Editing Archives - Page 2 of 7 - Blog
The average film has around 1250 individual shots. Action films and Blockbusters often have more than 3000 individual shots. This can be attributed to the ongoing trend of Chaos Cinema and the tendency to create false pace and momentum by simply cutting so frequently that it constantly bombards the viewer with new shots and information. This can become overwhelming and it creates a disconnected and jumbled viewing experience that assaults the audience. The frenetic pace exists but the audience can become exhausted as the eye and brain try to make sense of the imagery.
My most popular post of 2015 was MAD MAX: CENTER FRAMED which explained the cinematography and editing techniques used in MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. Even though it had roughly 3000 individual shots, the action and story is comprehensible and digestible while still viscerally effective. Fast editing and ASLs (Average Shot Length) of around 2 seconds does not have to be a visual debris tornado that hammers the viewer. Properly planned shots and diligent editing can result in an energetic AND quickly paced film that tells a coherent story.
To make this point even more evident…I have compiled 5 films that average 2 seconds per shot and average 3000 shots per film. They are being played back in their entirety at 12X speed. The resulting video is 10 minutes long. Only one of these films remains comprehensible at this speed. You don’t have to watch the whole video…feel free to scroll through and view different sections and compare the films. You will see that the painstaking craftsmanship of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD survives the massive speed up.
Enjoy the video:
This bird’s eye view at high speed is something I often use as an editor to help judge the pacing and visual variety of my own work. By pushing the boundary of human information intake, it helps me spot trends, patterns and gives me an overall feeling of the visual mosaic I am creating at that moment. By speeding up the footage I can literally see WHERE in the frame the energy and emphasis exists and I use that information to my advantage.
Congratulations to editor Margaret Sixel on her 2016 Oscar nomination for Best Film Editing!
Until next time…
Keyboard shortcuts allow the film editor to cut faster and more efficiently. By mapping the most frequently used commands to specific keystrokes…the editor can focus on the storytelling and not waste time mousing all over the screen.
Editing requires repeating actions thousands of times a day so why not make it as easy as possible for yourself? All NLEs come with built in keyboard layouts but each one is different and none of them include ALL the possible commands. Thankfully, my good friend and Emmy-winning editor Dylan Osborn has created two FREE custom Premiere Pro layouts that cover all the bases! Read more…
Sometimes creativity can be triggered by one seemingly irrelevant thing. Sometimes that one thing can be right in front of you…hidden in plain sight. In my case that one thing was a stretch of winding road by my home that has thousands of reflectors on the median. I’ve driven this road hundreds of times. At night, the reflectors whiz by in a frantic blur and it suddenly reminded me of a video game I played as a youth…Atari’s NIGHT DRIVER. Read more…
ADOBE MAX 2015 – The Creativity Conference will be held in Los Angeles from October 3 to October 7. I’m very proud to have been invited to present and will be speaking about the work I have edited over the last year. I will share my experiences editing 2 feature films, 2 documentaries, a music video, a short film and a commercial. All of these projects were cut in Adobe Premiere Pro because…for me, it’s the most powerful, flexible and constantly improving NLE out there.
Here are some of my projects I will be discussing:
THAT WHICH I LOVE DESTROYS ME – PTSD documentary
PENTATONIX – Mary Did You Know (Music Video with 37 million views)
DEADPOOL – The 2016 Marvel Super Hero film starring Ryan Reynolds
HANNIBAL aired on NBC for three seasons before being cancelled. It was one of the most cinematically spectacular shows ever on TV and it redefined what was allowable in terms of violence on prime time networks. Creator Bryan Fuller made murder, cannabalism and other horrible acts delectably palatable while maintaining a visually beauty that both rivals and supersedes the biggest budget feature films. It paid homage to the original source material but then creatively rewrote the narrative and delivered an operatic version that both acknowledged and expanded on the lore of Hannibal Lector.
Creator and writer Bryan Fuller has generously shared all 3 seasons of the scripts and every filmmaker would benefit by reading any of them. I want to focus on the first episode titled “Aperitif” written by Bryan Fuller and share with you the script superimposed with the actual show to fully appreciate the translation of script to screen. This first episode of HANNIBAL is visually and creatively fantastic and raises the bar of what to expect no matter what the format. The translation of word to imagery is no easy task. What do the written words actually turn into in front of the camera? Watch the first 5 minutes of the first episode of HANNIBAL. Enjoy the magic…
Until next time…
After a long stretch of 18 months parked in front of my edit bay…I’ve finished 3 film projects and have moved onto the next challenges. The hours, days, week and months blend together as you edit, tweak, massage and adjust the timeline into its final state. I’ve put the Adobe Premiere Pro timelines from the last three films I’ve completed and a bonus Adobe Audition audio timeline into one huge image. It serves to both remind me of great work accomplished and taunt me with the memory of thousands upon thousands of decisions made. Enjoy!
