Even Sergei Eisenstein said that cinema is primarily montage. The same goes for any video. In today’s article, we will analyze some theory and some tricks that will allow us to better understand how editing works and make it invisible to the viewer, while remaining spectacular.
How Editing Controls the Viewer’s Attention
Editing keeps the viewer’s attention on the story. Without competent editing, the video will be just a combination of scenes, and it will be difficult to watch such a video to the end.
One of the first tricks to keep attention is the method of increasing sizes. He says that the scene should not start with a close-up — they are the most emotional, so you should save them for the climax.
The development of action in a particular scene should go hand in hand with the gradual enlargement of the frame. This allows you to give out information in portions, without tiring or confusing the viewer.
Gradation of scales of plans:
- distant plan — shows the place and time of the action, there may not be a person in the frame;
- general or growth plan — shows the situation around the hero;
- medium shot — allows you to observe the actions. Two framing options — to the waist and just below the waist, but above the knees;
- close-up — shows the emotions and feelings of the hero;
- detailed plan — draws attention to accents.
There are also exceptions to the rule, when the opening plan can be large. This does not contradict the stated method, since such a shot acts as a link between the scenes and after it there will still be a change to a more general shot.
Summary: do not forget to alternate the size of plans.
Gluing is not done in random places. The time that is given to the viewer to contemplate one plan is important. The duration of the plan is affected by:
- its saturation: the more details in the frame, the longer the plan should go. In other words, the clear sky plan should be shorter than the sectional plan of an automobile engine;
- recognition and readability: the viewer will need more time to understand what is happening in the scene if an unfamiliar thing is shown;
- the emotion that the plan is supposed to convey, or the very nature of the plan — it is obvious that a fight should consist of more splices than a romantic date;
- close-ups should be shorter than the general ones;
- as well as with large sizes — the duration of the plans must be alternated. If there are many short shots in a row, the viewer will not have time to perceive all the information, if there are many long shots, this will make the viewer bored.
Sound track installation
In metric vertical editing, the length of the plan depends on the beats of the music — gluing occurs only on strong beats. Such editing will be very monotonous, gluing will go through equal shares, which will quickly tire the viewer.
In rhythmic vertical editing, a strong part of the music coincides with the event in the frame (gluing can also act as it). For example, one of the characters opened the window during some kind of plot collision — this event may have a strong beat of musical accompaniment. But this is not a strict rule: it is not at all necessary that each event coincides with the musical beat, some can be skipped at the discretion of the editor.
To push the sound with the scene with which it is dissonant, or when editing interviews and dialogue on the last words of the speaker, to show the reaction of the interlocutor, oblique gluing is used. In it, the sound is ahead or behind the image.
Compliance with these principles will help make the installation smooth and invisible to the viewer, and they should be violated only with a conscious purpose.
1. Editing by phase of moving objects in the frame
A marching soldier, when changing the plan, should not step twice with his left foot, and the arrow moving steadily along the dial should not jump on it as if stung. This also includes editing according to the pace of moving objects — a person running in the frame must maintain speed when changing shots.
Violation of this rule led to the emergence of two tricks:
- installation with overlap (double cut)
It consists in repeating the same phase of action in neighboring plans. The meaning of the reception is to stretch time to emphasize the significance of the event.
- phase skip — jump cut
This includes the situation mentioned above, when the clock hand misses some part of the dial when changing the frame. This is done to speed up events, to give them sharpness and nervousness.
2. Editing by frame composition
It is based on a simple rule — the viewer’s eye should not jump randomly when changing the plan, this tires the viewer. The main point of attention should not move more than a third of the frame.
For example, in the first frame, the main point of attention — a plate with an appetizing dish — is located according to the rule of thirds on the left side of the frame. When changing the shot, the character’s licking face (the new point of attention) should be shifted relative to the plate by no more than a third of the frame — that is, in its center, but not to the right.
3. Installation by color and light
You can merge dark frames with light ones:
- through blackout or exit from it;
- through an intermediate gray frame;
- when both of them retain the lighting scheme on the face and figure of the character.
It is unreasonable to combine dark frames with light ones, frames that are sharply lit, with softly lit, diffused light — a bad form. When combined, such frames will give too sharp a jump and may be perceived as an accent that was not intended.
In neighboring frames, there should also not be a sharp change in color — this is an unpleasant blow to the viewer’s eyes. When color editing, follow the rule: if a frame completely occupies a certain color, then in the previous one there should be a spot of the same color, occupying about a third of the frame.
Another useful life hack is to glue frames from opposite ends of the color wheel, for example, blue and red.