cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

FILM EDITING How to edit [Parts 1-3]





From Redshark News 17 November 2014:


REDSHARK How to edit part 1


REDSHARK How to edit part 2


REDSHARK How to edit part 3


How to edit – Part 1


How to edit – Part 2


How to edit – Part 3


By Peter Haas

… is an award winning Brooklyn-based filmmaker and writer whose first celluloid love was “Godzilla.” Since age 9, he’s been chasing monsters and men, camera in hand. His chief inspirations are classic German Expressionist cinema, the free-wheeling creativity of Terry Gilliam, and the fog-shrouded forests of his New Hampshire birthplace. Through his films, Peter strives to unlock the experience of “ecstatic cinema” — a viewing experience that challenges, delights, and sweeps up the audience in equal measures. His work has appeared in American Cinematographer, Red Shark News, various broadcast networks, and various festivals around the world.

His most recent film “Working Horses” premieres this fall.



Working Horses


Peter J. Hass Films



November 20, 2014 Posted by | editing, film editing, film [its techniques] | , | Leave a comment

PHOTOGRAPHY Enhanced Reality: Exploring the Boundaries of Photo Editing





Netherlands World Press Photo Contest




Enhanced Reality: Exploring the Boundaries of Photo Editing


Matthias Krug and Stefan Niggemeier, Spielgel Online, 8 May 2013

Even top news photographers have their work digitally enhanced these days. Mounting competition in the market for news images is forcing photo-journalists to make their output as dramatic as possible. But where are the limits of cosmetic improvement?



Any one twiddling with Picasa realises that a photo often seems more lively if tweaked with HDR-ish – a recent new feature.

The Gaza photograph looks very much as if it has been HDR-ished. Or something similar.


In a sense using HDR-ish turns a photo into a painting. And this to me is the feel of the Gaza photo. There is a line between creating this art effect and moving back into photograph. Slide the fade control – it’s obvious there is a perfect point to get what is pretty much in this photo. Too little fade it’s art, too much and you’re back into photo.

Sure, other things may have been done to it to get this effect, but that’s pretty much it without even touching Photoshop.



May 22, 2013 Posted by | digital photography, photography | , | Leave a comment

FILM EDITING Becoming a Professional Film & Video Editor






Leni Riefenstahl in the cutting room



Becoming a Professional Film & Video Editor -5 Tips to Think About When Getting Started as an Editor


By Lawrence Jordan



in Hollywood Reinvented



November 11, 2012 Posted by | editing, film editing | , | Leave a comment

FILM EDITING Cutters’ Way by Graham Daseler









“The basic rules of film editing, first established in the silent era, still govern the industry today: maintain your eye lines, preserve continuity, respect planarity (the rules governing the transposition of three dimensions onto a two-dimensional plane), find a good rhythm, and, most important, always advance the story.”



Cutters’ Way – The Mysterious Art of Film Editing


A post by Graham Daseler


Bright Light Film Journal


November 2012 | Issue 78





November 9, 2012 Posted by | editing, film editing | , | Leave a comment

FILM EDITING classic Holywood style









The first frame, unedited, would be called a “Sequence shot”-This is one long recording of time in a wide shot of the entire scene. This recording would be considered more “realistic” because the footage would not be cut and the audience would have to make the interpretations themselves as to who is them most important person in the frame. The final edit would not be nuanced and intrusive with the relationships between actors.
The second frame shows the editor’s options if they were to a apply a Classical Hollywood Style to the edit . This style involves cutting that reflects the psychological cause and effect relationship of connected shots. By using continuity techniques like the 180 rule, eye line match and axis matches, an editor can choose what face to show next, and in essence be telling the audience who to focus on in the communication of the emotion in the scene.


From : Advanced Editing Notes Art of Video – Capuchino High School


[This page has listings of the various parts of the course. Mainly not hypertext, with most pages coming to a dead end. Sources page pretty comprehensive]



November 9, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FILM EDITING Analytic and constructive editing




Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious [1946] – constructive editing in scene where Alicia infers she is being poisoned














Notorious-Part 9/10


Constructive Editing in Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket


A 12 minute video by David Bordwell


Borwell covers this in a post as well:


What happens between shots happens between your ears


Book Film Art: An Introduction
In collaboration with Kristin Thompson. Ninth edition, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009.



November 8, 2012 Posted by | constructive editing, David Bordwell | , | Leave a comment

FILM CINEMATOGRAPHY editing



The Return (2003 film)

















Film editing


Cutting on action



June 27, 2011 Posted by | Andrei Zvyagintsev | | Leave a comment

FILM GODARD JUMP CUT/CONTINUITY EDITING Editing in À bout de souffle



This post by Nick Lacey

Editing in À bout de souffle (France, 1960)

in The Case for Global Film film blog, has illustrative stills and did have a YouTube extract of the film till it was removed under ‘copyright claim by [1] Optimum Releasing [2]. Are they mad? Surely it is good advertising for new generations to watch the film?

The link could have gone in COTA post

FILM Editing {links in Catherine Grant’s blog}

But it seems a good idea to put it separate for search purposes. So if you type ‘editing’ in the search box top right, you’ll get this but ‘editing Godard’ (par example) you will give this. Though not ever post has the correct category and tag labels, so you might miss. Though from my experience, search in wordpress seems to search on body of text as well.

