Unit 16 Editing Essay
Unit 16Produce a 1000 word essay that critically evaluates the history, developmentand pioneers of editing. http://newmediateacher4.blogspot.com/2011/12/pioneers-of-editing.html (Label this on your blog as 16.1.2)Explain the contribution to the history of editing, that Edwin S. Porter and D.W. Griffiths made.Evaluates the history, development and pioneers of editing.Editing is the most important step in filmmaking and is part of the creative post-production process. The term film editing originates from the traditional process of working with film. It allows the creator to tell their story to the best of their abilities and is essential for the film to flow. When editing was being tried and tested in the early 1900s, the film directors and producers recognised they needed to create their films in a different way to get people to enjoy them.Initially they were recorded in one long static shot. The length of the film was determined by how much film there was in the camera. Originally motion shots were all that was needed to entertain the audience, so the first films only showed activity such as traffic moving on a street. An early American film pioneer was Edwin Porter. He was known the most for his role as a director with Thomas Edison's company. Edwin directed mostly short films from 1898 to 1915 and created over two hundred and fifty films in his time, the most important included Life of an American Fireman and The Great Train Robbery; both created in 1903. Porters most recognised piece of work was The Great Train Robbery. This was a western film written, produced, and directed by Porter. It was twelve minutes long and it attained recognition as one of the first major motion pictures to move the story forward with each successive scene. The film used a number of groundbreaking techniques including cross- cutting, double exposure composite editing, camera movement and on-location shooting to illustrate stories happening simultaneously in different times and places. Porter realised that the juxtaposition of two different scenes would form a new contextual relationship in the mind of the viewer, which at the time was considered revolutionary in film editing. The Great Train Robbery also had other radical innovations such as moving the camera and there is a famous scene of a close-up of a bandit shooting his gun. Porter helped to develop the modern concept of continuity editing (a set of editing techniques used to create a cohesive sense of space and a sense of continuous time by maintaining consistent graphic, spatial and temporal relationships between shots).This paved the way for David Griffith to create and perfect such cinematic devices (some of which he invented during his collaboration with his personal cinematographer, G.W. Billy Bitzer whilst at American Mutoscope & Biograph Co). He also further developed the close-up and cross-cutting techniques in order to intensify the dramatic content of films and to expand on Porter's discovery that the unit of film structure was the shot rather than the scene. From 1905 to 1908 he experimented with trick photography and stop-motion animation such as the flashback, the iris shot, the mask, the systematic use of the soft focus shot and the split screen. He also pioneered the technique of parallel editing, pushing his films to exceptional levels of intricacy and depth, which he used extensively after 1909. By 1916 he invented and improved film equipment, by expanding his experimentation to 3-D photography, lightweight motor-operated cameras and talking pictures. The use of sound allowed the film to be more interested and to make the audience feel more involved. His first sound film was Abraham Lincoln in 1930. He directed over four hundred and fifty short films and his films represented the cruelty of humankind. His work was highly regarded by Kuleshov and other Soviet filmmakers whom greatly influenced their understanding of editing. In 1908 his film, For Love of Gold featured the first ever continuity cut when a scene cut. This focused on creating a clear continuity for the final piece that was created. The idea of this was to create a smooth flow between all of the clips so the narrative of the story will be obvious without any interruptions and would flow smoothly. Griffith then realised that emotions could also be portrayed through different camera angles, like close up and long shots to show characters mannerisms, as well as through pace of editing, to build excitement and manipulate audience emotions and it wasnt all down to the actors. He was given credit for the narrative of the film, the production of the first American feature film and the discovery of the close up. Griffith was recognised for his contribution to film by being named an Honorary Life Member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) in 1938. He was awarded for "distinguished achievement in motion picture direction and had the D.W. Griffith Award named after him. Another director honoured by this award was Martin Scorsese. Some of his famous films were Taxi driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980) and Goodfellas (1990). His films consist of New York, dark themes of humanity, unsympathetic lead characters, main character voiceovers, violence, religion, the Mafia, unusual camera techniques and contemporary music. His main themes for his films stem from his religious upbringing as a child to represent sin, forgiveness and redemption. His main characters in each film go through some sort of inner turmoil that needs to be sanctioned by something greater than them. This can especially be seen in the Taxi driver as he uses sin to represent psychological depression. As the film progresses, so does the main characters turmoil, eventually finishing through death or like in Goodfellas they are trapped in their own inner suffering.In Raging Bull, time remapping was used to show the fight scene in slow motion to emphasise the brutality and importance of the fight. Scorsese used excess amounts of flashbulbs to portray Jakes life, success and popularity through the aggressive public eye. He used a crackle sound to mimic the popping camera flashbulb sound from the 1940s and 1950s. This was also a clever way to hide difficult editing transitions. Scorsese used the flash of a camera to show intrusion an explosion on the scene. This in turn influenced PT Anderson to feature flashbulbs in his Boogie Nights film but he used a different sound to that of Scorsese as his film was based on the 1970's.http://youtu.be/t34MZ-Zub9c(from 2 mins to 3:20mins)Also several of the long takes such as the pool party sequence shot in this film were influenced by the scene from Goodfellas when Henry took Karen to the Copacabana nightclub. Scorsese used sequence shots to portray Henrys control, power and stability in New Yorks organised world of crime.http://youtu.be/yCYwcObxl78Scorsese used freeze frame techniques to introduce characters. He used this technique in the opening scene of Goodfellas to emphasise the monologue by Henry Hill. This serves as a moving and narrative function as Scorsese demonstrates Henry Hills life as it is being narrated to us to get the previewing audience immediately engaged in the storyline of the film.http://youtu.be/QEwJdGfi1p8In Taxi driver he portrayed Travis Bickle losing his mind and the downward spiral into psychological depression through jump cuts, expressionist lighting, point of view shots and slow motion sequences. The opening scene shows the cab driving through steam/smoke, to the following scene of the main characters eyes, before viewing the city through a rainy windscreen to portray how the main character, Travis views the city in his mind through the images that we see on the screen. He wanted to use these techniques to portray the isolation, solitude and madness of his character Travis tortured mind.http://youtu.be/j374vTaKWLQTo conclude, editing techniques demonstrate how films can engage the thoughts and emotions of the audience from all economic and social backgrounds. This has been revolutionary in terms of understanding editing possibilities within the film industry. Before Griffiths and Porters films were created, films generally took longer takes, limited close up shots and there was little editing between scenes. Since The Birth of a Nation, films have been allowed to develop and grow and become more interesting for audiences through aspects such as camera angles, narrative and actors. These techniques engage the viewer, create motivation, develop drama, and create pace. Overall, combining shots to create sequences gives us the basic term for editing and these techniques are widely used and recognised in films created today.