A Dance of the Eyes

dance of the eyes

Editing, otherwise described as “the dance of the eyes” is a way that editors can put all the pieces of their work together. It has certainly come together in the last 100 years, paving the way for contemporary editing styles, which have become a staple in our society. Editors have the ability to change and make additions to whatever they want in order to tell a story, because after all, that’s all editing is: manipulating images and sounds to create a narrative. Osgood and Hinshaw’s text raises the awareness that as more information is provided to an audience, the clearer the story’s focus becomes. 

A few ways to enhance the relay of information to viewers that Osgood and Hinshaw were referring to are:

  • Image and Sound. Adding sound to an already stable image creates more information and a better sense of location and space.
  • Shot Order. This allows editors to manipulate the order in which viewers see images. It tells the story in a logical fashion.
  • Shot Relationship. By creating relationships between shots, editors alter believability.
  • Time. Editors can manipulate or compress time, depending on which message they are trying to send.
  • Rhythm and Pacing. An image should be on-screen for as long as it takes to transfer the information to the viewer; in other words, an editor’s job is to make sure viewer’s have time to grasp the information being thrown at them.

These tactics are useful and tasteful, but they do bring challenges to editors. Maintaining credibility and keeping a story interesting are both things that keep editors up at night, which is why it is so crucial that they use the above tools correctly.

The next method editors should follow is continuity, or maintaing a story’s consistency. In other words, a jump cut would not be an example of continuity because it does not have a good flow of information. One of the continuity conventions that helps make a story believable is maintaining screen direction. It is important not to appear like the screen is going every direction possible, and with additional talent and talent movement, a scene’s complexity elevates. Montages and sequencing are other skills that are used to make a story more interesting and believable.

Another category that applies to the art of storytelling is transitions. This technique is only beneficial when editors have a lot of clips and footage to choose from; so get a lot of video because you’ll need a lot to work with! There are a few different ways you can transition your work:

  • The Cut: (cutting the list below will emphasize drastic changes)
    • on dialogue
    • on action
    • on the beat
  • The Mix
    • a mix of two images can be dissolved (The Fade)
  • The Wipe
    • when an image moves across the screen and is replaced by another
  • Split Edit/L Cut
    •  occurs when picture and sound start at slightly different times

Each of these techniques contributes to the viewers’ experience with the screen. In fact, all forms of editing are used with the intention of positively contributing to the viewers’ experiences. After all, editing is the third and final time a story is told during the production process and before screening, so it’s kind of a big deal. Editors have the potential to convey emotion and clarity to anyone or anything they bring their expertise to; do you think you’re ready now?


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