Commercial: Edit To The Beat

Joe Randeen/ Editing, Videos

How does the rhythm of an edit, or the pacing of shots, matter to the art of editing?Setting the pace of an edit is vital to the storytelling aspect, and for establishing the general stylistic feel of a film. This rhythm is created by a series of beats, and cannot be determined by one or two consecutive cuts alone. It works very similarly to a music composition. The tempo of a piece of music is defined by the beats per minute of the underlying track. It determines the speed, or the pace of a tune. Without it, different instruments cannot come to play in unison or to create a cohesive sound. Just as a conductor sets the tempo for an entire orchestra, or a DJ mixes various songs together by beat-matching, it is up to the editor to determine an appropriate pace within each scene itself, as well as collectively for the entire film.
The skill of pacing does not mean moving at an exact measured pace all the time, but knowing when to cut out of a certain shot and into the next to create an engaging dynamic. An editor needs to know just how much time is necessary to give the audience a breather to absorb a moment, or when to trim and cut out of a shot before it lingers on for too long. These ups and downs, or waves, are important to avoid moving at a monotonous speed. In his book Art of the Cut, Steve Hullfish gives the perfect example of this by comparing editing to dance. “Dancers do not simply make a movement or a step on every single beat. Dance rushes forward, then holds, then flows elegantly, then spins and drives.” There are innumerable films to use as references here, but as I was recently watching Moneyball, I could not help but notice Christopher Tellefesen’s instinctive editing style. The scenes in which players were being traded over the phone had a fun, back-and-forth exchange between Billy Bean (Brad Pitt), and Peter Brand (Jonah Hill). This dynamic was beautifully juxtaposed with the long and awkward, one-shot scenes of the players receiving the news that they have been cut from the team. (
Students were given clips and a soundtrack and they were to create a short commercial using the entire song. The purpose of the exercise was to EDIT TO THE BEAT.  Create a rhythmically engaging commercial for a fictitious resort.
Congratulations to the following students for their great work.
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