CHAPTER EIGHT: The Relation of Shot to Shot: Editing
Thompson (McGraw-Hill, 2001,6 th edition)
Around 1900-1910, as filmmakers started to use editing, they sought to arrange their shots so as to tell a story coherently and clearly. Thus editing, supported by specific strategies of cinematography and mise-en-scene, was used to ensure narrative continuity. So powerful is this style that, even today, anyone working in narrative filmmaking around the world is expected to be thoroughly familiar with it.
The basic purpose of the continuity system is to create a smooth flow from shot to shot. All of the possibilities of editing we have already examined are turned to this end. First, graphic qualities are usually kept roughly continuous from shot to shot. The figures are balanced and symmetrically deployed in the frame; the overall lighting tonality remains constant; the action occupies the central zone of the screen.
Second, the rhythm of the cutting is usually made dependent on the camera distance of the shot. Long shots are left on the screen longer than medium shots, and medium shots are left on longer than close-ups. The assumption is that the spectator needs more time to take in the shots containing more details. In scenes of physical action like the fire in The Birds, accelerated editing rhythms may be present, but the shorter shots will tend to be closer views. Since the continuity style seeks to present a story, however, it is chiefly through the handling of space and time that editing furthers narrative continuity.
Theorising Video Practice by Mike Wayne (Lawrence & Wishart, 1997, pp. 76-109)
West, E. And Belton, J. (ads.)
Film Sound. Theory and Practice (1985) New York: Columbia University Press Asynchronism.
Principle of Sound Film V. l. PUDOVKIN '.
The course of man's perceptions is like editing, the arrangement of which can make corresponding variations in speed, with sound just as with image. It is possible. therefore for sound film to be made correspondent to the objective world and man's perception of it together. The image may retain the tempo of the world, while the sound strip follows the changing rhythm of the course of man's perceptions, or vice versa. This is a simple and obvious form for counterpoint of sound and image. 'Consider now the question of straightforward dialogue in sound film. In all the films I have seen, persons speaking have been represented in one of two ways. Either the director was thinking entirely in terms of theater, shooting his whole speaking group through in one shot with a moving camera, using thus the screen only as a primitive means of recording a natural phenomenon, exactly as it was used in early silent films before the discovery of the technical possibilities of the cinema had made it an art form. Or else, on the other hand, the director had tried to use the experience of silent film, the art of montage in fact, composing the dialogue from separate shots that he was free to edit. But in this latter case the effect he gained was just as limited as that of the single shots taken with a moving camera, because he simply gave a. series of close-ups of a man speaking, allowed him to finish the given phrase on his image,' and then followed that shot with one of the man!
A answering. In doing so the director made of montage and editing no more than a cold verbatim report, and switched the spectator's attention…