Jack Nicholson at his BBS office Moviola on La Brea, February 1971 — Julian Wasser
Pudovkin’s Five Editing Techniques:
Finally got the book Visual Storytelling which I’ve wanted to read for quite some time, and wanted to share this particular page that listed the techniques of film editing from a Soviet filmmaker and theorist, Vsevolod Pudovkin. —filmschoolthrucommentaries
Pudovkin’s techniques describe several ways editing can be used to enhance the viewer’s understanding of a story, and they’re all designed to create a specific reaction from the audience, something he calls relational editing.
01. Contrast: cutting between two different scenarios to highlight the contrast between them. As an example, Pudovkin suggests moving from scenes of poverty to someone really rich to make the difference more apparent.
.02 Parallelism: here you can connect two seemingly unrelated scenes by cutting between them and focusing on parallel features. For example if you were shooting a documentary about fish stocks in the Atlantic, you could cut from a trawler being tossed about in the ocean to a family chomping down on some fish’n’chips – in both scenes drawing our attention to the fish: the object that connects them. It creates an association in the viewers’ mind.
.03 Symbolism: Again, more intercutting, you move from your main scene to something which creates a symbolic connection for the audience. Pudovkin (living in Soviet Russia) suggested cutting between shots of striking workers being shot by Tsarist police and scenes of cows being slaughtered: in the audience’s mind, they associate the slaughter of the cattle with the slaughter of the workers.
.04 Simultaneity: This is used lots in Hollywood today: cutting between two simultaneous events as a way of driving up the suspense. If you’re making a film about a politician on election night, you might cut between shots of the vote being counted to shots of your main subject preparing to hear the result. This extending of time builds anticipation.
.05 Leit motif: This ‘reiteration of theme’ involves repeating a shot or sequence at key moments as a sort of code. Think how Spielberg uses a ‘point of view’ shot in Jaws showing the shark looking up at swimmers. The first time he does it creates a visual code for “the shark’s about to attack”. Every time we see that underwater POV we know an attack is imminent. He has allowed us to participate in the decoding.
Previously on Cinephilia and Beyond:
Michael Horton from the LACPUG has found the tapes from a 2006 interview with the film editor Dede Allen. Two hours of industry insight behind the editing of some big Hollywood films. Back in 2006 before the F was dropped from the LAFCPUG, Michael Horton had the pleasure of interviewing the film editor Dede Allen. The tapes got lost or misplaced and only resurfaced recently. The almost two hour interview has just been published.
Filming Othello is a 1978 documentary film directed by and starring Orson Welles about the making of his award-winning 1952 production Othello. The film, which was produced for West German television, was the last completed feature film directed by Welles.
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