cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

FILM EDITING montage/découpage




GRAPHIC TABLE decoupage technique


Everyone who has read a little bit about film remembers montage as what Eisenstein did. But Découpage?  Unusually, wiki does not provide an answer.

Note 5 in a 2003 essay/paper by Donato Totaro in Offscreen:

André Bazin: Part 1, Film Style Theory in its Historical Context

 

There are two terms used by Bazin which either take on a different meaning in their English translation or don’t have an equivalent. Montage in English terminology implies a rigorous and expressive editing style. Most editing sequences juxtapose shots of varying space, time, and content combining to create an over- all idea, meaning, or tone. Editing implies the formal construction of the film from one shot to the next and is not nec­essarily expressive. Bazin uses the terms interchangeably. The second term, decoupage, has no English equivalent. The French definition is “to cut,” but applied to film the word is better described as construction. Noel Burch, in Theory of Film Practice, defines the three terms for which decoupage is inter­changeably used for as: 1) The final form of a script replete with the required technical information. 2) The practical breakdown of the film’s construction into separate shots/sequences prior to filming & 3) The underlying structure of the finished film, which has probably deviated from the original “decoupage.”

 


Jonathan Rosenbaum posts up his découpage entry for what he says was an aborted Oxford Companion to Film.

GoogleBook of Film Editing By Valerie Orpen, elucidates more and ties it in with editing.



The Classic French Cinema, 1930-1960
By C. G. Crisp

page 301: Stages in development of script

There were [..] five stages listed in script development “manuals”: the synopsis, the traitement, the continuité, the dialogues or continuité dialoguée, and the découpage techniqué. Frequently, mention is made of a prior “stage”, the idée de film, which might be an anecdote noted in a few lines or at most a few pages.



There are a few pages missing here and there, but the discussion on découpage runs on up to page 15, where there is a quote from Rene Clair:

“When I have finished writing the découpage, my film is made.”



French Film Theory and Criticism By Richard Abel


has three beginning pages of  “The Decoupage” by Henri Diament-Berger from the “Le filmage” section of a book called Le Cinéma.


This is very useful because he gives an example of a decoupaged scene: a numbered list with meters of film to be used in each shot. He then goes on to mention logical decoupage.


How meters of film convert to mins/secs, would be nice to know. Suppose if one knew how many frames per meter (we already know 24 fps), tout a fait.


On the History of Film Style by David Bordwell
{GoogleBook}


This Screening the Past review of Valerie Orpen’s Fim editing: the art of the expressive, points out the not always obvious point: editing as cutting and joining.


The Classical Hollywood Cinema by David Bordwell, Janet Staiger, Kristin Thompson


Chapter 6.   Shot and scene.  As usual there are vital pages missing, but enough to get the general idea plus some.


Look on these annoying missing pages not as a reason to have to buy the book, more like the discovery of a pile of dusty out takes  from which you are painstakingly reconstructing the mind of the long gone editor of some unnamed film.


For the beginner, the first paragraph can be quite sufficient to mull over. Though what there is of the rest of the chapter is fascinating stuff.  Anyone know what a timer is?  Well, here you learn this job was to work out the total running time of a script.


Using the search option in GoogleBook to find the other mentions of decoupage.


Film Editing By Don Fairservice


An over 300 page book – no index; no mention of découpage.



December 30, 2008 - Posted by | decoupage, film editing, film [its techniques] | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] sort marks a significant departure from classical mise en scène analysis. The venerable tool of découpage – shot-by-shot breakdown – depends upon the theatrical and dramatic unity of the filmic […]

    Pingback by Six Plateaus of Separation from Gilles Deleuze | omnitudo | July 23, 2015 | Reply


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