April 23, 2010 Posted by | continuity editing, editing, jump cut | , , | Leave a comment

FILM EDITING {links in Catherine Grant’s blog}



Catherine Grant’s  latest post in Film Studies for Free has a selection of links to mostly academic articles on editing: Seeing the join : on Continuity editing. This includes:

CHAPTER 1: Film as Art: Creativity, Technology, and Business‘ from Film Art: An Introduction (McGraw-Hill, 2010, 9th ed.) by David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson

April 19, 2010 Posted by | film editing, film [its techniques] | , | Leave a comment

Film editing {2} – fiddling with the footage: learning and pondering

What is impressive is how a short experience of editing demonstrates what all editors write –  editing can happen before the cuts and joins, at the script and shooting stage.

Plenty of “Ah, yes” moments reading this essay, Film editing – a hidden art? by  Vinca Wiedemann for anyone who has set out to intelligently film something,  then begun to inexpertly stitch shots together with digital editing software in increasingly unlikely combinations, slowly beginning to recognise what they tell you anyway: that as soon as the point of a shot is established it is time to move on.  You may enjoy the langorous minutes of a particular shot you have lovingly filmed, but will anyone else? Who hasn’t watched a film/documentary and said,”Yes, yes, yes….I’ve got it”, when the camera seems to hold a scene or figure or face what seems too long?

Though I’m intrigued by the long takes of directors like Bela Tarr, they can be bloody irritating as well. I am struck sometimes by the similarity between extravagantly long takes and film installations in art exhibitions.

#

Andy Coughlan in

Film editing: Tips and techniques for creating a compelling story

(There are 5 essay with the same title here, by different authors )

begins his essay by saying:

An old Hollywood adage has it that a film is created three times; when it’s written, when it’s shot and when it’s edited.

This isn’t entirely true. Ideally the three stages should be the work of refining a core theme or idea, the act of creation should be a single ongoing event. It’s only if you are presented with footage shot by a clueless director using a poorly conceived script that you might find yourself in the unenviable situation of creating something new.

This is even more helpful and, more to the point, recognisably true to anyone whose spend nay time fiddling with ‘footage’.

#

Shooting a documentrary on a predetermined subject/theme – ad hoc, ex tempore – is not the same territory as a scripted film where the the script itself  is the beginning of the editing process. Editing can start at the shooting stage in documentary too, through such decisions as how much film to generate, how long to shoot individual actions, whether to stop shooting to wait for, or move to, another hopefully significant event,  the inclusion of zooms or rapid pans which are not destined for the final cut but used to delimit one sequence from another. All these sorts of things can determine, and limit, what can be edited later.

#

The problem with editing one’s own material is that one becomes overly attached to what one has lovingly filmed, which partially resulted from the inability to stop filming for fear of losing something special!

If you are into long takes because you are attached to the idea of letting the viewers’ eyes and minds roam free within the material presented, it is really hard to drastically reduce timings and edit into subsets of shots.

#

The more you read on film the more you learn that in general the idea is to edit in such a way as to establish the meaning intended and not go beyond. This is easier said than done:  when filming as things happen, many interesting things are recorded which you may later feel loath to break up into sub-shots/scenes or prune excessively.

I am struggling, for example, to edit a 1:44 minute video sequence which through watching again and again (and again and again…) shows, in a way I hadn’t recognised before, it tells a self-contained story in the entirety of uncut shot, but not if cut down to 15-30 secs. to make it more zippy.  The attempt at drastic cropping into about 5 shots totaling no more than 30 seconds has shown it is a self-contained three part drama( by what is clearly missing in the shortened version).  This does not mean I can cut to three nice short shots each representing the respective parts of the ‘drama’, and that’s it. (Some camera shake had to be cut, removing with it, in a few frames, some telling expressions I would have prefered to leave in, and zoom  excised which was built in to the shot to mark a cut for later editing.

Arriving at the latest cut, where the original is cut to 5 shots totalling less than half the original length, only came about  through trying  to make the whole scene as short as possible – which simpy demonstrated how everything interesting  in the original shot disappeared!  Now I am roughing out a total time of maybe 45 – 60 secs from the original 1:44 mins, which will remove redundancy but keep the  magic of the impromptu filming.

#

A term like decoupage is something one should understand, partly because it illustrates one part of the journey early film makers took in  mastering  their art.  But also more nuts-and-boltsly because the examination of the word, right down to its etymology pinpointing this key issue of cutting and joining which can begin to take place in the mind of the script writer.

#

The lost art of film editing by Jessica Winter Boston Globe, 13 August, 2006

Film Editing: History, Theory and Practice By Don Fairservice {GoogleBook}

wiki:film editing

The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960

By David Bordwell, Janet Staiger, Kristin Thompson

{GoogleBook}  The book is about 506 pages long. This extract stops about 360 (with the odd missing pages throughout) but there is enough there to make it worth reading.

The Rediscovery of editing in French cinema, 1930-1945 Colin Crisp

January 22, 2009 Posted by | Bela Tarr, film editing, film [its techniques] | Leave a comment

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

FILM The Conversation










‘The Conversation’: A Brilliantly Composed Symbol of Watergate America




Cinephilia and Beyond Another longform form this wonderful film site. Please if you use it make a small contribution.


As an added treat a pdf of the screenplay, by Copploa, written in 1973, which is downloadable, but if you want it not to be popping up up as a webpage but as a file on your PC, make sure to save it as such.


The centre-piece is a facsimile of an interview in Filmmakers Newsletter, 1974, with with Brian De Palma and Coppola getting into the nitty-gitty of The Conversation’s conception and making. De Palma going on to make Blow Out in 1980, starring John Travolta.


