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Movies with bad editing

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Jay Huubs
Movies with bad editing
on Aug 7, 2009 at 6:49:07 pm

OK, so I've worked in TV for 7 years before, although nothing to do with actual editing. More like camera stuff among other things. I got into editing by coming in late at night and using the news edtiing bays to fiddle around. I then got into editing when I bought my Mac and created a great Christmas video that all the family loved. I then springboarded into shooting and producing Roller Derby events for the local league. It's a one man operation with 5 static cams and one being mobile. The point of all of this is that I don't think I have the eye for what is a good edit and what is a bad edit. Now I can tell when something I make flows, or if it is choppy (to short of duration for a specific angle), but I can't seem to find a movie with bad editing in it. I have had a few examples of movie with good editing, but can someone suggest some movies with bad editing? It's hard to see the ying without the yang.

"Life's a pitch and then you buy."
-Billy Mays


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Rocco Forte
Re: Movies with bad editing
on Aug 8, 2009 at 3:40:03 am

It's tough because what you might interpret as bad editing could be a number of things like bad framing, bad sound, bad lighting etc. It's also noteworthy that "bad editing" doesn't necessarily mean bad editor. The Producers and Director can all have heavy influence in an edit suite.

Having said that, one thing to look for is bad rhythm. Or no rhythm. I thought Transformers 2 was horribly edited. Seemingly no lulls; all fast WHAM BAM in yer face. In contrast, The Terminator is made with impeccable rhythm; there are as many slower scenes as frenetic, high energy scenes which overall means a more emotionally involved (tense) film. I felt almost no tension in Transformers 2 despite the fact that the protagonist has more robots or whatever to fend off. That's not a rule of course, but rhythm is something that only the editor has control of.



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Mike Smith
Re: Movies with bad editing
on Aug 8, 2009 at 10:03:43 am

There is lots of bad editing out there, - though one person's fundamental breach of film grammar is another's new wave.

You'll probably want to look away from the mainstream studio product, which whatever its story or imaginative framework(sometimes great, sometimes not) is rarely less than excellent in technical execution.

But the budget movies on the indie circuit vary enormously, and often the money just wasn't there for a fully resourced shoot and technical polish.

A step down from there, try getting to see a wide range of home movie or enthusiast amateur video groups, and decide for yourself what constitutes good and what is bad.


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grinner hester
Re: Movies with bad editing
on Aug 8, 2009 at 2:36:21 pm

A bad edit is simply an edit without intention. That is to say, cutting for the sake of cutting... well, you've seen 80s music videos. But as long as every edit simply enhances feeling or shows the best take or shot, man there is no need to over analize. I'd say your best bet for what not to dos is your local Blockbuster store. Grab the most unknown horror film you can find. Anything with a screaming girl with blood on her face as the cover. Bad acting is not easy to edit so this is your best resource in this case.
That said, man just make some random ass cuts then watch it. Then ask yourself why it's bad. Once you realize it's because it was random, you can go back to story-telling. Second guessing yourself will not only take more time, it'll make it less fun and that will always render a sub-par product.



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Mark Suszko
Re: Movies with bad editing
on Aug 10, 2009 at 2:51:17 pm

Watching anything critically will make you better. Pick something like a soap opera and watch it with the sound off. Soaps are an intersting case because due to the incredibly short timelines they work on, much of it is live-switched, then if needed somebody does a quick erpair in non-linear. Try watching with the sound off and calling the camera shots out loud at the poitn *you* think they should happen. See if you soon pick up the director's rythm or if you stay divergent. Either way teaches you something.

Mym wife often catches me watching something bad on TV and invariably I tell her that A: it makes me feel superior knowing I could do that better and B: it is a fun exercise to learn from other's mistakes as well as their good work, to think about how I would approach the same problem differently.


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Michael Aranyshev
Re: Movies with bad editing
on Aug 24, 2009 at 10:43:19 am

[grinner hester] "A bad edit is simply an edit without intention."

Cuts in boat scenes in "Jaws" are full of intention. Intention to frighten. But the editing is bad because what the audience is scared of isn't a shark but Quint. Of course here it is probably directing that's bad, not the editing.



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Mark Suszko
Re: Movies with bad editing
on Aug 31, 2009 at 12:57:00 am

I have to disagree about JAWS, it is famous as a movie "saved" by the editing.
It took me a while to think of a movie that I thought had really bad editing, but I came up with the comedy "Nacho Libre". That one definitely needed to be shortened, and it has some really glaring continuity problems in it as well. I felt Jack Black had something promising going in this, but the editing killed off the pacing and distorted the plot lines. Parts of it looked like they were editing around some missing footage.

I have ranted at length about the the final part of the last Star Wars Trilogy. In brief, Lucas doesn't show a convincing motivation for Anakin to turn to the Dark Side and become Lord Vader. He shot sequences that show Padme Amadala helping to form what will become the Rebel Alliance, but these sequences were cut for time to let more space battles be up longer. I think that was a glaring error. To have Anakin find out that his lover and mother of his kids "betrayed" him and the Republic he thinks he's defending with his life, and that his best friend and mentor, a Jedi, was in on it, THAT is the strong shock and hurt that could motivate a guy to turn bad, or make him vulnerable to BE turned at a critical moment.
To me this was glaringly obvious. I can't be the only one that thinks so.


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Tony Stampalia
Re: Movies with bad editing
on Aug 12, 2009 at 4:39:43 pm

I recently re-watched "Unfaithful" edited by the extraordinary Anne Coates. I found a few edits to be what I call 'self-conscious', i.e. calling attention to themselves, jumpy, unmotivated instead of adding to the rhythm and flow of the film.

