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When to cut

From: Premiere Pro CS4 Beyond the Basics

Video: When to cut

This chapter is one of my favorites. Here, we're going to get beyond just what the buttons do. We are going to get into the art behind the video edit. In this movie, specifically, we're going to look at when to cu,t and why to cut. First, let's just look a little bit at cuts versus transitions. In this clip, from Night of the Living Dead, we have this guy realizing that he needs to barricade the house against zombies. So he gets some wood and he starts nailing up doors and windows and eventually the doors and windows are all boarded up. But we don't want to sit here and watch him do this to every single piece of wood on the doors and windows. That would be extremely boring.

When to cut

This chapter is one of my favorites. Here, we're going to get beyond just what the buttons do. We are going to get into the art behind the video edit. In this movie, specifically, we're going to look at when to cu,t and why to cut. First, let's just look a little bit at cuts versus transitions. In this clip, from Night of the Living Dead, we have this guy realizing that he needs to barricade the house against zombies. So he gets some wood and he starts nailing up doors and windows and eventually the doors and windows are all boarded up. But we don't want to sit here and watch him do this to every single piece of wood on the doors and windows. That would be extremely boring.

So instead of cutting from this to this, which would be too hard of a jump, there is a dissolve, a soft transition from him working to everything being done, his work being complete. So, transitions are often used to show a distance in time or in space. So, it's almost, like, as if you're saying "meanwhile" or "later on." That type of thing. So hard cuts, in other words jumping from shot to shot.

It's a little bit too rough for something like this, a dissolve works much better. We see something similar in this clip from Plan 9 From Outer Space. We'll be looking at little more in this movie later on, but here we have this scene where Vampira comes out and she's about to kill these guys, and it's apparently night time in a cemetery, and they die, and as we go to a different time and different place, there's a nice soft fade out, fade in. So that soft transition, and not that Plan 9 From Outer Space is a great example of movie making by any stretch of the imagination, but the idea, the principle works here that if we're jumping through time, jumping through space, that dissolve makes things work much easier.

Now another job, when you are cutting video, is that you need to get rid of bad stuff. Sometimes directors, bless their sweet little hearts, make extra mistakes and they shoot things that they shouldn't shoot and they expect certain things to be in a movie that maybe shouldn't be there. So, as editors, we're kind of like the last line of defense of the story. So we need to go in there and make sure that we get out bad things that should not be there. So, for example, this clip in Plan 9 From Outer Space, these little pilots are sitting here and all of a sudden, this UFO flies by and shakes things up and after it flies by, this pilot, here, continues to shake for some reason.

So the UFO is gone and he's still rocking out over here. So if we play that back, here's the UFO, and long after it's gone, he's still freaking out. So, as an editor, what you could have done is cut it, like, right here. Now, with this particular shot, it might not work to cut it right there, and so you might need to use a cut away that we'll look at later in this chapter. Another thing you can do with video is get rid of the bad stuff, say for example, this UFO. This really shouldn't be here.

Just a second ago it did this crazy drive by that rocked the plane and shook everything like crazy and then when we finally cut to it, it's just kind of standing there, just hovering. So, there are a few things that you could do, as an editor. Number one, you could edit out this string that's holding up the UFO, get rid of that, clone that out. You could also, if you want to take the time to go into a program like After Effects, isolate this UFO and maybe have it moving around this cloud background and kind of bring it to life a little bit. Ideally, the director would not make such a large blunder as having it fly by and then showing it completely stagnant, but we're all human. We all make mistakes and overlook things and so, as an editor, you can go in, realize the inconsistency, and make the fix.

Let's just look at the rhythm of edits. It's one of things that really takes a while to get when you're learning how to edit. There is a really important timing and pacing of editing. We're going to look a little bit more at this later on in this chapter as well, but let me show you this clip here. This is from Hercules Conquers the Moon Men, I think, and here we have this mountain. This is a terrible, perilous mountain that eats people and so the town has to sacrifice people to this mountain and the mountain has just devoured a bunch of people, and then it cuts, all of a sudden, to a throne room and it's a hard cut.

There is no transition, there's no dissolve. It's just a hard cut to a throne room and then, as we play this back, you'll notice that this guy is already in the middle of talking to some character that hasn't been introduced yet, in a room that we are unfamiliar with. It's just ridiculous. So let's play that back and you could see how harsh this transition. See that? So we go right from the chaos, even the crazy music, and all of a sudden it's calmed down and we're in the palace walls, in the middle of a conversation, apparently.

Part of the rhythm of edits is that edits often times work like real life. You ever stub your toe or, like, get punched in the stomach or something? You get the wind knocked out of you? Human beings kind of need a little break, a little pause to recover from trauma and pain. So, as a filmmaker, we're trying to get the audience to go with us down that journey and as we have mountains that eat tons of villagers, we need our viewer to sense the tragedy of that, the pain of that. So just like when you step your toe, you kind of need a minute to just pause and wait for a second to get over that before we just jump in into another conversation and start figuring who these characters are.

So a way to that would be slow things down, maybe fade this out and maybe fade this in and then maybe show the new environment or maybe the outside of the castle as an establishing shot and then get a little bit closer. So we could kind of tell what's going on here and acclimate a little bit better to the new scene. Finally, I'm going to go over to this storytelling Timeline and again, we see the clip that we saw a little bit earlier from Plan 9 From Outer Space. This clip is just a mess, to be honest with you. These guys are in a cemetery, these gravediggers, apparently, and it looks like it's daytime and you go, and they look over to the right and you see what they're looking at, and all of a sudden you just see it's nighttime.

