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In Premiere Pro CS4 Beyond the Basics, Adobe Certified Instructor Chad Perkins explains how to take video editing from simple nuts and bolts to an art form. He shares tips for shooting video in the field to get the most from a subject and get the best footage for a project. He demonstrates how to build a project through the careful use of cutaways, pacing, and suggestive edits. He covers special effects, color correction, and keying and compositing, integrating all these concepts as he builds a music video project from scratch. Exercise files are included with this course.
Another important issue when working in video editing is the pacing of edits, in other words, how often do you cut? Oftentimes, the number of cuts, or the frequency of cuts will determine the emotional impact of a scene. Here are two different shots from Night of the Living Dead. And in the first one, this is an opening scene and you can see here, this clip last 26 seconds, almost 27 seconds with no cuts whatsoever. I am going to take off the audio track here. If I play this back here, there is no zombies yet in Night of the Living Dead, at this point, and it's just a brother and a sister having a conversation in a car.
There's no stress. There is no tension, so there is really no reason to cut. Now, as we'll talk about little bit later in this movie, this is quite a long time to be looking at the same shot without cutting. But nevertheless, the pace here is very slow and so it takes that long, before there is a cut. Now later on in the movie, when there are a zombies and things are more tense, notice how the cuts come much more frequently. So we'll play this back and there is a cut, and there is a cut, and there is a cut, and there is a cut, and there is a cut, and there is a cut, and there is a cut, and so on.
So you see we just go cut, cut, cut. It's very, very fast paced, very frantic. And so even though this clip is significantly shorter than this clip, there are significantly more cuts, because the cuts, again, kind of suggest how intense something should be. Figure that it's kind of like a metronome or better yet, the human heartbeat. If you are calm and relaxed, it's going to beat slowly, but as you start getting more worried and scared, it's going to beat faster and faster and faster. It's going to pulse more.
And so our editing and the number of cuts that we have, or the frequency of the cuts that we have will reflect that intensity. Now this doesn't just go for scary movies as we're seeing here, but anytime there's any kind of dramatic impact, whether it's romantic or whether it's just kind of dramatic intensity, you'll still see the frequency of cuts increased as the plot becomes more intense. One thing to be really careful of here and be very aware of is your audience. Here's a clip from Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's - something, something. I don't remember.
It's an older movie and I am just going to talk while this is playing, but this clip is so long. It goes over a minute with this same shot. That's just not something that you see these days. Oftentimes people refer to the MTV cut, where it's just like even less than a second where it's just like cut, to cut, to cut, to keep people's attention. The thought is I guess with MTV and things like that where you need to get people's attention that don't really focus very well maybe, maybe a younger crowd, that you need to be or to make things very intense and very flashy or they'll change the channel.
So the more you can make it kind of like an Adrenaline thrill ride, then the more people will be likely just to not be able to turn away and stay on your channel. As we can see here, we are on 45 seconds, no cuts whatsoever. It fatigues the eyes. It is very, kind of hard to keep watching. Now this is not uncommon, maybe a few decades ago. Citizen Kane for example, like one of the greatest movies ever made, had a lot of shots that went a very long time without any cuts. Alfred Hitchcock made a film called Rope and there is no discernible cuts in the entire movie.
But today's film making audience needs to be entertained and engaged more, they expect, more flashy stuff, generally. So be aware of that as you are creating your cuts, that we cut for intensity and that we also cut according to our audience.
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