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pacing. . . what is it?

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thewanggao
pacing. . . what is it?
on Feb 9, 2006 at 8:13:46 pm

Wondering if anyone could shed some light on what exactly pacing in editing means, or point me to a link that explains it to me.

I assume it has to do with keeping the viewer engaged in a subtle sort of "rhythm"?

Alexander Gao

"When the revolution happens, I'll be leading it."


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person
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Feb 9, 2006 at 10:08:45 pm

not sure if there is one definative answer, but 'emotional tempo' could be close. if anyone tells you it's the speed of your cuts, then they are not editors. it has to do with the internal clock. the same clock that connects to music.


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Chaz Shukat
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Feb 10, 2006 at 3:34:08 am

It's always seems difficult to define something like a dictionary would, even when it's something that you know what it is.

To me, pacing is making sure that your material doesn't feel too fast and crowded together so that there's no time to absorb what you are seeing and hearing, and also that it doesn't feel too slow, so that you are bored, figety, and loosing interest. Also, it should not all be the same monotonous pace all the way through, it should ebb and flow according to the material being presented.

Chaz S.


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Chaz Shukat
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Feb 10, 2006 at 3:35:39 am

It's always seems difficult to define something like a dictionary would, even when it's something that you know what it is.

To me, pacing is making sure that your material doesn't feel too fast and crowded together so that there's no time to absorb what you are seeing and hearing, and also that it doesn't feel too slow, so that you are bored, figety, and loosing interest. Also, it should not all be the same monotonous pace all the way through, it should ebb and flow according to the material being presented.

Chaz S.


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Chaz Shukat
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Feb 10, 2006 at 3:36:47 am

It's always seems difficult to define something like a dictionary would, even when it's something that you know what it is.

To me, pacing is making sure that your material doesn't feel too fast and crowded together so that there's no time to absorb what you are seeing and hearing, and also that it doesn't feel too slow, so that you are bored, figety, and loosing interest. Also, it should not all be the same monotonous pace all the way through, it should ebb and flow according to the material being presented.

Chaz S.


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Chaz Shukat
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Feb 10, 2006 at 3:38:22 am

It's always seems difficult to define something like a dictionary would, even when it's something that you know what it is.

To me, pacing is making sure that your material doesn't feel too fast and crowded together so that there's no time to absorb what you are seeing and hearing, and also that it doesn't feel too slow, so that you are bored, figety, and loosing interest. Also, it should not all be the same monotonous pace all the way through, it should ebb and flow according to the material being presented.

Chaz S.


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Chaz Shukat
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Feb 10, 2006 at 3:39:11 am

It's always seems difficult to define something like a dictionary would, even when it's something that you know what it is.

To me, pacing is making sure that your material doesn't feel too fast and crowded together so that there's no time to absorb what you are seeing and hearing, and also that it doesn't feel too slow, so that you are bored, figety, and loosing interest. Also, it should not all be the same monotonous pace all the way through, it should ebb and flow according to the material being presented.

Chaz S.


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person
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Feb 10, 2006 at 4:56:20 am

okay, we got it. just kiddin


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Charlie King
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Feb 10, 2006 at 10:13:58 pm

To me, pacing is something you feel, you just can't define it, or explain it. If you don't feel it, you don't understand it, and peobably never will. Don't work so hard trying to find a pace to some type of rythmn. Just go with the flow.

I have been told I edit to music when there isn't any. But there is no real set pattern to any of my edits if it isn't being done completely to music, so that may not be totally true. I just look at what I'm working with, and let the action create a feeling. When it feels good, it's right.

Charlie

ProductionKing Video Services
Unmarked Door Productions
Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel
Las Vegas, Nevada


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Scott Davis
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Feb 11, 2006 at 4:32:39 am

I agree with all of the above. One film I've seen recently with horrible "pacing" is King Kong. The whole scene where they are trying to outrun the dinosaurs down that gulley is cut fast and action packed but its so freaking boring. What in gods name does that have to do with the story? This whole movie exemplifies one of my new and growing beefs with a lot of movies. The pacing of the story is so scattershot and treated as an afterthought so they can cram in more of this inane action. The 2nd and 3rd Matrix movies are the same. Those fight scenes bored me to tears. Nothing happened and nothing changed. Good pacing/editing would have cut that crap down to a minimum. By the time you sit through a 10 minute overstylized fight scene you forget why your even watching this damn movie. A friend of mine talks about finding "the emotional line" within what you are editing. I think good pacing is when you dont stray to far from this "emotional line".



