7 Editing Techniques To Make Your Movie Way Better!
It’s been said that you write a film three times. First when you write the script, second when you shooting it and third when you editin it. In this post we’ll be talking about the editing aspect of writing a film. Bear these techniques in mind while editing (and shooting) to give your film its best chance of coming as great as you intended.
1) DON’T LEAVE FRAME EMPTY FOR MORE TIME THAN NEEDED.
A filmmaking 101 fundamental is to start every take (shot) with your subject(s) out of camera (empty frame) and to end the shot also with an empty frame. That is, your subject walks into an empty frame, acts, and then clears/leaves frame.
That is done because it’s extremely useful to the editor in post production. However, as an editor do not leave the frame empty in the beginning or ending of the shot for too long. Most of the times a second to under a second is enough.
2) USE COVERAGE TO HIDE BAD ACTING.
Actors don’t always do a great job acting. However, coverage can help you hide the bad acting. If you have enough coverage of a scene, cut away to a new shot (angle) of the actor every time he/she acts “poorly.” We elaborate further on this technique on How To Hide Bad Acting In Your Film.
3) OVERLAP AND STEP ON LINES.
Don’t wait for Actor A to finish delivering his/her lines before you cut to Actor B to deliver his/her lines. Start Actor B lines before you even cut to Actor B. It’s more natural. Humans don’t tend to fully let someone finish talking before they start talking. And doing it in film is a sure way to scream bad editing.
4) DON’T KEEP CUTTING BACK TO THE SAME SHOT.
This isn’t always avoidable, for example, in most conversation sequences. However, as much as it serves the film, don’t keep coming back to the same shot….right away. Show different angles. Angles that reveal new elements of the story.
Not coming back to the same shot Is how a lot of TV series’ are shot. Pretty much every line is a new camera angle in the most popular television shows. We’re not saying go to this extreme, but be mindful of this technique and use it accordingly. To help you keep this technique in balance check out Single Camera Setup: Purpose In Directing.
5) CUT OUT SHOTS THAT ARE NOT MOVING THE STORY.
I know you love that shot, but if it’s not moving the story, cut it! If the shot is just there because it took you two hours to get it, cut it! It’s about the movie, not about the shot.
6) CUT ON ACTION/MOVEMENT.
It’s the best way to hide a cut, to cut on your actor’s movement. For example, cutting from a wide shot to a medium shot right when you actor throws his/her hands up will make your cut seamless. It’s a beauty how the cut can go almost unnoticed.
7) ONLY ONE TO TWO ESTABLISHING SHOTS.
Generally, no more than one to two establishing shots of a scene. Anything more than that you might as well be going into a montage sequence.
You may prefer style over rules and techniques and that’s totally okay. However, do become familiar with these rules so that when you break them you do so consciously. You’ve heard the saying, It’s not breaking the rules if you don’t know them.
It’s not possible to go into all the details of editing in a blog post. Check out Emmy nominated director Robert M. Goodman’s book: Editing Digital Video: The Complete Creative And Technical Guide.
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