Thursday, October 13, 2011

Quiz on Adrianne Finelli's Presentation

Adrianne Finelli made a presentation on some of the core ideas in film editing and production.

What is the role of a film editor?

Choose examples Adrianne presented:

DW Griffith, Birth of a Nation
Alfred Hitchcock, The Birds & Pyscho
Steven Spielberg, Jaws
Rainier Werner Fassbinder, Berlin Alexanderplatz
Jean Luc Godard, Breathless
Wachowski Brothers, Matrix

and describe how the editor values each frame of a shot, the importance of angles, camera movements and shot compositions.


  1. The role of a film editor is to make sure the emotions of a scene correlate well with the the different frames, that they work together as a whole. In Steven Spielberg's Jaws the editor had to carefully choose what frames to include in order to make the shark look real. By adding two more frames the shark no longer looked real. Angles, movements and compositions were also vital to make the shark a reality, event the slightest move would be detectable similar to the film editor who thought just taking one second out of every minute would not be noticeable.

  2. In Steven Spielberg's movie 'Jaws', the editor was integral to the film's sense of suspense and terror. The titular 'Jaws' shark, nicknamed Bruce, was obviously fake, and unfortunately did not work very often. While Spielberg struggled and fussed with his robotic shark, working tirelessly to get a shot or two, the editor had to go frame by frame and exactly pinpoint the number of frames that had maximum suspense and horror, without letting the audience see the fakeness of the shark. It was the editor who made the movie as thrilling and memorable as it is remembered. On a side note, Spielberg had planned on using the shark a lot more in his movie, but since it didn't work properly, he had to shoot the movie in such a way that it worked with less shots of the actual antagonist, reminiscent of Hitchcock.

  3. Jaws used editing to make a fake shark appear real. He had to cut the film to make a realistic looking sequence. He found that if there were even just a few too many frames, the whole sequence was changed, and the shark no longer looked lifelike. This shows the importance of editing to create that realistic experience.
    The role of an editor is to make the sequences in a film as smooth, and flawless as possible. The editing is used to keep the audience interested, and in that alternate reality, bad cuts are distracting and take the audience out of the action.

  4. Steven Spielberg, Jaws

    Spielberg talked about his film editor and how she would cut his scenes just short of what he wanted. He spent a great deal of time shooting every shot and wanted as much of the film to be used as possible. But the editor had to decide what was too much and when less was more. In some scenes, if they had been even 1 or 2 frames longer, the shark would have looked completely fake. The role of the film editor was to make those tough decisions and make sure that everything looked authentic.

    Taylor Ross

  5. The role of the film editor is to cut the film strips for various scenes at the correct time. They spend lots of time getting the frames exactly right so that the scene is convincing, and contains smooth transitions.

    In Steven Spielberg's Jaws, he worked for days to capture the correct movement of the fake shark so that it look real. He worked with another woman film editor and they worked together to cut the frames so that the shark was convincing. He valued each frame in his shot as well as camera angle because the combination of the two led to many shots that led to be a great movie.

    In the Wachowski Brothers' film Matrix, we saw that with precise frame cutting, a seamless transition can be made to another shot. This made for a dramatic experience in the particular shot. WIth that being said the editor values each frame and camera movements because it made for an intense and dramatic vibe that worked out very well for the film.

  6. The role of a film editor is to put together shots seamlessly so that the audience never notices when one scene becomes the next. Every frame counts in editing- for example in the Terminator, when one frame was taken out of every second, there were jumps everywhere, and nothing flowed together at all. It was very jerky and distracting. Angles, camera movements, and shot compositions are key in making a subject look "real" or give it an atmosphere. In Jaws, in order to make the shark look real and scary, they had to not let the camera be on the shark too long (if it was on screen for too long, it looked fake), and the use of camera angles and shot compositions could be used to make the fake shark look very large and fierce as it thrashed around in the water.

  7. In the classic film Jaws, Steven Spielberg had an issue with making his gigantic shark look real. In order to achieve this editors removed a couple frames per second in the shark scenes. This solved the realness issues along with briefly shortening the total film duration.

  8. The role of a film editor is to make the viewer believe that their craft was done effortless. The editor is the artist, it is his/her job to make the film believable and make the cuts seem as if they were intended. It is important for the film editor to not let the viewer think about the cuts and make everything flow into one another. The editor thinks about things such as shot, the importance of angles, camera movements, and shot compositions where as we don't even realize that we are viewing such things...thats when you know that the editor did their job right. Things such as frame of shot, angles, etc. can completely change the mood of the film. These things add substance for the viewer and help to execute the story. In Steven Spielberg, Jaws, much thought was involved in the execution of this film. Because the shark was fake, it was important to not put too much time in the viewing of it. Spielberg used short clips to create the mood of the shark and to scare viewers in those few seconds. Without his role as the editor, the emotion the viewer feels would not exist. The role and importance of angles, camera movements and shot compositions were necessary to execute Spielberg's point.

  9. The role of a film editor is to let the viewer become engulfed in film. To have the editing be seamless so the viewer isn't distracted by the editing. In the Wachowski Brothers film, Matrix, each frame was taken into consideration so that each shot was smooth and lined up with the frame before it. When the man if being filmed, he starts to turn, then the image jumps to a close up of him turning. The angles of the camera line up and the editing is so precise, that when the frame jumps to the close up, the man turning is picked up right where he left off in the process of turning. The fact that most people probably didnt notice this while watching the film is a good thing. When most artist want their work to be noticed, if an editors work isnt, then that shows how good of an editor they are.