NB. Coppola mentions Blow Up as an influence.


Also, for the real enthusiasts: Drew Morton’s video essay, Cross-Cut, looking at Blow Up [1960], The Conversation [1973] and Blow Out [1980], here embedded in this Indewire page with a short intro. It’s only 6 mins long, a true video essay made up of just video, doing the job of comparing and contrasting – film explaining film – not one of those video clip/slide-show type-thingummies with lecture tagged on. Though many of this type can be good, there is that thing about whether such a detailed lecture might be better as a separate essay/paper. That debate about video essays is probably still going on. Now the video essay, a well-thumbed subject in itself, has evolved a lot since the early days, with academics pouring over them in various ways.


If you know your three films well, and you’re into film-making, can’t fail to be impressed by Drew’s brilliant editing.


Before coming across Drew Morton’s essay when he first put it up, had myself spent inordinate amounts of time taking screen grabs of all three films, hoping to construct a slide show doing the same thing, lacking the wherewithall to do clips, again with no audio essay superimposed on the visuals. Having seen Drew’s, the idea was soon dropped, but mine would have gone into a lot more detail of all three films. Self-evidently video essays are not ideal for anyone who doesn’t know the film or films. And one of my pet hates, trailers giving awy too much information, even Drews sparse choice of clips would give too much away, in my extreme trailersist view.


A trailerist of course almost kicks in TV screens while shoutung, No, No, No! trying to stop it when the next episode of a series is laid out in such detail as to provide a clear impression of the whole plot, even if it’s a bit jumbled up.


Drew’s vimeo page shows he’s not been a slacker, producing many classy video essays.


Drew has put up earlier shorter versions of Cross-Cut, linked to below, which each have two intercut quotes, but no voice-over, which point to film essays and the video essay form, rather than directly to the three films.


As he puts in his comments on v .5:


“What began as “A poetic introduction to the fiction film as videographic criticism that seeks to illustrate the works of Raymond Bellour and Laura Mulvey through BLOW OUT, BLOW UP, and THE CONVERSATION” eventually became a more modest experiment in exploring the narrative, stylistic, and thematic connections between Michelangelo Antonioni’s BLOW-UP, Francis Ford Coppola’s THE CONVERSATION, and Brian De Palma’s BLOW OUT. This is the first – thumbnail – version.”


and v .75 :


“What began as “A poetic introduction to the fiction film as videographic criticism that seeks to illustrate the works of Raymond Bellour and Laura Mulvey through BLOW OUT, BLOW UP, and THE CONVERSATION” eventually became a more modest experiment in exploring the narrative, stylistic, and thematic connections between Michelangelo Antonioni’s BLOW-UP, Francis Ford Coppola’s THE CONVERSATION, and Brian De Palma’s BLOW OUT. This is the second version – made before the theoretical framing device was ultimately jettisoned.

Differences from Version .5: I realized that I needed to begin intercutting between the three films earlier to establish more of an aesthetic rhythm and conceptual dynamism. If I had stuck with the structure outlined in draft .5, I wouldn’t have introduced THE CONVERSATION until almost 2 minutes in (and BLOW OUT probably nearly three minutes). In short, it was becoming a piece dominated by discrete thirds without really doing much intellectually.”


CROSS-CUT (AKA Cinefilea, Version .5)


CROSS-CUT (AKA Cinefilea, Version .75)


And again for convenience, v. 1.0 :


CROSS-CUT



September 8, 2018 Posted by | Antonioni, Blow Out, Blow Up [1966], Coppola, De Palma, The Conversation [1974] | , , | Leave a comment

FILM film vs digital





by kat2nist


by kar2nist [Shanti-Savera Ernakulam, India]


Analog/Digital Comparison: 35mm vs. Arri Alexa vs. Arri Alexa with added grain


Several short test videos in Vimeo


Generation Film

The rise of digital technology has meant tough times for people shooting on film, but against the odds, a new wave of filmmakers are turning to celluloid…



Film VS Digital | Video Essay



March 20, 2018 Posted by | celluloid, digital cinematography, film technique | | Leave a comment

FILM sound










Having just completed an online film course which included doing some practical exercises on adding soundtrack, and coincidentally watching Takovsky’s The Sacrifice for the first time, it seemed a good time to collect together a few links to film sound. This is both how sound is used in film and films that have sound themes like Coppola’s The Conversation. The links centre on Coppola’s The Conversation and Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice.

* Sound Upon Sound: The Conversation

Clair Norelli, PopOptiq, 10 Jan 2011

This is the work of Walter Murch editor and sound designer. Just re-watched it for about the 8th time and the more you watch it the more you see things, or see things you’ve had pointed out..

* “He’d Kill Us If He Had The Chance”: Coppola’s The Conversation and Film Sound

Post from Phillip Brophy, The Seventh Art, 11 Feb 2008

* The Conversation 1972 Francis Ford Coppola
– under the category of : Distortion and Misperception

He’s done a set of film sound posts on different sound themes, which can be found here:

* Historical Markers of the Modern Soundtrack

* Listening to The Conversation

David C Ryan, Identity Theory, 10 March 2012

An essay on The Conversation which does not deal how sound is used in the film, but here just the same.

* The Sound Film Man

FilmSound.0rg does Walter Murch

* With The Conversation, Walter Murch made the editor the author

Charles Bramesco, The Dissolve, 20 April 2015

Which links to other The Conversation posts and a forum discussion on The conversation’s “…sound, music, timing, and more.”

