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Talking heads with zillions of cuts

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Anthony Atkielski
Talking heads with zillions of cuts
on Apr 24, 2012 at 3:23:49 pm

Why are there so many videos around these days that show a person talking to the camera with cuts every second or so? I thought it was bad to cut to an identical shot. The cuts are often between sentences or even between words, and the head of the talking person is constantly snapping from one position to another (with similar jumps in audio). Sometimes it's clear that only a few frames have been removed. I can't see why these cuts are necessary. Surely speakers can complete a paragraph without needing a retake?

Is it a fad? I thought this was something that is never supposed to be done ... the sort of thing that Benny Hill used to make fun of in sketches about continuity errors. I know Max Headroom was edited this way, but I think that was intended as a joke. Why are so many people doing it now? And is this a choice being made by editors, or directors, or talent, or who?

Perhaps I'm missing something, but it looks really dopey to me. Am I just out of sync with the rest of the world?


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Stacy Lincoln
Re: Talking heads with zillions of cuts
on Apr 24, 2012 at 4:23:43 pm

I think folks are trying to be "artsy". However, just because you CAN do something...doesn't mean you should. Especially if it's jarring to the viewer. I agree...it's not a pleasing edit style to me either.


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Stephen Smith
Re: Talking heads with zillions of cuts
on Apr 24, 2012 at 7:54:39 pm

The only time I have seen this look is when they are trying to create a "amateur / real" look or it is done by someone that doesn't know what B-roll is. This look can be really cool if done right. "Found Footage" films seem to be real popular and this un-polised look helps sell the concept.

Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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Mark Suszko
Re: Talking heads with zillions of cuts
on Apr 24, 2012 at 8:44:17 pm

There's a scientific reason for doing it.

Our visual system evolved to detect changes in the visual field. If something changed the pattern we saw, it was either something to eat, or something wanting to eat US. Both results prompt an instant, involuntary reaction.

Either way, the human brain is evolved to filter it's perceptual field for changes. Every time an edit alters the overall picture, it FORCES the brain to snap to full attention for a fwe sconds, to re-evaluate the entire visual field.

If you keep activating this response every could of beats with a fresh cut, you force greater attention. You also eventually tire out the audience with the fake-outs, like the parent of a toddler who is shouting every five seconds:

MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!MOM! MOM! MOM!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Talking heads with zillions of cuts
on Apr 24, 2012 at 8:45:52 pm

MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!MOM!...


...so you see, it IS pretty MOM! damn MOM!annoying..... and only to be used MOM! sparingly.


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adam taylor
Re: Talking heads with zillions of cuts
on Apr 25, 2012 at 12:09:38 pm

what is now a highly annoying stylistic thing occasionally cropped up when i used to work in news. Then it was because the reporter had not got the answer they wanted, so tried to bully the editor into "creating" the required response.

Personally i always refused. For me news should be about truth, and changing someones response or cutting a word out to reverse the context is a definite NO!.

I don't understand why anyone would want it as a stylistic effect...it looks awful and i have never seen a piece that benefitted from it.

Adam Taylor
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
Oldham, UK

http://www.sculptedbliss.co.uk
My YouTube Animations Page


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Angelo Lorenzo
Re: Talking heads with zillions of cuts
on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:51:00 pm

I wouldn't say it's a fad, but it's far more prevalent in Youtube content. It certainly speaks to the speed and lack of production value/B-roll that most of these videos are produced with (while many of them have become more sophisticated... most started with a webcam against a white wall). I do praise the fact that many people do have the balls to embrace it than try to pull it off in an awkward way or to keep the camera rolling through the fumbles and dead air.

You might see it sparingly in interview/news material, but editors try to match cut without jarring the audience too much; they want the cut to remain as invisible as possible. In fact, I think Adobe Premiere CS6 will have some frame warping tools to ease these types of cuts as well.

With traditional standards and content, you'll hear a lot about the 30 degree rule: Cutting between angles that are at least 30 degrees difference up, down, side to side. This gives a more solid feeling that we've shifted perspectives. Conversely, there is a type of jump cut called an axial cut. This cut is the jump forward that you'll see in Alfred Hitchcock style thrillers.


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John Young
Re: Talking heads with zillions of cuts
on May 7, 2012 at 9:09:19 pm

Does anyone have some links to some examples? I think that I have seen this type of cut done poorly, which seems to be the focus of most of the people on this thread. But I also think I have seen this done well. When it is done correctly it adds to the engagement of the piece, and doesn't distract the audience.
I can't remember where I this technique used effectively, but I am going to try and find it and share the link.
If you all have links to other examples, good or bad, please share so I can learn up.
Thanks.
John


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Anthony Atkielski
Re: Talking heads with zillions of cuts
on Jun 19, 2012 at 2:43:50 am

I think this is the video that inspired me to ask the question:







It's not an exceptional example, just fairly typical of the breed. There are frequent cuts that seem to serve no purpose. Are these cuts because the talent made a mistake? Or are they "artsy" cuts? Or is a silence of more than 300 ms something that absolutely must be removed? I don't know.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Talking heads with zillions of cuts
on Jun 19, 2012 at 1:54:24 pm

Wow, that is just awful. Obviously, she's using the cuts as punctuation for sentences. I think that can work for punctuating IDEAS, but the way she's using it here is just annoying.


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Stephen Smith
Re: Talking heads with zillions of cuts
on Jun 19, 2012 at 2:40:17 pm

MARK!MARK!MARK!MARK!MARK!MARK!MARK!
:-)

Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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Stacy Lincoln
Re: Talking heads with zillions of cuts
on Jun 19, 2012 at 3:29:27 pm

I believe, as an amateur, she's simply cutting out all of her mistakes...her breaths, her stumbles...all of the bad takes. It's a bit annoying, I would agree. Though, she has a nice presence on camera, which somehow makes it a bit more tolerable. It probably works as a current day "blog", since so many people are doing this on youtube etc. I wouldn't recommend it for television, as it would drive the viewer nuts if it continued on for several minutes.


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Jayasri (Joyce) Hart
Re: Talking heads with zillions of cuts
on Sep 14, 2017 at 4:58:59 pm

Dunno. Makes me wish she'd done a podcast.

Jayasri (Joyce) Hart
Los Angeles, USA
http://www.linkedin.com/in/hartfilms/


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