History of Film Editing – 23/09/2015

 ‘Arrival of a Train at the Station.’– Lumiere Brothers 

This was one of the first films to be released to the public. It was seen as ‘scary’ at the time because audiences hadn’t seen anything like it before. Audiences thought that the train was going to come out of the screen. Even though it is short with no editing, audiences reacted towards the film.

‘A Trip to the Moon.’ – George Melies

This was filmed as if they were filming a theatre performance. The set was pinned up behind the actors.  This contains basic cuts for novelty value. It is used when the ‘wizards are holding us objects and they turn into something else. Although it was simple, these effects were very impressive at the time.

‘Life of an American Fireman.’ – Edwin Porter (1903)

This film had one of the first examples of narrative cuts. This is when there are 2 stories running and link together. This is shown when the fire alarm goes off, then it cuts to firemen being woken up by the alarm. The audience has to put it together as linked events.

‘The Birth of a Nation.’ – DW Griffith (1915)

DW Griffith treated his films as an art form and used his film as a way of getting across a message as well as telling a story. He used cross cutting in his films to tell different stories that run together. He used still long shots because the camera was hard to move; more time to absorb whats happening as the audience was still knew to the idea of films; the audience could establish characters more because there was no sound in the film.

‘Kuleshov Effect.’ – 1910s

This was made is the Russian Civil war. They made this film to get a reaction rather then to entertain. The actor was praised in this film for his acting. However, in the film he barely moves. It was seen as a ‘mental phenomenon’ because the viewer sees a subtle change in the actors emotion from the clip show before.  However, the shot of the actor was actually the same each time he was shown. This meant the audience was bringing there own emotional reactions to the sequence of videos, and were seeing what they expected to see from the mans emotions.

‘Battleship Potemkin’ The Steps Sequence  – Sergei Eisenstien (1925)

This scene shows improving montage techniques. The shots become quicker and there are more stories happening at the same time.

‘The Man with the Movie Camera.’ -Dziga Vertov (1929)

This is an experimental film made in Russia. It uses abstract shots at the start to show a wider prospective of the place its set. It shows very few people at the start, only people sleeping. This can be seen as very intimate with the actor making the viewer feel more involved with the film. However, when things actually start happening in the film eg. the shot of the fast moving train, the person watching feels like they are waking up as well as the city.

‘Breathless.’ The Car Scene Jean-Luc Goddard (1960)

This scene is from a French film.  It was made by a new wave of film makers who wanted to see a change in film.   This film is from when sound was being introduced into film, even though the sound quality was poor, it was very impressive at the time. They shot drama films in the style of documentaries. It only has 2 different shots in this scene, but it has lots of different cuts. These cuts are jump cuts. Jump cuts are used to condense time or to disorientate the viewer.

‘Psycho.’ Shower Scene – Alfred Hitchcock (1961)

The shower scene in the film ‘Psycho’ is an iconic scene. In this scene alone, there are 90 different shots and there are 70 different camera angles. The cuts between the each shot are sharp and the shots are extremely short. This creates a tense atmosphere and it becomes very disorientating. The viewer begins to lose the ability to see individual shots.  Even though you presume the girl is being stabbed, you never actually see the knife hitting her. The use of shots make the audience piece together whats happening.

‘Lawrence of Arabia.’ Match Cut – (1962)

The edit of the match being blown out and going to the desert is used as a visual metaphor. The match symbolizes the burning heat and colour of the desert.

‘The Godfather.’ – Baptism Scene – (1972)

This is another iconic scene in film history. The use of cross cutting shows 7 narrative strands of different people. The sound from the church overlies all the shots. This shows that all the different scenes are happening at the same time.
‘Silence of The Lambs’ – cross cutting – 1991
In this scene from the film ‘Silence of the Lambs’ it completely changes the way viewers see narrative cuts. As the 2 scenes are happening, the person watching expects them to be at the same house because that’s what conventional narrative cuts do. However, in this one, you find out at the end that they are different houses.

‘Sherlock’ Series 3 Episode 3 – Mind Palace scene 

My favourite example of modern editing is the scene from Season 3 Episode 3 of BBC’s Sherlock. In this scene, Sherlock is entering his ‘Mind Palace’ after being shot. Within the scene it uses lots of different editing techniques to build it up. An example is changing the location of the scene without changing the characters position. This shows all the different places he’s thinking about.

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One Response to History of Film Editing – 23/09/2015

  1. kendalcollegefilm says:

    This is solid work, Izzy, tracing a good timeline through editing history. You make your best points about Psycho, where you take the work we discussed in class and bring your own understanding to it, which lifts it up a notch—I’d like to see you exploring more of this independent work. The Sherlock section feels a little rushed!


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