This week's blog post is Step 3 of My Post-Production Workflow In 6 Steps. If you haven’t seen the first step or second step you can check them out here:
So you’ve done the tedious part of sorting through all the footage and setting up your project - and you’ve started arranging the clips into a rough outline (i.e. The Assembly Edit). Now you actually go through, get the best takes and start cutting scene by scene until you have a rough cut of the entire film.
LESSON A - Cutting to Emotion:
I look for the emotion in every scene, it’s intuitive for me. I just tend to feel it. I believe you can learn everything about editing in a few weeks: all the techniques, how to cut to the beat, etc. But the emotion that you bring to an audience is a lot harder to master, I’m not quite sure I’m there yet. No I’m not. I will be. But not yet. I'm very perceptive in reality I always mentally save moments throughout my day to bring to the editing table. Your edit should be seamless, you shouldn't be able to hear audio problems or notice the cuts, unless that's what you're going for intentionally. Your audience should just watch it and absorb the story and ideas.
Have you ever heard the saying “emotion over promotion”? Well that applies to editing - if you don’t give the viewer an emotion or feeling they won’t pay attention. Cutting to beat, and pacing comes after you find the emotion and story.
Hitchcock does a great interview where he explains the role of an editor and how they can bring out the emotion in a scene:
LESSON B - Don’t Spend Too Much Time:
I spend about an hour to three-hours editing per scene. You don’t want to be spending too much time on the rough cut phase. Once you get to the final cut you can spend hours or even days finessing.
LESSON C -
I’ve compiled some of the transitions and techniques I use most below:
Hard Cut - This is probably the cut I use the most, it’s very traditional - When you want to go to a new scene you just cut straight to it.. No need to dip to black before you enter a new scene.
L-Cuts - an L-cut is when you continue a bit of video from your last scene onto the audio of your new scene before you see the visual of your new scene.
J-Cuts - a J-cut is the opposite to an L-cut.
Smooth Zoom Transitions - These transitions are being used a tonne in videos at the moment. They look really cool. Great for Travel, Vlogs, shows, etc.
Cross Dissolve - I rarely use this technique but when you want to see the dichotomy between two things this can be really useful.
Wipes - I’ve use wipes for corporate, cooking shows and online videos. But not a whole lot they can come off cheesy if used too much.
Speed Ramps - If your DP gives you 100fps or 50fps options you can use speed ramps to improve the pacing.
That concludes this week's blog post about the rough cut. I decided not to make this one about the technique, because every editing software is different, I wanted to delve more into my creative process. I hope you enjoyed it. Next week's blog post is about the fine cut which I think is the best part of the post-production process. It's where you can really surprise yourself as an editor, especially when you're cutting fiction.
NEXT WEEK: STEP 4 POLISHING (i.e. The Fine Cut)