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Re: 6 criteria of a good cut

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Timothy Allen
Re: 6 criteria of a good cut
on Aug 5, 2002 at 10:39:09 pm

Great advice so far...If you think of your visual cues as part of the "score" then it will help. Try treating elements within your scene as you would a musical instrument that is playing along with the score. Then treat the cut as you would the drum parts. A melody that only consists of downbeats would get old quickly... and so would "always" cutting on the beat. Try cutting on the upbeats sometimes, Or even spacing 3 shots within a place that sounds like it should be 2. You should get a good impression from the content of your pictures as to how to mix them with sound.

Don't forget that even though you will see this a hundred times, most people you show it to will be watching it for the first time. Give them time to process the images. Don't be afraid to linger on a beautiful shot for a while. Think about where their eyes will go within each scene. Ideally you will want them to notice one thing , then direct them to something else interesting in a different part of the frame. Break it up and have fun with it. If it feels good to you, it will work.

Walter Murch noted his six criteria for a good cut in his book "In the Blink of an Eye". (Which you can order through the Dairy Store link on the left of this post.)

They are (in reverse order of importance):

6. 3-dimensional space of action
5. 2-dimensional plane of screen
4. Eye-trace
3. Rhythm
2. Story
1. Emotion

The "emotion" of the cut was valued more than all of the other considerations combined.

As long as you can grasp and keep the audience's emotions, don't worry about "cutting to the beat". (Or even continuity-for what it's worth.)

If you have fun with it, the audience probably will too.

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