Scott Davis


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paul
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
by
on Feb 16, 2006 at 7:32:29 pm

Oh God......thank you someone else who feels the same about that scene.....it killed me to watch....soooo long....so boring....so DUMB.......it went on and on......and they didnt even get bruised after TUMBLING with 4 ton animals that are rolling on top of them and bumping them into the walls.....just retarded if you ask me......after that scene the rest of the movie really sucked....what a overhyped piece that was......


Paul


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Bob Cole
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Feb 18, 2006 at 12:56:17 am

Agree. It's all about VARYING the pace, and staying one step ahead of the audience's expectations. Bad pacing is deadly; with great pacing, you don't even think about the pacing, just how exciting and great the story is.


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Chip Johns
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Feb 11, 2006 at 6:56:09 am

I think of pacing as the flow of information.

Pace is determined by the AMOUNT of information and the RATE at wich it is presented.

To give the perception of overwhelm, sometimes we can provide the information at a rate that is hard to keep up with, or we may provide more information that can be digested. Each of these techniques would simulate the feeling of being/feeling overwhelmed.

This is just one example of how we can use the AMOUNT (of information) and the RATE (of speed) at which it is presented to the audience... to incite, excite, move, and lead the audience where we want them to go...




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mark suszko
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Feb 13, 2006 at 5:37:43 am

just to add to the good stuff thus far, part of it to me is, does the screen time "feel" like enough time has passed for the 'realtime' to be realistic? You know, one of those times when the hero is on a ten-second countdown, yet takes time for a 30-second speech before cutting the red wire... or was it the blue W-
BOOOOM!!!

Sometimes you want to up-cut the expected time of a key even in order to shock or grab attention, or reinforce suddeness.

Think of it another way: in pleasant situations, time seems to have rushed by, and in scary or unpleasant ones, it slows to a crawl. Except for a few experimental films shot in real-time, we truncate time in our programs with edits. How we enhance or detract from the perception of time's flow equals "pace".


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Mike Cohen
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Feb 13, 2006 at 3:52:55 pm

I agree that pacing is what allows the viewer to keep up with the content without being bored or overwhelmed. I make educational videos for medical audiences, often with some pretty wordy paragraphs about technical subjects. Sometimes you need to space out the sentences just to give some breathing room between complex thoughts...it's not a used car commercial.

Along the same line, it could also refer to how you cut action. In most cases you make your cuts motivated by action, such as someone entering or leaving a frame.

But watch Elephant, and you will see a whole new definition of pacing. The movie builds to a dramatic conclusion, but with very long cuts. I wish more action movies could understand that fast frenetic cutting does not necessarily make things more exciting.

Mike


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Pixel Monkey
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Feb 13, 2006 at 5:57:24 pm


"Art is not a thing. It is a way" - Elbert Hubbard

According to both Hank and Jerry, it's the same blonde that walks into the same bar, sits next to the same drunk and orders the same glass of prune juice. Why is the joke funnier when Jerry tells it? Hank had all his facts straight. He even made the same face that Jerry made when he said "prune juice".

Damn that Jerry - he sure can tell a great joke. Must be his pacing.


...I'm starting to wonder if pacing is an accident of emotion, and is therefore something that can't be taught... only emulated. The whole art-imitating-life thing.

______
/-o-o-
`(=)`/...Pixel Monkey
`(___)



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Chip Johns
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Feb 13, 2006 at 9:00:14 pm

Pacing is an art that needs to be developed no question.. However, in just discussing it well, I think we can over-dramitize this as well...


STAR TREK IV - (Act 2, SCENE ?)

(Lead in ...McCoy infers to Spooks Death


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Charlie King
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Feb 14, 2006 at 5:12:33 pm

[Chip Johns] "So I feel that many times the greatest accomplishments in society are usually by individuals who do not have as much natural ability, they know it and they work 100 times harder than the natural..."

I don't think this is totally true in this case. First, I really don't call it a natural ability, it is developed over time, but there is no real way to teach it, you just learn how to feel it as you go. Also as to working harder if you don't have natural ability again is not totally true, many just let it happen, where if you got it you work harder to make it that perfect feel you know it can have. Just because you have that feel doesn't mean every scene is going to fall into place you ahve to try scenes to feel which works best.