* The Power of Sound and Editing (The Conversation and Psycho)

Wael Khairy, The Cinephile Fix, 17 Nov 2009

* The Act of Listening #16: Tarkovsky and mystery

Rob Szeliga, Sound designer, 17 December 2016

* Sound in Tarkovsky’s Sacrifice

Interview with Owe Svensson, Swedish Sound mixer

Andrei Tarkovsky’s Musical offering: the law of quotation

Julia Shpinitskaya, Proceedings of the World Congress of International Association for Semiotics, 2014

* Essay by filmmaker Dimitar Kutmanov on how the use of sound creates narrative space

* Compositions of Crisis: Sound and Silence in the Films of Bergman and Tarkovsky
Phoebe Pua, August 2013

Thesis, 145 pp.

Abstract

This thesis examines seven films from the cinemas of Ingmar Bergman and Andrei
Tarkovsky—Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957), Through a Glass Darkly (1961),
Winter Light (1963), and The Silence (1963), and Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979),
Nostalghia (1983), and The Sacrifice (1986).

These films were chosen as they represent the deepest periods of two directors’
engagements with the possible death of God and the subsequent loss of intrinsic
existential meaning—topics with which this thesis is principally concerned.

As a starting point, this thesis argues that the films present the silence of God as the primary indicator of God’s absence from the human world. Becoming aware of this silence thus causes one to interrogate religious certainties which have hitherto been taken to be timeless and true. This thesis then contends that, when faced with this silence and its implications, Bergman desperately sought evidence of God’s existence while Tarkovsky unyieldingly maintained an attitude of faith.

The directors’ progressions toward these contrasting positions are evident through the uses of sound elements in their films. As Bergman unsuccessfully pursued evidence of God’s existence, the soundscapes in his four films become increasingly minimal. The sparse use of sound reveals Bergman’s conception of a Godless void. On the other hand, metaphysical silence in Tarkovsky’s films was not perceived as emptiness. Instead, “silence” in his films was, paradoxically, often depicted through complex layers of sounds. Presented as manifestations of the metaphysical, the sounds of “silence” in Tarkovsky’s films consequently become affirmations of faith.

Through this sound-based approach to film analysis, this thesis sets out to explain why Bergman and Tarkovsky understood metaphysical silence so differently by examining how they portrayed literal silences.



July 16, 2017 Posted by | film sound | | Leave a comment

FILM PERCEPTION Strange Continuity





FILM PHOTO Eisenstein editing




Strange Continuity
~ Throughout evolutionary history, we never saw anything like a montage. So why do we hardly notice the cuts in movies?


Jeffrey M Zacks


Aeon Mag, 16 April 2015


There’s a Q & A section in there. This one is interesting:


Is film editing more about aesthetic conventions or psychological hacks?



July 26, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM DIRECTOR GODARD glasses, darky






A member of a Godard forum I subscribe to wonders if anyone has a date for this photograph.

It’s probably the most well-known, iconic photograph of Godard. Dark glasses, fag (Gitaine or Galois?). Looking at 24 frames or so. Not in a second though.

If you know Godard it has to be the 60s during the New Wave. Would there be many of him before this?

If you looked at the photo alone – epoché prior knowledge – just the image: age, hair style and glasses. I’d go for personal history of specs. When did he start and stop wearing those. Many years? Did they break and he had to buy another pair? Or did he put them away in a draw or an old glasses case? Are they just shades or prescription? That and looking for other versions of the same photograph. Is this a cropped version?

The date question wasn’t mine. I thought I could find a date quickly and did, 1960, though what I discovered at the bottom of another copy of this photograph, doesn’t guarantee it’s correct – looking so intently at versions of this photograph made me wonder if it was posed. Let’s have a look to see if there are any other versions. Is it the only one or were others taken at the same time? Was it perhaps an impromptu photograph taken by a hanger on or something he orchestrated for publicity?


Does he look as if he might put you straight on these questions?





Does he look here as if he is going to put a date on anything? You might get a divertimento on time discipline.

He looks suspiciously like a contented blind man. You take a photograph. He hears the click. He smiles. You take another. There is that strange slanting of the shoulder: is that the slant of the smoker as he knocks his cigarette on the ash-tray?

You know the kind of thing: black glasses, white stick – tapping down the street. Curb edges. Street light poles. Other pedestrians politely getting out of the way so he can find the familiar objects he uses to guide himself. Getting on a bus first. Even ladies give up their seat on le Metro. Get the girl: you can’t see whether she’s beautiful or not, its all in the voice. Or vice versa.





I decided to help find the date of the photo using Google Images. It’s not very difficult. Instead of looking for websites using Wordy Google, find images and then work from the images to the website in which it’s embedded. Often it’s a route to aspects of the topic you’re interested in that might not have come up on a ordinary search. I’m visually orientated, so a diagram of something is always my first port of call before tackling an explanation.

What shall we look up as an example. Say serotonin. Familiar word but not much idea what it is. Brain for sure. But lets Google Images: serotonin.

Ah what’s that knobbly picture, looks interesting.





This Godard spec fag pic has the hand holding the film missing. To me that’s the most interesting bit. In the first photo, it’s easy to see he uses his thumb and index finger through which he will pull the film strip. Why would someone cut that piece off?

Strange how you can set off on one journey and end up on another.

