In the work of an edi­tor, noth­ing has changed since the birth of cin­e­ma — the inter­face of mod­ern edit­ing tools, for exam­ple, Adobe Pre­mier, is need­ed for the same cut­ting and glu­ing. Source: film.ru

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

Growing method

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.

Plan length

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

Ver­ti­cal mount­ing

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.

Oblique glu­ing

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.

This scene in Alfred Hitch­cock­’s The 39 Steps is a good illus­tra­tion of the cross-cut. Instead of the hero­ine’s scream, the view­er hears the train whis­tle from the next scene. Source: youtube.com/Jack Luci­do

Mounting principles

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.

Jean-Luc Godard was one of the first to use the jump cut in Breath­less (1960). Source: youtube.com/Logan Fry

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.


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