Let's move onto another genre entirely. Not as difficult to edit perhaps, but definitely harder to shoot. Action. Now, action sequences are much harder to shoot than to edit which is one reason why editors are sometimes involved in the creation of the story boards, planning the shots that we will eventually edit together. But, whether we pre-edit them through story boards or edit them after shooting, our goals are the same, to tell the story of the scene as well as possible.
We're going to look at a student film called, Kamea, directed by Jennifer Akana Sturla. This film is about a naive, un self-confident Hawaiian teenage girl named Kamea. Who falls in love with a surfer boy named Thomas, who is aloof and seemingly out of reach. Despite the duplicity of her best friend Donny, she tries to impress him with her surfing but because she isn't very good at it, she needs to teach herself to surf. By the end of the film, she has learned how to surf, has attracted Thomas' attention and also learned how to be herself.
So that's the log line of the film. Now let's ask ourselves the questions that we've been asking since the first chapter of this course. First, whose film is this? Our log line has identified it as Kamea. It's no surprise that the film is named after her. Next we ask ourselves for the adjectives that describe Kamea. At the beginning of the film Kamea's naive, un self-confident, a bit weak, incompetent at surfing and reliant on her friend Danny.
By the end of the film, Kamea has developed a real awareness of who she is, a positive self-confidence, a real capability for surfing and a strength that she did not have at the beginning of the film. So we're going to look at a scene near the beginning of the film in which she tries to impress Thomas by going out surfing, but she gets washed out and eventually rescued by him, much to her embarrassment. The script to the scene describes Kimea paddling out to the sea, facing the waves.
And despite being warned against this by Thomas, being tossed off her board, down into the murk, where she gets tossed about some more, lost in bubbles. Suddenly, she is magically saved by Thomas, who chastises her for surfing at that spot, and Kamea embarrassed, apologizes and thanks him. And then she returns to the shore all cut up. Before we edit this scene we would need to figure out what this scene wants, and that means we ask ourselves the questions that lead up to the lean forward moment.
First, whose scene is this? Well that's easy, this is Kamea's scene. She starts to seem lonely and sad that she has no want to talk to about that. When she sees the surfer boys at the beach, she's determined to show off. She ends the scene embarrassed, frustrated and angry at failing. She is more sad and lonely than before. So where is the lean forward moment in this scene? Well, that would be the moment when she goes from trying for success to knowing she has failed.
Let's look at how the scene ended up in the film. >> Oh, so far to paddle.
Let's notice a few things about the scene that you might find familiar from earlier movies in this course. First, there's a definite difference in the editing pace from the start of the scene to the end. At the moment when she is in most danger, the editing becomes frenetic. But note the three areas where the film slows down. First where Kamea is staring after Thomas, second right after Thomas saves here and finally when she looks out at the water after she gets back to the beach.
Now there's no coincidence here. These are exactly the moments where we need to let the audience really feel what's going on in Kameas' mind. At the beginning. At the moment of supreme embarrassment, that's the lean forward moment, and at the end, as we are experiencing just what that embarrassment means to her. But let's talk about the action now. Notice how the director begins that area of the film by dunking the camera under the water. The colors of the image change, the sound changes and the editing holds on for pretty long on that shot so we can feel the potential danger.
That danger is made even more real by the shots that we've seen earlier in the scene of the big waves coming at us. So we are already primed to think danger as soon as the screen gets darker here. Now let's look at the action part of the scene itself. Notice how it is introduced by a giant wave coming over the camera, then followed by your eerily-colored underwater footage and a very fast edited sequence. In addition, the footage has been sped up and it looks very odd.
Many of the shots of confusing and jump cut and the music changes by adding a drum. It isn't until Thomas comes to rescue her that the pacing slows down, and we come back up above the water. The music ends, we are out of danger. So we've that editing an action scene is no different than editing many other scenes. You need to know whose scene it is, how that person changes, and where that person changes. Then you can build the editing pace, the music, the sound and all of the filmmaking element to best show the underlying intent of the scene.
And when we do that, we can capture the audience's mind so they understand the story you want to tell.
Start with an overview of concepts like the rule of threes, review a sampling of footage from films past and present, and then dive into script analysis. Find out when and when not to make cuts, how to collaborate with clients and directors during recutting, and how to ground the emotional backdrop for your piece with music and sound. Norman closes with a look at adapting to different genres and filmic styles.
- Exploring the history of video editing
- Controlling what the audience sees
- Identifying the logline
- Performing script and scene analysis
- Coming up with an editing plan
- Cutting from on-camera to off-camera action
- Understanding the value of recutting
- Shaping moments with music
- Working in a specific genre
- Mixing editing styles together