Fi with Capricorn One (1977) and Outland (1981) but bravely took on the unenviable task of following in Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic footsteps. Hyam asked for and received Kubrick’s blessing to direct the sequel…”Don’t be afraid. Just go do your own movie.”
Hyams and Clarke wrote the script in 1983 on different continents using cutting edge e-mail, Kaypro II computers and dial-up modems.
Shot in 71 days, the special effects included extensive spacecraft models and early CGI all captured with 65mm film.
The original Discovery One 50-foot model from “2001” was destroyed by Kubrick and he kept the original model designs under lock and key. Entertainment Effects Group (EEG) led by Richard Edlund used a 70mm copy of “2001” to analyze, copy and create a new Discovery One model.
Read the script:
In more and more prestige TV series, an odd aspect ratio is popping up on some of the most popular and well-reviewed shows.
The 2.00:1 aspect ratio has stealthily wormed its way into our viewing experiences without any of us knowing it.
Here’s how and why it was created.
Technically, the first use of the 2.00:1 aspect ratio was in the RKO SUPERSCOPE format for the 1954 production of VERA CRUZ.
The first time I heard “Fuck The Pain Away” was in Sofia Coppola’s film
LOST IN TRANSLATION (2003) starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. Great use of music to create an awkward moment in the strip club scene!
Canadian musician PEACHES wrote and recorded the song in 2000
for her album THE TEACHES OF PEACHES. I love the song, love her music, love her approach to life and finally had a chance to see her live.
On a cold night at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown…PEACHES brought the thunder. Sick show. I recorded the performance on my iPhone 6S Plus and decided to cut a video the next morning.
My goal was to try to make the most interesting video with only my one angle of footage shot from the side of the outdoor stage. I took it as a creative challenge to see what I could come up with. I also chose to not use 3rd party plug-ins and only use the built-in effects of Premiere Pro.
Sometimes failure can be a good thing. Sometimes the accidental can be refreshing. Sometimes not planning can create surprising results. Last week I bought a Polaroid OneStep SX-70 camera for $9.99 at a thrift store in Joshua Tree, California. I planned on shooting a great 8-photograph series in the Mojave Desert. I inserted my Impossible Project color film and then chaos ensued.
All 8-photographs exposed themselves and ejected from the faulty camera in 12 seconds. The shutter was apparently stuck and $23.49 worth of film flew out of the Polaroid as I screamed WTF and wildly swung the camera around while pointing it out the window.
My preparations on subject, exposure, composition, focus, lighting and framing were null and void and all I had were 8 shots taken automatically in 12 seconds by a screaming lunatic holding a click crazy camera.
You know what…I really love them. Here are the photographs in chronological order as they came out of the camera:
The takeaway I learned is ALWAYS test your Polaroid camera with an empty film pack as the battery inside the pack is the power source for the camera.
Until next time…
BLADE RUNNER 2049 comes out on October 6th, 2017. What a cast!
and Jared Leto for starters…
Here’s the announcement trailer:
The trailer has a thick sonic palette with some ripping, crunchy bass hits and the classic Vangelis high pitched synth dives amid apocalyptic rumbles.
Perfect for me to create a stylized Blade Runner 2049 ringtone. Enjoy!
I just got home from watching ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY and am still electrified with the exhilarating experience it provided. In my opinion it is the first STAR WARS film to recapture the spirit and feeling of the original STAR WARS (1977). Even though it is classified as a one-off and stand alone story, it transmitted to me the euphoric feeling and impact of the original film that I saw in the theaters 5 times much to the chagrin of my mother who took me each and every time.
As a film editor, I understand the marketing and have helped in creating the trailers for the 10 feature films I have edited. I have also worked with several trailer houses in Los Angeles that cut the trailers that we all consume in the theaters and online. The specific skillset and mindset that an editor must adopt to live in the world of movie trailer editing is no small task. The notes from the studio, producer, director and countless other people boggles the mind in terms of volume and contradictory requests. The trailer game is an ever-changing pursuit that tries to stay ahead of the intelligent public but must also find new ways to tease, cajole and intrigue. Get the asses into the seats! Show scenes that aren’t in the film. Manipulate dialog and visuals to make a scene more interesting. Shift the order of shots to make it more interesting or compelling. Add music not in the film to hit an emotional beat. Use every trick in the book to make an effective trailer.
ROGUE ONE: A STARS WARS STORY used one teaser, 3 trailers and several BTS promos to build a world that STAR WARS fans would hopefully want to visit and share in the experience. With the reshoots and adjustments that Gareth Edwards, Tony Gilroy and the studio made on the film, a lot of the footage in every incarnation made the final cut…but a lot of it never made the final cut. I have isolated 46 individual shots that were shared in the promotional material but never made the final cut of the film. The goal of the promotional push over the months leading up to the release of the film on December 16th, 2016 had one ultimate goal…to attract an audience.