September 29th, 2009 by shawnmontano
I would first like to apologize for not updating the Edit Foundry Blog for almost a month now.Â I’ve been teaching and getting paid!Â I teach Video Editing (part time) at Front Range Community College in Longmont, CO.Â Building a lesson plan for each week takes a lot of time and I’ve been devoting all my spare educational time to that.
I realize how much I like teaching now.Â It’s a tremendous amount of work.Â Â Each Thursday when I leave class and I see people learning about Final Cut Pro and editing concepts it validates all my efforts.
So, with that the Edit Foundry Blog returns with,
‘The Rule of Six.’
What’s the rule of six you ask?Â The rule of six is something I learned about when I read In The Blink of An Eye, by Walter Murch.
Walter Murch is a film editor.Â He’s the editor responsible for Apocalypse Now, The Godfather III and many others as you can see here in the Internet Movie Database.
His list is as follows
3) Rhythm or pacing
4) Eye-trace (leading or directing the eye to what the viewer should look at)
5) Two-dimensional plane of Screen (or screen direction/180 rule/)
6) Three-dimensional space of action (or continuity)
This list is primarily for film editing.Â What I’m going to do is explain how I use this logic in broadcast editing.Â I use this in News, program, documentary, and commercial/promotional editing.
Are you new to the Edit Foundry Blog?Â Here’s how it works.Â I have a story on my YouTube sight I want you to watch.Â Watch it first.Â Then, read the blog.
The story we’re going to use for this post is
It’s part of a series of stories I’m editing for our station ‘The Deuce.’Â The series is called Extreme Kellie.
Our anchor Kellie Macmullan experiences an extreme activity.Â In this story she paraglides.
I start the story with a nice aerial of paragliders.
The next shot is that of a shadow of a paraglider.
Notice how both shots have what I want you to look at on the left side and just over center (rule of thirds I’m thinking about too, but that’s for another post.)Â I’m placing your eye exactly where I want it.Â I’m using eye trace, rule 4.
The next shot I’m cutting for rhythm/pacing, rule 3.
I always like to think about eye trace when I’m editing.Â But every shot won’t work.Â If you truly went for eye trace in each shot you’d spend a lot of time looking.Â Frankly we don’t always have that kind of time.Â So I’m cutting for rhythm or pacing.Â I wanna maintain a certain pace and this rule overrides eye trace.
So what about story, rule 2?Â Are each of these shot so far advancing the story? Yes.Â Are each of these shots important to the story? Yes.Â Before you think about the rhythm or eye trace think about the story.Â Do the edits advance the story.Â So far yes.
I do a series of faster edits at [:08] for rhythm. I’m simply cutting to the music I bring up full.Â Notice the paragliders are mostly centered in this series of shots.Â I always have eye trace in the back of my thoughts.
Now here’s a spot that you could argue that rhythm, rule 3, is over-riding story, rule 2. The shots are still relevant to the story.Â I’m not showing crazy tights shot of the sky?Â I’m showing paragliders.Â Story and rhythm are working together here.
Back to eye trace here at [:11]
Paragliders are just above center and just to the left (that rule of thirds again).
and in that same spot just above center and to the left, Kelly’s head (The instructor not my anchor); more eye trace in action.Â Check out the next two shot at [:17] and [:20], more eye trace.
The shot at [:23] is for rhythm and advancing the story.Â As you can see no eye trace into the edit.Â but out of the edit take a look.
Your eyes are just above center and to the right.
The next shot at [:27] Kellie and Kelly’s heads are just above center and to the right.
Ok, I’ve think you’ve got the whole eye trace thing.Â So, I’m not going to point those out any more.
So the shot from Kellie and Kelly wide above to the shot tight shot Kellie putting on the backpack,
fall under two dimensional plane of screen (screen direction), rule 5.Â Kellie (my anchor) is on the left and Kelly (the instructor) is on the right.Â I maintain screen direction but I override continuity rule 6.
A word about RuleÂ 6 – Three dimensional space of action or continuity. Continuity is the rule I break the most often.Â In the news world it’s extremely hard to maintain continuity because photographers are gathering action as it happens. Since we don’t re-create situations continuity is a simple rule to break.
