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Editing – looking closer


Legendary editor Walter Murch has identified what he calls ‘The Rule of Six’ in editing. Watch him talk about it here.


1. Emotion (51%) How will this cut affect the audience emotionally at this particular moment in the film? 2. Story (23%) Does the edit move the story forward in a meaningful way? 3. Rhythm (10%) Is the cut at a point that makes rhythmic sense? 4. Eye Trace (7%) How does the cut affect the location and movement of the audience's focus in that particular film? 5. Two Dimensional Place of Screen (5%) Is the axis followed properly?

Relate to continuity

6. Three Dimensional Space (4%) Is the cut true to established physical and spatial relationships?


As students of TV Drama, the first four rules are crucial to consider in your analysis. When looking at editing, you must determine how it affects the impact of representational issues on the AUDIENCE. Editing determines an audience’s response to moving images because it controls: 1.Pace 2.Manipulation of time 3.Perspective/point of view 4.The direction of the narrative


Therefore, it is essential you consider the following about the characters in the scene: 1.Who has the most relative screen time? 2.How are the number of MCUs and CUs distributed between the characters? 3.What is the significance of eyeline & POV shots? 4.What is the significance of reaction shots? 5.Who controls the shots/reverse shots? 6.Who motivates the cutting? By addressing each of the questions above, you will get an insight into how the editing creates an emotional response in the audience. This should give you an understanding of how representations are constructed by the editing process.


Activity Watch the following short clip three times and look for: 1.Screen time 2.Number of MCUs and CUs 3.Number of eyeline/POV shots 4.Significance of reaction shots 5.Who controls the shots/reverse shots? 6.Who motivates the cutting? Consider how this relates to the representation of GENDER. CLICK HERE FOR CLIP


Key points •The female character has significantly more screen time than the male character. •There are 3 MCUs of the girl and 1 of the boy. •There is 1 CU of the girl and 2 of the boy but the second is the final shot of the scene and this reaction shot is significant in constructing the representation of gender. • The girl clearly controls the shots/reverse shots; the urgency of her voice motivates the cuts. •It is clear the girl motivates all cuts in the scene. She is the only character to move, demonstrating urgency. Overall, the editing contributes to the representation of the girl as a strong willed, empowered character and the male as weak and not in control, a reversal of traditional stereotypes.


Activity 2 Write down the six elements to look for: 1.Screen time 2.Number of MCUs and CUs 3.Number of eyeline/POV shots 4.Significance of reaction shots 5.Who controls the shots/reverse shots? 6.Who motivates the cutting? Now watch the following clip from Frost twice and make notes on each of the six elements above. Consider how this relates to the representation of DISABILITY


Key points •Frost and Billy are both presented in CU as the interview begins – they are equal at this early point. •As the clip continues Frost remains in CU or MCU. The MCU shows his smart suit and tie and reminds us of his adult and professional status. •Shots of Billy move away from CU to a 2 shot with his dad in the background, highlighting his childlike nature and reliance on adults. •Reaction shots of Billy emphasise his status as a ‘child’ while Frost’s reaction shots represent him as concerned and kindly. •Frost controls the shots and motivates the cuts as he leads the conversation.


Key points Overall, the editing contributes to the representation of disability significantly; Frost is represented as a caring adult figure yet his slow speech and deliberate manner could be seen as patronising. Billy is represented as childlike and unable to understand what the adults are saying although this is not the case. Frost controls and motivates the editing as he is a detective conducting an interview, but it can also be argued the editing contributes to a stereotypical representation of adults who treat disabled people as if they are somehow inferior and incapable of understanding.

Editing - Looking Closer  

Looking closer at editing for G322.