  10. Jaws by Steven Spielberg seemed like a film that took quite amount of time to get it done. The shark was fake so the time to make it look somewhat real took time. What I thought was interesting was that the editing process was very important because even two more frames of the shark would have made it look unreal. That made me realize the importance of editing as even two small cuts could make it or break the piece. Also, I felt that to shoot the shark in every angle in the ocean was very difficult but Steven Spielberg seemed to capture the scene in interesting angles to make the shark look scarier. There were some swift changes in angles while shooting the shark and the composition was created so that the viewer could see both the frightened people and the shark at the same time. I learned that every angle, frames, movements and composition of shooting really comes all together to shoot a film and it made me value more about film than I did before.

  11. In Pyscho, Alfred Hitchcock used editing very well in order to create suspense and horror. He can use a low shot in order to make the villain look monumental or a shot from above them to make the victim look helpless and small. He also uses a lot of shadows in this movie in order to give the set an eerie, sinister feeling and to also show which character is good and which is bad. One great example of this is when Norman Bates is in his office filled with stuffed birds talking with the woman he eventually kills. Another great shot is when he comes rushing through the basement door to try and kill another woman. At first he is completely in shadow, taking up the entire doorway, and then he rushes at her, into the light, which is almost more terrifying than when he was in the dark.

  12. Jaws - Spielberg's film's main antagonist is a shark. A real shark would've been very difficult to direct, so Spielberg just hired people instead to build him an animatronic. The animatronic Jaws was faulty and oftentimes very obviously a machine, so the role of the editor was to cut shots at precisely the right frame so that the movement was natural looking for just long enough. Spielberg and his main cutter would go back and forth about where exactly to cut - he having been sitting on a boat or dock for 8 hours to get those 5 seconds of film, she having a less biased eye and calling it like she saw it.
    Psycho - the tone of the movie and the impact of each scene was entirely reliant on the editor's skill of choosing how much time there was between cuts, shortening and lengthening the clips to relay urgency, paranoia, and intimidation. Each cut was essential to the emotion in the scene, the most important being the classic shower slasher scene with its fast flipping between the murderer and victim before she falls dying onto the floor of the bathroom.

  13. An editor must splice the film together in a way that it appears continuous, as in the matrix when morpheus turns around. The portion with James Cameron showed the importance of a single frame when he tried to take a frame out for every second and it looked choppy. The use of angles can interpret the meaning of a shot, for example a shot oriented down at the subject makes them look meek and powerless. Angles must also maintain a certain distance so it doesnt look like a bad cut, a rule of thumb is 30 degrees, a rule godard breaks in order to be all edgy and french. When moving the camera, it is important that movements fit together scene to scene to maintain visual continuity. As far as composing a shot, using the rule of thirds gives a shot balance.

  14. In DW Griffith's "Birth of a Nation", i believe that every little aspect of the film was taken into consideration. Each scene and frame was either zoomed in or zoomed out to get the full setting of the scene viewed and every specific angle was chosen carefully to display all factors to get the message across. If something needed to be in full focus, DW Griffith would make sure that the only thing in focus was what was important to him. The rule of thirds was used and the 180 degree rule to enhance the dialogue and to make it esthetically pleasing to watch.
    I believe that the role of a film editor is extremely important. Every movie we go to see in theaters, we are judging not only by the storyline of the movie but also by what we are watching. The way each character enters the screen, the way the scenery is, the way things fade in and out etc. Everything that can be viewed , the film editor takes care of. Lighting and movement needs to flow easily and without a film editor, we could still be watching movies with image to image to image without any smooth transitions.

    -Shelby Danow

  15. The role of a film editor is to make the movie flawless and smooth. The film editor needs to know where to cut clips to make the film run coherently.

    In Steven Spielberg's "Jaws", Spielberg had to know when to cut the frames when Jaws was in them to keep the fake shark from looking like a "big, white terd".

    In the Wachowski Brothers very famous movie, "The Matrix", the editors had to know when to cut from the zoom of Morpheus, to his face without making the scene look awkward.

    The editor must value each frame because just one single frame that only lasts on screen for a fraction of a second, could be the determining factor in whether or not the scene runs smoothly. Also, the use of camera angles and movements of the camera can give the scene a different mood (high angle: dominating, low angle: dominated, etc.) Altogether, these film concepts make up the amazing films we see today.

  16. The role of the film editor is the take a frames and cut and create it into a believable story. By cutting the film they can add intensity, convey an emotion, and create an atmosphere understandable to the viewer. One movie in particular that in particular where this was important was Jaws. In the movie they used a mechanical shark. The hardest part in this film was cutting each frame to make it look as realistic as possible. Steven Speilberg explains the issues they had with their film editor where he would want to keep 38 frames and she wanted to keep 34. He emphasized the importance on how these 4 frames either made the shark look realistic or made exposed to its mechanical nature. These scenes were also cut in ways to add intensity as well. Sometimes the shot would remain on the water and then quickly shoot back to the men on the boat and then back to the water. It even went along with the music sometimes. By doing this, they intensified the presence of the shark. As for angles, they shot many scene under water, where you would see the swimmers feet instead of their faces. This gave the viewers a view from the sharks perspective.

  17. The role of a film editor is to combine every scenes in a sequence. Editors creates art of storytelling. The film editing process in making Steven Spielberg's Jaws was amazing. To make the Jaws real, film editor's ability was critical. Addition to one more scene determined whether jaws to look real or not.where to cut decides everything. The director and film editor had an argument in some scene with adding one more scene or not. It was very interesting to see that film editing has a lot of power in the film area.

  18. In the film Jaws, Steven Speilberg had the task of making a gigantic puppet (mechanical operated) shark and making it look real in his film. By shortening the frames of each scene with the shark, it made the shark look more real. The film editors job was to cut the scene perfectly, in order to make the shark less fake looking.