On top of the 3 films, here’s a peek at 4 short form projects I cut this last year as well. One was a spoof video for director David Zucker (Airplane, Naked Gun) titled SIDE EFFECTS. Two experimental short films and a documentary round out the rest of the work. I find it pleasing to see your projects all grouped visually in one spot. It both reminds you of all the hard work poured into your projects while looking graphically interesting. So many cuts and shots blended into a rainbow mosaic that represents so much.
In the very near future I will be sharing me experiences working on GONE GIRL and the upcoming DEADPOOL. Both films were cut exclusively on Adobe Premiere Pro and I was hired to both set up the workflow for the post production teams and also train all the editors working on both films. I was privileged to share my vast experiences cutting 4 feature films and hundreds of commercials on Premiere Pro with some of the best editors in the business. Stay tuned…
Until next time…
John Williams has scored some of the most famous films of all-time. Nominated for 41 Oscars he has won 5 times for Best Score. The five wins were for: Fiddler on the Roof, Jaws, Star Wars, E.T. and Schindler’s List. The role of the composer is a challenging one as sometimes they write the music sight unseen before the film is shot and other times they start their work after the final edit is complete. A 1980 BBC documentary chronicled William’s experience scoring The Empire Strikes Back with George Lucas, producer Gary Kurtz, director Irvin Kershner and the London Symphonic Orchestra.
The most amazing part of the documentary is watching Williams, Lucas, Kershner and Kurtz watch the Carbonite Freezing scene where Princess Leia says “I love you” to Han Solo. Not only is it one of the most emotional moments in the Star Wars saga (with the best response a rogue like Han could ever give) but it also shows the scene with no music, temp sound, hissing compressors obscuring actors lines and the on-set dialog of David Prowse playing Darth Vader which would later be replaced.
The unfinished scene is audibly distracting, sonically jarring and although picture locked for the edit…almost indistinguishable from the final film as we know it. Williams had to block out the distractions, listen through the audio chaos and create a score that elevates this scene to show-stopping status. He understood the emotion of the scene and amplified the moment with his music…something he has done time and time again to great result.
Filtering out the noise to clearly see what the story needs is a lesson every great filmmaker has learned.
Here’s a closer look at this magic musical moment:
Film Editor Margaret Sixel was given over 480 hours of footage to create MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. The final edit ran 120 minutes and consisted of 2700 individual shots. That’s 2700 consecutive decisions that must flow smoothly and immerse the viewer. 2700 decisions that must guide and reveal the story in a clear and concise manner. One bad cut can ruin a moment, a scene or the whole film. No pressure!
The most popular editing tendency for action scenes and films over the last 10 years has been the “Chaos Cinema” approach. A barrage of non-congruent and seemingly random shots that overwhelm the viewer with a false sense of kinetic energy and power. It can be effective in smaller doses, but exhausting and confusing when absorbed for 2 hours. If the story is incomprehensible due to editing…you are doing it wrong. So how do you keep action scenes energetic and fresh without shaky cameras and hypersonic editing? Read more…
The film editor can most often be found in a dark cave, crafting a story as deadlines loom. Sometimes we emerge out into the light and get to interact with other human beings. At NAB 2015 in Las Vegas this year, I was invited to speak at the Adobe booth to discuss 3 projects I recently edited.
The 24-minute video below breaks down my technical and creative process for feature films, documentaries and music videos. Hopefully you will find some good nuggets in my babbling!
Links to in-depth articles on the 3 projects I edited with Premiere Pro:
Quick interview on my favorite new features in Premiere Pro CC from NAB 2015:
Until next time…
One of the most post popular posts on VashiVisuals over the last 2 years is
The Ultimate Aspect Ratio Guide which shows 70 film frame sizes covering the history of cinema. It also includes 70 FREE widescreen templates in 1080 and 720 resolutions for filmmakers. HERE’s THE 2015 UPDATE…
In the past few years, 2K / 3K / 4K / 5K / 6K cameras have surged onto the filmmaking scene, so I have created 56 FREE templates (available to download below) to cover all these new frame sizes and resolutions. They are all PNG files (with transparencies) that can be imported into any NLE/VFX software and then dropped onto your full resolution footage to create cinematic framings.
Here are the 8 aspect ratios I’ve chosen: Read more…