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Transcript of Video editing
Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory (dir Lumiere bros. 1885)
A Trip to The Moon (dir Melies, 1902)
Life of an American Fireman (dir Porter, 1903)
The Lonely Villa (dir Griffith, 1909)
The Birth of a Nation (dir Griffith, 1915)
Battleship Potemkin (dir Eisenstein, 1925)
The Matrix (dir Wachowski siblings, 1999)
What does a video editor do?
Editing Techniques have evolved over the history of cinema, although the main principles that we consider to be the standard "grammar of the edit" was almost entirely developed within the first decades of film production. The video bellow highlights many of these techniques.
The first motion pictures were created by the Lumiere Brothers, who invented the earliest motion film camera (The Cinematograph).
The films of the Lumiere brothers consisted almost entirely of real life documents of everyday scenes. The brothers toured their films at carnivals and funfairs to an audience who were delighted by what they were saw.
Their films were composed of entirely one shot, therefore containing no editing.
The magic of Melies (and the invention of the jump-cut)
The Lumiere brothers saw no future in cinema outside of a novelty carnival act, fully expecting the fad to die out. Luckily, an audience member named George Melies attended a Lumiere brothers screening, engineered his own camera, and began making films too.
Melies began making narrative films and used them as part of his magic show. While experimenting with the camera, Melies discovered that the camera could not record the time between him stopping filming and starting the camera again, thus creating the 'Jump Cut'
Melies used this technique (as well as developing dozens of special effects) to great effect in his dreamlike fantasy films.
Edwin S. Porter and Temporal Overlapping
Temporal Overlapping is when an action is seen (often in its entirety) from several different angles. This is often seen in sports television, for example when a football player scores a goal - the audience is screened multiple repeats of the goal from several different camera angles. This technique was briefly used in narrative cinema by Edwin S. Porter in films such as Life of an American Fireman (1903) as a precursor to Continuity Editing. Not to be confused with Parallel Action.
Edwin S. Porter was an early pioneer in video editing, developing many techniques we still use today. His ideas were furthered by later film-makers, often taking credit for Porters ideas.
D.W Griffith - the father of continuity editing pt.2
Continuity editing is an editing style with an emphasis on developing a clear and understandable narrative without jarring visual inconsistencies (sudden jump cuts, continuity errors etc). This lead to the development of the 180 degree rule – which makes clear geography of the scene and characters. This technique enabled film-makers to dispatch the traditional theatre style one shot and instead inject a variety of shots into their scenes, cutting from wide angles to close-ups to mid-shots etc.
The development and principles of editing
The main role of a video editor is to compile, sequence and cut video clips together to create flow, meaning and narrative consistency.
This is a scene from Griffiths' "The Birth of a Nation" (1915), it demonstrates some of the techniques Griffith pioneered such as the 'Cut-in' (i.e an edit from a wide shot to a close up, the 180 degree rule and Parallel action (cutting between two simultaneous scenes, supposedly happening at the same time).
D.W Griffith worked with Edwin S. Porter before branching off and making his own films; in the process making several important breakthroughs in editing and cinematic language. Griffith pioneered Continuity Editing, which is the main format of editing we use today. One of the first principles of continuity editing Griffith popularized was actually a technique first used by Porter - Parallel Action. Parallel Action is the editing technique of cutting between two scenes supposedly taking place simultaneously.
D.W Griffith - the father of continuity editing pt.1
This technique is still used in contemporary cinema - for example, if the audience is displayed footage of a gun firing in one shot, and a person falling over in the next, the meaning that has been created is that of person being shot - although all they have seen, is two seperate images
Montage editing is a technique developed by film-maker Sergei Eisenstein. Eisenstein believed that the "Essence of Cinema" was found in the dramatic juxtapositioning of images to create new meanings.
Match on Action
A match-on-action, or match cut, is another technique that is used to maintain spatial movement, continuity and momentum. This technique requires the editor to cut on the movement of an actor or object from shot to shot to make the movement seem fluid and mask the cut