So, over here, where these guys are, it's day, but somehow they look to the left and they could see through time and space and it's nighttime where they're looking. That just really doesn't make any sense and then, here, at the end, when Vampira comes out, she's looking at them, apparently, because we keep coming back and forth between these guys and Vampira, and she just raises her arms and we really don't see what happens and then all of a sudden there's a house. So we assume that they die, because of the sound effects, if you listen closely here.

So it's not really clear, exactly what happens. She kind of started raising her hands and then there was screaming and it's not really clear if it's her that's screaming, or it's these guys, or it's somebody else. It's just really not very clear. So, as an editor, what we can do is is we can add cut aways. We could add transitions. We can add extra bits of footage over the top of different scenes this to kind of reshape the story and retell it. As we'll see, as we go through this chapter, editors have a great deal of power when shaping a story.

In the next movie, we're going to look at some bad edits that editors make and how to avoid those.

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This video is part of

Image for Premiere Pro CS4 Beyond the Basics
Premiere Pro CS4 Beyond the Basics

82 video lessons · 20069 viewers

Chad Perkins
Author

 
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  1. 4m 11s
    1. Welcome
      56s
    2. What's new in the dot release
      57s
    3. Using the exercise files
      2m 18s
  2. 18m 54s
    1. Capturing ambient audio
      3m 12s
    2. Getting plenty of coverage
      1m 48s
    3. Telling a story with camera angles
      3m 18s
    4. The 180 degree rule
      2m 13s
    5. Framing shots
      3m 25s
    6. Allowing "emotional space"
      1m 40s
    7. Overcranking and time lapse
      3m 18s
  3. 11m 38s
    1. Why is metadata important?
      1m 40s
    2. Browsing and adding metadata
      6m 4s
    3. Creating metadata with Speech Search
      3m 54s
  4. 33m 12s
    1. When to cut
      7m 38s
    2. Avoiding bad edits
      9m 17s
    3. Using emotional cutaways
      1m 53s
    4. Fixing problems with cutaways
      3m 53s
    5. Pacing edits
      3m 49s
    6. Matching action
      4m 14s
    7. The power of suggestive editing
      2m 28s
  5. 26m 31s
    1. Contrasting targeting and selecting
      3m 17s
    2. Copying and pasting clips
      2m 36s
    3. Replacing clips
      4m 8s
    4. Editing to music
      5m 0s
    5. Using sample rate for precise editing
      5m 34s
    6. Creating J and L cuts
      3m 33s
    7. Working with subclips
      2m 23s
  6. 11m 17s
    1. Ingesting media
      1m 39s
    2. Examining P2 file structure
      1m 31s
    3. Importing P2 files with the Media Browser
      5m 15s
    4. Converting DVCPRO HD to standard 720p
      2m 52s
  7. 38m 11s
    1. Using the Reference Monitor
      3m 0s
    2. Using scopes
      8m 33s
    3. Primary color correction
      10m 11s
    4. Secondary color correction
      8m 28s
    5. Creating a vignette
      2m 28s
    6. Creating a day-for-night shot
      5m 31s
  8. 37m 19s
    1. Censoring video
      5m 30s
    2. Creating a waving flag
      6m 5s
    3. Creating a lens flare
      3m 36s
    4. Creating background textures
      6m 19s
    5. Playing with time
      6m 4s
    6. Using transition effects
      6m 13s
    7. Working with presets
      3m 32s
  9. 15m 30s
    1. Creating a garbage matte
      3m 56s
    2. Removing green screen
      5m 6s
    3. Compositing with blend modes
      3m 32s
    4. Nesting sequences
      2m 56s
  10. 15m 27s
    1. Creating 3D reflections
      5m 0s
    2. Creating growing vines
      5m 52s
    3. Creating a track matte
      2m 39s
    4. Using the History panel
      1m 56s
  11. 42m 25s
    1. Censoring audio using bleeps
      5m 16s
    2. Understanding sample rate
      3m 0s
    3. Normalizing audio across multiple clips
      5m 7s
    4. Recording audio
      2m 24s
    5. Removing audio problems with Soundbooth
      5m 43s
    6. Working with VST plug-in effects
      2m 3s
    7. Mixing audio
      8m 20s
    8. Changing volume over time
      5m 22s
    9. Working with surround sound
      5m 10s
  12. 23m 52s
    1. About this project
      2m 26s
    2. Performing preliminary edits
      2m 35s
    3. Working with multi-camera footage
      7m 27s
    4. Creating a visual "stutter"
      3m 12s
    5. Adjusting color
      8m 12s
  13. 6m 28s
    1. Transferring projects to another machine
      3m 24s
    2. Removing unused footage
      3m 4s
  14. 25m 46s
    1. Choosing a format
      5m 35s
    2. Understanding spatial compression
      2m 5s
    3. Understanding temporal compression
      4m 19s
    4. About HD standards
      5m 46s
    5. Changing footage interpretation
      2m 17s
    6. Getting the film look
      5m 44s
  15. 27m 10s
    1. Working with After Effects
      5m 56s
    2. Creating titles in After Effects
      5m 39s
    3. Working with Photoshop files
      2m 29s
    4. Working with Final Cut Pro
      2m 2s
    5. Working with OnLocation
      3m 12s
    6. Working with Encore
      4m 27s
    7. Introducing Adobe Story for pre-production
      3m 25s
  16. 15s
    1. Goodbye
      15s

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