I remember a movie in the mid 60's, not sure of the title but similar to Naked City. The opening credits were pl;ayed over a scene of a car driving through New York shot from the back seat. As credits end the car stops, people start getting out as does the camera and everyone walks up 2 flights of stairs camera following. This ended up as about a 2 and a half minute shot. one shot and it felt so dang good. I was always amazed at how it felt to not have a cut in such a long shot.

Charlie



ProductionKing Video Services
Unmarked Door Productions
Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel
Las Vegas, Nevada


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John
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
by
on Feb 14, 2006 at 7:23:37 pm

Good day,

Pacing is a feeling, is a scene too long or too short? What type of emotion are you trying to convey? Slow and methodical or heart pounding excitement? Are you trying to hold the viewer's attention, so he gets the message?

It comes with experience and Charile did a great job in his explination.

John


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Rennie
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Feb 19, 2006 at 1:26:30 am

Re: pacing. . . what is it?
I always thought it was what went on in the background, behind the editor (amongst the producers and the director).

A simple example that comes to mind is a brief sequence of 3 shots. 1st is a wide shot of a porcupine occuping about 1/3 of the frame. After about 10 seconds of watching him feed with his fur waveing in the breeze people often question what it is as it looks so docile, peaceful and even cuddely. Cut to a shot of it a little closer with it's menacing quills up and hold for 4 seconds or so , long enough to recognize it's head which confirms it is the same critter but with much different feeling being evoked. Cut to a close up of a dazzed looking dog's head with 127 porcupine quills sticking out of his mouth and muzzle. This short sequence transforms your feelings from warmth to shocked to where you can taste the adrenalin in your mouth. The 2nd clip is key as it breaks the mood of the 1st shot and sets you up for the final shot. It is only there long enough for the viewer to recognize the critter and break the peaceful mood.

A more complex example of pacing is the accident scene in Julie Taymor's "Frida" where you go from a lengthy mood setting shot of them running for the bus. You never settle into the dialog after that as you are shown the bird in the boy's hand, back to the speaker to connect the dialog and now to the gold in the craftman's tool kit. both of these elements come back into play during the actual accident which, after a couple of vehicle passing and horn honking shots, breaks into slow motion and cumulates to the tragic overhead view of Frida lying on the floor (with a tremendous amount of creative cinemaphotography & effects in between). This entire crash sequence was shot from the interior of the vehicle! and it is probably the single most important event in the life of Frida Kahlo. What a piece of film work this movie was.


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paul77
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Mar 2, 2006 at 8:12:18 pm

Arguably one of the most thrilling scenes in Pulp Fiction was when Travolta dumps passed-out Uma Thurman with poor Eric Stolz and Rossanna Arquette. From the moment Arquette hangs up the phone to the moment they're about to "stab Uma in the heart" there is not one single edit. Not one. (well two - the IN and the OUT ;o) The idea that we don't HAVE to cut is something I've learned. The emotion of that scene determines the pacing without need for a single join.


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Chip Johns
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Mar 2, 2006 at 9:50:26 pm

Usually when there is an incredibly long scene shot in one take, isn't this usually a decision by the director? It had to of been shot that way!?! I know that sometimes a scene isn't edited like it was inteneded, but usually when a scene is incredibly long one the decision was made long before it hits the edit..

I'm not posting this to be a smart@$$. Just curious.


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paul77
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Mar 2, 2006 at 11:24:12 pm

Hi Chip, didn't come accross as smartass at all.

Got me thinking, though. Even though the director made the decision long before they even shot it, it's still an editorial decision (imo). A film editor makes 24 decisions every second. Most of those decisions are "don't cut here". So the decision not to cut is an editorial one too. I bet you could copy that scene to your hard drive and re create a workable scene with edits. And if you had the out takes, it'd be even easier. So the fact that it can be done and they chose not to in the editing phase says a lot, I think.


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Scott Davis
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Mar 3, 2006 at 3:02:09 am

Paul, I cant say I remember Pulp Fiction that well but I what I hold up as my gold standard of editing is the opening of Tarkovsky's "The Sacrifice". One single 8 1/2 minute tracking shot with 0 edits. I agree with you in that editing is not about cuting but is about making choices. Chosing to not make a cut can be a much better edit than chosing to make one.


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person
Re: pacing. . . what is it?
on Mar 4, 2006 at 2:55:04 pm

exactly. that is what a lot of younger editors need to learn. when not to cut. 'boogie nights' has a nice long no cut intro starting with a steadicam op held via a crane disconnects and walks into the night club. nice effect. must take HOURS to light and choreograph. if i see it being done now, i kind of feel like 'okay, this has been done. stop showing off.'


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