Notes from 'week 2' Seminar (Editing)

Published on by Ismael's Film Analysis Blog

Film Editing and the many effects used to create movies


Editing is a means of expression, with its own language. This language is created in the editing room as well as in the script writing process and on the set. And the editing usually works best if it is completely integrated with the other means of expression used in the given film.


On the set, many of the cinematographic effects that were invented in the script are carried out, and new ones are inspired by the physical environment and its visual and auditive potential.


Typical problems that emerge in the editing room are, for example: 1) lack of different kinds of continuity; 2) cases where the emotional intention of a scene is not realized: you don't laugh at what was intended to be funny, or you laugh at a scene where you were supposed to cry; 3) the audience lacks information necessary to understand the relations between the characters or the action; or 4) the narrative creates expectations that are not fulfilled by the story as it evolves.


(some of above information gathered from




Below are examples of editing
A visual transition created in editing in which one shot is instantaneously replaced on screen by another.
Continuity editing
Editing that creates action that flows smoothly across shots and scenes without jarring visual inconsistencies. Establishes a sense of story for the viewer.
Cross cutting
Cutting back and forth quickly between two or more lines of action, indicating they are happening simultaneously.
A gradual scene transition. The editor overlaps the end of one shot with the beginning of the next one.
The work of selecting and joining together shots to create a finished film.
Errors of continuity
Disruptions in the flow of a scene, such as a failure to match action or the placement of props across shots.
Establishing shot
A shot, normally taken from a great distance or from a "bird's eye view" that establishes where the action is about to occur.
Eyeline match
The matching of eyelines between two or more characters. For example, if Sam looks to the right in shot A, Jean will look to the left in shot B. This establishes a relationship of proximity and continuity.
A visual transition between shots or scenes that appears on screen as a brief interval with no picture. The editor fades one shot to black and then fades in the next. Often used to indicate a change in time and place.
Final cut
The finished edit of a film, approved by the director and the producer. This is what the audience sees.
Jump cut
A cut that creates a lack of continuity by leaving out parts of the action.
Matched cut
A cut joining two shots whose compositional elements match, helping to establish strong continuity of action.
Scenes whose emotional impact and visual design are achieved through the editing together of many brief shots. The shower scene from Psycho is an example of montage editing.
Rough cut
The editor's first pass at assembling the shots into a film, before tightening and polishing occurs.
Sequence shot
A long take that extends for an entire scene or sequence. It is composed of only one shot with no editing.
Shot reverse shot cutting
Usually used for conversation scenes, this technique alternates between over-the-shoulder shots showing each character speaking.
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