I can say the same for a few edits in "The Departed" edited by Thelma Schoonmaker.


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Jason Diebler
Re: Movies with bad editing
on Aug 14, 2009 at 6:52:15 pm

I also noticed a bad edit in "The Departed"... I think it was a continuity problem, where there was no shot to give a proper match cut.

Tarantino's "Planet Terror" (1st of the Grindhouse movies) has some very intentional bad editing... makes you think 70's B movie. It's so bad that it's great!



"The deepest blues are black" - Foo Fighters
(this doesn't help me when I'm chroma keying!)


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Tony Stampalia
Re: Movies with bad editing
on Aug 14, 2009 at 10:49:25 pm

It's funny the two editors I mentioned - Coates and Schoonmaker - are both fairly older women. Perhaps that's contributory.

I think Grindhouse is meant to be poorly shot and edited to evoke the feel of those 60's and 70's B-Movies. But honestly I've only seen bits and pieces of them..


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John Paul Horstmann
Re: Movies with bad editing
on Jun 18, 2011 at 9:53:51 am

You are completely wrong. First of all, Thelma has been doing that on purpose for the last few films. Notice in the Aviator, she makes great use of those seemingly "bad" on axis cuts, with mismatched body position and 'continuity'. Case in point when Noah Deitrich introduces himself to Hughes on the airfield. And Anne has always been non-traditional, she cut for Soderberg. It's a style choice, based on the performances and the movement of the piece.

Second, and more importantly, the best editors have always been women. And not because they could make a good cut. Technical ability is really commonplace. Anybody can cut a scene, anybody can cut an action movie. But not anybody can craft a good performance. Which is why so many women have been great editors: their attention to the subtly meaning behind a performance is their power. A film like Doubt is far more difficult than Transformers 2.


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Movies with bad editing
on Aug 17, 2009 at 7:50:05 am

What is good editing? Lots of answers to this.
Good editing, like good camera work, never draws attention to itself, and remains invisible. Example. Like the way your vision might shift around at a concert. You don't just stare at the lead singer for the entire show. You look at the stage, the singer, the guitar, the crowd, back to the stage, and so on. In your mind it appears seamless. Good editing should appear seamless as well.
Anytime someone watching your work says to themselves "wow that was a cool edit/camera move/effect" or whatever, they have stopped following your story, and it isn't all that cool after all. Even worse when its because it was a bad edit, like a jump cut.
If you edit long enough you develop a little thing inside your head that makes you jump when there is a bad edit, even if you are watching something casually. It just takes 'seat time'.
It also helps to watch your stuff once without the sound, and listen to your sound editing without watching.


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Chris Bové
Re: Movies with bad editing
on Aug 14, 2009 at 7:05:49 pm

[Jay Huubs] "can someone suggest some movies with bad editing?"

Sure! - Any movie you've ever gone to see and:
- looked at your watch!
- said "this is dragging"
- said "OMG, this is REALLY dragging"
- was originally a Dean Koontz book

...or was titled:
- King Kong (P.Jackson)
- The English Patient
- There Will Be Blood
- Waterworld
- Troll 2
- Ishtar
- Showgirls
- Over the Top (Stallone - remember his arm wrestling movie?)
- Gumball Rally
- Dragon Storm
...I could go on...

HOWEVER, it is eternally important to watch these types of films. Doing so identifies what to do and what not to do. If you watch perfection all the time, you'll never reach it!

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

A picture says 1000 words. Editors give them meaning.



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Tony Stampalia
Re: Movies with bad editing
on Aug 14, 2009 at 10:54:42 pm

I'd disagree with some of those choices.

I believe editing does not contribute to the "how much longer is this going on?"

I just watched the Criterion release of White Dog and wondered when it was going to end. (And it's only 92 minutes.) But the problem was a padded, unintersting story, not the editing which was okay.

That's the same problem with Waterworld and King Kong. Too elongated a story. Not bad editing.


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Jason Diebler
Re: Movies with bad editing
on Aug 17, 2009 at 2:29:42 pm

Yeah, I disagree with some of those aforementioned films as well. "There Will Be Blood" is a great movie. It does not have bad editing, it just has slow pacing. Paul Thomas Anderson is famous for his character development and nice slow tracking shots. All of his movies have this type of pacing, and maybe that's not one's taste, but I'd hardly put PTA in the "movies w/ bad editing" category.

"The deepest blues are black" - Foo Fighters
(this doesn't help me when I'm chroma keying!)


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Mark Suszko
Re: Movies with bad editing
on Aug 17, 2009 at 10:57:37 pm

About "There Will Be Blood". It has been a long time since I really hated a movie. But I hated this movie.

And I've seen "Spice World".

I was okay with "There Will Be Blood" for a while, but yes, I found it quite lugubrious and glacial, and I felt the script and direction wandered a lot after the first third, without going much of any place. I might have walked out on the movie, but I was watching it at home on DVD. I stuck with it, but more out of a sense of sheer cussedness and disbelief that everybody else seemed to think this was a masterpiece and I wasn't "getting it". I don't mind other films that are slow-paced. This one though - I thought I was watching it in time-lapse:-) I think what bothered me was that the amount of time spent compared to the amount of insight revealed in the characters and advancement of plot was too high a ratio for me.




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Rocco Forte
Re: Movies with bad editing
on Aug 21, 2009 at 1:00:07 am

Hah! You should watch Gus Van Sant's "Gerry" ;o)


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