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A question on editing pacing

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Jon Fidler
A question on editing pacing
on Jan 31, 2011 at 12:04:05 am

Hi

I posted here a while back a fairly general question and the answers I got were a real help so ive come back again for a question regarding pacing.


I have noticed while watching films in general the length of shots in regards to pacing stay pretty much the same. If its a slow paced film, the shots will always be around the 5 - 8 second range for example, and a film like crank 2 will go at an insane rate say 2 - 5 seconds. In these films its not really the shot lengths that change too much to tell the story but the intensity and flow of the content between shots to build the story, like in music

Another opinion I have read say that as a general rule the cutting speed shouold be increased when you get to more exciting scenes or slow down for suspense etc. Ive also heard that you should vary shot lengths as well, long and short.

Both viewpoints are too contradictoryand I was wondering what you guys opinion of this was

Thanks

Jon


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Jas Burns
Re: A question on editing pacing
on Jan 31, 2011 at 2:18:29 am

That's an interesting question.

I think that, in general, in many mainstream pictures, the pace of editing is much too fast - certainly much too fast for my brain to follow and often I leave the cinema, either tired, or refreshed from a long nap :D

I like reading Walter Murch's ideas on editing. Here's a short sample:

http://www.moviemaker.com/directing/article/walter_murch_cutting_from_the_h...

It's entitled, editing from the heart.

I film live concerts and find the editing quite challenging because there is a tendency to cut to the music. But in my experience, when I first started editing I was cutting because I thought I should. But it didn't feel right. Now I feel my way along and only cut when I "blink."

Might I suggest that you perhaps get a copy of Murch's excellent book:

http://www.amazon.com/Blink-Eye-Revised-2nd/dp/1879505622

which describes the "reasons for cutting" quite perfectly.

:-j


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grinner hester
Re: A question on editing pacing
on Jan 31, 2011 at 4:42:52 pm

My thinking is if an editor is counting while cutting dialog, he's butchering the story. Pace has to do with feel. It's not a template. Like a goo song, it can change at the drop of the hat then back again, surprising those who are enjoying it. If an editor hasn't the ability to follow a piece as well as lead/create it, the production needs a better editor.



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Shawn Bann
Re: A question on editing pacing
on Jan 31, 2011 at 6:55:21 pm

+1 with what Grinner said


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Bill Davis
Re: A question on editing pacing
on Jan 31, 2011 at 8:34:15 pm

You're at an art gallery.

Visitor 1 walks to a painting and looks at it and thinks: Nice picture - pretty couple - pretty clouds - pleasant scene. Nice.

Visitor 2 walks to the same painting, looks at it and thinks: Nice picture - pretty couple - pretty clouds - what's she thinking? what's HE thinking? Look at how the artist gets the light on the clouds just right. I wonder how long it took him or her to paint them and if the light in the clouds changed. And the clothing is so beautifully rendered. The folds really draw your eye. Did people really dress that way? I wonder how long it took them to get dressed in the morning with such complicated outfits...

The first visitor extracts ALL they know how to extract from the painting in 15 seconds. The second visitor can probably look at the painting for an hour.

Yet it's the same painting.

Hollywood often believes that ALL their audiences are like Visitor 1. If you don't keep their brain constantly stimulated and make it SUPER easy for them to react with either "PRETTY" or "EXCITING" every 10 seconds - then the audience will have no reason to sit still for the end to roll around.

And in many cases, they're sadly right.

(More explosions, more pretty people, please, and make sure the bad guys are wearing something that makes everyone SURE they're the bad guys. We wouldn't want the poor audience to get confused here..."

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Jon Fidler
Re: A question on editing pacing
on Feb 1, 2011 at 10:49:37 am

Thanks for all the replys guys this has been helpful as usual


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Peter Ralph
Re: A question on editing pacing
on Feb 2, 2011 at 7:10:25 pm

Both opinions are correct. Faster cuts create more excitement/confusion and varying the pacing will give a more organic feel.

Crank 2 and the Bourne films had average shot lengths under 2 seconds. Bourne Ultimatum averaged 37 cuts per minute.

Here is a database showing Average Shot Length for hundreds of movies:

http://www.cinemetrics.lv/database.php


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Jon Fidler
Re: A question on editing pacing
on Feb 6, 2011 at 9:34:24 am

Hi

Is there a site which lists scene length too anywhere or even one with a few films listed?

Thanks


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