Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Now that we know little more about the principles of good editing, I want to show you about bad editing and how to avoid making bad edits. In this clip from Ninja Death III, we have this couple kind have being coy from each other. He just kind of jumps away and you see her kind of peeking around and then you see him and then it cuts to another scene and then it cuts back to them and he's embracing her, his grabbing her, and he is talking to her. So let's watch this whole clip and notice how uncomfortable this edit is.
(Video playing) So, very unusual. I mean, the music changes and then, all of a sudden, he's got her, and he is grabbing her, and he is talking to her, whereas before, they were just kind of playing around. Now this clip is campy. It's hilarious. It's wonderful in it's badness, but there really is a really great principle to learn here, because they were not connected and then we go to this edit and all of a sudden they are connected.
So there's an element missing in the story. It's not really complete. Now, as a filmmaker, you can assume that this guy and this girl eventually met up. I mean, they were playing together, kind of flirting and stuff like that, and they looked like they were kind of, like, in the same forest looking at each other. So, it's a rational to assume that at one point they met up together and we just didn't see that. But as a good, thorough storyteller and editor, you need to make sure that you spell that out for the audience. Now you don't need to spell every single thing for the audience, but if you have two characters that have not met yet and in the next scene they are embracing, that is an uncomfortable edit.
You're not really telling the story completely. So, if you are telling something like the story of three little pigs where the three little pigs build their houses out of straw and sticks and bricks or whatever. You don't have to show them laying every single stick or every single brick, but you do need to show that they kind of made some progress with the house and maybe them finishing the house, so the audience understands and can relate to what's really going on here. Now, sometimes, as an editor, you don't have any control over what is shot. You just get dealt the footage and you might have to produce a bad final product just because it wasn't shot very completely.
In a case such as this, what I might do is take more of their flirting and add that after this cut. So, if the worst possible scenario should be that we go from this other scene back to them and then maybe some more flirting and then we see them together all of a sudden, that would be better than just showing them, all of a sudden, talking and together. Next, let's take a look at a couple of jump cuts. A jump cut is also kind of like what we just saw, where you don't really tell the story completely and watch what a visual problem this creates.
This is from a great movie, Night of the Living Dead, but this is a little bit of a jump cut. They're fixing the TV. They're trapped in this house by zombies and these guys fixing the rabbit ears and watch this very closely. There's a little bit of a jump cut here. In other words, he's fixing the rabbit ears so they get better reception and then he goes to sit down after he has fixed them and he's sitting down, as we go frame by frame here, it doesn't quite show him getting all the way down. It's a little bit of a jump cut.
So he kind of like warps from here to here. We didn't really see him get there. Now, as an audience, again, we can totally assume that he finished sitting and that's fine, but when you're telling a story you can't just jump like that, you can't make the audience just kind of assume that this happens from one frame to the next. So for a nice smooth edit, it might have been better to wait until he was all the way out of the frame here and then shown him sitting down, especially because the audio of the news reporter did not change, if you listen closely.
So the audio was consistent, so the audio was telling us that there has not been any change in time, and so visually, it should match up that there's a nice smooth transition here and its not quite. So, as an editor, you want to be careful of things like that. Here's another jump cut from Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and we have Santa Claus here and there's going to be a Robot that breaks into the North Pole. Now, you'll notice that he breaks down the door and he comes in the room and he comes quite far into the room, actually.
It feels like he's definitely several feet into the room at this point, as you could see the distance from his helmet to the door, but then when we cut back to a wide scene, he's standing right next the door again and then he waits a few frames before advancing. That's also a jump cut, because he was advancing closer to Santa Claus and all of a sudden, in the next cut, he's back farther and he's not leaning forward, he's not walking as much as he was. So that too is a jump cut that should be avoided. So just to sum up, in the case of The Night of the Living Dead clip, we skipped a few frames that we should have cut and then in this Santa Claus Conquers the Martians clip, we actually backed up in the story, we, visually, went in reverse and that, too, is a jump cut and again, both of these should be avoided to make sure that we have a great amount continuity and smoothness in our storytelling.
Now, these last couple examples deal with kind of fine-tuning, rather than avoiding necessarily bad edits. In the first example here, I have this clip of this ferret hopping and he's bouncing around there. All good. It's a quick little clip, but the first bunch of frames. The camera is just trying to find him. So he really doesn't even enter the frame until about 17 frames in. So I'm going to backup to 16 frames, I'm going to chop up this extra stuff. I don't need the view of the carpet and the guitar. That's distracting from the real story here, which is this ferret hopping.
I realize there's not much of a story or, like, a plot line, so to speak, but this really is the emphasis of this particular clip. So now we could let it play on, but right about here, the ferret leaves the frame, or he is about to leave the frame, he never gets completely off of the frame and then for the rest of the shot, the camera is like trying to catch up to him. It's out of focus, there's motion blur. It's really not that good, and it doesn't really help us tell our story. The cute stuff is the ferret bouncing and by having the camera kind of trail off, it kind of diminishes the cuteness of the ferret bouncing.
So what I'm going to do is go to where he's just about to leap off the screen and then chop it there and so now our clip is all good stuff. It's all just ferret hopping and yes it's shorter, but it tells a much better story. There's not a bunch of blank carpet and there's not focus errors, as bad, I guess, and there's not that the camera like pointlessly kind of trying to follow the ferret, in vain, where the ferret is not really on the frame and this clip becomes that much better of a clip, because we've got rid of the junk in it.
So, again, as an editor,you want to tell a good story, overall. So all of your clips are put together in a good way, but you also want to make sure that each clip is the best it can possibly be. And as an editor, that's literally your job, to edit, to remove the bad or anything that doesn't really support the story, or make things better. Here's another example from Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter. Apparently, this woman who's like a wicked scientist-type character is telling him to go get a lady named Juanita and they say it over and over and over again.
The clip is hilarious, very campy, but it's really redundant, listen this. (Man: Juan-nita) (Woman: Yes! Jaunita.) (Man: Juan-nita. Juan-nita.) Okay, I wonder if her name was Juanita? So, you know, after he says it about 10 times, we get the idea. So even if the script calls for Juanita to be said 50,000 times, as an editor, you can look at this and say, "You know what? "This is a really long time to be sitting here, looking at the same shot, while he "says 'Juanita' over and over again, maybe if he said it two or three times, we'd "get it that he is kind of like a Frankenstein moron type and he's trying to make "this work for him, but this is just way too long." So you can chop out some of these Juanita iterations in the middle, to kind of make this clip more efficient and streamlined.
Now, at this point, you might be asking "How would you get rid of information in "the middle of the clip." So we need them to saying Juanita and we need her over here coaching him and we also need her opening the door. So how would we fix this? Well, a good way to do this is with a cutaway. We can take out this huge section, right here, in the middle, and we can replace it with a cutaway and that's what we're going to kind of focus on in the next few movies.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
93 Video lessons · 28192 Viewers
135 Video lessons · 62834 Viewers
79 Video lessons · 21216 Viewers
350 Video lessons · 106196 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.