Hair is always the give away. Though who knows. Can Godard remember? Who took it would be interesting. My guess is there is only one of these. It gets fiddled with in photo-editing software. Maybe they think by cropping and altering copywrite images they won’t be recognised. Or maybe they feel they can do a better job of balancing the image.

Where there is more of the image it’s possible to discern more of room behind hime. Pleated curtain. The corner of the door frame.





It’s only with this version we see how the film runs over his index finger – while held by thumb and second finger – over the back of his hand, spiralling over the inside of wrist, to shoulder, chest or back.











Crop his hand and the eyes. Is the eye you can see through the lens really looking at a frame? It seems to be directing its gaze to the right of the strip of film.


O.k. you got there before me. Did anyone else get a photo taken of himself like this. Eisenstein. As every film student knows Godard and Eisenstein have a direct line through montage. There are plenty of sources if you haven’t a clue what that’s all about. Godard and Eisenstein is a short post in Godard Montage, and more importantly Le Gai Savoir Godard and Eisenstein — notions of intellectual cinema by Ruth Perlmutter in Jump Cut.


There’s extrapolation and there extrapolation. If Godard is not paying homage to Eisenstein through his own image I’d be surprised. Mind you, it’s easy to get carried away. All film people who use celluloid and edit in it rather than digitising and then returning the edit to film for projection, look at bits of film.

But anyone who has looked into Godard and editing know he looked upon montage as more than mere editing.

Take a trip into the world of Godard and Montage. Read The Cinema Alone: Essays on the work of Jean-Luc Godard 1985-2000, edited by Michael Temple and James S. Williams. The whole of Chapter 2 Montage, My Beautiful care, or Histories of the cinematograph by Michael Witt is available in the Google Book version.




January 25, 2015 Posted by | Godard | | Leave a comment

FILM BERGMAN AUTEUR [1] – All anecdotes must lead somewhere





FILM BERGMAN persona [boy hand]



Persona was premièred at the Spegeln cinema on 18 October 1966. The editor Ulla Ryghe has described how the famous scene where the film burns up, often interpreted as if the actual celluloid cannot stand the friction between the two main characters, caused a number of problems at the initial screenings. After a number of projectionists had stopped the film, the film cans themselves had to be marked with red labels assuring them that the actual film does not catch fire, even though it appears that way.



From:


Persona
–As a nurse talks and her patient remains silent, their identities begin to merge.



from

Ingmar Bergman Foundation


Nice story. Someone’s bound to use it in a film. Ah, the intertextuality of film. Is there a Bergman Biopic yet?



This post is the beginning of my triple-ply, stronger, more absorbent re-look at Bergman, mostly through the lens of auteurism, starting with Persona which I watched again, fortuitously, a few days before reading about Godard, auteurists and cineastes. The Criterion version of Persona is currently available on YouTube. The naughty bits are in, so this must be Bergman’s cut. On the Criterion website, a set of essays on Persona and a 1.31 min. video essay without an oral/aural essay attached, which neatly catches some of the bits you’re bound to look for again in the rewind! If you’re fortunate enough to be able to watch the YouTube on a nice big tv screen, all the better. It’s good definition, but watch it while you can, you never know.

I feel I ought to say – which has probably been posted here and there before – that I’m not an academic (clearly) or a formal film student. How I’m learning about film is piece-meal and fragmented. And full of half-understood things. It seems at times like a person dragged off the street and pressed down in a chair in front of an old-fashioned editing machine, strips of film of various lengths hanging all about in the way we see in shots in films about editing rooms, and made to create a film, ending up with an out-takes ‘film’ just like the at the end of Cinema Paradiso but with some other subject apart from kissing. Or more appropriately, here, pre-credit sequence astoundingly similar to the ‘mad’ sequence in Persona.

In the previous post, the conversation I picked up the comments stream in a recent Girish post mentioning the publication by Caboose of an English version of Godard’s 1978 Toronto ‘lectures’, with the title Introduction to a True History of Cinema and Television. A commenter made some remarks about auteurists and cinephiles as distinct, in opposition, which Girish had a distinct view on. All this seemed to be something I ought to get clear.

Anyone interested in films beyond watching them and a like/didn’t like, ends up with auteur theory, mentioned almost every time someone writes a film book or essay, which ineluctably leads to Truffaut’s “A Certain Tendency of the French Cinema”, back to Andre Bazin et al. and trillions of academic papers, essays and articles.

The auteurist vs. cinephile apposition which Girlish deals with made me realise I couldn’t blague my way through this with scant knowledge but needed to sit down and take some time over it.

And so for a while to Bergman, considered auteur de auteurs, how he made his mark, put his thumb-print on his work (and why even..). Having watched Persona before reading the post, I was primed, motivated, and ready to go.

As the opening paragraph of Ingmar Bergman the filmmaker, says:

The history of the cinema has seen directors whose works have been more “original” or “groundbreaking” (such as Eisenstein, Ozu or Godard). And there are plenty of directors who have made as many, if not more films (Griffith, Hitchcock or Chabrol). Yet the question remains: is there anyone who so epitomises the concept of the auteur – a filmmaker with full control over his medium, whose work has a clear and inimitable signature – as Ingmar Bergman?




