Lesson #2

September 8, 2014

Handouts for this Week

Lesson for This Week


How Does an Editor THINK?
Examining The Cut

What makes an editor choose a closeup rather than a wider shot? What leads an editor to play a line of dialogue on the speaker vs. on the listener? What is an L-cut? Through our analysis of a scene from NAKED we will be learning about shot layouts, values, overlaps and what really matters in the editing process. In CTPR 520 we took a look at SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and learned about not cutting. Hopefully we will gather knowledge about how to approach a scene from an editorial point of view.We will continue to emphasize the Rule of Threes. Don't forget it.

NakedIn NAKED, Mike Leigh's amazing look at a misanthropic characters on the edge of society, a brilliant but desperately unhappy man, we will get to look at a simple scene between two characters. Notice, using the Naked shot breakdown, exactly where Leigh chooses to cut from one shot to another. He often cuts in the middle of a line, rather than before or after it. The exact word that he cuts off of is important, because making a cut on a particular word will emphasize that word. Look at how his edits emphasize the underlying scene analysis -- the David Thewlis character is testing the Caitlin Catridge character. How smart is she? How far can he push her?

What is the scene analysis of this early-occurring scene? Who are we learning about? Who drives the scene? What is the lean-forward moment between the characters and whose moment is it?

By looking at all of these questions, we can begin to figure out just what the scene is about and where the emphases should be put. Over the course of the next fourteen weeks we will learn the devices that can help us accent these moments, but in tonight's class, we will be looking at the simplest one -- the cut.

In addition to looking at the NAKED scene we will also discuss lining script pages, an essential task for organizing the footage and discuss how to look at dailies, something that we will do again when the footage gets more complicated in later weeks. My guess is that this class will go past the 9:50 pm ending time. But, as you will soon find out, that's nothing surprising. In all probability, they all will.



The following handouts will be given out this week. Click on the blue highlighted terms to get to the actual handouts.

NAKED Shot Breakdown (PDF File)
This is a line-by-line and shot-by-shot breakdown of the scene from Mike Leigh's NAKED that we will be examining in class today. Note how things change around the areas that we've identified as beats -- we move into closeups in one place and there are long overlaps to watch David Thewlis' reactions in a second place.
Sample Lined Script pages -- Lined Page and Notes Page (both in PDF format)
These pages, from the film JUST LOOKING (originally shot as CHERRY PINK) will give you an idea of how script pages are lined and how shooting information is provided by the script supervisor to the editing room personnel. Note that straight lines mean that the dialogue or action described in thes script is on camera. Squiggly lines mean that it is off camera for that shot.
Lined Script Pages for GLADIATOR Scene 47
These are the lined pages for the scene that you will be cutting this week. Remember to do a scene analysis BEFORE you start cutting anything. Whose scene is it? Proximo's of Maximus'? Where does the change/Lean Forward Moment occur? You will also get a copy of these pages without lining.
Log Line Examples (PDF File)
These are examples, both good and bad, of log lines culled from newspapers and other sources.
Editorial Technique (PDF)
This is the description of how I begin to cut a scene -- from the scene analysis/logline process, through to the re-editing.

Assignments for Next Class

Re-edit your scene from LAW & ORDER
I will be giving you feedback on your cuts and some instructions on recutting. Some of the notes will be sensible and some of them are for our experimentation. You will be responsible for taking down my notes and then executing them for next week. You will not need to do anything with your Zeega film.
Read the script pages and edit Scene 47 from GLADIATOR
You will begin working on this scene this week so I want you to read the script keeping in mind the idea of beats that we discussed this evening. Create a scene analysis. Then look at the footage and, taking notes, also line the script as we learned tonight. Then edit the scene using that scene analysis. Whose scene is it -- Maximus' or Proximo's? How does that character change from the beginning to the end of the scene? Where does that change begin to occur? That is your Lean Forward Moment.
Log Line #1.
You will be creating a log line based on an actual movie that you have seen. It can be recent or old. Give it plenty of thought and try to desribe the core of what makes the film special. To see good and bad examples of log lines, click on this hyperlink.

Added Materials

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Editorial Technique Flow Chart (PDF File)
This layout will break down how I approach every project, every scenes, every day's shoot, and every editorial choice and challenge. It's not just making the action match.
2:3 Pulldown Explained (Sorta)
Whenever we come from 24fps film material, and are changing it into 30fps video material (this still happens in many editing rooms), we go to a post/video house and do a "telecine" which converts the analog film image into a video format. Today, many houses can convert directly to an Avid or an FCP ProRes file. Some will still convert to a videotape format of some kind. For a more detailed discussion of this, take a look at Chapter 4 of my book, THE FILM EDITING ROOM HANDBOOK. There is a good discussion of pulldown from the now defunct Atlanta company Digital Solutions which you can find here.
Walter Murch talks about THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY (PDF File)
Murch, who we will talk about more when we get into sound, gives several tips on how you (as an editor) can analyze a scene, taking notes, and remembering what is important.
Analyzing A Film Sequence
This is an excerpt from a long discussion about film grammar from a German course at the University of Victoria in Canada. About half way down the page is a rather succinct and interesting discussion with nine questions about how a story is told. While it isn't necessary for us to get into that sort of dogma, these are all pertinent and interesting questions. Further down the page there are discussions (of a less interesting natures) on editing and sound. A page of terms of film criticism (including a fairly comprehensive list of film editing analysis terms), also in the context of German film, can be found at this page.
Annenberg/CPB Editing Glossary
A very basic glossary of editing terms. The one in the textbook is, in my humble opinion, much better. But these terms are more conceptual. A more comprehensive glossary can be found on the Internet Movie Database (commonly referred to as IMdB), though it is not restricted to editing terms alone.
All Movie Guide Glossary
A collection of some common and some not-so-common editing and lab terms.
Some podcasts that I find valuable to keep my pointed toward the future. Some are technical, some are aesthetic.

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Last Modified - August 25, 2014