Scott Breckenridge’s Lecture – Shooting and editing films

We had a guest talk in our lecture with Scott Breckenridge, who worked in post production for 12 years. During the lecture, he talked about his work experiences and also the techniques in planning, filming and editing in films. He has worked in short films, commercials, events and corporate such as IBM, Microsoft, Lush Cosmetics, etc). He also worked for Broadcast TV such as The Only Way Is Essex (ITVBe), The Great British Menu (BBC2), The Big Eat (Food Network) Close Calls: On Camera (BBC1), etc. He has got a photography degree and a master degree in film editing.

The role of editor:

  • Be technically proficient and skilled – know the software Avid Adobe, final cut
  • Work with the director or producer to produce compelling content
  • Add your creativity, learnt how to use visual to tell stories
  • Manage expectations and time management – what can and can’t be done in the time
  • Create a good working environment

During the lecture, we also looked at different clips of movies so to understand more about the editing techniques and also how to plan the shots.

The editing process

  • Shoot more than what you need as you can edit the length of the shot later on
  • Save and copy the footage and put all the footage in one folder so to organise well and you can find them easily
  • Organise and manage the folders for music, sequences, footage, effects, titles
  • Import footage. First drag onto the timeline, then edit, after that think about the color grade, finally export sequence
  • Then, zoom in to make precision edits
  • Use the audio waveform to be accurate (Pace and beats)
  • Duplicate sequences regularly so you can go back

Reviews of the clip without watching the film:

Case study 1: Run Lola Run – German Action Movie Video Clip -1998

Director: Tom Tykwer

The red hair of Lola represents her young character and features the 90s hairstyle. At the beginning of the video, it involves a lot of zooming in shots and I like how it has followed the pace of the music which creates atmosphere and it also includes cut shots as well. The clips has got a lot of editing techniques such as slow motion, fasten the speed of the video, flashing images, etc. The film is shot in color. The video also shows the importance of planning the shots as when the girl run out of the door, the camera follows the girl but still keep distance from her, but when the girl has left the house, the camera went to the other room and then capture a woman there. After that, the camera zoom in the TV in the room and then went back to the girl who is running but in cartoon form which I think make the scene appeal more interesting. I really like the scene where the camera moves down when the girl went out from the building. In the clip, I also like how some of the scenes are not just about the girl but also capture quite a few flat characters which I think makes the story more contents and interesting rather than just using one character. At the end, when the girl is running, the camera sometimes shot in close up or side angles and there are columns appear in the scene which follow the pace of the music. I think the faded out scene at the end while overlapping the next scene when she was running works well in the sequences of the film.

Case study 2: Blade runner- somebody else memories- 1982 

Director: Ridley Scott

When the character moves, the camera moves a bit as well, so I think the director wants to give a more realistic vision and interact with the audience. Sometimes when the camera focus on a mid shot of the woman, the man’s movements also captures in the camera as well. The blinds also create a nice setting for the scenes and it reminds me of the film noir style. The film is shot in color. At the start of the clip, it starts with wide angle shot, but when the scenes progress,it then started to get more and more close up and also shot from low angle which shows more emotions in film making. At the beginning of the clip, the male character’s upturned collar style is popular in the 1980s. The piano music from the background creates an emotional atmosphere, but also mysterious feelings. The female character is dressed in big coat with black gloves, red lips, the pompadour updo, 1940s victory rolls hairstyle and she look glamorous and luxury and it reminds me of the 1940’s femme fatale style.

Case study 3: Mesrine Killer Instinct (Part 1)- 2008

Director: Jean-Francois Richet

In the clip, it has got one or more boxes involved in several scenes and I think the positions of the boxes are very interesting because of how different boxes shows different angles and actions of the character. The boxes and the angle the camera was shot gives mystery effect to the film and it makes me think I’m secretly stalking what the character’s are doing. I think this is a method of engaging the audiences and makes the audiences wonder what will happen to the characters later in the story.The boxes also helps to capture the small details of the character and I think it also distracting the audiences as there are more than one scenes happening in one scene. The film is shot in color. The expression and the body language of the characters are very important as it creates mysterious effects and make the scene more exciting. The background music is created by string instruments and it creates mysterious atmosphere. I think the positioning of the words are well thought out as well and it goes well with the positioning of the boxes. At the end of the clip, I like how it started to zoom in the box which might stand for the beginning of the story going to start. The male character dressed in polo neck top and black leather jacket (Punk subculture) which are the popular fashion trend in the 1970s. The hairstyle also reflects the 70s look as well. Both characters in the clip wore sunglasses and they also look around. The female character at the beginning was walking the dog but she was looking around and feeling quite nervous while the male character was walking down the street and also looking around which makes me think that both characters have connections between each other and the sunglasses might be used to try to hide for somebody. The trench coat that the female character wear shows a chic but mystery styles. I think at the end of the film, the way both characters took off their sunglasses are used to show their identity of their characters to the audiences.

Case study 4: Frances Ha – Music and visuals- 2013

Director: Noah Baumbach

The film provides the address of where it is filmed which I think the director wants to show a clear location where the film is set and maybe have some connections with the , characters, the place where she lives etc. The female character dressed in casual and she carries a bagpack with her while she was dancing on the street and I think the outfit, bagpack and also the way she leaves her hair down symbolises freedom. At the beginning of the film, she is jumping and dancing and this shows her positive and active personality to the audience. Also, it shows that she is enjoying what she is doing and happy about her lives. The music is created with drums, keyboards, guitar and bass guitar and I think it presents the ideas of youth and positive. The pace of the music matches the way the female character is running. I think at the last scene, it shows the female character is sleeping which means that the previous shots might be a dream. The scenes are being cut in editing and is not in a smooth sequence. I think it is used to match the pace of the music. When the female character is running, the shot is focused on her and I like how the camera follows her and this should be shot when the car is moving.

There are some techniques on below which we can do think about when deciding and planning the shots, filming issues and also editing process.

  • Slower editing style to match the pace of the scene
  • Use of Dark lighting- you can shoot at night with minimal light, etc
  • Change in characters behaviour
  • 2 camera angles- by using 2 camera angles, you can show different directions from where you look at the character
  • How do the shots change as the scene progressed
  • What does the film do to the audience?
  • Use of reaction shots
  • What does the costume, hair and make-up tell you about the character (Background, habits and personality) and the places (where the character lives or travel to)?
  • The mood and the atmosphere you want to create in the film
  • Engage the audiences by consider creating emotional aspects using videography, light and sound
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