September 18, 2014 Posted by | auterism, auteurist, Bergman, cinephile, Ingmar Bergman, Persona [1966] | , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM COURSE FILMAKER IQ The History of Cutting – The Soviet Theory of Montage





GRAPHIC FILM montage [FilmmakerIQ]




You must have come across FilmakerIQ. If you haven’t, what have you been up to? Watching more films? The time has come to do a petit Godard*, take your iPhone iPad or Android and get out there to make a film. Well, don’t stop watching films, of course, but try a little something even if it is to prove film-making is not your forte. A film mind you is not a wobbly bit of video of a disemheaded body. It’s lots of wobbly bits editing together. Even a soundtrack. Apparently the young folk tell me you can do this all from a mobile nowadays which leaves me impressed but well behind. For me it’s editing software on a PC because I can’t see a keypad very well …(when is software an app? Is everything an app nowadays?)

Strangely since making and particularly editing film is a big preoccupation of mine (more a preoccupation than praxis mid you..), I don’t seem to to have either highlighted FilmmakerIQ yet or put up a video. Unless that is as well as not being able to see tiny keypads I’m losing my memory as well.

Remedy.

The History of Cutting – The Soviet Theory of Montage

A very informative and personable video by John P. Hess. There are lots of others equally informative and interesting. A pairing with this one, perhaps, The History of Cutting – The Birth of cinema and Continuity editing.

Why is it that crusty academics (all over the web nowadays..) come to mind droning on about their considerable knowledge of film, to little effect, when a dynamic presentation like this wants to make you learn? It’s in a nutshell, but some nutshell, some nut, as Winston Churchill might have said if he used the words nutshell or even nut.


*Godard mention – aah, so satisfying to have got one in another post….he recommends in his latest interviews qua his new film wot he did in 3D but thinks 3D a waste of time, you all get out there with your iPhones alors recherche la femme et le pistol – or is it revolver with the accent on the -ver – et bien aussi le chien which might be a dog or a bitch and have some significance to the overall message of the film.



June 12, 2014 Posted by | editing, Eisenstein, film editing, film production, Russian Fim School | , , , | Leave a comment

FILM VIDEO ESSAY Layers of Paradox in F for Fake





GRAPHIC HEADER MAG [in]Transition




Catherine Grant highlighted [in]Transition in one her posts a few weeks back. Looks like a jolly good thing, as we say in Blighty, rather than arsum as you good ‘ol boys say in the US of A. If you use the ars**[**] word and you are from Blighty, stop it immediately. Things, as we know in the old country, are usually not quite as aw…shucks I nearly said it…as they appear to be.

I’ve side-linked [in]Transition under film blogs/mags/jounos.

As an example, Benjamin Sampson’s Layers of Paradox in F for Fake.

This is a thought-provoking, well-produced, good-looking video essay (often the delivery of the commentary lets a video essay down..) – an example of what [in]T has to offer.

NB: curators notes [i.e. from Drew Morton, the poster] accompanying the video, which lasts 17 mins., and a single comment by Chiara Grizzaffi, a film PhD student, writing about the oft-on-the-lips-question about the video essay – What is it? [etc.] – and then a reply by Drew Morton. Both of these are well worth reading, providing a lot of info, ideas and questions.

In the editor’s introduction to [in]Transition, by Catherine Grant, Christian Keathley and Drew Morton, the point is made that there are video essays, audio-visual essays and visual essays.


Benjamin Sampson is a second year MA student in Cinema and Media Studies at UCLA. He worked for four years as a freelance videographer and video editor. His current research focuses on the later films of Orson Welles, audience segmentation in the 1950s, and essay films.


F for fake was on British tv many decades ago, but I can’t remember them putting it back on in the intervening years. Pity.


And I can’t remember if I have posted on the video essay, but certainly it’s a thing that all film enthusiasts have thought about. I’ve seen a lot which strike me as being pointless [= failing in intended object] except in that they do use the visual (excerpts from films/stills) – and diegetic and extra-diegetic audio in some cases – to deal with the visual, while failing in the overall premise by relying on the commentary to be the essay. Just a slide show by another name. It’s good to have film clips or stills examples to go with a text but to me it’s not a video essay until the visuals themselves are a significant part of the explanation/interpretation/analysis. In other words: many audio-visual presentations are put out as being video essays. Benjamin’s Orson Welles video essay is most certainly a video essay and not a text tagged onto film clips. But the whole issue must include whether a video essay is any different from a made for t.v. film documentary, that is apart from it’s webby DIYness. And of course it’s shortness.

(side-thought : think how poor the stills are in most film books…I’m reading Valerie Orpen’s Film Editing. Even this good book on a subject which is marginalised in film writing, has too-small stills looking like poor photocopies…o.k. it’s the editor’s fault not hers, but it’s her text and those still are meant to represent some aspect of editing she’s going into in great detail)

In many cases the video essayists are not themselves experienced video/film-makers so falling for the Godard-ism* of not grasping you can’t rub your head and pat your tummy. (And should we say in Godard’s* case expect more than his 1000 to watch ans appreciate his films if he makes them in French in away that is impossible to unscramble as a film experience in another language) There are endless papers, not about film per se, explaining how you can’t talk and attend properly to what the eyes are looking at (e.g. on a mobile phone while driving). It should be obvious you can’t look with a critical eye at a series of film clips if the video essay is one long talk. The trick as demonstrated in Layers of Paradox in F for Fake is to make the clips really short and tailor the delivery to avoid too much overlap. Mind you in this case it’s not a film but a documentary about a film being video essayed, where Welles can be allowed to speak for himself in a way that a character in a film can’t. Film clips of a fiction film can stand for themselves in terms of mise en scene, editing and so on, but they tend to have to be laboriously explained in words, because the moving images themselves are no trusted to do the job. (I’ve been reading the final chapter of Orpen which deals with the way the film’s mise en scene/ decoupage/editing is used to highlight the star. So thinking about how that could be done in a video essay.)

