After all of the thoughtful planning and preparation that you've been through, now it's time to start editing your scene. Remember, you know what the scene is about, you know how Magellan changes, and you know where the lean forward moment is. You also have done a rough plan of how your first cut's going to look. Some editors like to start at the beginning of the scene, others like to start at that important moment. Everyone works differently. Since we've planned out how we're going to cut, we might as well start from the beginning and assemble the sequence in order.
So I know that I'm going to start editing with 31I. My editor's dailies notes pages for scene 31 tell me that I preferred take two of the setup. For now I might consider beginning on the frame right before Magellan enters. If I've already cut scene 30, I'd want to attach 31I take two to the end of that scene, so we could see how they flow into each other. But we haven't cut scene 30 yet. Most films are shot completely out of order so the shooting crew doesn't have to go back and forth from one location to another.
I'm going to take the shot of Magellan walking up to the point where he either bumps into the passerby, or later as he walks away. Then I'll cut to 31A, as he turns and notices Tiana on the steps. Okay this may not be the best editing point, but I can always go back and finesse that to get the frames to work exactly right.
At this stage I like to flesh out the meaning of the scene before worrying over every little cut. So lets continue. Oh, one note on something I did at the cut. The first shot 31I take two, had no sound with it. While it's never a good idea to record without sound, they didn't get any on this take. So, what I did was take the sound from the head of the closer shot of Magellan, 31a take 1, and extend it back to the top of the scene. Now, here's one editing trick for you.
Never cut the sound and picture at the same place. If you let the sound cut precede the picture cut like you see here, it's called a J-cut since the timeline looks like the letter J. If the sound cut comes after the picture cut, then it's called an L-cut because, well, you guessed it, the timeline looks like the letter L. Now the next piece is going to be what Megellan sees, Tiana and the crowd. I've marked that I like 31f, take 4, and the director was smart enough to start shooting wide and then dolley into a closer shot as Megellan walks up to Tiana.
So lets see how the next few cuts work. You'll notice a few things here. First, the sound bounces all over the place. Backgrounds keep changing. You hear the director yelling, dolly, at one point. So we'll fix all of those things before we let the director ever see our cut. But for now, I'm more concerned about the picture editing.
I would say the editing's okay, but not great. I don't know if we're quite feeling for Magellan yet. It's clear that he notices her. But I don't know how he is reacting. We'll fix that in a later cut. But let's move on. I've edited a few more shots in, until we get to the big lean-forward moment area. Magellan gets laughed at by the group, and then, horrifyingly, Tiana calls him a freak. So let's look at that. >> Tiana, why weren't you there this morning? >> This morning? >> Tiana, I think the dwarf is talking to you.
>> Magellan, we can talk about this later. >> We're still goin' to the dance together, right? Because you said you would. >> I never said that, freak! I wouldn't be caught dead going to the dance with you. >> now, this is beginning to get inside his head. I still wonder if we understand how he has to get up his courage to walk over to her.
How he is disappointed that he didn't walk with her to school that morning. Now seeing her with Austin is making that problem worse. Oh well, we'll work on that later, for now let's take a look at how the rest of the scene plays out. >> We're still going to the dancer later together right? Because you said you would. >> I never said that freak. I wouldn't be caught dead going to the dance with you. >> Well there re some things in here that I like a lot.
I like how I cut it so the girls around Tiana take a beat before they laugh at him. I like how Tiana has to look around at them before she blows him off. Even if Magellan doesn't notice these things, we as the audience do. And we'll figure out that he's affected by them. But I'm not sure that I've got his reactions right. I like his reaction to the girls laughing at him, but I'm not sure that I chose the right moment to cut from her to him as she's calling him a freak. >> I never said that freak.
I wouldn't be caught dead going to the dance with you. >> >> So let's try something different. Let's see what happens if I cut to him right after she calls him a freak. >> >> I never said that, freak. I wouldn't be caught dead going to the dance with you. >> Wow, that feels different, doesn't it? In the next movie we'll talk more about why it feels different, but for now let's say that it helps to build the feeling of sadness and anger that we're looking for.
But now we're on him for a really long time before he runs away from Tiana, and there's several problems with that. First, he's good, but just not that good as an actor, so he could hold the shot for that long. Most child actors are like that. Second, he's staring at her for a long time and it might be nice to see how she feels about that. Finally it really slows down this part of the scene. So let's try a slightly different version, one in which we cut away from her, to him in the same place.
But where we add a cut back to her. >> >> I never said that, freak. I wouldn't be caught dead going to the dance with you. >> Now I think we're beginning to get deeper into how betrayed he feels. It's funny. Adding a shot of Tiana is strengthening our understanding of Magellan. Sometimes showing what our main character sees is more important then showing him. Of course, this is a different version than the one we had planned, but it is working better the original plan.
We have to be flexible enough to change our editing plan and smart enough to keep our original intent in mind. So long as we're helping the audience to understand Magellan's change of emotions, we can change anything that we want. So let's take a look at our first cut of the scene.
>> >> Tiana, why weren't you there this morning? >> This morning? >> Tiana, I think the dwarf is talking to you. >> >> Magellan, we can talk about this later. >> We're still going to the dance together, right? Because you said you would. >> I wouldn't be caught dead going to the dance with you. >> >> There's a lot that's wrong with this. But a lot that works.
Remember the question mark on my editing plan? Would it be good to go back to Tiana after Magellan runs away so we can how she feels? Right now, I don't think we need to. But maybe you'll want to look at that option later. I also wonder if the dolly shot of them on the school steps is the right one. It's one of the faster takes. That tells me that Magellan is more confident about approaching her than it feels he is when he's straightening his tie. So many questions.
The more you edit, and reedit, and reedit, the better able you'll be able to see what is working and what isn't. Then your job will be to keep refining your work, until it gets closer to fulfilling what the scene needs to be in order to push the overall story of the film forward.
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