The Hidden Art of Editing

mockingjaypart1

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Tonight, I had the privilege of seeing the third installment of The Hunger Games, Mockingjay Part One. This is just one of the many perks of being a Furman student. As with all the other Hunger Games movies, the fast paced action and drama kept me on the edge of my seat. I felt captivated by the story and the scenes seemed to appear together seamlessly.

Before leaving for the movie, I read our assigned reading, “The Aesthetics of Editing” by Osgood and Hinshaw. Their reading go me thinking during the movie. While I usually passively watch as the different scenes of a movie come and go, I paid more attention to the transitions of deliberate choices of scenes tonight. I had never realized how much time and effort must be placed on the editing process of a movie. Each scene, shot and action, receives countless hours of editing and re-editing. As Osgoood and Hinshaw put it, “post production defines the story and brings it to life” (227).

The quick cuts between fight scenes, the dreamlike flashbacks, the parallel action scenes, and so many other poignant scenes in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 were all part of the editing process. I can think of many specific examples, but I don’t want to give away anything (no spoiler alert here). Instead, I’ll discuss some prominent concepts of editing that Osgood and Hinshaw discuss.

Transitions

Osgood and Hinshaw emphasize the importance of good transitions between shots and between scenes. An inappropriate transition can break the emotional relatability of a storyline or even confuse the viewer. Because it is simple and clear, the cut transition is most commonly used and suggested by Osgood and Hinshaw. A cut transition is the direct change from one shot to another. A cut can be directed by a change in action or a change according to a certain beat, whether a musical beat or rhythmic beat of words.

Some other types of popular transitions:

  • Mix- The image fades to black
  • Dissolve- A mix occurs between two images
  • Wipe- An image directly replaces a previous image

Montages

The cliche chick flick montage scene. You know what I’m talking about. The multiple quick scenes showing a young couple falling in love like the one from The Notebook above. The girl shopping with her friends, trying to find that perfect dress while singing along to some boy band song. Osgood and Hinshaw define a montage as “a group of unrelated images that produce a new meaning” (239). A montage is often placed to the beat of a song, but it can also receive rhythm from a narration as the clip from The Notebook. More than just pure entertainment, a montage can be a great asset for editors because it allows the story to develop at a faster pace. This is called time compression.

Check out the best shopping montages of all time! (Warning: Jealousy will ensue)

Discussion Questions

  1. What transition do you most commonly use in your writing? What about when video editing?
  2. What is your favorite movie montage?

Until next blog,

Evan

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