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Lets talk about Editing!

Old 01-31-11, 03:35 AM
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Lets talk about Editing!

As you all know, I'm a film student. Even though we've all been taught the fundamentals of editing and whatnot...you give someone a camera and they edit it themselves right there. We know wtf movies look like. We go for angles, in camera edits, etc..but why are those specific type of editing chosen? When is it proper to choose a form for a specific way?

My overall jive w/ all this is...what films have a very good control of editing AND why or what films could've used more fine tuning? It's a very specific to ask...we may not think about it a lot..but it's there and it matters a lot in constructing a scene to illicit a mood or overall tone/vibe to the film. While the clips I've chosen are action or suspense oriented....it's not just that that have great editing. Films like City Of God and The Social Network have a very strong control of the edit and style from it. For City of God for example....it's more (at least to me) on a visual basis for it's control..while TSN has it very well constructed from Sorkin's dialogue that practically dictates how you want to see it.

Ex: Great editing...Bullitt...on which I've chosen a very good example of great editing...the great car chase from it.

<iframe title="YouTube video player" class="youtube-player" type="text/html" width="480" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/GMc2RdFuOxI" frameborder="0" allowFullScreen></iframe>

This one's a spoiler if you ever want to see Once Upon a Time In China 2...HK for sure has or HAD (depending on how you feel about it today) some of the best editing for action. Hell....it was an artform for them in a way. BUT again...their action had GREAT editing while most of the time the rest was very standard in editing within the genre which is fine..but their action was amazingly edited.
<iframe title="YouTube video player" class="youtube-player" type="text/html" width="640" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/PpUiRvJdn1Y" frameborder="0" allowFullScreen></iframe>

Bad Editing: Yes, I love this movie..but that sure as hell doesn't stop me from criticizing the shit out of it for it's color timing and editing style. What it needed overall was a lot more breathing room in it's cuts. It's all just shots cut rapidly to insinuate a tension but it only disorients you for the most part.
<iframe title="YouTube video player" class="youtube-player" type="text/html" width="640" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Di2qpQqa0BA" frameborder="0" allowFullScreen></iframe>

Last edited by Solid Snake; 01-31-11 at 03:47 AM.
Old 01-31-11, 11:29 AM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

If you want to see a bad example, watch Transformers 2. It has the most piss-poor editing I've ever seen in a major motion picture.

Many people have complained you can't figure out what the hell is going on during the last big fight. Too many matching shots of robots that are indistinguishable, the geography is all messed up (people moving too quickly from one location to another, etc.) and it's WAY too long.

Also, there is a big "whoops" moment in that movie that I caught in the theater. There is a scene where they are driving in the desert and talking, then it cuts to them stopped and out of the car. Then it cuts back to them driving. I think one of the characters has his shirt around his head during one of those cuts, and the bottom line is that it's obvious they jammed the "stopped and out of the car" scene in the middle of the long driving and talking scene. The character's shirt (I think it's his roommate) doesn't stay consistent. I can't remember specifics, but it pulled me out.

I'm a shooter and editor for TV and for the most part, most movies are pretty good with editing. I remember in college a professor showed us a clip from Last of the Mohicans where the younger sister is standing on the edge of the cliff and looks over her shoulder at the ground below. They should have had a shot of what that view looked like, but they obviously hadn't shot it because they drop in a clip that doesn't really match. He presented it as an editing mistake in a big movie and it's stuck with me.

Last edited by Draven; 01-31-11 at 11:54 AM.
Old 01-31-11, 11:36 AM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

I'll agree w/ you on TF2...THOUGH...the editing in the intro part to it...in Shanghai doesn't bother me at all. That was well paced I think. It's just....when they introduced the story into it...it all went to hell..
Old 01-31-11, 11:38 AM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

I still think Live Free or Die Hard has some of the worst editing I've ever seen in a major film in regards to scene continuity. The scenes were about the right length, though, and you could see what was going on (usually) so they did that alright.
Old 01-31-11, 11:51 AM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

The best edited movie I've ever seen is The Godfather Part II. The parallel editing between Michael and the young Vito creates the entire movie. Not only are we watching two stories at the same time without getting confused but we're watching those two stories interconnect with each other which adds subtext and meaning to each individual story that would have been missing had the two stories not cut back and forth when they do.

