We've spent a lot of time talking about the tools that we have to shape an audience's response to our stories. But what we haven't discussed very much are issues of style. In one of my classes, students get footage from various scenes every week. Every student gets the exact same footage. And then they come up with a scene analysis and lean forward moments, just like you've done here. Then they go and cut the scene. The remarkable thing, and this is the true learning experience, is that every cut feels different.
Every editor has examined the same footage. They may have even come up with the same analysis. But they've edited differently. This is the idea of style, something that is different for every person. And that's going to make every film different. Let's look at an example. Mitsuyo Miyazaki's short film, Tsuyako, is set in post World War II Japan. And revolves around a traditional, hardworking, married woman, Tsuyako, who is caught between staying in her hometown raising her children and working at a boring job.
Or joining her old childhood friend, Yoshi, in the exciting new city of Tokyo where she can rebuild both the city and her life. When she is finally forced to choose, she runs to the train station to meet Yoshi. But ultimately decides that she prefers to choose her family and her responsibilities. And that's our log on. In this scene, which comes near the end of the film, she is shown working at her job. And around the exact time when Yoshi is leaving to go to Tokyo.
>> >> So, what is the shape of this scene? And you're right, that's a trick question.
If we've learned anything in this course it's that we should do the scene analysis first. So, who's scene is it?. Well, that's not too hard. From my log line you can tell that this is a film which follows Tsuyako's evolution from unconsciously choosing her life to knowingly choosing it. So then let's put some adjectives down for Tsuyako at the beginning of this scene. She is tortured, trying to avoid thinking about Yoshi, and the choice that she is refusing to make.
By the end of the scene, she has decided to go with Yoshi. She is willful about it, though still upset. In this area she finally goes home to pack and say a tearful goodbye to her children. She has made a choice. So where does she make that choice? Where is the change in the scene? Where is the lean forward moment? This entire sequence builds until she races outside of her work and looks at herself in the window. There she realizes that she must make a choice.
Her running outside and looking in that window reflection is the lean forward moment of the scene. So, how did Miyazaki shape the scene so that we felt that? In other words, what did they change around that spot to make us lean forward and notice that moment? Remember that change is the way we can attract the mind's eye. So if we examine the workshop interior scene, you'll see that it's made up entirely of close-ups and medium close-ups. The director has given up on mediums and wides altogether.
>> that the pace of the cut is pretty rapid and in fact it gets faster and faster as the scene goes on. Here the film uses a montage to show the growth of Tsuyako's inner turmoil, the internal geography. Let's also know how the sound is treated here. There are individual sounds that layer on top of one another, growing more and more frenetic as the montage goes on. In a strong way, they mimic the picture editing, to show the growth of Tsuyako's inner turmoil.
This all is in sharp contrast to what happens when Tsuyako comes out of the workshop and goes into the calmer, quieter outside. The cuts slow down. We're on a wide shot for the first time in a long time. And at the very end of the scene, we begin to hear a music cue, right as she makes her decision. This is all about the lean forward moment. And we've been able to arrive at it in the same way we've always done, figure out whose scene it is and how that person changes.
Now, let's note something crucial before we move on. Note that I've included the exterior scene as part of the entire scene even though it clearly had a different scene number in the script. For editing purposes, we are not looking at a scene as one scene number but as one block of storytelling. In fact, a case could be made that the scene also includes her coming home and saying good bye to her children and her mother-in-law. It's all about her coming to her own decision and acting on it.
>> >> >> >> Notice how the music continues and gets bigger as her decision becomes more clear to her. Note that aside from the conflict with her mother-in-law and the husband, that the film continues to play all of this in wider shots rather that the close ups that we saw in her work plays.
This shift to a different stylistic approach as very effective and Miyazaki makes it seem easy. But she can only do that because she has tied that change to the place where a character changes. It's a deliberate choice which took into consideration the film's overall log line and the analysis of the scene. That's why it works. WIthout that it would just seem arbitrary and just throw the audience off. Style is a combination of pace, shot size, cutting patterns, and the other elements of editing, music and sound. You can have one style for an entire film.
Though it's usually much more effective when you change the style as your lead character changes. In this case, as Tsuyako goes through her changes. Once again, editing is about manipulating the audience to feel the way you want them to feel. because that's you get them to feel your story.
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