There's an expression that a film is written three times. Once in a script, another time in the shooting, and finally, in the editing. This means that editing is really a process of re-writing. On a typical film, we may have several dozen cuts of each scene before we're satisfied enough to finish editing. A moment that we call picture lock, and move on to the sound and the music. Why so many? Well, to begin, the first cut of a film will usually have every line of dialogue, every scene in the script, edited in the order that the original script laid it out.
But many things change on the way from script to screen. You may find that actors are so good that they make certain lines redundant. Or you'll find that your director might not have been particularly sharp on that day or you as the editor, might not have been sharp. It's so hard getting the movie shot every day, that there are hundreds of ways that the material can fall short of the original idea. In fact, you may find that the script itself has problems that you didn't even realize before it was shot.
But everyone deserves to see the shot version of the original script before deciding any of those things, so once we have looked at that first cut, then it's time to take a realistic and a very hard look at what is working and what isn't. You're going to want to return to each scene and see if it is doing what you want it to do. And just like we did in our initial thiking stage, this is going to require that we know what our films log line is, and what each scene analyisis is.
We've already discussed the log line of Magellan, and we've analysed scene 31. We then figured out the lean forward moment of that scene. When Magellan reacts to Tiana rejecting him in front of her friends. We had originally discussed having that change happen when Tiana told Magellan that he was a freak. And that she'd never go to the dance with him. However, in the editing process we started that change, that lean forward moment a bit earlier when Tiana's other friends laughed at Magellan and she wouldn't defend him.
Then that built until the moment when Magellan realized that she was abandoning him and he has to run off. So, that was how we did our first cut. But there were some issues with that first cut, which the director and you would have talked about after the screening. The first several had to deal with an early part of the script that we see here. The script says that he notices that Austin's hand is touching Tiana's. It's actually not so clear what's going on in this close shot of the hands, because we really can't see Austin in that wide shot.
The second problem is that it takes a long time for Magellan to decide to approach Tiana. And once he does, that dolly is rather poor. So how can we fix these issues? Let's solve each problem separately. Let's go back to the line script. Here, we can see that the director shot one take of a closer shot on Austin, 31-H. When we look at that take, we see that the director basically shot it for the area when Austin notices Magellan.
But we want to use it before that, before Austin sees Magellan. So, let's scroll back a bit in that dolly and see if there's anything earlier on that we can use. We'll we could use this piece right after the slight where he's brushing his hair back, but I wonder if there is a section near the end that might be more usable where he doesn't block his face. Nope, not really. Alright, so let's go back to the top and find a frame that we can start on. Here one is. Now we need to figure out where to put it.
The two obvious places are right before the close ups of their hands touching or right after that close up. The director and I think that it makes more sense for us to show Magellan looking at Austin, and then cut to their hands. Because that will help clarify what Magellan is seeing, and also save that horrifying hand shot for last. I've made sure that I'm not on Austin too long. And in order to make it easier to view the scene, I didn't use any of the sound form 31-H, because the director was talking during it.
Now, that's better. I might want to smooth out the incoming frame so the cut looks better as Austin brushes his hair back, but this is better. Now let's take a look at solving the next problem. The rushed and bumpy dolly. So that's 31 Frank, and I'll use take two of him. I notice that there are four printed takes on the line script. Takes one, two, four, and five. My notes prefer take two, but the director and I now want to examine other takes.
So notice that take one ends early. In fact there's no dolly in it all as my daily notes show. So that leaves us takes four and five to look at. When I did that I noticed that both takes were still bumpy, but the take four started a bit slower than the other one, so that might give us some of the hesitation that we want to get to Magellan. I'm also going to try to speed up some of this, by trimming some of the top part of his take. What we call the head of the shot, where he's straightening himself up before he approaches.
I'm thinking that with the slower start to the dolly, we won't need quite as much hesitation on Magellan's part. So let's see how that looks. that's pretty good. In fact, one thing that I lucked out with, here, is that by trimming out the action of Megellan straightening his tie, we began with him brushing his hair back and that echos the shot of Austin doing the same thing.
That adds an extra note of sadness to Magellan's character as he seems to be copying a potential rival. Now, we might want to try something else. A note that my director might give me here is that Tiana seems rather mean to Magellan, over the top mean. >>I never said that, freak. I wouldn't be caught dead going to the dance with you! >> So first, we take a look at the other three takes to see if there was a softer reading. There isn't a better take. The actress was always pretty mean.
So let's see if we can soften her up a little bit with the editing. I'm going to see if we can remove the harsh reading altogether. >>We still going to the dance together right? because you said you would. >> >> Wow, thats interesting theres still some anger there in this story rejection but we have soften her up. Now this isn't perfect. It raises questions about whether she has completely closed the door on going to the dance with him and I worry that this might lessen the impact of the next several scenes.
In order to answer that question we're going to have to look at the entire film again not just this scene and we might even want to invite people to subsequent screenings because we might start to lose our own objectivity. But our first step is to take a look at the scene again. After we've done as much work as makes sense. And if we've edited other scenes around it, we could look at it in context with those surrounding scenes.
>> >> So. >> Why weren't you here this morning? >> see we're not is worth >> >> Magellan, we can talk about this later. >> We're still going to the dance together, right? Because you said you would.
>> >> You'll find that it's like peeling an onion. As you peel away one problem, you'll be revealing another. That's why you go back and recut the recut. And recut after that. And again, and again, and again. There's an expression that films are never finished, they're just released. Hopefully, you don't work on projects like that. But it does speak to how much reworking of the cut a good editor will have to do before finishing any project.
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