I've never seen The Godfather Saga because, while watching the entire trilogy unfold in chronological order would be somewhat cool to see, it completely ruins the editing of part 2.
Old 01-31-11, 11:53 AM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
I still think Live Free or Die Hard has some of the worst editing I've ever seen in a major film in regards to scene continuity. The scenes were about the right length, though, and you could see what was going on (usually) so they did that alright.
yeah...the editing of some of that dialogue is horrendous.
Old 01-31-11, 12:07 PM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

Here's an independent short that uses editing to great effect :

<iframe title="YouTube video player" class="youtube-player" type="text/html" width="480" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/hNjbx_-BtP8" frameborder="0" allowFullScreen></iframe>
Old 01-31-11, 12:16 PM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

The theatrical cut of "The Wolf Man" is badly edited early on. The first 20 minutes is very choppy. Any film that has a very trouble production is usually poorly edited because it's been through the ringer too many times.

I do love the editing in "In the Line of Fire", which was also nominated for Editing. That is one of my favorite thrillers from the 90s. The chase sequence across the top of the buildings with Eastwood and Malkovich is nicely done.
Old 01-31-11, 02:51 PM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

Originally Posted by Mr. Cinema View Post
The theatrical cut of "The Wolf Man" is badly edited early on. The first 20 minutes is very choppy. Any film that has a very trouble production is usually poorly edited because it's been through the ringer too many times.

I do love the editing in "In the Line of Fire", which was also nominated for Editing. That is one of my favorite thrillers from the 90s. The chase sequence across the top of the buildings with Eastwood and Malkovich is nicely done.
I'll agree on those types of troubled films...I have the BD for that film...but have never seen the TC of it...I'm afraid to do so...

Also....how's the BD for that Eastwood flick...I need to get it at some point.
Old 01-31-11, 03:27 PM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

Solid Snake, whenever I seek an example of masterful editing, I immediately think of Sam Peckinpah's THE WILD BUNCH (1969). Just check out the use of zooms and pans and long lenses to make points and the way they're intercut with static shots. That long walk at the end, where the Bunch load up on weapons and set out to confront General Mapache, is just beautiful, esp. with those Mexican horns blaring and then just the drums. Also, pay attention to the sound editing and the way offscreen dialogue is overheard in some key shots. E.g. when the Bunch members are taunting Angel over his girl's unfaithfulness. We hear Lyle say, "She sure ain't your woman no more...lickin' all inside that heneral's ear," as we see her doing just that. There are some closeups in the desert scene (the one where the old man's mule slides down the dune and everybody falls) that were done in the studio that don't match the rest of the scene, but those are the only "mistakes" I noticed.

For bad editing, I think of Sam Peckinpah's THE KILLER ELITE (1975), esp. the climactic ninja-vs.-CIA guys fight scene. But I think that was a case of covering over the lack of key bits of action that either weren't shot or proved unusable. So it may have been good editing to overcome bad shooting or bad continuity or whatever. (Peckinpah was not in good shape when making that movie.)
Old 01-31-11, 03:38 PM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

Originally Posted by Solid Snake PAC View Post
I'll agree on those types of troubled films...I have the BD for that film...but have never seen the TC of it...I'm afraid to do so...

Also....how's the BD for that Eastwood flick...I need to get it at some point.
It's pretty good. A definite improvement over the dvd, which I always thought looked a bit washed out. This film doesn't have the flashiest look to it, but it is a bit more colorful than the SD version.
Old 01-31-11, 03:39 PM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

Whenever I think of bad editing, I think of Magnolia, because I'm not sure anyone actually did edit it.

Whenever I think of good editing I think of Takashi Miike's Dead or Alive (not to be confused with the awful movie based on the video game) and Ichi The Killer. Both use editing to create a style that perfectly complements the content.
Old 01-31-11, 03:40 PM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

Well in that case, Russian Ark has the worst editing of all time.
Old 01-31-11, 04:01 PM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

Originally Posted by Draven View Post
If you want to see a bad example, watch Transformers 2. It has the most piss-poor editing I've ever seen in a major motion picture.