The easiest way to get around continuity is tight shots.
From [:45] to [:59] I’m just thinking about rule 4 or screen direction.Â This is a sequence of getting the paraglider up.Â I’m also advancing the story, rule 2.
At [:59] I cut to a shot of Kellie giving the camera a thumbs up.
This shot is for emotion, rule 1.Â I’m showing Kellie’s enthusiasm.
From [1:00] to [1:10] I’m thinking about rhythm.
At [1:11] Kellie talks about being nervous.
Emotion or rule 1.Â I’m NOT going to make a cut even though the photographer adjusts the iris during the shot.Â I break rhythm too by keeping this shot up so long.Â This is a true example of emotion over-riding all.
From [1:20] to [1:44] I’m cutting for rhythm and for story.
At [1:45] Kellie shows emotion and I stay with it.
There are several more examples of the ‘rule of six’ and how it implies to each edit. I invite you to watch the piece and really look at each edit and ask yourself, why did he do that?
Remember rarely is one edit made based on one rule.Â More often several rules are in play.
I do want to point out something toward the end of the story.
These 3 shots are jump cuts.
and I don’t care.
Each shot has emotion.Â No need to cut away from it.Â This is another example of emotion over-riding all.
Thank you for your patience.Â I’m glad your here reading the blog.Â As always I love your comments.
Shawn Montano (shaw...@gmail.com)
Posted in Editing Theory | 6 Comments »
September 2nd, 2009 by shawnmontano
More and more stories are being shot by more and more people.Â Everyone in the newsroom (paper, multimedia, advanced, traditional) are being asked to shoot and help out with stories.Â I’m not afraid of this, I’m embracing it.Â I look at it as a challenge to maintain my editing desires and blend them with video shot by amateur professionals.Â Amateur professionals?Â I kinda like that term.Â It’s self explanatory I think.
I’m doing a series of stories for News On The Deuce.Â It’s our 7pm newscast.Â The shows target audience is a younger demo.Â Editing for the show allows our editing staff to add music to a lot more pieces than we’d normally do for a newscast.
The series I’ve been editing a lot for is called Extreme Kellie.
Our anchor, Kellie Macmullan goes out and takes part in some great activities.Â For this one, It’s Not What You Expect, Kellie skydives.
This story is a good example of using amateur professional photography.
I start the story off with a few aerial shots just to establish where the actions going to be.Â You’ll notice I dropped the saturation and added a little blur on the video.Â Why, just frankly cause it looks cool.
Kellie asked me to do this one as a natural sound story.Â I’m experimenting with storytelling and different styles of editing with these.Â I’m not going crazy with effects.Â I frankly don’t think any of these stories need that.Â They are extreme all by themselves.
What I am doing is having a lot of fun with music.Â The first song you’re hearing is Raining Oil by Thomas Newman from the Jarhead Soundtrack.
I chose this song because I felt it created that anticipatory feeling.
Our story starts out with the man she’s going to tandem jump with getting her all set up.
Kellie is featured predominantly in these stories.Â So obviously I’m going to show her a lot.Â These little moments (like her facial expression above) are particularly important to help the audience understand her hesitation.
I add the owner of the skydiving company to help tell the story.
You’ll notice from [:38] and on the story uses mostly video shot by the skydiving company.
I love to sequence whatever video there is.Â Sequencing regardless of who shot it still helps tell the story.Â More importantly sequencing advances your story visually.
From [:40] to [:47] is a simple sequence edited to music to simply get us up off the ground and into the air.
The music I choose for this section is Hard Sun by Eddie Vedder from the Into the Wild Soundtrack.Â As you probably guessed I love using music from soundtracks.Â A lot of this music is written in part for storytelling.
Another sequence at [:50] to establish they are up high in the sky.
From [:53] to [1:13] is another sequence of Kellie and her instructor.Â They’re getting ready to jump out of the plane.
Sequencing, match action and no jump cuts all with amateur video.
From [1:20] to [1:35]Â I’ve got shot variety, match action, mixing up wides, mediums and tights.
Yes you can still tell good stories and have good editing with amateur video.
Posted in Anatomy of an Edit | 6 Comments »