As is made clear in editor’s introduction to [in]Transition and the comments accompanying the video essay, the video essay is evolving, and it’s evolution alone, by the look of it, is providing fodder for a few score research papers and PhDs.

* Jamais deux sans trois? if you can always try to get the word Godard in a post three times at a minimum.

There is that thing about 6 degrees of separation on any subject till the conversation gets round to Hitler and the Nazis. I like to think this is true of Godard. Just like the Actress and the Bishop Joke [in it’s endless forms], which can be fitted around any conceivable topic and situation, it should be possible to write a post on film and always manage to say the G.-word at least once.

NNB. A few post back I introduced the God./ God distinction. God. [full-stop > ‘God-point’ is a lot easier to mouth, though strictly it might sound suspiciously like something meteorological]. So from now on, ‘God. thinks he’s God’ [or someone else says he thinks he is or say they think he is..] is now quite clear and not mistaken for some sort of theological atheist argument. Though I’m sure someone could write 3 A4s on God. and G** with no trouble at all.



June 5, 2014 Posted by | F for fake, video essay | , , , | Leave a comment

FILM GODARD A Man, A Woman and a Dog





FILM GODARD Au Adieu au Langage [iPhone]
{1}




Godard has a new film out. And he’s keen/anxious to talk about it, film ‘n stuff.

A few people have seen it, writing and talking about it at great length so spoiling it for everyone else who might have wanted to see it without the comments and interpretations of the expertigensia ringing in their ears, at what you now know are salient or significant points in the film [or the homage points, say, to his own films or film in general] which you’d hope to enjoy, be puzzled or exasperated by at your own pace.

Thank God (the one without the full stop or as the French call it, point, a word J-LG could have a field day with…). I made sure I did not read a lot before watching The Great Beauty. And then when I had seen it, I desisted from even translating the title into Italian or even mentioning that the phrase had been used by a character in the film in a certain way. See, there I’ve done it now. Now you will be on the look out for it, even though there has been no indication why this might have some significance.

One reads the contents of one’s mind before seeing a film, in anticipation of it, which in itself may spoil a film. Book, art, play, film. A filmic or booky equivalent, shall we say analogy, to phenomenological bracketing or epoché is impossible. I’ve already remarked in a recent post that as soon as I saw the poster for The Great Beauty, I knew [as would literally millions of others..] where we were coming from, though not necessarily where we were going to. Eric Morecambe’s famous riposte [applicable to almost anything, like the Actress & the Bishop jokes] to Andre Preview on his, Eric’s, terrible rendition of – was it Grieg’s piano concerto? – “I’m playing the RIGHT notes, but not necessarily in the RIGHT order!” always flings itself up from the recesses of my mind like the lyrics to an incomprehensible ’60s songs like the one by Noel Thingy called The Windmills of My Mind.

Why it is that I think of J-L Godard as the archetype (or prototype) of the incredibly difficult (but obviously highly intelligent) au contrarian conversationalist in any setting – uncle [ton ton] J-J at a family wedding or diner party, seated next to you in aircraft, etc. – who somehow manages to create the immediate suspicion he may well be mad, or temporally cured and released from some sort of mental institution (the old jackets…), yet, underneath the frightening persona, has something interesting to say which holds you there despite your inclination to run.

Really mad people we seem to have an instinct for as we have so much experience of them in everyday life. Like films we have seen too much about before watching them, Jean-Luc Godard comes with such a pedigree, a provenance, we are comfortable in the paradoxical nature of many of his pronouncements. Expect them even. Be lost without them, possibly. We know he, like a lunatic, assumes you know he is God [when it comes to film]. If you do, as he knows he is and you do, then all is simple.

The reviews on Adieu au Langage were not out when I was passed by Glen W. Norton, via a Godard forum, the link to the Canon video interview avec Godard with English subtitles

(…a classic God[.] subtitles joke in there not created by God[.] himself. Qua? Comment? These are accurate subtitles while his are notably unreliable.)

The areas I forced myself to listen to, while going Ni Ni Na Na with hands over my ears [mostly], were the technical ones. And this is reflected in graphics included in the post. Let’s try to grasp (as it is obviously important) why he at one and the same time decries technological advances and at the same time adopts them with alacrity. Except that is, in the case of editing (See relevant tab on the canon interview page) where he it is explained there – something know amongst God[.] watchers – he uses magnetic video tape to edit with, thus getting his technical collaborators who have filmed digitally to make video tapes for him to edit. The amusing thing is he’s renowned as an expert in editing with tape to an extent that makes many scratch their heads at his ingenuity.

I use this digital-magnetic example as a route into the mind of Jean-Luc Godard, in a sense prior to any messages he may be sending to his avid (an even not so enthusiastic) followers about life in general and of course the art of cinema, and Art.

While he argues here about his latest film that 3D is a FWOT

(Along the lines of, “It is useless! We see no more with it than before..” All true of course.)

he still uses it (At least twice so far..). And presumably this is a way of saying something. Well of course it is. And here is where we get to the crusty old uncle who frightens the sh** out of you, who blows cigar smoke into your face, and yet who let’s drop those few words which catch your interest. Words you know are true like you know a word of art by a master is true without being quite sure how to explain it.