Many people have complained you can't figure out what the hell is going on during the last big fight. Too many matching shots of robots that are indistinguishable, the geography is all messed up (people moving too quickly from one location to another, etc.) and it's WAY too long.

Also, there is a big "whoops" moment in that movie that I caught in the theater. There is a scene where they are driving in the desert and talking, then it cuts to them stopped and out of the car. Then it cuts back to them driving. I think one of the characters has his shirt around his head during one of those cuts, and the bottom line is that it's obvious they jammed the "stopped and out of the car" scene in the middle of the long driving and talking scene. The character's shirt (I think it's his roommate) doesn't stay consistent. I can't remember specifics, but it pulled me out.
Also w Transformers 2, Bay used like 5 different editors. and based on the documentary on disc 2, he used them for different scenes
Old 01-31-11, 04:03 PM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
Whenever I think of bad editing, I think of Magnolia, because I'm not sure anyone actually did edit it.

Whenever I think of good editing I think of Takashi Miike's Dead or Alive (not to be confused with the awful movie based on the video game) and Ichi The Killer. Both use editing to create a style that perfectly complements the content.
Agreed on Ichi.

Dario Argento's Inferno has great editing imo, especially the climax.
Old 01-31-11, 04:22 PM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
Well in that case, Russian Ark has the worst editing of all time.
For those of you who don't know...it was a whole film...FILMED in ONE TAKE...I saw it in class once a couple years back....yeah...They only missed up a few times early in the takes...but they got it all in one take after that. Rehearsal must've been a bitch.
Old 01-31-11, 04:32 PM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

Putting aside the controversey of the film's subject matter, editing rarely gets better than this.

The "white is black/black is white" scene starts at 01:35. I like the bit with the Oswald picture being altered ever so slowly between minutes of dialogue until it ties the paranoia into a bow at the end of the sequence.

<iframe title="YouTube video player" class="youtube-player" type="text/html" width="640" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/2HyyQtge-vQ" frameborder="0" allowFullScreen></iframe>
Old 01-31-11, 04:40 PM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

Thelma Schoonmaker does excellent work, obviously, but I really thought she shined in 'The Aviator'.

I love that film.
Old 01-31-11, 04:52 PM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

Originally Posted by Solid Snake PAC View Post
Ex: Great editing...Bullitt...on which I've chosen a very good example of great editing...the great car chase from it.

<iframe title="YouTube video player" class="youtube-player" type="text/html" width="480" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/GMc2RdFuOxI" frameborder="0" allowFullScreen></iframe>
I agree it's a good chase but the neglected the fact that people in SF would watch the film. Even as a kid watching this in the early 70's that the route they took is impossible to do. They started in one part of the city and ended up in the opposite end in no time.
Old 01-31-11, 04:57 PM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

SSP...you say you are a film student...in lots of threads. Is anything you've done online? Short film? School project? etc...
Old 01-31-11, 05:13 PM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

Se7en is another film that is very well edited. Another nominee.
Old 01-31-11, 05:25 PM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

Let's not forget Douglas Sirk, his stuff was very advanced for the time.

Nicolas Roeg also had some fantastic editing in Don't Look Now and The Man Who Fell To Earth. A lot of experimental stuff that's never been widely adopted.
Old 01-31-11, 07:44 PM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

Old 01-31-11, 07:57 PM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

I think Oliver Stone's films tend to have very good to great editing in them, like the aforementioned JFK or Nixon. The way many dialogue scenes have quick flashback cuts and rhyme-like switches between the principles. The deleted scene with Richard Helms from Nixon is one such scene:

<iframe title="YouTube video player" class="youtube-player" type="text/html" width="480" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Sx0t-pLLD2k" frameborder="0" allowFullScreen></iframe>
Old 01-31-11, 08:05 PM
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Re: Lets talk about Editing!

Originally Posted by LosingMyMind View Post
Is this an example of good or bad editing?

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