Thursday, September 17, 2009

"F*ckin' Around With Images"


In the legendary documentary on editing, The Cutting Edge, director James Cameron talks about the Terminator Experiment. In editing Terminator 2, they were trying to cut down the overall length of the film and Cameron suggested cutting out one frame of out every minute. The editors tried it.

And it sucked. Horribly. You can see the experiment here at 0:22 seconds. Today, Beth and I encountered the answer to the Terminator Experiment:

Every. Frame. Counts.


The day started out with the scene where Angela goes in to kill Scott and walks off with him to the bar to get drinks together. And it was good, old-fashioned editing at its best. Beth and I put our heads together on the scene, but I credit her with all the hard work and smartest ideas :)

We were able to build back-and-forth suspense of Angela walking up the steps to kill Scott. Then we took our time picking the right takes for the dialogue part of the scene, building pauses between lines, focusing on Angela to see her watching and listening to Scott...

And then we turned around and we had a scene where to the two characters were engaged and interacting with one another.

Then we moved onto the scene where Angela and Scott meet for drinks. Music rides over Scott talking as Angela listens and smiles. A 15-second scene. Simple, right?

We spent the better part of 90 minutes going over this scene. Adding or taking a few frames here and there replaced nervous blinking with rapt attention, revealed slight smiles, and created an adorable romantic interaction. But damn, we had to do it just right.

Then we came to the scene where Scott asked Angela out. I hadn't seen it since the first cut. And it was near perfect. Less than an hour of tweaks and it was right where we wanted it to be.

Aren't great editors great?

I also met a great sound designer today. Very good first impression. Fingers crossed and will continue to follow up with him.

To wrap it all up, I give you this -- as Beth was trying to show me the Terminator Experiment, we stumbled across Quentin Tarantino's version of one of the most significant developments in global film history -- the creation of Montage editing:
The crazy Russians start fuckin' around with images, awright?
Oh Tarantino. If Only I were as eloquent as you.

More editing on Saturday! More eloquence on editing then!

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