With Godard it is for me when he talks of art. If you knew nothing about Godard the film genius and heard him talking of art in relation to all sorts of things, you will be gaining an experience of the mind of a man who has thought very deeply about his art and craft, film. Filmmakers who talk photography are in the same area. Even the knowledge that a film-maker was formerly a photographer says a lot.

The one who now always comes to my mind, when film and photography are mentioned in the same sentence, or should we even say thought in the same thought, is Nuri Bilge Ceylan. And if I may take a God[.]-like excursion down an dark alley which neither you the reader nor I may quite know is a dead-end or not – as this post is as ex-tempore as you are likely to get in postdom – Ceylan, has used severally the trope of bloke-wandering-around-ancient-site-with-camera-ignoring-and-annoying-girlfriend trope.

With Godard we have to understand that every film is the same film because he is trying to get over the same God[no .]-like message about how he as God [with or without .] can use film to get over his agendas [or not]. And so could everyone else to humanity’s general betterment, if they only had the brains and foresight to see. He like many good or even great film directors [even nerdy-looking baseball cap wearing ones..] is steeped in film from the year dot. And he evokes the complete history of film almost in every quakey sentence he utters. It’s always, “What is film?”. And of course, “What can it do and not do?” He seems to be saying all the time, “Film can’t do/isn’t doing so many things that people dreamed it might do.” And that’s because they don’t understand it well enough to see its talents.

Godard’s “cinema is dead” or “It is now!” [UK football ref there you no UK people..], or “Well, I thought it was then but it really is now” can confuse people. But it’s simple. He believed like Eisenstein that film was purely for political ends. The montage was the method. The Way, The Truth and The Light.

And so fast forward to a film like Adieu au Langage [3D]. Just like me with my immediate and deep apprehension of the depth of Italian cinema through a balding man sitting on a classy bench with shades that look suspiciously like the Ray-bans Marcello Mastroianni wore in 8 1/2, we should get the fact that every time Godard speaks on film (and life) he is thinking of how film failed. He may talk enthusiastically and yet mockingly or ironically about advanced technology, but you know he is still trying to get there, by any means at his disposal.

And all the time, he is still using the same film-text-film-text-text-film-film he developed from his earliest films. At one point in my Godard journey, I felt sure he was saying film could not replace writing and so his films had to constantly show this to be true. For the audience this can be both irksome and difficult. A major facet of this is his voice and text overs are in French. Unless French is your first language or a good second, his efforts to overlap three things at once are pretty much wasted on you, as an immediate effect.

If this all seems a bit too arcane and you have not got to Histoire[s] du Cinema (and perhaps never will) try reading Celine Scamma’s schema for Histoire[s] – a blog search in COTA will get you there.

And finally, as The Two Ronnie would say, there is that thing about Godard and his unreliable subtitling. Apogee: Film Socialism. I have no idea whether this is true or not, but I sense he is saying that you can’t translate poetry into another language without destroying or partially destroying its original meaning. Which is true. Godel, Escher Bach, for some ideas and background. And he quotes poetry a lot in his films. As well as showing and talking about art.

And so for film. The very act of trying to make a film helps to remove your original intention (He seems to be saying..amongst many other things). If you just use film. So he, wanting to be sure of getting over whatever message he intends, falls back on words in films as text and commentary (plus the obligatory art),which in itself is an essay on the limits of film. Or the dialectic between The Word and The Film. (Being some kind of Marxist, he would want to show that dialectic is real moving things forward).

And so (and here back to latest interviews) he feels he can’t say directly (and never could or would) simply, in words, what he wants to say about film. This is both because it dishonours film (and maybe dispels some of its magic and mystic) and because he doesn’t want to make the whole thing seem simpler than it is. Instead he picks up on small points (in the Canon interview he starts with SMS, the modern, the dubious) from which to expand (why not start anywhere?) outwards and back inwards at the same time, to the core of what he sees film is and can do. And of course what life (using an iPhone) is and can mean (film your day he suggests..). That goes without saying. Though, like God[.], I’ve said it to make sure you don’t miss it.



Other

With Canon interview spoiler…

1/. Godard comes in many shapes and sizes
– He briefly reprised his views on aspect ration with Gallic hand gestures demonstrating the cutting off of the upper part of a shot, etc.

2/. Something I feel strongly: what a film is about or meant to be about can be taken separately from how it was made. Or not. They can complement each other. Or not. My natural inclination is to run these in parallel. Weaving in and out. Often when the going gets tough on the film itself as a story with a narrative imperative (or not), resorting, or even retreating (out of the sun into the shade..), to the How Did They Do That? seems the most sensible place to go. Even if in the end that strip of bright sunlight between the shady tree and the house has to be crossed.

Godard is often talked about in terms of his oeuvre when a new one pops up (as one does of directors in general). We get the jump cut standing for À Bout de Souffle, or Fritz Lang standing for Le Mépris (who starred in it but to whom Godard was also paying obeisance to as a director. (Wiki:Contempt (film) is an Idiot’s Guide to the latter with some of the associated Langifications – A browser search on Fritz on that wiki page will do the trick).



May 24, 2014 Posted by | Douglas Hofstadter, DSLR cinematography, DSLR Digital Cinematography Guide, Eisenstein, European art cinema, European cinema, European film, film analog/digital, Film and The Arts, film aspect ratio, film reflexivity, film sex, Film Socialisme, film technique, film theory, film [its techniques], French films, Fritz Lang | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment