The Development and Principles of Editing
The development of editing. Editing started off in-camera, the key difference being that you’d have to film the scenes in order. There is the added pressure that you have to get each scene filmed correctly the first time round as you don’t have the flexibility to edit cuts into it later on. It takes a great deal of planning before you go out and shoot the video, this includes the shot timing as if you go even a few frames over, it can look silly.
An early example of in camera editing is the video shown below, a video made in 1895, it was edited in camera. They filmed an actor kneel down to get executed but stopped the camera just as the axe touched her neck then swapped the actor for a dummy and continued the shot, this made it look like she had got her head chopped off.
In this day and age we are able to tell it is a dummy as the body falls in a very inhuman way.
This trick of the eye was founded by Georges Méliès. One day he was filming and his camera jammed, it took him a few seconds to rectify the problem. Thinking no more about the film jam, Méliès processed the film and was struck by the effect his camera jamming had on the scene – what he saw was objects that suddenly appeared, disappeared or were transformed into other objects.
The History and Development of Editing
In camera editing
In 1985 the Lumiere brothers were the pioneers of in camera editing. In camera editing is where the film is shot and edited in the camera once the film sequence has been shot. The Lumiere brothers filmed their videos using only one reel of film, this means that they would have to film their pieces of film in the order that they wanted the film to be seen, as they had no way to change the sequence around. To make cuts the Lumiere brothers would have had to bring the filming to a stop, move the camera and/or actors and then continue the filming. This means there was no room for mistakes, as there was no way of fixing them in post like there is now.
This is an example of a film that was shot by the Lumiere brothers, you can tell that this has been edited in camera as to change to another day or time the camera cuts to black then starts again which shows that they have had to stop the film and wait. The Lumiere brothers invented the cinematograph which worked as a camera and projector which is what they shot there films onto.
Film editing is where the film editor works with raw film choosing the shots and sequences that they want. The shots are captured on film unlike now where the film is captured on a memory card, USB or disk.
Before digital editing was introduced people would have had to edit film the analogue way which is physical editing. Analogue editing is where the film is cut using a splicer which you would then have to place the pieces of film together physically in the sequence you would want and glue them together.
Digital editing is the new way to edit film and is used more than Analogue editing now a days. Digital editing is where the footage of film is edited on a computer using editing software which allows you to add more than analogue editing would for example you can add effects onto the footage and text etc.
A Film Splicer is a tool which can be used to join together different lengths of photographic film.
Splicing is used in Analogue editing it allows the editor to cut the film and line the film and place in order and cut the film where they want. After splicing the film would then be glued together.
There is a tool in digital editing called the “Splice Tool” which has the same effect but digital.
Seamless editing was pioneered by DW Griffith who used seamless editing to make cuts between shots which matches the action. DW Griffith was an early pioneer who developed the idea of putting together different types of shots, angles and movement in order to give the film a sense of pace. Continuity editing is where the shots are arranged to create a sequence of events that can be edited clearly.
This example of DW Griffiths A Birth Of A Nation shows seamless editing as it shows the cuts between the film matches up to the action that is taking place and makes the film flow in order. An example of this is when the mans hat is taken from him.
Eisenstein was a Russian man who developed editing techniques by inventing montage. A montage consists of shots that are put into a sequence to condense time, it is usually used to show the difference in time.
This is an example of an Eisenstein montage, this short film is a good example as it shows the changes over time in a short sequence.
Following the action
This is where the film will follow the subject or actors showing more than one camera angle, showing the transition between movements that correspond with the movements beforehand. When following the action the transition will be a clear link of the last movements to make the sequence smoother. DW Griffith also uses following the action within his short films.
This is a good example of following the action as when the people go out of the door we are then outside watching them come out of the door as though the camera has followed there movements before they make them.
This will be where there are different camera angles and movements that are used to create a sequence of images. In the example above shot variation is used as there are different camera angles throughout as there are Long shot and medium shots throughout.
Manipulation of time and space
This is where the editor makes a person/subject or environment change over a period of time.
A technique where the editor decides which direction the scene is going to take. The editor could follow a conversation with people in an interview and then cut to the person who is talking.
Parallel editing can also be known as cross cutting which is where the editor shows two things happening at the same time, by doing this you can create anticipation for the audience.
180 degree rule
The 180 degree rule is where an imaginary line is created that works as a guide for where the camera could be placed. If the 180 degree rule is broken then this could have a disruptive effect confusing the viewer. Below is diagram example of how the 180 degree rule works, it shows how the camera at the top left could not be used as this will show a change in angle and positioning in the people so the imaginary line is created to make this less confusing to the viewer.
Transitions are used in editing to link two scenes together. There are lots of different types of transitions that can be used an example of some are: Wipes, Slides, Iris, Cut, Fade, Dissolve.
Point of view shot
The point of view shot can be created using point of view shots and over the shoulder shots. To create a point of view shot the editor will put together clips of a subject or actors together, it usually shows what the actor is looking at then cuts to the actors face to show there point of view.
Cross cutting is mainly used in film editing and is where the camera will cut away from one piece of action to another piece of action. It establishes action occurring at the same time.
The video below is an example of cross cutting by DW Griffith at 7:03 minutes you can see a woman cant afford the extra price for a loaf of bread and she has to walk off hungry then it cuts to the action of rich people eating and drinking, this is showing the action of a poor person and rich person.
Editing is the post production section of the whole filming process though there are a lot of purposes of editing these are:
1. Rearrange the footage that you have captured into the order you want
2. Remove any unwanted footage
3. Add transitions
4. Add effects such as text
5. Add audio
6. To make the whole film flow and fit together so it can be used to view
Editing footage is used to help put a story together and helps develop the story telling. To create the story the footage would have to be put into sequence so that the story will then flow and the story will be able to be understood by the audience.