kortina.nyc / notes / devlog
14 Dec 2023 | by kortina

film devlog #6 // Editing Notes

A few years ago, I started tracking my DaVinci Resolve Tips. It has a bunch of more technical notes on editing with Resolve, but it’s not really about the generic craft of editing – stuff that would apply no matter what editing software you use.

So here is where I’m going to collect all of my notes about editing more broadly.

Ways to Cut Without Establishing Wide Shots

A very broad rule of thumb for editing / shooting a scene is you start with a wide – so the audience can get a sense of where the characters are, the context, then do your mediums, then close-ups for key emotional moments.

In this interview with the editors of The Bear, the editors discuss more non-traditional ways to cut into a new scene, viz:

The thing that I really appreciate the most about working on this show is that they often force you to come up with creative ways in and out of things. We never really had – and I’m glad that this wasn’t the case – a new scene that abruptly cuts to the exterior and then transitions to the interior.

Instead, we had to find connective tissue between scenes, sometimes being very blunt about it, like CNN and Boomer in the next scene. Other times, we would use b-roll and texture, since we had so many great close-ups, like dials turning and fire coming on. These little bursts of style were not really montages or establishing shots, but they were in-between moments that allowed us to convey story and symbolism while seamlessly transitioning to the next thing. Having these non-traditional exercises was really cool and has opened me up to new ideas when working on other shows.

Cut on Movement

This is a bit counter-intuitive to me, but it generally seems to work:

It’s usually better to cut mid-movement, vs cutting after the movement ends.

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